Postcard Story

dresden-806850_1920(Germany, Dresden, Zwinger Palace)

Hello!

Hope you are all okay. We are still having a blast in Europe! This week we are in Germany. My favorite place so far is this royal palace. The gardens were so lovely and the palace so huge!

Luke made friends with a guard dog and I sneaked a foot dip in a the fountain. There’s been a heatwave.

On Monday, we travel to Belgium for a few days then France for a week and finally England for the end of our trip! I’ll send you postcards from Paris and London.

Miss you loads. Lots of love, Harley.

Dear Diary #25

And September is here! I can’t believe how fast summer has gone, it was over like all that flash flooding we’ve been having. I only saw like 20 odd days of pure sunshine out of the 92 days. How bad is that? And so not enough to get a tan, but luckily no one else really has either.

I’m strangely not looking forward to going back to uni now. It’s final year and that’s going to be so much hard work and so little time for partying! I’m glad things have got sorted and we can all stay in the same house. It was very touch and go for awhile back there. Dev said that me and him would find our own place, but getting a one or two bedroom flat wasn’t as easy as it would actually seem. It’s all good though and the four of us will be fine again.

My parents have been bugging me with questions about afterwards. I don’t know what I’m going to do! Maybe take a different course and return? Do a masters or go into teaching? I just don’t know and a part of me is wondering what kind of job I believed I was going to get doing a history degree. I should have gone with business or computing or something that leads straight into work. Perhaps, something will come up and right now I just got to try and pass this year.

At least I can get a few more days of freedom in! I’m off to the Lake District tomorrow, for a few romantic days away with Dev. So looking forward to that. We’ve not had much alone time or dates with him working as many hours as he can get at the pub. So it’ll be nice to spend sometime together. The weather isn’t looking great though, so we might not risk any long walks, but I’d be happy to just lounge by the indoor pool.

I should actually go and start packing!

Lake

Dock, Lake, Finland, Dark, Evening, Water, Nature, Blue

Naked, she walked along the middle of the jetty. The warm wind draped around her like a blanket making the cold water of the lake even more beckoning. She reached the end and sank down. Dangling her feet into the cool water, she tossed her head back and looked up at the red bleeding sunset sky.

Wash Out

Water, Priroda, Drops, Rain

They awoke in the early hours of the morning to find their tent had been flooded. They had not choice but to huddle in the car and wait till they could rescue their things.

Bus Trip

School Bus, Road, Pavement, Desert, Sand, Plants, Rural

Rubbing her temples, Miss Quine fell into questioning why she had agreed to this trip. Behind her, the bus full of shouting eight and nine year olds was reaching it’s peak. Trying to ignore her school class, she looked out of the window and saw the same scene that she had seen half an hour ago; the desert. The dark yellow, red sand stretched all around them, sometimes tufts of green poked up breaking it up, but she could not name the plants. Ahead of them appeared some mountains, but they looked long off in the distance.

She glanced across at her teaching assistant, Miss Pointer, who was busy trying to stop Timmy from throwing M&Ms at Becky. Stepping in, Miss Quine quickly defused things and took the rest of the candy off him. Timmy sat down in a huff and began blowing bubbles with his saliva. Miss Pointer helped the crying Becky settle back down again.

Miss Quine shoved the packet into her bag then looked for the other four adults amongst the twenty-five children. Mr Seale and Mr Greene were roughly in the middle and singing along with the wheels on the bus song that some demon child had started up. Mrs Fisher and Mr Bennet were at the back and looked so deep in conversation that they had not notice William wiping his nose pickings on the window.

Miss Quine sighed and decided she didn’t have the energy to deal with that. She turned to face the front of the bus again and caught a worried look flash across the driver’s face. Before she had time to ask, she heard the engine make a weird sound and the bus suddenly jerked off the road as if it was a dog being pulled on a leash.

They bounced and skid across the desert. Sand and stones peppered and rattled off the bus as the brakes give a loud squeal. The children started screaming and crying whilst the adults hurried to calm them. The bus spun into a stop and the engine cut out.

Miss Quine snatched a few breaths then stood shaky up. Stepping over to the bus driver she saw he was tightly gripping the wheel. She patted him on the shoulder, called his name and asked if he was okay. After a few moments he came to life and nodded, ‘is everyone okay?’ he shouted.

A half-hearted reply muttered back to him, mingled with sobs and sniffs.

‘I’ll see what’s up,’ he answered, ‘everyone stay on the bus.’

The driver opened the doors and got out. Miss Quine watched him inspecting the bus then felt a tug on her jumper. She looked down and Roy was standing directly there.

‘Miss, I got to go,’ he said quietly.

Miss Quine rolled her eyes and looked up to see if one of the gentlemen was free. They all seemed busy though and she was unable to catch any of their eyes.

‘Okay, Roy,’ she said.

Miss Quine stepped off the bus and he followed her. The earth felt hot under her feet and the air seemed to shimmer around them.

‘Go over there, where no one can see,’ Miss Quine directed as she pointed the child across the road and towards a large cactus, ‘keep away from that though,’ she added.

Roy nodded and took off. Miss Quine turned to the bus driver, who had opened the bonnet and was looking inside.

‘What’s the problem?’ she asked.

‘I think it over heated….not sure…might have to go and get some help,’ the bus driver replied.

‘Help? Out here?!’

‘Don’t worry. There’s a little shop a few miles down this road. We can walk there, be good for the kids.’

Miss Quine looked down the road, but could not see anything. She clicked her tongue and decided there was no choice. Getting back on the bus, she rounded up her class, told them what was going on and after a brief argument with some of them, they all got off the bus and walked down the road.

Staying in their seat arrangements with their buddy, the row of children and adults started walking with the bus driver leading the way. The children talked loudly, pointing out all kinds of things and seemly happy they were now free of the confinement of the bus. Miss Quine took off her jumper, already feeling warm then paused as some of the kids darted off to look at a lizard.

Walking on and the sun shone down, making everyone hot and grumpy. A few times the kids asked if they where there yet and if they were lost and if they could stop. Miss Quine forced them all on whilst she prayed the shop was close. Telling them to sing a song, she whispered to the bus driver, ‘how much further?’

‘Couldn’t tell you,’ he replied.

Miss Quine gritted her teeth and decided this wasn’t the time to give him a piece of her mind.

Finally, a small white building appeared at the side of the road. The kids cried out and pointed at it. Those that had the energy started running whilst the rest tried to get the adults to move faster. Miss Quine sank onto the porch, her feet sore, her t-shirt soaked in sweat and her face bright red. Someone give her a bottle of water and she gulped it down.

The voices of the children faded into the background for a few moments and Miss Quine sorted herself out. The bus driver came up to her as the last of the children vanished into the shop, which Miss Quine guessed had never had so many people in it before.

‘It’s not far to the town. I’ll leave you here now and go and get some help. Should be back soon,’ the driver said.

Miss Quine nodded, thanked him then watched him walk off down the road. Behind her she heard a fight break out and she stormed into the shop.

Rusty Bus

Bus, Old, In To The Wild, Abandoned, Outdoors

There was something taking shape in the distant. I stopped, wondering what it was as I reached for my water and map. Taking a few mouthfuls of warmish water, I then checked the map and roughly pinpointed where I was. Looking up again, I saw the desert flat before me and the red mountains close by framed by the deep blue sky. The huge objected was there before the first mountain, a white and red patchy rectangle shape it seemed to be.

Putting my water skin and map away again, I walked on, determined to find out what the object was. Maybe it was something that would give me shade in this otherwise empty sand-scape or further shelter for the night. Small puffs of dust rose around my boots, sand was already clinging to me so a little more would make no difference. My legs and arms were achy and I knew soon I’d have to stop for a rest.

The object grew and soon enough I saw it was a bus. I paused, puzzling over why a bus would be in the middle of nowhere. I carried on walking, listening to the sound of the breeze shaking sand grit and my boots shuffling loudly. As soon as I reached the bus, I saw it was little more then a shell. The windows were all gone, so had the wheels and what was left was a rusty frame.

I looked through the space were the door had once been and saw that the inside was empty as well. I could just make out where the driver’s seat and wheel had been in front of me. Further down, where the outlines of the seats but the floor was just metal now. Heat came off the abandoned bus like an oven and I decided not to venture inside.

I walked around it, noticing the headlights were missing and so were any signs of what the bus might have been from and where it was heading too. Around the other side was a shadow outline and though the heat was still drifting off the metal, the sand was cool. I sank gratefully down and drink another mouthful of precious water.

My thoughts tumbled and I wondered how and why the bus had ended up here. Someone or someones had clearly stripped it down, perhaps before dumping it here. Maybe as a landmark? A looked up at the side of the bus and tried to see anything that would give me any clues.

Another thought popped into my head. What if there had been a trip of school children or tourists out to see the mountains and the bus had broken down or they had gotten lost? Stuck out here, they had no choice but to strip the bus down to use what they could as they tried to get out of here.

I smiled at my imagination and decided that here would be a good place to set up camp for the night. Checking my map, I saw that actually I wasn’t far from a ranch and then a small town. Maybe a day or two, three at the most? I checked my supplies, decided I’d be okay and set up my tent and stuff.

Crawling into my sleeping bag as the night settled in, my thoughts were still on the bus. Just how had it ended up here?

Postcard #22

Donkey, Sea, Greece, Santorini, Holiday, Sea View

The donkeys were lined up on the beach. Their heads were low though their ears with twitching along with their tails. Small children pointed and waved at them, clearly eager to to have a ride, but their parents tugged them away before they got too close.

One of the donkeys give up and lay down in  the hot sand. He received a plastic bucket of water, which the donkey next to him greedily stole. More water buckets appeared and for a few moments, the donkeys were active in their drinking.

Then the buckets were stacked away again and the donkeys got back to standing lazily on the hot beach, the breeze whistling the sea air around them.

Home Comfort

Brown, Carton, Chips, Cholesterol, Cod, Delicious

There was just something comforting about coming home after a holiday and eating their favorite food despite everything else they had eaten whilst they had been traveling.

Camp Fire Story (Part 3)

People, Children, Child, Kids, Girls, Women, Woman, Man

Cody stopped and stared at the shimmering shadow which stood out against the surrounding darkness. He thought about running back inside or bolting for the tent, but he was fixed to the spot. He tried to tell himself it was nothing, just an animal maybe? Or moonlight on the water?

He looked up and began searching the pitch black sky for the moon and stars. The crying drew his attention back and he felt the urge to go and actually prove that there wasn’t anything there. Once again, picking the shimmering shape out, Cody stepped slowly down the steps and went up to his tent. Stopping again, he tried to utter an hello, but nothing came out of his month.

Swallowing and licking his lips, he tried again. His voice was less then a whisper. He put his hands together, then decided he couldn’t let this go. What would he tell Luke? He disliked his cousin calling him a baby as it was. Slowly, he shuffled off again, feeling the dry loose soil and small patches of grass under his bare feet.

Wishing he had a torch, he made it close to the edge of the lake. There he stood still, listening to the water lapping on the small outline of sand. He couldn’t see the dark shimmer shape now, nor much else. Shrugging, Cody turned and made to leave.

The girl’s crying came loud in his ears, startling him so that he almost tumbled over.

‘Who are you?’ he shouted.

‘Who are you?’ a girl echoed his words.

‘I’m Cody. What do you want?’

‘Abigail,’ came the whispered voice.

‘I have to go,’ Cody gushed and made to leave.

A small, icy cold hand grabbed his.

‘Don’t. I only want someone to play with me. Do you want to play?’

Cody shook his head, ‘no.’

‘Why not?’ the girl’s voice pressed.

‘It’s late….I should be in bed.’

‘But I’m so lonely…Will you be my friend?’

Cody screwed his face up, not sure what to answer the invisible girl. He thought about trying to move his hand, but it was numb all ready and he couldn’t feel his fingers. He wiggled them and tried to remember what his mum had said about telling people nicely about not wanting them to be friends.

‘You don’t want to be? Okay…’ Abigail said sadly and let his hand go.

‘I don’t…’ Cody scrambled for the right words, ‘I’m sorry, it’s just…’

He stopped and waited, but the ghost seemed to have gone. Shivering, he went into the tent and woke Luke up again.

‘What’s it now?’ Luke mumbled.

‘I just saw her and spoke to her. She wanted to be my friend!’ Cody rushed.

‘Who? What?’

‘The drowned girl!’

‘You were dreaming. It’s a story. It’s not real.’ Luke moaned.

‘No!’ Cody snapped and started shaking his cousin.

‘Okay!’ Luke shouted and scrambled out his sleeping bag, ‘Show me. Where is she?’

Cody pointed outside then, headed out again. The tent flaps rustled against him and he heard Luke making the same sounds. Then the torch beam flickered on and lit a line down to the lake shore.

‘Turn it off. She might not like it,’ Cody said.

Luke shot him a look and walked down to the edge of the lake. He shone the small torch about, the light picked up some small rocks and the gentle waves. Nothing shimmered under the beam and they could hear only the lake and an owl hooting somewhere.

‘You lied,’ Luke shouted, ‘there’s nothing here!’

‘She was here. She touched my hand!’ Cody countered back.

He held up his hand and Luke shone the chair on it, but his hand looked normal.

Luke pushed him hard and Cody hit the ground with a thud. He cried out and felt sharp pebbles grating under his palm. He looked up, but Luke was all ready heading back to the tent, the torch beam bobbing before him.

Cody wiped his face, catching the start of tears that had watered his eyes. He got up and decided there was no way he was getting back into the tent again. He stumbled up the porch steps and opened the back door again. Going into the welcoming glow of the lights, made him feel better and he went quietly up the stairs.

At the top, he went into the bathroom and turned the light on. There before the mirror, he saw his red flushed cheeks which looked damp. He held up his hands and saw the imprint of pebbles and flakes of dirt. He washed his hands then went into his bedroom. Putting the light on, he crossed the small floor and got into the far single bed.

He turned on the lamp and turned off the main lights. He got into the bed, feeling safer and warmer. He settled down and tried to tell himself it had all been in his head. Rolling over, he shut his eyes and tried to get back to sleep.

‘Hello?’

He stirred at the voice and slowly opened his eyes. He wasn’t sure how long it had been or who had spoken.

‘Your friend isn’t  very nice, is he?’

‘What? Who’s there?’ Cody uttered.

‘It’s me, Abigail. Remember?’ the girl’s voice whispered.

‘What are you doing in here?’ Cody gasped.

He sat up and clutched the duvet right up to his chin. He peered out trying to see her. Was that a really dark shimmer near the wardrobe? He couldn’t be sure.

‘I came to see you…Is that okay?’

‘I guess.’

‘I could go and haunt him, if you want? I do a really good moaning sound,’ Abigail spoke.

‘No. It’s okay…What do you want? I don’t think we can be friends…you being a ghost and all…’ Cody trailed off.

‘Maybe, you could set me free though?’

‘How?’ Cody asked.

He released his tight grip on the duvet and let it slide down. He could see her now; an eight year old girl in a torn up dress and long loose hair, though she still seemed to be a black outline. She was at the foot of his bed, looking over the railing at him, though Cody couldn’t see her eyes or any features of her face.

She sighed and seemed to wave her hands around, ‘I don’t know,’ she finally admitted.

Cody lay back down and looked up at the ceiling. He thought deeply, trying to recall what he knew about ghosts.

‘Maybe, you have to do something, like settle something…’ Cody said aloud, ‘or we need someone who can talk to ghosts. I don’t know what to do.’

‘It’s okay…actually, I kind of like it,’ Abigail replied.

‘You like being a ghost?’ Cody asked.

‘It’s not so bad, but it is lonely.’

‘I guess.’

Cody yawed and rubbed his eyes.

‘I should go…’ Abigail stated.

Cody mumbled a reply and shut his eyes.

The morning felt too normally. Cody woke and for a few minutes whilst he was in the bathroom and dressing, he couldn’t remember anything. Only at breakfast, when asked by his mum why he had come in, did he recall Abigail. Deciding not to tell, he lied about coming in to get some water then going upstairs instead of back outside.

Luke shot him a look, but carried on eating cereal. The girls seemed too sleepy to care or maybe they hadn’t heard. Cody didn’t add any more, but let the sounds of breakfast fill the air again. He looked over at the back door and wondered if he’d see the ghost girl again.

Camp Fire Story (Part 2)

People, Children, Child, Kids, Girls, Women, Woman, Man

Just as Cody was settling into his sleeping bag again, he heard the crying. He stopped and tried to look through the side of the tent, but he could see nothing but darkness. He clutched the edge of the sleeping bag and shivered. There seemed to be a sudden chill in the air. Listening harder, Cody decided that it was a girl crying, but it didn’t sound like Connie or Luna.

His thoughts tumbled and Luke’s ghost story came back to him. Was it the girl who drowned in the lake? Cody gasped and scrambled into his sleeping bag. He pulled it up over his head and lay there listening to his rushed breathing. What was that sound? Something scratching the side of the tent…trying to get in…trying to get to him?

‘Luke? Wake up,’ Cody said quietly.

Wiggling out of the sleeping bag, he poked his cousin and said his name again.

‘What?’ Luke muttered.

‘There something outside…’ Cody trailed off.

‘It’s nothing. The wind, a raccoon. Go back to sleep.’

But I think it’s her! The shadow girl,’ Cody hissed.

He heard Luke scrambling around then the torch came on. The light beam shone along the side of the tent, before moving upwards as Luke rolled over. Cody shut his eyes as the light hit him.

‘I don’t see anything. Maybe it was Connie or Luna?’ Luke suggested.

Cody shook his head, ‘I went out before and checked. It’s not them, it doesn’t sound like them either.’

‘Then it’s the wind.’

Cody sighed, ‘I really don’t think it is.’

‘Whatever,’ Luke said and turned off the torch.

Cody blinked fast, trying to get use to the darkness once more. He heard Luke turn over and the torch clattering against something. Luke mumbled something and his sleeping bag shifted nosily. Cody rolled over too and focused on the shadows settling back along the side of the tent.

Finally, silence crept back in, but Cody couldn’t hear anything. The crying had stopped. Shutting his eyes, he tried to get back to sleep, but he just couldn’t. He felt wide awake and his mind was too busy thinking about the ghost story. Really hoping Luke was right, Cody rolled over again. His sleeping bag rustled loudly and Cody pulled it up, wrapping it around him.

He listened to Luke’s steady breathing, but quickly grew bored. Realizing he was thirsty, Cody slipped out his sleeping bag and crawled to the first of the tent. His head felt for the zip and once the metal was against his fingers he stopped. Swallowing and telling himself that nothing was out there, Cody unzipped the tent and scrambled out.

The cold night air, hit him fully and Cody’s skin pricked with goosebumps. Fighting away the shivering, Cody hurried up to the porch and pushed the back door. The creaking wood give easily and he walked into the cabin. Thankfully, his parents had left a lamp on in the living room and in the kitchen beyond the spotlights.

Heading over, he got some water and drink it in the kitchen. Feeling better, he washed the glass and left it on the side. Going back into the living room, he stopped and looked up the stairs. It would be so nice to go up and into the bedroom Luke and he were sharing. He pictured getting into the soft bed and snuggling down. He’d feel safe, but come morning what would he say?

I had a nightmare?  he thought.

He pulled a face, but then Luke was going to get in trouble again and the whole idea of this camping vacation was for Luke and his sister to escape their splitting up parents. Cody shook his head and went back outside. As he went down the steps of the porch, he saw an odd shadow shimmering close to the end of the lake just behind the tents.

To be Continued…