A Dangerous Walk
It was finally the weekend and just as Lucius had recommended, he and Elise were on board the North York Moors Railway train. They were on their way to Goathland, to visit the iconic railway station used for ‘Hogsmeade’ in the Harry Potter film franchise.
Ever since they had been pursued by the mysterious figure, Lucius had kept Elise closely by his side. Strangely enough, he had not sensed the mysterious figure’s presence, or had seen him since then. He could not help but wonder if that mysterious figure really was that person. Draven Archambeau. He was pretty sure that the last he had heard of him was during the French Revolution.
If their pursuer really was Draven, then Elise would be in danger. Lucius remembered how obsessed Draven was with Genevieve. Not out of love, but for her blood. It was as Draven had said back then; pure and innocent maidens were becoming rarer and Genevieve was one of a kind.
“This is my first time riding a train!” exclaimed Elise who was standing up from her seat to admire the landscapes. “I never knew it was so fun!”
“I guess…” said Lucius quietly.
He did not even need to look out of the window. From being alive for centuries, the landscapes were pretty much the same to him.
“Since we’ve been going around locally, would you like to go into London during the school holidays?” asked Lucius.
“London?” repeated Elise, “I’ve never been there before, but I’ve seen it in a lot of photos.”
“Then maybe we can plan a trip to London during Half-Term,” suggested Lucius. “It takes almost six hours by train and five hours by car. However, it could take longer depending on train delays or traffic on the roads. So the quickest option would be to travel by plane.”
“I’ve never been on a plane before either,” said Elise. “Perhaps if I save up enough money by the time I become a young adult, I could probably go travelling.”
Lucius found himself feeling very sad when he heard this. While he had evolved with the industry, education and adapted to the modernisation of the world, Elise had been trapped her whole life. In his eyes, she was a baby bird who had just left her nest, but was still vulnerable to everything outside of County Durham and even Whitby.
The train eventually arrived at the Goathland Railway Station. It was not as crowded as it would be during the school holidays. Lucius followed closely to Elise who babbled away about how excited she was to be actually standing in the train station used for the Harry Potter films.
“If you seem to be such a huge fan of Harry Potter, would you like to visit the Warner Bros. Studio?” asked Lucius.
“Where is it?” asked Elise out of curiosity, “What is it?”
“You’ve never heard of Warner Bros. Studio?!” exclaimed Lucius. “It’s where they filmed Harry Potter! Do you even pay attention to the opening titles every time you watch the film franchise? Since the completion of the Harry Potter films, the studio is now a permanent exhibition which exhibits all the props and costumes they used throughout the films. The studio is in Leavesden in Hertfordshire, and it is also near Heathrow Airport.”
“I would love to see it now that you’ve told me all this!” said Elise.
“We can spend the whole of Half-Term in London then,” said Lucius. “There’s a lot more to see in London other than the Warner Bros. Studio.”
“I would love that!” said Elise excitedly, “Thank you so much for willing to take me anywhere.”
“It’s nothing,” sighed Lucius. “Anyway, let’s stop dilly-dallying and try the nature trail. But first, let’s fill our stomachs with lunch. I heard your stomach complaining just a few seconds ago.”
Lucius muffled his laughter when he saw Elise flush with embarrassment. He could tell by her expression that she was aware that her stomach had just growled, but just did not want to admit it. Why do I find it fun to tease her? He quietly wondered to himself. Is it because of her reactions that I find amusing?
They stopped by the Birch Hole Inn pub for lunch. Even though it was sunny outside, Lucius caught the scent of the air as he and Elise ate their lunches. It smelt damp, and it was due to the shower from the previous night.
“Our starting and ending point is the Goathland carpark,” Lucius told Elise as he showed her the map. “However, we have to be quite careful when hiking up the nature trail.”
“Why?” asked Elise as she sipped her tea.
“It rained last night and earlier this morning,” replied Lucius. “Even though it’s sunny right now, the soil has not entirely dried up. So there’s always a possibility you could end up slipping.”
“I’ll be careful then,” said Elise. “I don’t want to cause too much trouble for you.”
“Don’t worry about it,” sighed Lucius. “You’re no trouble for me. It’s my duty to ensure your safety, but most of all, I want to prot-”
He quickly broke off before he could finish what he was about to say. Lucius felt his cheeks brimming slightly red and his heart feeling perturbed. Was I about to tell her that I wanted to protect her?! He thought. Had Elise already become so precious to him?
“Lucius,” said Elise with a questionable expression. “What were you about to say?”
“Nothing!” shouted Lucius. The blush on his cheek was now entirely visible, “Forget what I was about to say! I would rather us focus on finishing our lunch so we can hike.”
Lucius started stuffing the cut up pieces of his remaining pork pie into his mouth. He could sense Elise quietly chuckling at his unsettled gestures as she nibbled at her cheddar cheese butty. His cheeks remained slightly flushed as he wondered how Elise would react if he had finished what he was about to tell her.
After finishing their lunches, the pair followed the road to the left and then turned right down the side of the Mallyan Spout Hotel. There was a signpost directing them to the footpath of the Mallyan Spout which descended into the woods.
“I’ll climb behind you,” said Lucius once they reached the bottom of the junction. “That way, I can catch you if you slip and fall.”
Elise huffed in agitation. “I really appreciate your concern, but I seriously don’t want to keep being a burden to you. I’ll try and climb carefully…”
“Why do you always worry about being a burden?” sighed Lucius as he allowed Elise to pass in front of him. “It’s my duty to ensure your safety. I wouldn’t like it if you got hurt because of me…”
“Lucius…” Elise quietly exclaimed as her cheeks became tinted like blush.
They began hiking up the path leading upstream towards the Mallyan Spout waterfall. It was a rocky climb, and Lucius kept a close eye on Elise to make sure she did not miss a step while climbing. The rocks were slightly damp from the rain, and some had moss growing on the surface.
“Elise!” shouted Lucius suddenly, “Watch your step!”
Too late. Elise failed to notice that she had just stepped on a rock covered with moss. Just as she placed her weight on her foot to push herself upwards, she slipped and fell backwards.
“AAHH!!!” she screamed.
“Woah!” cried Lucius as he caught Elise from behind.
Due to the impact of Elise’s fall, Lucius found himself stumbling and falling backwards as well. He fell with a loud thud on his back with Elise right on top of him.
“My…my back!” whimpered Lucius as he squinted in pain from the shock of hitting the rocky surface.
“I’m sorry!” squealed Elise as she made an effort to get off him, “But more importantly, are you alright?!”
“I’m fine,” groaned Lucius as he sat up after her. “A fall like this isn’t a big deal to vampires. But I’m glad you didn’t get hurt.”
They continued hiking up, eventually reaching the Mallyan Spout waterfall. It was a beautiful sight, the waterfall – especially with the appearance of the rainbow as the water cascaded from the top of the ravine. Lucius quietly watched Elise snap photos of the waterfall with her phone camera.
Glancing at his surroundings, Lucius recalled how Goathland was once a farming village until the development of George Stephenson’s railway to bring more visitors to the area. He remembered trying out the earlier railway system. The passengers rode the coaches attached to a wagon containing water tanks that hauled the carriages up the incline using a rope and a pulley system. However it was eventually abandoned in favour of a more levelled route.
“I think we should head back now,” said Lucius as he glanced at his watch. “It’s getting quite late. We can hike towards Beck Hole and then head back to Goathland where we can catch the train back to Whitby.”
Elise nodded her head and followed Lucius back down the rocky path. It was easier going down than going up. Like a gentleman, Lucius helped Elise down the steeper rocks and was amused when she blushed every time he lifted her down.
“Make sure you keep to the path when heading to Beck Hole,” said Lucius when they returned to the junction. “Once we reach Incline Cottage, we’ll take the route back to Goathland.”
Elise once again nodded her head as they crossed the boardwalk leading to Beck Hole. It was not long until they reached the flight of stone steps leading up the hill. Even though the sun was out, the steps were still quite damp and soil still looked quite wet and slippery. This time, Elise chose to walk behind Lucius, despite his concerns for her safety.
As Lucius continued hiking up the steps, he found it strange that everything had suddenly become so silent. Usually, Elise would try to break the silence by bringing up a subject to talk about. Whether it be about school or personal interests. All he could hear was the sound of insects, sheeps and birds chirping.
“Elise,” he called out as he turned around. “Are you ti-”
Before he could finish his question, he froze in shock when he saw that she was not behind him. Damn it! He thought to himself. How could this have happened?! There was no time for Lucius to berate himself for being so careless. He had to find Elise, and fast! Hurrying down some of the steps, Lucius noticed a footprint from a pair of shoes that he recognised as Elise’s.
“Don’t tell me…” he quietly exclaimed.