Chapter Seven

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Dear Diary,

Well, here I am in our little hotel room in Brocksburn. It’s nighttime, Leo’s already asleep in the thin bed next to me but I can’t sleep because I’m so excited about the gig tomorrow. The waves are breaking on the beach outside and I’ve got a dim lamp on – I can hardly see the page. When we arrived at the hotel a few hours ago I was thrilled to see that it’s right next to the sea.

This morning I packed up all my stuff – including all the clothes, plus my guitar, plus my make up. Leo was horrified by the size of my bags.

‘Two days, Amber! We’re only going for two days!’ he said.

I just stuck my nose up in the air and threw my stuff into the back of Jimmy’s van. When will he realise that being in a band is not just about singing songs?

We set off altogether, Jimmy driving, Leo sat in the front and me in the back. The mounds of equipment and bags rumbled steadily behind me as we started on the road to Brocksburn.

As the hills, trees and stone walls flew past us I soon began to nod off. About an hour later I woke from a dream that I could remember as clear as if it had actually occurred. It’s so weird when that happens.

Leo and I were in this forest, a big forest with tall trees all round us reaching high into the sky. I wanted to go in one direction – I could hear a stream in the distance and I wanted to reach it. But Leo kept holding onto me, he kept pulling me to go the other way. I could hardly see the sky through the tops of the trees and the sun could only reach through in small bursts of light.

I began to run away from Leo, towards the stream. As I felt him following me I suddenly woke up and realised I was still in the van. Strange dream! I couldn’t shake an uncomfortable feeling for ages after that.

For some reason it reminded me of a time a few years ago and as we continued on with the journey I couldn’t help going over it in my mind. I was about seven, I think. Summer had just started and I had met a new friend called Charlie who I really liked. He had a pudding bowl haircut – sandy hair and pale blue eyes. About ten or twenty freckles sat along the ridge of his nose and the tops of his cheeks.

We got along like a house on fire and shared a passion for cloud spotting – you know, when you look at the clouds and find pictures of things in them. I remember he had this cart his Dad had made for him. A wooden cart with a little red handle. One day he came round to our house and asked if I wanted to go on a mini trip around the streets with the cart.

This was a big excitement to me – I loaded up the cart with a loaf of bread and some drinks – to sustain us on our day of adventuring. Mum let me go because we promised to only go along the three nearest streets to our house.

Charlie and I happily set off with the cart trundling along behind us and went up and down the same few streets all morning. After we had sat on the pavement and nibbled some bread for lunch we decided to head a little bit further up and go onto the hill nearest this side of the village. I knew I wasn’t allowed but the streets seemed a bit boring after a while and what was an adventure without breaking a few rules? Plus, Charlie was allowed but I wasn’t. It didn’t seem fair.

So off we went to the hill, me pulling along the cart. Once we got there it felt like I had crossed some kind of threshold. It was a real thrill to be out there on that hill. We lay down on our backs and gazed up at the sky. Charlie was brilliant at picking out clouds and telling me what he thought they were. We saw allsorts up there – witches, ducks, cars, faces, steam trains.

We got back safe and sound and I hardly thought another thing about it. A few days later I told Leo about our trip. The day after I got called into the kitchen with Mum and she started questioning me about my day out with the cart and Charlie. I quickly realised that Leo must have told her and I ended up confessing the whole thing.

Mum said that Leo was just trying to protect me and that he was worried about me going up on those hills. Hmm…. I didn’t much care if he wanted to protect me or not. Mum placed a ban on me going any further than the next street for about a year and she never liked Charlie very much after that.

I don’t know why I thought about that incident again in the van today – I hardly even remembered it ever happened! I don’t know where Charlie is now, I never saw him much after that.

The clock next to my bed says its one o’clock in the morning. I’m going to try and get some sleep for the big day tomorrow.

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