Charlie

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Chapter 2

Charlie

Its 6:10am on a misty chilly September morning on a Tuesday 2005.The place…Midsummer Downs, a tucked away town deep in the heart of Wiltshire, England. Megan Rose a typical teenager though intelligent, caring ,considerate and loving to her family but sometimes truth stretching and mischievous is woken for school by her mum, A loving ,caring mum with a good sense of humour , though sensibly strict, very protective of her children and independently strong. “Come on Meg, time to get up for school!” Called her mum in her North East accent as that is where she originally hailed. “Coming mum... I’m just stretching!” replied Megan with a stretchy, yawn voice. Megan got up and sleepily walked down the stairs and headed into the living room and sat down to her favourite breakfast that mum had already prepared. Tea and biscuits... Chocolate digestives and Rich tea were always a favourite of Megan’s. Whilst enjoying her 20 minute breakfast period Megan and her mum chatted about Megan’s lessons of that day, her favourite’s, not so favourite’s, nice teachers, not so nice teachers. Megan didn’t really dislike any lessons or teachers apart from Mr Bates the History teacher, she was quite balanced and level headed about school and school life. Her only groan was with the early mornings but her mum assured her she would get used to them eventually and it was only because she was a fledgling at secondary school that had only just started at the beginning of that term. After breakfast Megan got dressed for school and checked she had all the relevant equipment for that day in her school bag, which on some days could be quite heavy for her 5ft 1inch, 6 stone slim frame. 7:45 am and the doorbell rang as it did every school day at that time. It was Brodie, Megan’s best friend…a laid back loyal friend and a good six or seven inch’s taller than Megan and a good two stone heavier give or take. They were good friends and Megan’s mum approved of Brodie and always carefully helped patch up any silly disagreements the two girls sometimes had. Megan’s mum was in the kitchen cleaning the breakfast dishes away, “I’m going now mum!” called Megan. “Not without a kiss you’re not!” Replied her mum walking from the kitchen to the front door. Megan gave her mum a kiss before she set off for her twenty five/ thirty minute walk to school to attend tutor registration for 8:30am.

One off one to go thought Megan’s mum whilst closing the front door and walking up stairs to wake Megan’s younger Sister Shauna. (Little legs as mum affectionately called her!) and to ritually go through the breakfast routine again only with jam on toast this time and to get Shauna into school for 9am. Shauna was seven, four years and four months younger than Megan and at least a foot shorter. , a very likable character…intelligent like her sister, inquisitive and bossy. Both girls were a credit to their mum whom survived on a modest income, bringing her two girls up single handed and always instilling good manners and respect to others. Megan and her best friend Brodie always stopped at a local shop on their way to school to buy a drink and a chocolate bar. On this day whilst waiting in a queue of three people Megan overheard a conversation between an elderly gentleman and the shop keeper about an old house on Brook lane that had stood empty for fifty years, boarded up and abandoned and was now being emptied out and demolished to make way for a new three bed house that would be let upon completion. Mega got served and on leaving the shop to catch up with Brodie she thought about the conversation between the two men and wondered how she hadn’t noticed this house as Brook Lane was a route she and Brodie took to school there and back every day.

Megan caught up with Brodie and told her about what she had heard and how she must remember to tell her mum as they were living with their aunt Maggie whilst mum waited for a new house and Aunt Maggie’s house was too small. Brodie couldn’t recall noticing the old house on Brook Lane either but thought they would look out for it on their way to school. After turning into Brook Lane and walking half way down Megan noticed a big yellow skip just at the edge of the pavement at the end of the lane. “Look Brodie (hurrying along) that must be where the old house is!”. Reaching the end of the lane they both noticed lots of trees and bushes had been cut down revealing a very old, gloomy, tired house. “All those trees and bushes have been hiding it”. “Yeah” said Megan whilst noticing the yellow skip half filled with the smelly old contents of the house. Peering into the skip there was a tatty old mattress with a kind of straw hanging out of it, a smashed up old fire place, a rotten old sofa, various bits and bobs unrecognizable and a small brown worn old chair with two and a half legs and the seat padding hanging out. “Come on Megan…we better go or we’ll be late” said Brodie. Wiping her hands on her school trousers and turning to walk away Megan’s attention was immediately taken back to the old chair. The morning sun light caught and glistened off an object poking out through the padding of the old chair. Megan clambered up the edge of the skip and reached over to the object poking out. “Hurry up Megan! I’m going… I don’t want to be late!!” Shouted Brodie. “Yeah I’m coming!” said Megan and quickly grabbed the object, climbed down, shoved it in her school bag and hurriedly ran into school with Brodie.

Back home Megan’s mum managed to get Shauna off on time with a kiss and cuddle and a promise to bake cakes at the weekend, and then set about her daily routine of housework, shopping and cooking. It was lunch time and after grabbing a sandwich from the school canteen Megan set off to meet Brodie at the school library. Sitting at an empty table at the far end of the library waiting for Brodie, Megan reached into her bag to take out some unfinished art homework due in the next day that she planned to complete during this break, fumbling in her school bag she came across an unfamiliar object!, She grabbed it, pulled it out and immediately saw it was the object she found in the skip by the old house. It was a small dinted dull silver tobacco type tin, Megan felt it in her hands, curiously studying every angle of it, she thought she could feel ridges, like lettering beneath some stubborn old dirt and on eventually wiping some of it away revealed what looked like a letter ‘C’. “There you are… I’ve been looking for you everywhere! What you got there!” It was Brodie and she startled Megan as she was lost in intrigue of the old dinted tin. “Oh! Hi Brodie… just an old tin” said Megan. Brodie sat in a chair next to Megan whilst talking about her last lesson with a female teacher that kept her behind for a few minutes to discuss Bodies lack of enthusiasm in the topic of mathematics. Brodie rambled on but most of Megan’s attention was focused on the old tin in her hands. Has she kept rubbing away at the dirt she eventually unmasked another two letters... M and S, wiping and rubbing the tin with her sleeve she uncovered three letters… CMS which looked to Megan like initials. ‘WOW’ she thought. I wonder who CMS was… “Megan…hellllooo! The lunch time over bell as gone” said Brodie whilst picking her bag from the floor. Megan was startled again. “Damn! I better get a move on I mustn’t be late for History, Mr Bates is really strict!” Said Megan whilst shoving the old tin in her bag and rushing through the library doors with minutes to spare before 3rd period History started. “Meet you at the gates after school!!” shouted Brodie before disappearing along one of the many corridors in the vast secondary school. Returning home from school Megan put down her bag, hung up her coat and began to tell her mum all about the old house and the new house that would take its place. Her mum…sitting at the kitchen table, drinking a coffee and studying a crossword puzzle listened intently to Megan then assured her that she would look into possibly renting the property upon completion. Happy with her mum’s response Megan picked up her school bag and took it upstairs to her bedroom. She quickly sat on her bed, opened her bag and pulled out the old dinted tin. She studied it again turning it over and over in her hands, feeling the edges and running her fingers over the scratched in letters CMS on the old tin lid. Megan’s mind whilst feeling the letters was of the old house and who could have possibly lived there all those years ago. Her mind then switched to curiosity has of the contents if any of the old tin. She brought the tin up to her ear and shook it gently; there was a slight rattling sound inside. “Hmm!!… definitely something in there!” she whispered to herself. She slowly with her finger tips felt for the lip of the lid of the old tin and very gently with slight pressure began to prize the tin open! At first it wouldn’t open but then with a little more pressure ‘SNAP!’ the lid popped open in one corner. Gently and slowly Megan lifted the old tin lid and on peering inside she saw an old metal, Grey Coloured toy car, she picked up the car, it felt curiously warm she inspected it turning it upside down, moving the wheels with the palm of her hands. She noticed the same initials scratched into the under carriage of the car that was scratched into the tin lid. “CMS… I wonder who CMS was! It must have been a boy being a car an awl”. She picked up the tin again; there was something else inside, three small green marbles and a neatly folded square piece of paper. Megan’s mind was totally lost in the unfamiliarity and the unknown of the contents of the old dinted tin that she hadn’t heard her mum calling her for tea. Her bedroom door flew open “MEGAN!!” It was her mum. “Why didn’t you answer me, I’ve been calling you!” “Sorry mum I didn’t hear you I was reading”. Sad Megan with a slight stutter as she knew that wasn’t exactly true. Megan, Shauna, Aunt Maggie and mum sat down to tea and all discussed what kind of day each had. Aunt Maggie’s day was one of catching up with the family and visiting a few old friends. Mums day was of shopping and keeping the house tidy and preparing everyone’s tea. Shauna’s day was learning about the Spartans and how people lived in those times and looking at pictures of Spartan homes and weapons and tools on an internet site in the I.C.T suit in her school. Megan’s day apart from what we already know was learning History, German and French. Tea time over and after a bath the girls put on their pyjamas , bid mum and Aunt Maggie good night then went upstairs to bed. Megan couldn’t wait to get into bed so she could inspect the old tin and its contents further. Her little sister Shauna, lying beside her reading an old school book about a mean old giant in a land far away, Megan sat up in bed, picked up the old dinted tin and opened it again, she lifted out the toy car which again felt curiously warm, she picked out the three marbles and one by one put them close up to one eye and looked through them, turning them around to see different patterns and colour’s inside each one. Finally …she picked up the small piece of folded white paper, she very carefully opened it and to her amazement and joy there was something written on it. It read. THIS TIN BELONGS TO CHARLIE MORGAN SLATER (12) OF 35, BROOK LANE, MIDSUMMER DOWNS.WILTSHIRE (1930)… ‘WOW!!’ thought Megan “it did belong to a boy!” and by doing a small calculation from the date on the paper to the present day Megan worked out that Charlie Morgan Slater would be 87 years old now. Thinking aloud Megan picked up the toy car and looking at it said “oh my lord! You have been shut away in that old dinted tin for 75 years!”. “What did you say”? Said little Shauna “Nothing! …I’m tired I’m going to sleep now” said Megan “ Me too” said Shauna and after saying there good-nights and Megan putting everything back in the tin and the tin in the bag Megan closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep thinking about the mystery of the old dinted tin and its contents. Both girls were fast asleep when mum looked in to check them before going to bed herself.

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