I jumped for no reason at all, and plummeted towards the deep crystal clear waters of the lake. I was a fair way from the water, and the descent took forever. I looked up and watched the sun stain the sky pink and orange from behind the Blue Mountains and slowly waving treetops. I smiled at the sight of the wondrously coloured animals that walked silently back to their homes for the night.
I hit the warm waters as the sun finally disappeared and the moon shone dominantly over my head. The water was a dark, deep blue colour around me, and my simple white shirt and black trews clung to my body as the water pressed around me.
I looked up and swam reluctantly to the surface and floated on my back, watching the stars dance freely above my head.
I listened silently to the sounds of the winds making the water lap against the eastern shore of the giant lake and thought I heard my name.
I sat up in the water and glanced about me. Nothing.
There! Again my name was called. I sat up took quickly and rolled over, falling for what seemed an eternity into the dark waters that had once seemed friendly and welcoming, but now seemed forbidding, and wrapped my limbs tightly about me.
“Cal! Cal, wake up.”
I stopped my thrashing for an instant, then pulled and tugged until my head was free from my blankets. I found myself in an awkward tangle and grimaced. I’d dreamed, and in doing so, fallen out of bed and woken Pell up, who was crouched next to me. Oh great!
Pell shook his head and raised an eyebrow glibly. No doubt he thought me as much an idiot as I appeared. My hair stood out in thick strands in places, in others it flopped as if dead.
I pulled an arm free and rubbed my forefinger and thumb on the bridge of my nose.
Luckily, for some reason I couldn’t quite remember, today was Saturday. I couldn’t recall why it was lucky, but Pell reminded me soon enough.
“Get dressed. We’re leaving soon, and if you’re late I’m sure I know one person who will be rather pissed off, and I don’t mean me.”
I knew who he meant. Rue. I sighed and inclined my head slightly. Pell smirked and left the room. I was going to make a nuisance of myself today for a change. Not much of a change though.
I grabbed some clothes out of a dresser and threw them on, and then splashed cold water on my face.
Moving slowly on purpose, I walked down the stairs and then back up and down them once more. I was going to go up again, but Vaysh saw me and glared until I walked into the kitchen with everyone else.
It wasn’t a very big kitchen, used mainly by Cobweb and Swift. Even then it wasn’t used much.
We aren’t staying at Forever, but in the little summerhouse nearby.
Today we were all going on a walk. Swift, who had been here some three days prior to my arrival had found a track and had only made halfway up it before he decided to leave it until today.
So, Pell, Rue, Swift, Cobweb, Vaysh, Seel, Panthera and I were going on a walk. What fun. Rue would complain the entire way there and probably most of the way back, but he wouldn’t think to stay home, someone might talk about him if he wasn’t there.
I fought to keep a straight face as I tried to think of how I could throw Rue off a cliff without being noticed.
As if he could read my thoughts, Rue glowered across the table at me. I smiled pleasantly back.
Pell allowed me to down a slice of bread and half an apple before hustling us all out the door. I followed, pulling a rucksack full of food and drink over my shoulders and continued munching on the apple.
“Pell,” Whined Rue after the first ten minutes. “Where are we going?”
I tripped over a tree root and choked on the apple. Seel turned and looked at me, but I waved my hand for them to keep going. I’d catch up eventually.
I rested against the tree that I’d tripped over and caught my breath, which had disappeared with the rest of the apple. I stood and brushed imaginary dirt off my shirt and followed the track until I came to a large fork in it.
“Shit.” I muttered.
In the end, I took the left fork, the one least covered by weeds and bugs. No doubt Rue would have complained about it. I walked until the trees thinned and I was left standing on a cliff overlooking a large crystal clear lake, with the Blue Mountains behind it and the waving trees.
Imagine my joy. Not.
I could vaguely see Pell and Rue arguing on the other side of the lake, and Panthera leaning against an old oak, laughing at them. Seel and Swift were walking along the shore, and Vaysh was trying to grab his jacket which seemed to have blown into the lake without getting himself wet.
I was vaguely reminded of the dream, and felt the overwhelming urge to drop my rucksack and dive in.
Oh to hell with it, I thought. What harm can it do?
So I dropped the sack by a tree and took a run up and dived into the water. I heard someone cry out in indistinct astonishment before I hit the surface.
I’m not sure how long I stayed underwater for, but it seemed like a long time, because when I broke the surface for air, I noticed that I wasn’t very far from shore. Pell shook his head, which was buried in his left hand and Rue had a simpering look of ill will across his face. He never really liked me.
I swam slowly to shore and smirked up at them. Rue looked as if he was going to explode at any second now. Ooh, good, I was annoying him.
“Your jacket, sir.” I grinned.
Vaysh cracked instead. He started laughing and eventually we were all laughing as Pell and Panthera grabbed my arms and pulled me out of the muddy shore. I handed Vaysh his jacket and shook myself, spraying them all with water.
Later, as we all headed back to the summerhouse after I had well and truly dried off, Pell stopped us and looked directly at me.
“If worse comes to worse, tonight, we chain you to the bed, right? I’m not going to go chasing you off the cliff face tomorrow.” He sounded serious, but his eyes gave it away.
I gave him what I liked to call the ‘Caeru Look.” I folded my arms and glared at him.
Rue complained about being ‘down in the dumps’ three quarters of the way there. I stopped and let a mischievous look spread across my face.
“Well then Rue, while you’re down in the Dumps, you need to occupy your mind. So while you’re down there, why don’t you take a look around and see if you can find your sense of humour. You seem to have misplaced it.”
You should have seen the look he threw at me while everyone else was in hysterics. I was so proud.