Chapter 40

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In the evening we pitch our tent, which includes Mum doing most of the work and me and Maisie skipping round her legs, pretending to help. It's seven 'clock in the evening by the time we're finished. Mum flops down on the grass and we both follow suit, watching the sun set over the fading hills.

Mum runs the gas stove and heats up a few cans of baked beans. We eat them greedily until we have tomato stains all round our lips and I have to wipe mine and Maisie's away with the back of my sleeve. Mum looks at me but doesn't tell me off. I guess now we're out in the 'wilderness', she can't scold me for getting my cuff dirty.

Maisie starts yawning and I lead her to the tent, pull out some extra fleeces for all of us and then tuck my baby sister into her sleeping bag. She falls asleep in seconds, which kind of makes me jealous since I've never been the one for sleeping on rough ground.

I leave the tent and sit next to my mother. Her eyes are wide as she gazes over her canteen of water to look at the darkness. It swirls around our heads, engulfing us.

"This is why I go camping," my mother tells me. "The nature in its true form."

"It's pretty," I manage to say, wrapping my arms over my legs and hugging them closer to my chest. After a while I decide to change the topic again. "Do you think we'll ever find the others?"

My Mum shrugs, like she couldn't care less. But I know that's not the case. "I'm not sure. But I hope we do because otherwise we're stuck here."

"We have enough supplies," I point out.

She nods but she doesn't seem too sure. I realise her worry is genuine. Who wouldn't be worried for our survival?

"Go to sleep, Amelia. It's really late."

I obediently do as she says and head back to the tent that holds my little sister. Then, believe it or not, I too have fallen asleep in seconds.

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