Chapter Six - The Idea of the Island
The next morning dawned bright and sunny, with just a touch of early morning haze which was soon going to disappear. At breakfast, Droopy announced that we were going to hike south along the coast to find a beach she’d read about.
The pathetic troop trailed down through the village but I quickly got fed up with that so, as soon as we got to the path, I dashed on ahead, pretty much running up the steep climb… only Megan could stay with me. When we reached the top, we basically collapsed onto the grass, laughing and panting as we watched the millions of birds wheeling on the wind as the waves crashed on the rocks down below.
At long last Droopy lumbered up to us, sweating in the early morning sunshine. “That was quite a climb!” she wheezed. She was pretending to admire the view but I was vaguely wondering how they were going to get an ambulance up here if she collapsed!
“Right, gals,” she said, once she’d half way recovered, “off we go. Now I’ve been told that the path along here is quite rough so take care, please.”
We strolled along the broad grassy path for a couple of miles but then the view suddenly opened up and we found ourselves looking down on a beautiful bay, surrounded by high cliffs. The tide was out, leaving a large beach of white sand, and, at the far end, there was a rocky bit with millions of little pools glistening in the sunshine.
“I’ve read that there are some quite unusual sea anemones in the pools down there,” Miss Parsons told us. “I was hoping to go down and have a look. The way down should be over there somewhere.” She wandered over to the edge of the cliff.
“Now be careful on the way down,” she said nervously, standing back and letting us lot go on ahead.
I gave Megan a look. I mean… it was a bit steep but it wasn’t all that bad. So I set off down, casually jumping from rock to rock, with Megan following on behind.
“I said be careful,” Droopy wailed pathetically after us but, by now, we were far enough away that we could pretend not to hear.
And, for the first time, it felt like a proper holiday. The sun was warm and as soon as we reached the beach we kicked off our shoes and socks and ran down to the water. The others did the same and, by the time Droopy made it down, we were having a great time.
She looked on for a bit but then decided we were having too much fun so she led us along to the rocky bit by the headland to hunt for her stupid anemones.
I vaguely nosed around in this bored sort of a way but I had this strange feeling. I mean… I’d never been here before in my life but I still knew that there was something going on… and, as we drifted closer to the headland, the feeling got so strong that I just couldn’t ignore it
“There’s something funny round the corner there,” I told Megan, “I’m going to have a look. You coming?”
She glanced back but Droopy had found one of her precious sea anemones and she’d basically not have noticed if the whole lot of us wandered off.
We scrambled round the headland… it was a bit tricky because the sea was coming in quite close to the cliffs and the rocks were wet and slippery… but at last we made it round
And the little cove we found made it worthwhile. There was a narrow, sandy bay surrounded on three sides by rocks and high cliffs.
“It’s perfect,” Megan exclaimed.
I nodded… but then I noticed this big pile of rocks and stuff over by one of the cliffs. “What’s that?” I asked.
“It looks like there might have been a rock fall. You can see the mark on the cliff.”
As we wandered over to investigate, I noticed something lying, half buried in the pile. “What d’you think this is?” I asked.
“What’s what?” Megan replied.
“This,” I said, clearing away some of the rubbish so it was obvious.
“I can’t see anything,” Megan insisted.
I gave her a bit of a look. The thing was the size of a football [soccer ball!] and was this amazing glistening, metallic red colour… and it was right in front of her…
And… I mean… I knew she’d never joke around with me like that…
So I did the only thing I could think of. I flipped into the cloud world and slipped inside her head.
There was definitely something really strange going on. In a way she could see the ball but something was kind of stopping her from… well… being aware of the thing. And, as I probed deeper, I found some sort of block. I eased it gently to one side and…
Something seemed to click inside Megan’s head and a little explosion of pain flashed across her cloud, which vanished in an instant. But, in that instant, I caught a glimpse of a hidden corner of her mind that burned even brighter than the fisherman’s.
I was vaguely aware that, back on the beach, Megan had screamed so I flipped back. She had this stunned look and was holding her hands to her head. “Are you alright?” I asked.
“There was this sudden, horrible pain but…” She blinked a couple of times, “but it’s totally gone now. Hey, is that the ball you were talking about? I don’t know how I missed it. It’s really pretty.”
Dropping to her knees, she started scraping around in the pile and uncovered three more: two green and a blue one. “You know… I don’t think they’re balls at all,” she went on. “They’re more… well… egg-shaped. But they can’t possibly be eggs. I mean… I’ve seen an ostrich egg and it was a lot smaller than these things.”
I went all cold and reached out towards the things with my mind. In a way they burned almost as brightly as that terrifying stranger but hardly any of the power was leaking out. Instead it was being used to kind of hide whatever it was that was inside.
“You’re not going to believe me…” I said but I sort of trailed off, hardly daring to say the words.
“Go on, you might as well say it,” Megan said. “I know there’s something funny going on round here.”
“They’re dragon’s eggs,” I breathed. I mean… I didn’t really believe it but it was the only answer I could think of.
“I’m not sure what I think,” Megan said with a shrug, “but I guess they come from up there.” She was pointing to this sort of crack a little way up the cliffs that had been exposed by the rock fall.
She was right… and, looking around, you could see that the things were going to be washed away in the next storm.
I had a look at the cliff and decided it might be possible so I clambered up to the crack. “Pass ’em up here!” I told her.
With a fair bit of heaving and grunting, we managed to get the eggs back up into the crack. They were surprisingly heavy. Then I got Megan to pass me up some of the rocks and stuff and wedged them in as securely as I could.
I was just about done when she gave a funny squeak thing. “Look out!” she yelped. “We’re about to be cut off!”
We ran to the headland and managed to make it back round by scuttling between waves. I mean… I managed to pick up a bootful of water and Megan was pretty much washed away when a wave broke over the rock she was standing on but we made it.
But as we stumbled into the other bay, we came to a sudden stop.
Droopy was standing there with her hands on her hips and you could tell she’d been hunting for us for ages.
So I put a hand on Megan’s shoulder then, without really thinking, I slipped into Droopy’s mind. I spread feelings of calm and tried to make the bit of the cliffs over by the path seem really interesting.
“Maybe they’ve gone back up,” Droopy said and she started to trundle back across the beach with the rest of the gaggle in tow. I mean… she was still shouting our names but she was nothing like as stressy about it anymore. I hurried Megan up towards the cliffs and then we called back to Droopy.
“Where have you been?” she asked. “We were starting to get a bit worried.”
“Sorry, we didn’t hear you. We were up here by the cliffs, looking for fossils.”
“You’re not going to find any fossils around here. These are igneous rocks,” she told us.
I even knew that… I was just giving her something else to think about!
And, as she started her lecture on basic geology, I knew we’d got away with it!
The rest of the day wasn’t too bad. We ate our sandwiches and then Droopy let us mess around on the beach for a while. And the beach bit was big enough to let me get away from the rest of the gaggle for a bit. I mean… for a while, I even managed to forget about ‘Caery Draig’ and the dragons and everything.
But then, later that afternoon, as we were clambering back up the path, I happened to look out to sea…
And there it was again… my island. We were much closer here… and it was obvious that the things flying round the top weren’t birds.
And I’d sort of known it all along but it suddenly became clear. That’s where all the answers were. That’s where I had to go.