Tides of Sorrow

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She sat at the table, her spoon dipped in a bowl of crunchy nut cornflakes, her mind drifting.

“Is everything alright, Becky?”

She looked up to see the owner, Tania, standing beside her, a look of concern on her face.

“Yes, everything’s fine. Thank you. I was just thinking about what I will do today.”

“I thought you were worried about your friends after their ordeal last night.”

“No, they’re fine I think.”

“Good. Police will be round shortly I would imagine, just to make sure they’re okay and double check nothing was taken. I hope it hasn’t put you off staying. One of the couples decided to leave early. They said it was nothing to do with last night, but I think it was.”

Becky sat up straighter. “Not at all. In fact...” She stopped herself.

Tania looked at her quizzically. “What?”

Bite the bullet, Becky told herself. Might be pointless but what did she have to lose? “Well, I was wondering if you had vacancies into next week?” She exhaled. There! She’d said it. Crazy. But, it was done.

“Oh! Actually, we have. Let me get back to you with details after breakfast.”

“Ok, thank you, Tania.” She wasn’t entirely sure whether she was relieved or not - that little grey area of uncertainty was tugging at her courage.

“Ready for your main? More toast?”

Becky looked at the little rack of toast on her table, untouched. “Not just now, thank you. Can I wait until Craig and Nick arrive?”

“Of course, good idea.” Tania indicated the change in seating arrangements. “I thought the three of you might like to share a table, considering...”

“Yes. Perfect.”

With that Tania made her way to the kitchen, greeting other guests in the passing as they made their way to the dining room.

They planted their phones, keys and bags at their allocated tables then made their way to the large dresser which hosted a large array of cereal, fruit juices, jams and marmalade. With their selections made they resumed their seats and waited for the rest of their orders to arrive.

Becky heard her two friends before she saw them. She smiled to herself and shoved a spoonful of cereal in her mouth. They arrived at her side, dressed in simple jeans and T-shirts.

“Morning everyone,” Nick said, echoed by Craig.

Fellow guests responded with their morning salutations.

“Oh! We’re together today,” Nick said as he sat opposite Becky, smiling.

“Yes. Tania thought it was a good idea with us being friends and all.”

“Aww, you hear that, Craig? Becky said we’re her friends.” He nudged his partner playfully. Craig grinned but said nothing. Becky hid a smile.

It transpired the police had called and said they were coming around after breakfast just to go over some details.

Guests at a couple of the tables enquired how Nick and Craig were doing following the incident. Polite conversation ensued. Becky remained quiet and she ate her cereal. She was quite taken by how nice everyone was. It made her happy to have chosen this guest house over others despite the criminal activity which had occurred.

Twenty-five minutes later, breakfast was over, Tania having done her rounds then collected empty plates enquiring if guests wanted more coffee, tea and, as seemed her favourite offering, more toast. She was a delight and full of stories to keep the clientele entertained.

As Becky rose to leave, Tania approached her. “If you want to stay a few days more we can easily accommodate you, Becky. You can stay in your room too, we won’t have to move you.”

“Thank you, Tania. I’m not sure yet how much longer, but a couple of days at least. Let me know the cost.”

“We’ll leave details in your room when we do the house-keeping.”

Heading back up to their rooms, Nick enquired what was going on. Becky revealed she actually had the whole week off work and thought she might stay a little longer in Whitby, instead of spending it all at home. Less time to suffer Michael knocking on her door too, she inwardly admitted.

She didn’t confess to everything though; such as her really crazy, impulsive, ludicrous hopes of bumping into the mysterious stranger she had seen 3 times last night for instance. Nor had she told them about the attempted robbery when she was walking back to their accommodation. She’d decided they had enough on their plates without hearing about that little incident too.

The guys had to wait until the police arrived, and knew not how long they would be before they finished whatever they needed to do. They decided, nonetheless, to leave the donning of today’s theatrical finery until after the authorities had left.

Becky, on the other hand, wanted to keep it casual until later in the day. She planned to go downtown for some fresh air and maybe a little retail therapy. They exchanged numbers to arrange a meet-up later.

She had grown quite fond of her two new friends, but still, it was with a little relief she stepped out the front door on her own. It was merely a five-minute walk to the centre of town and the morning, although a little cool, was pleasant.

She passed the White Rabbit. An involuntary shiver ran down her spine as she remembered it was the exact spot the thief had targeted her. Impulsively, she looked to where her heroic stranger had appeared also last night. Biting her lip she reprimanded herself for being so foolish as to think he might materialise there again. She wandered on.

It was now mid-morning and the streets were steadily becoming busier. There was no denying it had been worthwhile having come to the event just to experience it. Seeing so many people in fancy dress walking around the streets instead of just at some exclusive indoor party was quite something. On occasion, it felt as if one had travelled back in time as not just individuals but couples and families passed in full costume - many were Victorian-styled fineries and Dickensian. Others of course, more lavish, in-keeping with the dark, gothic theme.

Bars, cafes, clothes shops, souvenir outlets, arcades - there was a tremendous variety of establishments along the harbour. She loved the random mix of it all. Squeezed in the middle of it all, the tourist attraction ‘The Dracula Experience’ stood, doors open, waiting for the next person wanting a visual and audio tour of Bram Stoker’s creation. She smiled but decided to walk on by. Perhaps another time.

On a display-board was a box where if you deposited some coin, a map was issued showing the town and all its attractions. She duly paid and collected her map. It wasn’t really necessary because there were signposts all over announcing boat trips around the harbour, visitor attractions to visit and events pertaining to the festival of course. Still, she liked having her own little guide in her hand.

Looking up, she saw a sign for the bus tour of the town. Checking the times the next one was due to leave in five minutes from next to the bandstand. It went up to the Abbey too, one site she was keen to visit. Looking along at the yellow bus, she saw a woman dressed like a vampire hunter, escorted by the Mad Hatter just climbing aboard.

“Oh, why not?” Becky said to herself and made her way to the bus.

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