She was in the middle of a tropical forest. There were tall trees everywhere and the hot sun was streaming down on her back. She could hear loud birds calling out to each other.
She turned a corner and came to a standstill.
There was a man lying in the middle of the path, he was covered in blood and a machete stuck through his chest.
His eyes were wide open but were still and lifeless like glass. He was dead.
“Agghhh!” screamed Athene waking up.
She was covered in sweat and was breathing heavily.
“Dad!” she screamed.
“What’s going on?” asked Lizzie drowsily as she woke up.
“Dad!” yelled Athene again.
“It’s one o’clock in the morning go back to sleep,” mumbled Julie.
“It’s Athene,” said Lizzie nervously getting out of bed, “there’s something wrong with her!”
“Dad!” Athene called yet again.
Julie pulled on her dressing gown and checked Athene’s forehead.
“She’s got a fever,” muttered Julie, “go and get Mitchell.”
Lizzie ran out of the dorm in her nightdress to go and find Mr Mitchell.
The other two girls had woken up and Charlie had gotten her torch out.
“What’s wrong?” asked Charlie sitting down on Athene’s bed with Julie.
But Athene didn’t hear her, she just stared right past them.
“Dad!” she called out again in desperation.
Lizzie came running back with Mr Mitchell and Matron.
“What happened?” asked Mr Mitchell.
“We don’t know,” stammered Lizzie, “she just woke up screaming. I think she had a nightmare; she keeps on calling out for her Dad.”
“It’s alright dear,” said Matron sitting down on the bed as Julie and Charlie got up.
Matron brushed Athene’s fringe off her forehead so she could check her temperature.
Athene stopped muttering and looked Matron straight in the eye, before bursting into tears.
“It’s alright dear,” soothed Matron as Athene sobbed into her.
“Dad, he was dead,” sobbed Athene, “just lying there, dead!”
“I’m sure he’s fine Athene,” said Julie.
“He’s in Malaya! Anything could have happened!”
“They would have contacted you if there was anything wrong,” assured Charlie kneeling down at the end of the bed.
“But in the dream,” stammered Athene as she stopped sobbing.
“I was in the jungle. The tropical jungle. Dad’s in the tropical jungle. What if it was real?”
“Athene,” said Mr Mitchell gently, “listen to me.”
“It was a dream. If anything does happen, we’ll deal with it when it does alright?”
Athene nodded slightly uncertain.
“Now dry those tears and get some sleep.”
Athene got back into bed, and the other four girls went back to sleep almost instantly. Athene found though that sleep evaded her, she was staring up at the ceiling, every time she closed her eyes, she would see her Dad smiling at her for a second, then she would see his dead body again.
The next morning, Athene went down for breakfast with large dark circles under her eyes.
It was mid-November now, so everyone had settled into the school routine having been at St Christopher’s for over two months.
“There was quite a ruckus in your dorm last night,” said Harry.
“Yeah what happened?” asked Mark excitedly.
“Athene had a nightmare,” said Charlie.
“Oh,” said Mark, almost disappointed that nothing more exciting had happened.
“Are you alright Athene?” asked Anthony putting an arm around her.
“Hmmm,” muttered Athene staring at her plate of toast.
“Eat up, you’ll feel better.”
Athene took a small bite of toast, but it turned to dust in her mouth.
She pushed her plate of breakfast over to Harry and Charlie, who both shrugged and ate half her toast each.
Athene become much more withdrawn, she didn’t talk to anyone, hardly ate, and when she did sleep she had nightmares.
Anthony wasn’t particularly worried about this on the first day, but once this had been going on for a week, he became deeply worried for her friend.
“Athene for God's sake eat something!” pleaded Charlie.
Athene was as pale as a sheet, and ate a small spoonful of potatoes before putting her fork back down. She pushed her plate away again.
“If you don’t start eating soon Athens,” said Harry, “Charlie are going to get very fat!”
There was the ghost of a smile on Athene’s face.
“That’s the smile we know,” beamed Mark, “now come on we’ve got double Latin!”
Latin was one of Athene’s favourite subjects. She enjoyed learning the language and the stories that Mr Mitchell told at the end of class each time were fascinating.
“They’ve got the auditions for solos in the Christmas concert tomorrow,” beamed Mark.
“Oh Tony, please help us practise, it’s much easier if we’re accompanied.”
“After Prep, maybe,” said Anthony.
“Cheers Tony!” beamed Mark.
At the end of prep though, Mr Mitchell came over to talk to them.
“Athene,” he said gently, “can you come with me for a moment?”
Athene looked slightly nervous but packed away her books.
“We’ll see you in the rehearsal room ok?” asked Anthony.
She gave Anthony a quick smile and followed Mr Mitchell from the classroom.