Flash and Cloud's big adventure is one of six stories created by patients, families and staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital, with the help of writer Sarah Butler. The audio version is narrated by Peter Capaldi.
Flash and Cloud lived with their father in a big nest, surrounded by sharp black rocks, on the very top of the tallest mountain in the land. When they looked one way they could see the bright blue sea where the dolphins splashed and played. When they turned their heads the other way they could see a tall, glittering city.
Flash and Cloud were eaglets. They were fluffy and messy with large yellow feet, and they were always getting into trouble. What Flash and Cloud wanted more than anything was to learn to fly. They watched their father take off each day and swoop and dive through the air as if it was the easiest thing in the world.
'We want to fly,' they said, jumping up and down.
'You're too young.' Their father shook his head. 'You'll have to wait until your feathers are ready.'
One morning, when their father had flown off to find them breakfast, Flash and Cloud decided they didn't want to wait a day longer.
'I'm sure it's not that hard,' said Cloud, jumping up as high as she could and flapping her short fluffy wings.
Bump! 'Ow!' said Cloud.
'I bet I can do it,' Flash said, and he stood up on the ends of his claws and stretched his wings as wide as he could, and jumped.
Crash! 'Ow!' said Flash.
But they didn't give up. They flapped and they jumped and they bounced and they bumped, and if their father hadn't had to travel so far to find their breakfast, everything might have been okay. But the longer he was away, the higher and faster the eaglets jumped, until Flash lost his balance and fell, over the side of the nest, and down, and down, and down.
'Flash!' shouted Cloud, and without thinking twice about it, she jumped out of the nest after her brother.
Down and down they fell, towards the sharp rocks at the bottom of the mountain.
Bump! 'Ow!' said Flash. Bump! 'Ow!' said Cloud.
They had landed, not on the rocks, but on the wing of a passing aeroplane.
They clung on and peered over the edge. The aeroplane flew over the wide blue sea. So this is what flying is like, thought Cloud. This is fun, thought Flash. But then the plane started to turn. It tipped up its wings and the eaglets slid all the way to the edge.
'I can't hold on,' shouted Flash.
'Neither can I!' shouted Cloud.
They looked at each other and then down at the sparkling blue sea.
'Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee,' they both shouted as they slipped off the aeroplane wing and into the water.
While Flash and Cloud were hitching a ride on the aeroplane, their father – a tall, thin eagle called Escabar, who was often tired, and usually worried – arrived back at the big nest, surrounded by sharp black rocks, on the very top of the tallest mountain in the land.
'Breakfast!' he called, as he landed.
But there was no reply. The nest was empty. He searched everywhere. He called and he shouted, but Flash and Cloud were nowhere to be seen.
Escabar stood tall in his nest. He looked out at the bright blue sea, then he turned and looked out at the tall, glittering city. He had to make a choice.
Cloud and Flash were as good at swimming as they were at flying. They landed in the wide, cold sea and flapped their wings and waggled their feet, and just about stayed on the surface. Cloud was beginning to worry when Flash said, 'Look! An island!'
And sure enough he was right – there was a small, white island, just a few metres away, although Cloud was sure it hadn't been there just a few minutes before. They struggled towards it and heaved themselves out of the water.
'Watch those claws.' The voice was deep and rumbling. Cloud and Flash looked at each other, terrified.
The island started to move.
'W-W-W-W-W?' said Cloud.
The huge walrus lifted his head, and blew water from his mouth. 'They call me West,' he said. 'And who, might I ask, are you?'
'C-c-c-cloud,' said Cloud. 'And this is Flash, my brother.'
'And what are you doing down here?'
'Just looking around,' said Flash.
'We fell out of our nest,' said Cloud. 'Well, he did, anyway.'
The huge walrus nodded his head slowly. 'I suppose you'll be wanting a lift home?' he said.
By this time Escabar had reached the city. He flew found it full of noisy animals with strange, circular legs, and smoking tails; Escabar had never seen cars before. He found it full of strange, tall cliffs which looked like they had holes big enough to fly through, except when he tried he ended up lying on his back with an ache in his head; Escabar had never seen glass before. He flew from building to building in a panic. I have to find my children, he thought. Bump! They must be here somewhere. Bump! Where are they? Bump!
Escabar bumped his head so many times he started to forget who he was, and then he forgot why he had come to this city with its strange animals and strange cliffs in the first place. He rubbed his head with his wing and thought, I really should get back to my nest, if I can remember where it is…
West the Walrus carried the eaglets all the way back to the bottom of the tallest mountain in the land.
'This is as far as I can take you,' he said.
Cloud and Flash jumped from his back onto the shore and thanked him again and again.
'You be careful, little eaglets,' he said, and then he shuffled back into the water and was gone.
'How are we going to get up there?' Flash said, staring up at the huge mountain with its sharp, slippery rocks.
'We are going to have to fly,' said Cloud.
'But we can't. Look.' Flash jumped up, flapped his wings, and landed with a crash.
'Not like that,' said Cloud. 'You stay here and collect up every stick and twig you can find, I'll be right back.'
So Flash did what he was told, and after what seemed like forever, Cloud came back with a thin blue plastic bag.
'Recycling,' she said to Flash, when he asked her what she was doing. 'Now, we need to strap these twigs together. And then...'
The eaglets tied the twigs together into a sort of raft, and then attached the plastic bag. They dragged it up to the highest rock they could reach.
'Now, remember what Dad told us about the thermals?' Cloud said.
Flash scratched his head. 'Air rises because of heat?'
'Exactly. So now we just wait for one.'
'And it takes us up the mountain. You are a genius!' shouted Flash.
And so Cloud and Flash waited, and waited, and eventually they found a thermal strong enough to take them all the way back up to the big nest, surrounded by sharp black rocks, on the very top of the mountain. Inside, they found their father fast asleep. When he finally woke up, he didn't seem to remember a thing, and they decided it would be best not to mention their little adventure.