Saturday, 1 August 2009

Back 'Near Edgware' - this is the right weather for Jess and Caleb's story

It must be time to give the book the limelight - I dreamed it in Florence - that was amazing - must have been missing it.

Of course, there was also the one that included Nathan - I'm putting that down to the lack of internet access - I've never seen him in 3-D before .... as a whole person (not just fingers on the keyboard) ... minds back out of the gutter!


I looked forward to the cross-country run; Ife had the equal and opposite reaction. She threw herself down – draped across a chair in the Common Room.
With her head at an uncomfortable angle she groaned, “You just don’t understand. I feel sick – I don’t think it – I - am - nauseous!”
“Why don’t we just walk at the back?”
Ife snorted.
“This is a fun run; why don’t we just wander and sight-see?”
Ife raised her head and opened one brown eye.
“Why not?” asked Anna, “We can set a new course record in reverse? Slowest ever time around the route.”
“Is there a course record?”
They laughed at me.
“OK! Alright! So – I like breaking records!”
“I’ll walk,” Ife sat up – the grumpy expression changing to the defensive one as she ran her hand over her hair, “but I’m bringing a plastic bag – just in case!”
“Ife!”
“My hair’s only just been relaxed; I could bring my umbrella!”
Ben grinned at Ife with the rest of us, but he shifted in his chair “I’ve got a bet thing happening with Joe and Matt; I… could… back out of it?”
I tried to look offended but failed, “This is a girl-only outing. You’re out anyway!”

The walk would be slow. I put my running vest under my tee-shirt and extra-large drama sweatshirt, to keep out the chill. Rubbing the healed lump on the back of my head, I eyed the route into the woodland. The runners powered their way up the slope; for a moment I wished I was up near the top.
Ali, Ife, Anna and I slithered up the churned mud of the track. We had to clutch each other when Anna slipped into the largest of the pool-sized puddles. Wet passed her ankles, she concentrated on plaiting her long red hair – muddied hair was so much more distressing than soggy feet. But, it could’ve been worse, Ife had her plastic bag hanging out of her tracksuit pocket – it wouldn’t be long before that was on her head. We waddled to keep moving forward; our mud-heavy trainers sucked along behind us. My sides ached but not from walking.
We wandered through oaks, silver birch and purple beech trees; to avoid the thickest of the mud we trudged shin deep in damp leaves and kicked them as we went. We were far behind the main group when something about the sights, sounds and smells began to register as ... wrong. I froze – mid-kick – to look around and listen – held out both arms to help me balance – sucked in an anxious breath.

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