Pup had woken her. ‘What was the matter with him?’ Quickly she sat up, trying vainly to untangle her body from the folds of the sleeping bag in which she lay on the back seat of the car. Pup usually slept curled up in a small ball at the bottom of her bag. Pushing the zip further down on her sleeping apparel enabled her to sit up more easily and she gazed around her in consternation rubbing her eyes and trying to see what could be disturbing him. It seemed at first look to be as black as pitch. She could not see anything from where she sat.
They were in a car, on the top deck of a car transporter in the Channel Tunnel. The tiny dog was bouncing up and down on the front seat and whimpering excitedly. ‘What’s the matter Pup?’ asked Jemma. Her eyes had become a little more accustomed to the darkness and up in front there seemed to be a very faint aura of light. The strange thing about it was, the harder she stared through the windscreen, the lighter it appeared to get which was a little strange as they seemed to have stopped.
Weeks ago, Jemma had planned this trip. The day that Chancy, Jemma’s mother, had explained to Jemma that Tad, who was the carpenter her mother had employed and had become attracted to, would be coming to live with them. Chancy had tried to explain to Jemma that she and Tad, wished to try out their relationship with one another, to find out if they were compatible, before they committed themselves and embarked on a marriage that might not work out.
While she had stood listening to her mother explain, Jemma’s feelings of dismay had grown. She knew numerous girls at school, whose parents had parted because their relationships had fallen apart. Jemma’s school companions had related that their lone parent had apparently tried this living together thing, with another partner of the opposite sex. The girls told their dreadful stories at school, filling their friends’ heads with fear and spreading their rumours and terrible tales around the cloakrooms and halls.
While Jemma had been reaching for adulthood, her mother had recourse a couple of times, to find another person to whom she could respond. Invariably it had not lasted long. Her mother’s first marriage, having been a terribly traumatic affair had resulted in compounding a need in her mother to be extremely wary by nature.
Tad, the new man in her mother’s life, had a certain appeal, different to the other men her mother had encountered or so she had told Jemma.
Tadious Matheson was a carpenter by trade and Chancy had employed him to renovate the kitchen cupboards because of the dilapidated state they were in. When he had arrived in the evenings to work on the cupboards, her mother had stayed in the kitchen, conversing with him and actually enjoying his company.
Jemma sat, dreamily staring into space, remembering about the time her mother had first become enamoured with Tad. The car seat was soft and pliable, quite comfortable to sit in, and the smell of new leather and paint that surrounded her felt comforting.
‘My mother’s soft in the head, like most women, I don’t suppose she could help falling for him’ she commiserated with herself sadly. She recalled how much Chancy enjoyed showing off her culinary expertise to Tad. She knew it happened to be one of her mother’s good points, and remembered how happy her mother had appeared when ever she invited Tad to their home for a meal. ’Probably because it made a welcome change to talk and enjoy the company of someone of the opposite sex; she thought wearily, feeling suddenly sorry for her self as she realised that she was also beginning to take an interest in the opposite sex.
Tad had responded in kind. He had escorted herself and her mother, on numerous excursions where they had visited oriental and Indian restaurants and he had treated them to exotic meals.
Trying hard to display an interest in Jemma’s pursuits as well as her mothers, he had also invited them to visit the theme parks with him. Once, Tad even arranged a trip to Paris for the weekend for them all.
He had wheedled his way into their affections, displaying himself as an interesting and generous person whom they had both taken a liking too. Invariably he had seemed to be a happy go lucky individual who treated her mother with a great deal of respect. Even she, had become impressed with his behaviour, believing he was different to the men she had heard her friends talk about. That was, until the night her mother had allowed him to stay over. She had come out of the bathroom after taking a shower, a large fluffy bath towel wrapped around her. She must have left the bathroom in the same instant Tad exited her mother’s room. This had actually resulted in them having to pass each other as she returned to her own room. He had given her that look, the one some of the men who passed her on her way home from school did sometimes. When they had passed one another, he had pretended to peep down the front of her towel and made a grab at her bottom. ‘Morning Jemma,’ he had said, a silly grin spread across his face.
She had felt angry and humiliated, thoroughly dismayed at his attitude and more determined than ever in her decision to escape. Pulling the towel even tighter around her body, she had returned quickly to her room, feeling acutely upset by his actions. All the fears and worries she had tried so hard to tamp down, had rushed at her again, filling her mind with anxiety.
She remembered clearly everything her friends at school had related and how she had, hoped and prayed he was different. After their affray, her main aim in life was the necessity to keep out of his environment. Then her mother had dropped the bomb that dreadful day she had explained to Jemma that he was coming to stay. She had known then without any doubt whatsoever, that she would definitely have to leave when he moved in.
Jemma remembered that day vividly.
Every penny that came her way after that, she had saved, hoarding it away like a squirrel. Chancy would leave her the money to purchase school dinners, but once she had left for work, bread and jam sandwiches were prepared for school instead.
She loved skating and the skating rink was one of her usual haunts. Usually she went twice a week with her friend Abbey, but now, Abbey’s interests all centred on a youth named Craig. Treasuring the freedom, she had used it to go for long walks, saving the money for her escape carrying her skates in the backpacker, thus avoiding the inevitable questions from Chancy that would have resulted if she had not.
The generosity shown to her, by Tads gifts of ample pocket money, was another reason why her suspicions had grown. Once again, instead of forays to the cinema or skating rink, she would save the money and wangle an invitation to a friend’s house, staying there until it was time to go home. Tad and Jemma’s mother, thankfully never thought to question where she went, automatically expecting her to go with her friends.
Chancy’s involvement with Tad took precedence in her life now because she was not expecting her daughter to do anything different. For the last few inestimable weeks Jemma had devised ways and means of keeping out of Tad’s way. Chancy hadn’t the slightest inkling of what was going on, and therefore neither recognised nor realised the dreadful fears that had developed in her daughter’s mind. Neither Jemma nor her mother had ever before had a reason to raise the subject of unmarried adults living together.
Tad had actually lived with them a month before she had finally acquired sufficient funds to leave home. By devious manoeuvring, she had absented herself from the house most of the time. Tad, on moving into their home had become exceptionally nice to her, if she happened to request money for anything; he was always the first to extract the necessary from his pocket. Her mother had become annoyed with him on several occasions telling him he encouraged Jemma, by giving her too much spending money. Jemma also remembered how her mother had reprimanded her, several times, saying she should spend more hours studying for her exams, instead of going out and enjoying herself all the time.
That fateful Friday night she had planned to make her escape, arrived. She usually went skating with Abbey on Fridays, or so her mother thought. She had tried hard to make sure nothing would appear any different that night. She had washed the pots and tidied the kitchen, trying to make sure she was doing everything exactly as she usually did for her mother.
Then she had headed upstairs afterwards to her own bedroom. Once there she had carefully checked her backpacker, establishing the fact that her passport still lay hidden beneath the flap that held her backpacker square. She had pulled out the drawer where she kept her keepsakes from under the bed, and liberated the tin box that held her money. Carefully she had sorted the notes and placed them between the pages of her passport. Emptying the rest of the contents into her purse, she put her passport back in the bag and folded the flap down continuing afterwards to fill the backpacker with spare underwear, a tee shirt or two and another pair of jeans. The side pockets were full of things that she had collected biscuit’s and packets of crisps, a couple of cans of coke and a toilet roll in case of emergencies. Over at her friend Abbey’s, she kept spare toiletries and a sleeping bag. She had planned to visit her friend later, retrieving them on her way. Jemma was finally ready.
She sat quietly, recalling everything clearly, scene by scene, in her mind’s eye. How she had poked her head around the kitchen door and seen her mother sitting on the settee watching television. ‘I’m going skating with Abbey now mum,’ she had said. ‘Then we are going back to her house to play on the computer. I tidied the kitchen up for you.’
‘Okay love, but don’t be too late getting back.’ Chancy had called after her. She remembered that dreadful long walk over to the settee. It had seemed like a mile. She had bent down, given her mum a kiss, wishing fervently as she did, that she could have put her arms around her and given her a hug too.
‘What was that for then?’ Her mother had asked, and turned around in her seat to smiling lovingly up at her.
Oh, I just thought you deserved one mom. Love you. Bye!’ She had replied as cheerfully as she could, while she held on hard to her emotions.
‘Bye Jemma, love, and try not to be too late home.’ Her mother had said gently. She had turned round quickly, before her mother had seen the tears that had glistened in her eyes, threatening to overflow and give the game away. Quickly she had fled, disappearing before she had broken down, running through the house and down the path towards the street, tears streaming down her face like rivers.
She sighed softly, as she sat enclosed in the dark interior of the car feeling sorry for her self was not going to help. She lifted her head, coming out of her dreaming state, to watch the faint glow that appeared to lighten and darken, as she gazed through the windscreen thinking of her mother. Then she returned to her dreaming state.
Remembering how dreadful she’d felt, she hadn’t really wanted to leave, because she loved her mom, but having listened to the many sad tales the girls at school had repeated, she had become terrified for her own safety.
All the magazines that she and her friends read seemed full of the same kind of thing too. Appalling stories filled with gruesome details, explicitly describing the acts of brutality men indulged in with girls’ whose mothers had live in boyfriends. She had become very determined in her mind not to be one of those statistics, not if she could help it.
Gathering herself together she had proceeded along the pavement to Abbey’s house wiping the tears away from her face determined to put the past behind her. Her backpacker swung carelessly from one shoulder as if she were off skating. Her friend Abbey had previously explained in detail that she had arranged a date with Craig that night. So that hopefully she wouldn’t have noticed anything different about Jemma’s set-up.
The evenings were light at this time of year and she remembered the perfume from the flowers growing in the gardens she’d passed, they had filled her nostrils with their delightful scent. ‘It’s certainly a nice time of the year for leaving anyway,’ she thought, feeling glad it wasn’t wintertime. ‘She didn’t fancy being on the road in the winter when it was dark.’
Abbey’s mum had opened the door to her friend’s house when she’d knocked
’Oh hello Jemma Abbey’s upstairs love do you want to go up?’ asked Abbeys mum
She had given Abbey’s mother a quick smile, then stepped past her and run swiftly up the stairs entering Abbey’s pretty bedroom. The bedspread and curtains all matched in Abbey’s bedroom. Everything was colour co-ordinate in pale pinks and mauves; it created an aura of fussy femininity. Across Abbey’s bed lay a dozen or so different outfits, splashed haphazardly across the counterpane, displaying their paint box colours in glorious disarray. ‘Which do you think I should wear Jemma?’ Abbey had asked her as she had entered the bedroom. Abbey stood staring at herself in front of the wardrobe mirror, holding a red satin blouse in front of her neat shape.
Jemma, grimaced to herself now, as she remembered how enviously she had gazed at the array of outfits on the bed, silently wishing she had as many outfits to choose from.
‘Where are you and Craig going to, Abbey?’ She had asked curious to know where they might be going. It would also have made it easier to enable herself and Abbey to choose an outfit.
‘I don’t know,’ had been Abbey’s miserable reply. She had sat down on the bed sighing heavily and ended the sentence saying dejectedly to Jemma. ‘That’s half the trouble.’
Jemma had retrieved the red satin shirt, which had slid off Abbey’s bed to the floor and held it in front of Abbey’s slim figure. Abbey had been sitting on the bed, staring absentmindedly at her reflection in the wardrobe mirror. Shaking her head at the sight of Abbey in the red shirt, Jemma had wrinkled her forehead up and pulled a face at her friend in the mirror, saying. ‘No, definitely not that one Abbey, it’s not for you at all. I know! How about that pretty blue one on that hanger over there, it will go much better with your fair hair, and if you wear jeans it doesn’t really matter where you go, they’ll probably fit in unless of course, your Craig happens to be taking you to a ball, or, maybe the opera.’
She’d then raised her eyebrows and paraded around the bed her nose in the air, speaking in a high falsetto voice, until she had ended up giggling at the expression on Abbey’s face. Abbey had joined in the giggling, trying to imitate her, saying in a high voice, ‘she didn’t think Craig was likely to take her to the opera,’ and cheered up.
‘Okay, now that we’ve sorted you out with what to wear for your night out with Craig is it alright if I collect my sleeping bag and toilet things?’
‘Of course you can Jemma,’ Abbey had replied in a reassuring way. ‘And where might you be you off too then, this weekend?’ she had asked inquisitively, showing some of her usual interest in Jemma’s affairs.
‘Stay with my grandmother,’ she had stated, hating to lie to her friend, but knowing she would write to her later to explain everything. ‘Have a good time with Craig, Abbey,’ she’d shouted from the doorway. Then she’d made her way quickly down the stairs, before her friend decided to ask any more questions.
She was positive she would have done, she thought to herself, if she hadn’t been thinking about going out with Craig.
Leaving Abbey’s house she had headed for the end of the road, then turned left, feeling heady and exhilarated. The excitement grew again in her stomach as it had then, a feeling like butterflies fluttering around inside her, at the thought of leaving England.
She had felt scared stiff really but had made up her mind and there was no going back. She remembered thinking about the tales she had heard, about girls thumbing lifts and had pushed the thought resolutely to the back of her mind. She’d had her own ideas how to get where she was going and hadn’t intended thumbing for lifts.
Up to now, she had managed all right, she thought grimly. It hadn’t been very far to the main motorway to London from where she’d lived. The walks she had taken in the proceeding months had helped to strengthen her. All she’d needed to do was to make sure that she was on the right side of the road, and then find a lorry that she could climb into. The distance down the motorway to the service station had been about two miles. Once she’d got to the services she knew a lorry would turn up.
‘Walking along the motorway hadn’t been very pleasant though,’ she remembered thoughtfully. She’d had the feeling it wasn’t the done thing to walk on the motorway, but then, she’d shrugged her shoulders resolutely, thinking that philosophically she had to get to the service station somehow.
She thought about the traffic and shuddered.
Remembering how the cars and Lorries had whizzed past her like lightening, nearly sucking her off her feet. Some of the drivers had honked their horns at her as they had passed, scaring the skin nearly off her bones. She’d felt lucky because she didn’t have to walk very far. Apparently quite a few people must have walked along that same piece of land, because there had been a kind of path, which appeared to be fairly well trodden down.
The path had been covered with large amounts of rubbish and dog excrement. It had covered large areas that she’d had to step around and she had assumed it must be a local dog walking area. Gratefully she’d followed the path, as it led back off the road and away from the noisy traffic that had frightened her at the time with its velocity.
The traffic noise had abated somewhat as she’d followed the path and she remembered she’d heard the wind rustling the leaves in the trees and the sound of the birds singing. The soft melodic sounds of nature had filled her ears and eased the tension she’d felt, relaxing her a little. That was when she’d heard the thin whimpering noise.
She had turned her head and gazed around her, fully expecting to see a dog being led on a lead, but there had been no one in sight. Standing still, she had cocked her head on one side and listened intently, thinking ‘I must have imagined it.’ Then, as she’d stood quietly listening, she’d heard the thin squealing sound again. It sounded so pathetic it had wrenched at her heart, making her feel terribly sad.
‘Perhaps a dog had been run over and crept into the bushes,’ she remembered, had been her first thought; her soft heart wouldn’t let her leave it to die. She had scouted around the bushes. Searching urgently and then, as she’d moved closer to the bushes that grew near the back of the path; she’d heard that awful thin yapping sound once again.
‘Doggy where are you? Come on,’ she’d cried desperately even though she had felt a little silly at the time, because she couldn’t see anything. Then she’d thought, ‘maybe the poor thing had got caught fast in the bushes somewhere and couldn’t escape.’ The thin whining and yapping sound had started again, and it had torn at her insides. ‘Maybe, the dog was badly injured.’ She’d just had to find out where it was.
There had been a black plastic bag that someone must have shoved into the bushes and she’d knelt down at the side of the bush. Gingerly putting her hand into the bush she’d given the bag a pull and then yanked it out. The yapping had grown louder, sounding more excited and increasing by volumes when she’d pulled the bag out. Quickly she had pulled the plastic bag apart, her pleasure and excitement mounting, as she knew she’d found the animal.
Inside she’d found a cardboard box and had opened it rather warily. The stench that had greeted her from inside of the box had been overwhelming and she’d had to turn her head away quickly. Holding her nose, she’d looked again inside the box, hardly believing her eyes at the sight.
A tiny pup stood inside the box and it had stopped yapping for a minute when she stared open eyed at it. It had gazed solemnly back at her, its brown eyes seeming to be nearly its whole face. Then its ears had stood up and it had begun to jump up and down barking excitedly at her.
Excrement had covered the walls of the box, hence the stench and at that time, she recalled she couldn’t have told anyone what colour the pup was.
Carefully she’d tipped the box on its side so that the animal could walk out. It was then that the problem of what do to do with the tiny animal had occurred. The poor thing had been in such a terrible state and it was far too young to fend for itself. Jemma had thought worriedly. Scouting around the bushes, she had found some reasonably clean pieces of paper and an old tea towel that had probably blown off someone’s line. Taking the toilet roll out of her bag she’d carefully cleaned as much of the excrement off the dog as possible; afterwards she had placed the dirty paper in the box and tied it back up again.
The pup had bounced about, excited probably because she had let it out of the box and it tried its best to jump up onto her knees. She didn’t fancy the dirt or the smell on her jeans and after a struggle, she had managed to wrap some of the paper she’d found around it and then the tea towel. ‘It seems I’ll have to take you with me Pup, I can’t leave you here,’ she’d said to him, explaining the problem to him as if he was a human. Carrying him in her arms, she’d eventually made her way to the service station.
The service station occupied both sides of the road. A bridge connected both sides stretching across the road from one side to the other. The area around the station where they were, appeared to be nearly empty, only one or two vehicles were parked up. She had mooched around for a while, until she came across some toilets that were empty. Taking the pup inside, she stood him at the side of the wash basin while she tore the tea towel in two and filled up the basin with warm water. The little pup had been thirsty and had tried to drink the water as it came out of the tap. She had cupped her hands to catch the water and tried to help him to drink. ‘I bet you’re starving too, you poor little thing. We’ll get a burger for our tea, when I’ve cleaned some more of this mess off you,’ she’d said to him conversationally. Carefully, Jemma had washed as much of the mess away as she could and then she’d rubbed him dry with the rest of the tea towel.
Afterwards they’d left the toilets to find the burger stall. She’d placed Pup into the top of her backpacker, he hadn’t seemed very keen on the idea, but after patting and talking to him, he’d eventually settled down. Jemma had followed her nose until they had found the burger stall where she’d bought a burger. They had then wandered around the car park for a little while, searching for a seat for them to sit down on.
Setting the backpacker on the seat at the side of her, she’d broken the burger in half, breaking one half into smaller pieces to feed Pup with. The poor dog was absolutely ravenous and had wolfed the food down as fast as he could. He’d then proceeded to lick everything that happened to be within licking distance. This had included Jemma’s nose, which just happened to be on the same level as he was, his perch having been on the top of her bag.
She remembered how she’d laughed, because his tongue had tickled her nose and she’d wiped her wet nose, and then given him a huge hug. The dog made a fabulous companion and gratefully she had accepted his love.
The dog, much cleaner after her administrations, had turned out to be brown and white. One small patch of black on his back, and his fur had been all fluffy with the washing and rubbing she’d given him. He’d looked a little, like a fluffy child’s toy. ‘Well Pup, I think we shall be making this journey together’ she’d said, as she’d picked him up again, after he’d had his trip around the grassy area next to the seat.
One or two Lorries had arrived in the car park, while they had been sat waiting, but none that she and Pup could have hidden in. The nights were quite light, so she hadn’t felt particularly worried, just sat on the seat patiently stroking Pup and talking to him. Eventually, a lorry was driven into the car park with loose sides that she’d known she could climb into. Keeping her perch on the seat with Pup on her knee, she’d waited anxiously until the driver of the lorry had disappeared into one of the buildings that littered the car park.
Then quickly she‘d scooted over to the lorry and climbed over the tailgate sliding under the cover. It had been very difficult to move around with the backpacker on once she’d managed to get inside the lorry. The space inside was very limited. Large boxes had filled the lorry, piled high one on top of each other from back to front. Leaving Jemma only enough room to stand up at the back of the boxes, after she’d managed to climb over the tailgate. Putting her foot up on to the bottom box she had heaved herself up, so that she could see over the top of the second row of boxes. On top, she’d found a narrow space of about two feet. Sliding the backpacker up first with Pup in, she had followed, pushing and pulling until eventually she’d managed to lever herself up onto the top of the boxes. Pup had whined at her miserably all the while, not appreciating the height, but when she had eventually joined him he’d soon quieted down. She’d had to lie on her stomach for a while, until her breathing had returned to normal, and then sort of rolled over half sitting up. ‘Ssh! Pup, we don’t want anyone to find us,’ she’d whispered hoarsely, putting her finger to her lips. Gently she had patted his worried head as he’d peered out of the bag at her.
Unrolling her sleeping bag and creeping inside, she’d laid down. Pup had crawled inside with her, needing the security of her nearness, curling up at the bottom near her feet. The lorry driver eventually returned and the lorry had spurted into life as he’d turned the key in the ignition. The rocking motion of the boxes the thrumming noise of the engine and the exercise and fresh air finally took their toll. They had both drifted off to sleep.
Pup licking her ear had been a weird experience to awaken to. The lorry had stopped. Rolling her sleeping bag up she’d pushed it through the straps on her backpacker putting Pup back in the top and carefully fastening him in with one strap. Then wriggling herself over the top of the boxes pulling the backpacker after her, she’d climbed down. Warily she’d lifted a corner of the heavy plastic curtain that hung around the lorry before peering out. Checking carefully that no one was around, before she’d slipped quickly over the tailgate, and dropped to the ground.
They’d disembarked from the lorry into the complete darkness of the night. At her first glance around it had appeared similar to a service station. Lorries parked up everywhere. Pup had whined and she’d glanced around her quickly, assuring herself no one was observing her, before putting him down to do his business. It was then that she’d realised that the Lorries stood in lines, ready for loading on to a train. It had taken her a couple of minutes, gazing around and taking in the layout, before she had finally realised where they were, the entrance to the Channel Tunnel. The excitement of having already reached her first objective had overcome her and she had felt like dancing. She’d picked Pup up and hugged him madly. ‘We’re here! Pup we’re here!’ she’d said with glee, she’d seen pictures of it on T. V. they’d passed through London while they had been sleeping.
The relief and excitement of having arrived at the Channel Tunnel without further mishap had filled her with anticipation; it had been so easy it was unbelievable. ‘All we have to do now is find a way to get through the Channel Tunnel Pup, and we’ll be in France,’ she’d whispered excitedly in his ear. Looking down the line of Lorries she’d spotted a car transporter, and instantly felt inspired.
‘If we can climb into one of those cars Pup, we can have a comfy ride right through the tunnel.’ She’d quickly put him back into her bag and looked around her, checking to see where the lorry drivers were, noticing that most of them stood around a tea-wagon that stood further down the line of lorries. They had all stood in small groups, chatting, eating and drinking.
Moving back to the darker side of the Lorries, she’d crept stealthily past them. Keeping her eyes open, whenever she’d come to a cab, in case there had happened to be any drivers still inside. On passing one of the Lorries, a dog had barked loudly and her heart had missed a beat. She’d stood quietly listening for a while her heart thumping wildly in her chest, until she had thought it safe to carry on, then slowly they had sidled past the rest of the Lorries. ‘Please, don’t let anyone find us now,’ she’d prayed fervently.
On reaching the car transporter, Jemma had swiftly climbed aboard. She’d tried the doors on the bottom deck first none would open. Disappointed, but still hopeful, she’d climbed to the top level. She remembered how she had sighed with relief, when a back door had opened to her touch and she’d tried to slide inside.
The backpacker had stuck and exasperated she’d slid it off her arms. Extricating Pup from the fastenings, she’d pushed him in first, and then struggled in herself trying to pull the bag in after her. She smiled to herself as she sat in the car, remembering how annoyed she’d been at having to take some of the things out of the bag. Before managing to pull it in. ‘I’ll have to re-pack it, so that we can leave quickly if we have to’ she’d said to Pup. He’d sat on the seat in the car wagging his tail at her, his tongue stuck out, watching her as if he knew every word she was saying. ‘Everything’s gone pretty smoothly up to now,’ thought Jemma. ‘Please don’t let something go wrong.’ She felt around for her bag and took the torch out of its pocket. Opening the door of the car, she pushed her head through the small space. With the torch held up above her head, she shone it towards the faint light she could see in front of them, trying to see what was happening. The strong smell of smoke invaded her nostrils. Up ahead, the faint aura of light seemed to get brighter as she stared towards it. The train had come to a stop, and she could here people’s voice’s and noise’s in the distance. Quickly she pulled her head back in and shut the door. She returned to the leather seat and picked Pup up, trembling inside. ‘What on earth was happening?’
Terrified, she sat, hugging Pup to her chest, waiting to see what would happen.
‘What was happening? What should she do? How was she going to get out? What if someone found them?’ the questions flew round and round in her mind chasing each other. She felt disoriented. It had been very dark once the train had entered the tunnel and after sharing some biscuits and drinking a can of coke by the light of the torch with Pup, they had fallen asleep again.
Would the train still go through to France? If the fire were bad would they return to England?’ Her brain raced with the different possibilities, fear of the fire, which raged in front of them, uppermost in her mind.
She decided to keep watch, if the light grew any stronger, she would know the fire was getting nearer. They would have to leave their safe haven and take a chance. They sat cuddled together for what seemed to be hours, the light, gradually faded around them altogether, leaving the space around them both, pitch black once again. There was no sound for a while, just an absolute and eerie silence.
Was the train moving? Yes! The train shuddered into action and it began to move, chug chug chug it rang noisily along the train track. At last, the train was moving. She swept her hand around the cold leather seat feeling for the torch, switching it on, grateful for its beam of light. Then calmly she began to pack away the sleeping bag, then the torch, into the allotted spaces in the confines of her backpacker. Eventually she sat back, pushing her body into the soft warm comfortable leather of the seat. She breathed in the smell of newness that surrounded her. Calming her nerves and aiming to relax for the rest of the journey.
’Well Pup,’ she said, as he climbed back onto her knee and curled himself round into a small ball. ‘Here’s hoping for the best.’