The road was familiar, heading north towards the heart of the resistance. I was surprised when we turned off the M1 at the Stockby exit, even more surprised when we turned into the entrance to a local scout camp.
‘Know this place Squonk’, Jacqueline said turning slightly to look at me.
I nodded. This was the scout camp where I had come so many times in the past, the place where Sinead and I had spent so many happy weekends camping.
‘We’ve arranged to rent one of their buildings for the next operation. They think you’re a group of scouts from North Yorkshire. Squonk, as you know them you’ll have to take a low profile. You are now on the most wanted listed that was released earlier this week. You all are. You have bounties on your heads and the GS are being told to shoot first and ask questions later’
We pulled up the track and next to a wooden hut. I knew the building well. We’d used it so many times. I opened the door of the minibus and stepped down. I could feel my heart pounding. I stood and remembered the last time we’d been in the building, the Harry Potter camp where we’d all dressed up as characters. I’d gone as Hagrid, Sinead as Hermione. I could almost feel the voices in the air, expecting to see Sinead coming around the corner with that smile on her face, wand in hand ready to put a spell on me.
‘You OK Squonk?’ Zee said rubbing my arm gently, ‘bad memories?’
I shook my head
‘Not bad, good ones’
‘You’re my sky full of stars’
The words wafted on the air from around the front of the building. An old song my dad used to play by Coldplay. I hadn’t heard it for ages. It triggered good memories in my head, memories that made me smile for the first time in days. I sensed that maybe being here would actually be good for me and the others.
We walked around the corner to the front of the building, the music getting louder as we obviously neared the source. The front of the building had a huge veranda that stretched almost the full length of the frontage. I noticed that at the far end a girl was sat sketching in a notepad. I wandered down the front to see who it was. As I got closer I couldn’t quite make out her face, at first it was down in the book and her light brown, shining almost red in the reflected sunlight, obscured the face, almost like a hair mask. I drew closer, still wanting to see who it was. There was something ethereal about her, almost faerie like in her appearance.
‘I’m going to give you my heart...’ I could hear the lyrics clearly from the speakers.
The girl looked up and raised her hand to cover the sun which was shining from behind me. Once again I was thwarted as the hand obscured the face. I moved slightly trying to see her features, but the hand moved with her still blocking my view.
‘Crissy’ I heard Lily shout. Lily dropped her bag and came running over the ground towards this girl. She flew into the girl’s arms. Hugging her tightly, her face still obscured. Finally, Lily released the girl and looked up at all of us.
‘This is my sister Crissy,’ Lily said proudly still holding her sister. Then I got my first glance at her, her hair down over her shoulders, slightly wavy, framing her delicate features, the hazel eyes smiling shyly up at us.
‘Hi’ she said shyly not meeting our eyes as she spoke.
We all said hello and Lily wandered off with Crissy talking animatedly.
The chalet we were staying in had an adequate kitchen, a large hall, toilets, a shower and three bunk rooms. That night we ate our tea on the veranda and sat for ages until the sun set.
A little later I wandered off by myself to explore the places I knew. I saw the places where Sinead and I had walked, sometimes hand in hand. Seen the places where we’d played, the corners we’d found late at night. I sat at the top of the bob sleigh run and looked down. I could clearly see Sinead, her face aglow beneath her helmet racing down the track, her wonderful laugh echoing around the trees. I felt arms go around my neck from behind and a head rest on my shoulders.
‘Sinead?’ Zee whispered in my ear.
I nodded, aware I was once again silently crying.
‘Oh Squonk, she’ll always be with you, in your heart, in your head. She’s a part of what you are. When you’re lonely you can always look to those places for your comfort. She’s not left you, just gone on ahead.’ Zee said thoughtfully.
We stayed like that for a while, just me feeding off the comfort her hug gave me. Eventually we stood up and wandered back across the woods. After a few feet we saw Crissy looking at us from the path ahead.
‘Hi’ said Zee in her easy going manner. Crissy smiled and kept her head down.
‘Sorry about your girlfriend’ Crissy said quietly eventually.
‘Thanks,’ I said awkwardly back.
We wandered back in silence. Although I knew her as Lily’s sister, we hadn’t really talked much on movellas. I was always awkward around new people and I sensed the same in Crissy.
That night we pulled all the mattresses from the beds and placed them in the big hall. Over the past week, we’d grown used to each other’s company during the night. One of us would wake up with bad dreams and we’d be there to comfort each other. That night we lay in our sleeping bags, or beneath blankets and talked in the dark as we did every night. Slowly one by one, people fell asleep until it was just Crissy and I left awake talking. It was easy to talk to her. There were often long silences when I thought she’d gone to sleep, but she’d obviously just been thinking about her answer and her voice would come once more from the darkness of the hut. That night with my family around me I fell to sleep and dreamt happy thoughts of Sinead, no longer the panic induced dreams of the past week. I dreamt of walking with her through the woods, the happy times and strangely a fairy that we pursued long into the night.