Chapter Twelve

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Dear Diary,

Something strange happened on the beach yesterday, I need to write it down. I’ve felt sort of excited ever since. Right now I’m back at home, snuggled in my warm bed, right next to the hot radiator, the covers up over me. I’ve got a hot mug of tea on the bedside table and although it’s still daytime, the curtains are closed.

Leo’s in his room, strumming away on his guitar. He’s been so wired since meeting up with Tony yesterday. It’s all “Tony this” and “Tony that” ever since. Whatever they want to do, I say. So long as we get big and I get to sing in front of millions! Doing the gig at The Crystal Bowl was my first taste of performing to a real crowd and I liked it. I really liked it.

So, what happened yesterday? Ah, even when I think of it now I get a thrill. After I’d spent ages writing everything down about the gig, I put the diary in my bag, threw the bag over my shoulder and decided to go for a walk along the beach.

There were gorgeous stones and shells all over the place so I decided to collect some to put in the backyard at home, maybe make a display or something. I set off along the beach leaving our hotel behind, away from the sand dune where I had sat.

There were a few huge rocks dotted along the length of the beach and I could only see so far before the cliff jutted out and hid the rest of the coastline. There were houses and hotels set back from the beach, some almost hidden by the rising and falling sand dunes.

I walked along, looking out to the sea, occasionally bending down to pick up a stone or a shell. I ended up right next to the waves on an outcrop of rocks covered in seaweed and other slimy stuff. There were small rock pools that I looked into to see the different colours – sandy oranges, ocean blues, algae greens. Each pool I imagined to be little world of it’s own, with all the tiny inhabitants each with their own roles to play, everything arranged for survival.

As I daydreamed and tottered around on the rocks I saw a dog running across the beach. Seen as I hadn’t yet come across any other person or animal all morning, it got my attention. It was a small dog, greyish in colour, moving at lightening speed, whizzing across the sand.

I couldn’t see anyone around, no owner, so I whistled to get the dog’s attention. Almost as soon as I had let out the first sound, the dog stopped in it’s tracks and turned it’s head towards me. It blinked it’s brown eyes before setting off again at top speed.

I recognize that dog, I thought to myself as my stomach gave a small flip. I saw it last night. A scruffy dog. The guy on the crutches, he was holding onto it. I kept my eyes on it and started to walk off the rocks back onto the sand of the beach. I felt like I had to follow that dog and see if that guy was around.

I remembered his face last night, so ashamed and yet there was something about him, something about the way he looked. Even the memory of him made me feel shivery… I kept my eyes on the dog and followed it.

It was already about a hundred meters in front of me, but I figured my legs could cover more ground than its leg so I should be able to catch up. It turns out I was wrong - the dog seemed capable of much greater speed than I am. Anyway I didn’t want to run after the dog as such, what if they guys saw me, literally chasing his dog? That’s not a good look, no, Amber Harwood doesn’t chase anyone.

However this did put me at a disadvantage when the dog darted behind one of the big rocks and I couldn’t see him anymore. At this point I took the fastest route I could around the rock and once I got to the other side I could see the dog again, this time running towards the water. I scanned the beach again. No sign of anyone. Just me and the dog.

If the dog is here the guy must be here I kept saying to myself. Unless he’s lost it - it certainly is a rascal, I thought to myself. After it had played around in the water, giving me time to catch up, off it set again down the length of the beach. Eventually, after what felt like a lot of distance, I saw the dog pop behind the cliff at the end of the beach blocking my view of the rest of the coastline.

I walked on up to the cliff and followed the edge around to the other side. Once there I looked out to see a sandy bay smaller than the beach I’d come from. More sheltered and warmer. And there, quite a way from where I was, just below the line of the sand dunes was the guy from last night sat on the sand with two crutches laid at his side.

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