The Wrong Idea

26th June 2013 – One day until the wedding

She couldn’t believe in one day she’d be married. It had felt like she’d been waiting her whole life. Jessica read back on her wedding notes which were all crammed into a bulky, red journal. She smiled to herself and sighed. The journal was overflowing. There were photos of various wedding dresses from tight to wispy, from glistening white to ivory and cream. Jessica stood up with the journal in her arms and danced around the kitchen laughing to herself. She sat down on her bed and continued to flick through the masterpiece she had been creating since she was a little girl.

Claire, who had been friends with Jessica since they were teenagers was always a little concerned about Jessica’s’ obsession with weddings and marriage and often told her to calm down but now that the wedding was only a single day away, Claire allowed Jessica to let her over-excitement loose. The only thing keeping Claire quiet was the fact she knew the truth.

“It’s going to be the best day of my life” Jessica thought to herself as she lay down holding the journal to her chest. She thought about the beautiful dresses her bridesmaids would wear, she had decided on duck egg blue and gold with white roses and sparkling table decorations. James, the lucky man would be wearing a stunning white tuxedo with a duck egg blue tie, his teeth would be perfectly white as he smiles at her down the aisle and his hair perfectly groomed for their special day. Jessica felt herself warming up and getting excited so she took a couple of deep breaths and opened her journal up, she flicked through it over and over again until eventually she drifted off into a deep sleep.

***

A few days before the wedding

Claire had arrived at Jessica’s house and let herself in and wandered up to her bedroom to talk about transport for the big day. She opened the door and Jessica was snoring her head off and her journal laid face down under her bed. Claire had never been allowed to look inside the journal because she had never met James and Jessica always said ‘I want it to be a surprise when you see how gorgeous he is at the wedding!’ all Claire knew was that they met in a bar one night and hit it off and he engaged after the second date because they both believed it was love at first. Claire wanted to meet James but respected her friends’ decision and understood that love does happen in strange ways sometimes. Claire couldn’t control herself, she had to look in that journal whilst Jessica was fast asleep. She slowly tip-toed over to the floor where the book was peacefully sat and bent down and picked it up… She felt like she had picked up a secret recipe that nobody in the world knew about. She took a deep breath and opened the first page. It all looked like a standard wedding planner until she reached the last few pages… At the back of the journal were hundreds of photos of James. Some were photos he had taken of himself and others were of him and a big scribble next to him. There was also a brunette lock of hair stuck to the page with red love hearts drawn all around it. Claire thought it was so strange to have that in the back of a wedding organiser so she turned the page and couldn’t help but gasp. Stuck in the back of the journal was a letter from court which read.

 

Dear Miss Jessica Carter,

This letter is to inform you that Mr James Harrison and Mrs Elise Harrison are taking you to court for harassment. They feel as though you are stalking them and it is affecting their home life and their relationship. A court hearing will be held on June 27th 2013. Until then, I advise you not to be within the same area as Mr and Mrs Harrison as a possible sentence may be given.

Regards.

Claire dropped the letter on the floor and stood there in silence. She had a sudden moment of realisation. That’s why she had never met James, that is why the journal was so private and that is why Jessica was so obsessive. She had been stalking a married couple and potentially causing harm. Claire put the journal back where it came from and went home, she understood that Jessica was ill and that she would be going to the court hearing with her dressed in a bridesmaid dress. The thought of it made her heart skip ten times faster but Jessica was her best friend and she had to do what she wanted to keep her happy.

***

June 27th 2013 – The day of ‘the wedding’

Jessica stood up straight and stared at herself in the mirror. “I look beautiful” she said to herself out loud and began to giggle. Claire sat on the bed trying her best to put on a smile for Jessica. Claire knew today wasn’t going to end well but she tried her best to pretend like she was going to a wedding. Jessica started to fiddle with Claire’s hair and told her she looked stunning. A car beeped its horn outside and the two girls headed out of the door as if it was going to be a great day for all. Claire watched her best friend’s facial expressions the whole journey and she could see right through her fake smile. Jessica suddenly jumped up and shouted ‘WE’RE HERE! We’re at the church!’ Claire looked out of the car window and no surprise to her, they were parked outside court.

Jessica skipped up to the big wooden door in her beautiful, white, slimming dress. Her hair looked incredible, her make-up had been done to perfection and the smile she was braving looked so real that you would think it truly was her wedding day. Claire stood back for a second and took in everything that was about to happen, she took a deep breath and followed Jessica up the stairs and through the door dressed in an amazing duck egg blue dress holding a small bunch of white roses.

The two girls headed to the front of the court room and everyone looked at them in what can only be described as embarrassment. They reached the front and sat down with who Claire assumed was Jessica’s lawyer. Claire looked across the table and saw James and his wife, they both looked exhausted and drained. She then glimpsed at Jessica who still had a giant grin on her face, she was staring at James and her eyes were glowing. It looked like she genuinely did love this man but it certainly wasn’t the same for him.

Hours passed and Jessica’s mascara was now smudged all over her face as she had cried throughout the whole hearing. As Claire listened to James and Elise tell the situation to the judge she wondered what had happened to her precious best friend. She had changed from a little girl ballet dancing with her in a hall to a crazy lady who had stalked an innocent couple and committed horrible acts such as trespassing and violence.  Claire wanted to leave, but as she was about to stand up, the judge announced that Jessica was sentenced to five years in jail for the seriousness of what she had done and the physical and emotional damage she has done to the couple.

Jessica let out a harrowing wail and Claire sat there in silence. James and Elise sighed with relief and two big built men dragged Claire’s best friend away. She stared as Jessica was taken down some stairs as she screamed and ripped her dress ‘IT WILL ALWAYS BE ME JAMES AND YOU KNOW IT WILL!’ Jessica screamed up the staircase. The whole room dissolved into a loud muttering mess and Claire sat there looking into blank space as a single tear slowly rolled down her cheek.

Advertisements

My Best Friend

I read the note and my heart sank to the pit of my stomach.

***

Noah and I had been running together since we were in high school. We were now in our early twenties and he was my best friend. I had always got along with boys better than girls. They were less bitchy and had better banter and I just preferred their company. Girls would bitch about me and call me a slut but I had never slept with anyone and I had never even been in a relationship. Noah was my best friend, he had been there for me through everything and he was especially supportive when my Dad passed away earlier this year. He was amazing and I would be lost without him.

It was 6:20 on a Sunday morning and I called up Noah to make sure he was awake for our daily run. He answered, on the first ring, as always. Every day we ended up talking on the phone until we reached the meeting point to start our run which was a broken lamppost on the corner of our street. As I waited, I warmed myself up by jogging on the spot and doing a couple of stretches until I saw Noah jogging towards me wearing a florescent pink sweat band on his head with matching ones on his wrists. Oh, and matching socks. I stopped what I was doing and stared at him with a look on my face which quite clearly said ‘Go home and get changed or I’m running alone.’ Noah looked at me and burst out laughing, I can only assume it was because he knew exactly what my face was telling him as he swiftly took off the sweat bands. He left the socks but I think I could get past that. We began to run our usual route and Noah kept telling me about some argument he’d got into with his girlfriend the night before. They argued so much it was abnormal but if they loved each other I suppose it didn’t matter, I guess I was just sick of hearing about it when he could quite easily walk away.

My favourite part of the run was this small forest that had a little clearing with a bench and we always sat there for a drink and ended up talking for what felt like hours. I don’t know what it was about Noah but we always got carried away with conversation and it was comforting. The conversations varied, one day we would talk about how amazing it would be if animals wore hats and then the next day we could talk about our political views. It was just that kind of friendship and I wouldn’t swap it for the world. Today’s conversation was about how we would react if it started raining rabbits. The outcome was that I would take as many as I could and keep them all whereas Noah said he would take as many as he could and make them into pies. And on that note, we got up and finished our run. When we got back to the lamppost, we completed our special handshake which we’d been improving and perfecting for over 10 years and gave each other a hug and wandered our separate ways.

I had a shower and got ready to go into town for some lunch with two of my friends; Matilda and Bethany, Tilly and Beth for short. I had known them both since primary school and it had always been us 3 but Tilly and Beth were closest and I was the tag along although, they still included me in most activities which was great. I decided to walk into town rather than get the bus because really, anything was better than public transport. I took my time because I knew they would both be late. It was a lovely autumn day, the air was warm but I felt a mild breeze against my skin every now and then, leaves crunched under my feet as I walked along the pavement. I studied the trees around me and the leaves were slowly dancing along with the wind preparing for winter. I found trees strange. They were the opposite of people. Imagine the leaves are what keep the trees warm, without leaves, the trees are bare and in winter, the leaves disappear whereas in winter, people wrap up and if jumpers were leaves, we wouldn’t be bare and cold. It sounds silly I know but I thought about it all the time at this time of year.

I arrived in town and to my surprise; Tilly and Beth were stood outside the café with huge smiles on their faces. I gave them each a hug and we strolled inside and chose the brown leather sofas near the open fire, none of us ever had to ask each other where we should sit, we always made our way to the sofas because that was our designated area every time we went here.

“So, I take it you’ve been on your run with lover boy this morning? Tilly said, raising her eyebrows.
“Lover boy? Leave it out, you know he has a girlfriend” I said shrugging my shoulders.

The thing is, my friends knew me so well that they felt comfortable telling me at least once a day that they knew I was in love with Noah and my answer every time was ‘He has a girlfriend.’ Which I suppose didn’t make it sound like I was denying the fact that I was in love with him but I wasn’t, well, I didn’t think I was but Tilly and Beth did and they were never going to believe otherwise no matter how much I tried to persuade them that they were wrong. The girls and I talked and laughed all afternoon and it was so good to spend time with them, it always was.

I got home and slumped myself onto my bed. I had in the morning so I needed to get some sleep but all I could think about was Noah ever since Tilly mentioned him in the café, I decided to give him a call to see if he wanted to come over and watch a film, it rang a couple of times which was extraordinary because he always picked up instantly. I heard a knock on my door so I left my phone on my bed and went to answer it. Noah was stood on my doorstep with tears streaming down his cheeks.

“She’s had enough. She’s left me.” He said under his breath.

I let him inside and make him a cup of tea.

“Have you got anything stronger?”
“Noah! It’s a Sunday night, you’re drinking tea or water.”
“Tea it is then…”

I sat next to him on my sofa and muted the TV. He explained that Sarah, who was his evil yet stunning girlfriend had come home late that evening and he didn’t understand what she possibly could want to do on a Sunday afternoon other than spend it watching rubbish tv with him so he asked her about it and she acted strange and he knew she was hiding something. He told me that he heard a car screech outside and Sarah ran up the stairs, all her bags packed.

“She didn’t even look at me, she didn’t even say anything. She grabbed all the bags and jumped into the car, I didn’t even see who it was.”

I never realised how much Sarah meant to Noah but now it was clear to me. All I wanted to do was give him a hug, so I did and he cried into me, almost falling asleep on my shoulder. It felt so nice. Oh god. Maybe I was in love with him. Or maybe it was just this moment; I hadn’t ever felt this before. I ignored it. He was my best friend and he was in need, so I soothed him.

“You know you’re welcome to stay here tonight if you don’t feel like going back to yours. ” I said, trying to sound comforting.

He nodded his head which I assumed he meant he wanted to.

“I’ll grab you a duvet and some pillows”
“Thank you Lucy.”

And that was that. He fell asleep on the sofa and I stayed wide awake in my bed for a good couple of hours. I was pleasantly drifting off until I heard my door creak open with Noah stood in his boxers by the door. He walked slowly towards me and sat next to me in my bed. I looked into his eyes, they looked sad. I saw his face slowly moving towards mine. My eyes widened. I panicked. What was happening? What do I do? He kissed me.

I placed my hands on his face and kissed him back, I knew I wanted to so I did. His lips felt so soft against mine, my eyes were closed and I didn’t feel like I had to open them, I just went along with it. My heart was beating so fast and I hoped he couldn’t hear it. I ran my fingers through his hair. He bit my lip. I lay on my back, he lay on top of me, holding my back tightly, my toes curled, my breaths became shorter, he kissed my neck over and over again and I was feeling emotions I’d never felt before, it was amazing. This felt so right but so wrong but more right. I didn’t want it to stop and it didn’t for most of the night. We fell asleep in each other’s arms so late that we both slept in and missed our run.

I woke up to the screeching of my alarm clock, it read 8:30am. My mind was flurried from the thoughts of last night, I rolled onto my side and Noah was gone and placed where he would have been was a small piece of paper. I read the note and my heart sank to the pit of my stomach.

“Lucy,

Last night was perfect and I don’t regret it, not even slightly.
You’re beautiful, gentle and sweet and you’ve been my best friend for countless years but last night proved to me that I don’t just see you as my friend, I’ve fallen in love with you, by accident.

And the thought of you finding this out whilst I’m still around is enough for you to want to run away from me and I’m sorry but I just can’t handle that, therefore, I’m running away from you.

I am in love with you but we both know that’s wrong of me. You deserve better, someone else who is willing to take the time to learn to fully appreciate you.

Sarah came back for me and I feel like what I should do is go with her, away. Away from his place. Away from you. I suppose I do love her after all.

I’m sorry, maybe it is the best for you also.

Love always,

Noah

X.”

I threw the note on my bed, ran outside and kicked the almost broken lamppost until my foot began to ache as much as my heart. I collapsed to the ground and burst into tears. I was in love with Noah and he was in love with me but he couldn’t face it meaning I’d lost my best friend.

The Love Notes

I was in my last year of high school and I was your typical teenage girl, complained about every little thing in the world, not that anyone cared. I didn’t have a great social life, I enjoyed my own company a little bit too much and it was getting slightly embarrassing. Don’t get me wrong, I had friends, a good group of them but we were all the same when we were on our own, we’d sit in our bedrooms blogging, listening to music or watching TV series… one of the three anyway so we never really got out much and most of my friends were in relationships so yeah, you could say I was happy for them or you could say I wanted to kill them because I was sick of being lonely and bored, there’s only so much ben and jerry’s and chocolate in the world, you know.

It was the first day of school after the summer holidays and everyone in my class had travelled all over the world but not me, I had been to Wales with my parents to stay in my grandparents’ caravan and I can tell you now, I can’t describe that as a holiday more of a trip to what I could imagine Hell being like. I enjoyed listening to everyone else’s holiday anecdotes though, mainly because it was a topic of conversation in class that wouldn’t matter if I was falling asleep or thinking about what I would have for tea that night. The first day back was always relatively relaxed though so I wasn’t really bothered about the fact that I had only slept for 2 hours the night before, everyone else looked just as dead as me, I think as the years go on in your education, you begin to make less and less of an effort to look presentable and I personally, was absolutely fine with this because I only spent about 5 minutes getting ready that morning, I don’t think I even brushed my hair.

I met with my friends at lunch but as per usual, they were comparing sex stories from the summer and I for one, wanted nothing to do with this conversation due to the fact that 1. It made me want to eat my own sick over and over again and 2. It wasn’t interesting to me in the slightest and I would never understand why they were all so bothered about each other. They all assumed I was jealous because I always went all funny when they spoke about their relationships, ok so maybe I was a bit jealous but it was more the fact that I was lonely and it is difficult having no other friends who are single. I feel so horrible saying this but I did feel a dash of happiness within me when they came to me for advice about arguments, the thought of at least one of the couples breaking up excited me, I just wanted at least one of my friends back.

The day was going so slowly and I was already excited to get back in bed and watch TV series all night long, I had tonnes of coursework that I should probably get on with first but every year I treated the first week of school as a warm up, I mean come on, the 7am wake ups are hard enough, let alone going into a building where you can’t walk past one person and sigh at how much you dislike them, maybe that’s a little bit of an exaggeration, but I did hate most people in my school. I headed towards my locker to collect my things to go home, as I got to it I noticed a piece of paper peeping through the crack, my first assumption was that it was just my timetable slipping out but once I had opened my locker and taken the piece of paper out, I realised it was not my timetable but in fact, a small note. ‘Dear Rosie,’ I read.

‘I don’t really know how to approach this but I have been thinking about you all over the summer, I saw your smile and heard your laugh and fell in love with you in a heartbeat, you’re beautiful and I would love to get to know you more – Me’

As I read it, I kind of laughed inside my head like for starters, who can fall in love with someone they have never spoken to? Is that possible? I didn’t know and secondly, they signed it with ‘me’ really? How clichéd yet frustrating because now I wanted to know who it was from but then I thought, what if they did know me, what if it was a close friend, they knew my name… It could be anyone.

When I arrived home I didn’t do anything with the letter, I honestly didn’t think anything of it, it was most likely a practical joke that my friends were playing on me so I thought I’d give them the satisfaction and tell them nothing about it, even if I did tell them, it was inevitable that one of them would pipe up with ‘awwww I remember when my boyfriend did that for me’ and I would have to punch them in the face so… it was best left a secret between me and ‘me’.

The next day at school, I went to my locker to put my books in for the afternoon and again, there was a small piece of paper slipping out of my locker. I sighed and shook my head but read it.

‘Dear Rosie, your eyes are honestly incredible and I love what you’re doing with your hair now, it really suits you. I would really like to take you out some time soon, anywhere you want, it’s your choice, you deserve the very best and I would like to be the one to give you that. –Me’

As I read this one, I could feel my eyes widening and all I was thinking in my head was ‘what on earth…’ because this note was kind of creepy, it made me feel like the person writing them was watching me but I ignored this one too and continued with my day. I spent the lunch break with my friends and they weren’t acting different in any way which confused me because when they had played pranks before, they find it practically impossible to keep a straight face around their victim so this made me question whether it was them or not.

Just before walking home, I went back to my locker to fetch my books and saw the note again and shivered, I got home and put the two together, it was definitely the same person writing them, I thought that I could look at everyone’s work in class to match the handwriting but it could be anyone, it could even be someone in a lower year, I had no idea so I just kept thinking and thinking about it. I received these love notes in my locker once a day for the full year of school, I received this note on our last day with a rose attached to it.

‘Dear Rosie, I will miss you dearly when you leave school, the way you used to flutter your eyelashes, the way your cheeks blushed a rosy pink when you answered a question wrong, the way your hair was always so neat and perfect and the way you used to giggle at things that only you would find funny. I believe you are the perfect girl for me but I’m afraid I will never be good enough for you so all I have left to say is good luck, this is the last of my letters but I can say, I will see you around but you will not see me. -Me’

5 years have passed since my last year of school, I have 4 A levels and a degree in History but I still have absolutely no idea who wrote me these notes every day for a year.

Opposites attract

Part I

As I sat at my old oak kitchen table in silence, I jolted as my kettle began to whistle piercingly. I would never be able to explain why it still made me jump I had owned it for years! Nevertheless, I continued making my hearty morning cup of tea… Every single morning and it was beginning to become rather tedious. I don’t know about you but having a handsome man sat beside me sipping coffee and reading the paper each morning appeals to me more than my current routine.

***

Surprise surprise, I was waking up with a headache from hell once again. Every morning was the same nowadays. Get home at ungodly hours of the night, wake up at midday with no recollection of the previous night and being incapable of walking in a straight line for a couple of hours. Oh yeah, also without a woman beside me… Too regularly. I’m a young man, I should be thinking about settling down with a beautiful woman who makes me happy. However, I’m still stuck in my teenage years getting drunk all night, every night.

***

I owned a little book shop on one of the backstreets in the centre of London. I had worked there since I was 14 but when my boss sadly passed away several years ago, she had written in her will that she wanted me to take the business into my hands. So here I am, 23 years of age with my very own book shop. But because we were hidden away, it was rare that we even got people popping in for a browse. However, we have many loyal customers who visit a few times a week and without them, my bookshop would really struggle.

***

I had worked in bars since I was a teenager, it was my speciality and I couldn’t really imagine doing anything else with my life. You could ask me just about any question about a certain alcoholic beverage and I guarantee, I will give you the correct answer. I loved drinking, everything about it made me happy but deep down, I knew I had a problem, out of all the staff in my bar, I certainly drank the most – no doubt about it.

***

It was a sunny Saturday afternoon and I had a blind date in the evening, I was incredibly nervous yet excited not having dated a bloke in at least 2 years. I needed to get back out there though, that was inevitable. I was tired of being lonely and felt like I deserved someone to love me and take care of me. I walked around a couple of my favourite clothes shops looking for the perfect outfit. I had forgotten what the feeling was like before a date but today it came back to me… The butterflies fluttering in your stomach, the out of sync heart beats and the sheer determination of wanting to look attractive. Feeling like this again was lovely and made me question myself as to why I was so anxious to get back out there.

***

I buttoned up my shirt looking into the mirror as I did so… The bar where I worked was the same every night, nothing remotely exciting ever happened which probably explains why I was always so drunk. I sat down and ate my ready-made microwave meal and I couldn’t help but wish there was someone here to talk to and to put me in a slightly better mood before I headed out to work a long, tiring shift. But I was used to being alone now, it only bothered me sometimes, I could deal with it though, I had mates who completely changed once they had a girl to call their own and I didn’t want to become one of them.

***

I was ready to leave the house, feeling strong and confident despite not having a clue what this guy was like or even what he looked like! We were meeting at a small bar, not too far from my bookshop. I decided I would keep him waiting a few minutes so I didn’t look too keen but it didn’t matter anyway. I arrived and he wasn’t there yet, almost 10 minutes later than the time we had originally arranged. I sighed and plonked myself onto one of the stools beside the bar and ordered myself a cranberry and vodka. I was prepared to wait a little bit longer for him.

***

Attractive women came into the bar all the time but I had never seen anyone like her, she literally took my breath away at first glance. I had never felt like this about anyone who had been in here before, she was beautiful. I hadn’t poured a drink for myself yet tonight but I didn’t feel like I needed to. I just had to look at her and thinking about speaking to her gave me the same rush that I got when I was drinking. I served her a drink whilst deciding how to start a conversation with her. Without a drink, I was shy and nervous around women but I knew she would be different.

***

I sipped on my drink and looked at the man who had served me, he looked a similar age to me, possibly a couple of years older. He kept glancing at me but I can’t describe the kind of look it was. The longer I looked at him, the clearer it was to me how attractive he was. Wow. Dark hair, light eyes and one of the loveliest smiles I had ever seen. Without even realising it, I was playing with my hair and fluttering my eyelashes like a teenage girl. I knew I was waiting for someone but oh my, was he handsome! I had drank a few more vodka cranberries by this point so what harm would it cause to flash him a little smile?

***

She was looking at me… I hope she didn’t think I was being creepy, I started talking to her and by this time, a whole hour had passed since her date was supposed to start yet she had stayed and chatted with me so I must have been doing something right, she asked me about myself and I didn’t have too much to say but I asked about her and found myself asking more and more because I was genuinely interested. She was an amazing person. Definitely compared to me… We were completely different people, opposites in fact. But you know what they say… Opposites attract.

***

He seemed like a real gentlemen from what I could gather. He managed to take my mind off the fact I had blatantly been stood up. I was having a good night mind… I kept finding things to talk to him about. He was fairly reserved whereas I was very outgoing and found it difficult to stop talking sometimes. I had always gone for boys who were similar to me, who shared my interests… but he was the complete opposite, and I was still attracted to him.

Thylacine: Does the search go on?

David and I had always had been adventurous, even when we were children. I can clearly remember the days of our childhood when we would venture out in the rain and walk for miles with no clue about where we were even heading. We both shared a love for adventure and we were both as curious as each other. David was my next door neighbour, we lived next to each other practically all of our lives and when the time came for him to move away to University, well, we had already fallen in love. We were just kids but we used to knock on each other’s doors each and every day, whatever the weather, we always found something to do, it was such a perfect friendship and by the time we were at the age where we knew about feelings, I knew he was the one. Sure, I had experienced other relationships with different boys in my early teenage years but as I turned 17, I stopped being in denial and confessed my love for David and luckily for me, he felt the same. And here we are now, nearly 25 years old living in a lovely little house in Hobart.

It all began in 2001, I was 12 years old and there was an outrageous storm where we lived at the time and my mum basically forbid me from going out to see if David was around, I remember I was sat downstairs with her eating my dinner when a breaking news story was on the news that my parents were watching. I wasn’t usually interested in the news but this story sounded interesting. There were several people discussing with the journalist about sightings of a tiger. Not the tiger you have in mind though, this was a rare species and the news programme was referring to it as the ‘Tassie Tiger’ I stopped eating and my eyes were glued to the screen.

“Lana was picking up her mail and spotted the Thylacine near a swamp, she says it crossed the road 20 metres in front of her vehicle before racing into some thick scrub.”

“Robert describes the creature as the size of a greyhound, kangaroo like tail, grey body with light saddle, dark stripes through saddle with a hyena like face and ears. He made the sighting when driving towards Orbost and has no doubt that what he saw was Tassie Tiger.”

Hearing this on the news was making me feel like a kid at Christmas and I just had to share this with David, I too wanted to spot the Tassie Tiger! We lived in Biragolong and from what I gathered from the news; there had been a couple of sightings over the past few years where we lived. I was surprised that David and I had never spotted it. But that was soon going to change.

I remember the next day was excellent weather in comparison to the previous day but in Tasmania the weather was ever so temperamental, you would never know what it would be like until the day actually arrived. The first thing I did was knock on David’s door and I explained everything I had heard about the tiger and he too was just as excited as I was, I didn’t expect anything less though. Now because we were only 12 years old, our parents were very protective and we always had to be home before dark so we both knew that if we were going to plan an adventure to find this tiger, we would have to set off tremendously early. We spent that whole day planning our route and what we would take. It was thrilling. Exhilarating. Stimulating. And I was enormously looking forward to this adventure. We always had a good time but knowing that we could spot something with a possibility of getting on the news was a brilliant feeling! It started getting dark so I headed back home, waiting for the next day to arrive but I struggled to sleep, I literally couldn’t contain myself. I drew photos of the tiger and of David and I and what I was expecting of our adventure and I eventually drifted off into a deep sleep and I needed that because tomorrow was going to be a long, energy consuming day but it could not come quick enough!

***

Now that we are almost 25 years old you may think this is slightly odd but we have the drawings that I drew that night framed on our living room wall, we like to look at them on an evening and talk about what a wonderful experience it was and how close it brought us together, I will treasure those drawings forever along with the memories.

***

The day arrived, my alarm went off at 5:30am and I crossed my fingers that I had not awoken my parents. I remember tiptoeing downstairs with my little backpack and the route that we had planned out. It honestly felt like Christmas morning – that is the best way I can describe it. I quietly made my way out of the door and I didn’t even feel tired considering the time! David was already waiting for me at the end of the road. We both ran the first 10 minutes to get out of sight of the street in case our families suddenly woke up and spotted us. They knew we would be up to something! I mean, they knew were always going on adventures but not this early! And they were never this exciting…

We were at a walking pace now, playing daft games like ‘Eye spy’ and ‘Would you rather’ to pass the time until we made it to our destination. We were heading to the swamp where the woman on the news had spotted it because it wasn’t too far away but it wasn’t too close yet it was the furthest we had ever been.

“Let’s stop for a drink Sarah” David said with his smile that has stayed the same all these years.

We stopped for a rest and discussed what we would do if the tiger tried to eat us. We still laugh about that conversation today, we were so young and foolish! We had no idea what time it is but where we were sat was deserted, like a ghost town so we assumed it was still relatively early. After a lengthy break we continued to walk along the road to our destination. A lot of time passed but eventually we made it, I recognised the post office from the news programme and I knew that the swamp was just around the corner.

At first, neither of us really knew how to go about spotting the Tassie Tiger so for the first couple of hours we sat on a small plank of wood and stared at the road, David had binoculars and he was staring into the thick scrub at the other side of the road. I started to feel bored, this was not what I was expecting it to be and we had had so much more fun on our make believe adventures. Just as I was about to announce to David that I was ready to go home I looked at David’s face, he had turned very pale and he was slowly bringing the binoculars down from his eyes. I touched his arm. He didn’t react. I said his name. He ignored me. His mouth dropped and he stood up and began to run across the road. I had no idea what was happening but I felt a sudden rush of energy go through me and I automatically chased after him. I ran and ran but finally caught up with David, he was gasping for air. I was about to speak but he slammed the palm of his hand over my mouth and looked at me with wide eyes followed by a nod to the right. I knew this meant he wanted me to look to the right so I did so and hidden behind a tree was not one but two of what we thought was the Thylacine.

I felt my mouth drop and my eyes widen as I stared at the animals before us. They matched the witness’ on the television descriptions perfectly.

The animal wasn’t small but it wasn’t large like a Bengal tiger. I would describe it as the size of a fox. I wasn’t close enough to see whether its coat was hair or fur but from where I was standing I knew that it was a sandy colour with horizontal lines covering the surface of its back which were a darker shade of brown. It’s eyes were terrifying, very beady and I felt as though the animal was staring right through me, through my soul.  David tried to convince me it was a cat after we had been looking at it for a few more minutes but I knew it was a lot bigger than a cat and in the end he realised this too. They did not move for a good 10 minutes even though they had seen David and I. I began to feel a little on edge so I slowly backed away trying to bring David with me but he started to get his camera out of his satchel.

“David are you insane?! You can’t take a photo, you’ll startle it and we know nothing about it!” I whispered but you could tell I was terrified by my tone of voice. David seemed to ignore what I had just said and I felt angry so I stormed off back to the plank of wood we were sat on earlier hoping that he would see sense and follow me. He didn’t.

I couldn’t tell you how much time passed but it was a good couple of hours before he came back. He had taken a picture of the two tigers. I shook my head at him and called him a word which I shan’t repeat. We decided to make our way home but David insisted he got his photos developed on the way and I gave in and agreed because I wanted to stop off at the library and they were just across the road from each other. I stepped into the library and headed to the non-fiction section, I found a book about extinct animals and sat down to read it, in hope that there could be something about the Thylacine in it. I turned a few pages and finally came across a whole section. I read and read but I didn’t understand. This book was saying that the animal David and I had just spotted and the animal people on the news claimed to have spotted went extinct in 1936, that was years ago! I looked up from the book and David was stood in front of me staring at his developed photos with a shocked look on his face. I asked him what was the matter and he handed me the photos. I rapidly looked through them and the scenery of the photo was exactly the same as where we were stood when we saw the animals but the Tassie Tigers were missing from the photo and in their place was various faint circles that looked a lot like orbs. I then showed David the book I had found and we were both confused.

We walked back in silence. Both blatantly thinking about what had happened and whether this animal was make believe. I started dissecting this situation and I wondered whether I was daydreaming when the news was on because it was usually so boring, maybe I had made up that story… I didn’t know what to think.

We got home and I said goodnight to David and went inside. I asked my mum about the Thlyacine and whether she had heard about it and she told me she had no idea what I was talking about and my Dad said the same when I asked him. I stared out of the window as I ate my tea but I lost my appetite, I just wanted to know where I got this idea from and what we had seen in the scrub earlier in the day.

It boggled my mind for a good few weeks but David seemed to forget about it rather easily so that helped me forget it too. We didn’t go out for quite a while but that didn’t last long and we were back to our normal selves. Years passed and we eventually got into a relationship, things were a lot different now because we were a lot older.

It was the night of our high school summer ball and we were sat in the back of a very fancy car that we had hired. To get to the venue we had to go the route that we had done so many years ago when we had spotted the so called Thylacine. David reminded me of that day and we could just laugh about it now because it just seemed so ridiculous yet we were still both staring out of the same window and I know that I was wondering if I’d see it again. We didn’t.

A couple of more years passed and David was leaving to go to University in Melbourne, it was so hard to watch him leave after growing up spending every single day together but  I soon got used to it and I got a lot of work done whilst he was away.

I received a phone call from him half way through the year saying that people were speaking of the Thylacine in central Australia. I didn’t believe him at first but after doing a little research I discovered there had also been a few sightings in Australia. Whilst reading about all of this I noticed someone had submitted a post about their sighting experience and they explained what happened when they had taken a photo and it was exactly the same as what happened on David’s camera. I remembered I still had the photos so I went over to the box to have a look at the strange circles again. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The circles were no longer there but the couple of Tassie Tigers were. Staring right through my soul with their beady little eyes.


-Written for my lovely uncle who has recently moved to Tasmania! Love you lots Uncle Richard x

Image

 

Hitchhiker

It was a rainy, gloomy winter’s night and Dave wanted to test out his new tyres on the sodden country roads, his older brother James decided to tag along as he was tired of his wife badgering him about pointless things.

As they raced down the roads, watching the puddles tidal wave over the windscreen, the two brothers embarrassingly sang their hearts out to ‘Take That – Greatest Hits’ feeling very content and enjoying the company of each other.

The rain was bouncing off the car very wildly now and the wind was howling through every infinitesimal space in the car, sounding like a ghostly creature hidden in the clouds.
“Wouldn’t like to be stuck out in this!” Said Dave followed by a nervous laugh.

Suddenly out of nowhere, like a deer in headlights stood a remarkably beautiful young girl. James yelled at Dave to stop the car, Dave panicked. The car swerved. The girl did not move a muscle. James opened the car door, the rain hitting his face quite powerfully as he shouted across the road.
“Get in love, you’re shivering like a dog after a bath!” Without even a small smile, she placed herself on the backseat of the car. Dave turned around to ask her where she wanted to go but he found himself mesmerised by her. She had the fairest hair. Wispy but wavy and it fell just below her waist. Her skin was so pale but completely flawless and looked soft as silk. But her eyes, her eyes were something else. So bright. So vivid. They shocked Dave with their splendour. After admiring her beauty for what felt like hours, Dave handed her his dry overcoat and managed to ask where she needed taking, although he could only manage to get the words out with a little stutter.

“It’s just the next road on the left.” She whispered with such a calm and soothing voice.
Once they had dropped her off and driven away, the men sat in silence before James announced that they had forgotten to take back the overcoat.
“It doesn’t matter.” Dave sighed, still mesmerised by how stunning she was but his brother begged to differ and persuaded Dave to go back for it in the morning.

The next day arrived and the weather completely contrasted with what it was like the previous night. The sun was shining and there was a mild breeze. The brothers began driving to the girls house listening to the radio, Dave parked up slowly and they both stepped out of the car in unison, an elderly woman opened the door of the house before the men could walk up the path. She was shaking a little and she looked puzzled. The men explained that they were here to collect a coat but the woman still looked baffled. Dave stepped forward and described the girl they had picked up. The elderly woman’s face began to slowly fade to a light grey colour. Both men were aware that she was trying to speak.
“She… she sounds a lot like my daughter, exactly the same in fact.”
Dave asked if they could get the coat from her but what the woman said next shocked the brothers.
“My daughter was killed, 15 years ago…”
James shook his head and tried walking back to the car but Dave grabbed his arm.
“I don’t believe you.” Dave said with a stern but worried voice.

She started to make her way across the road and signalled to the brothers to follow her. They reached a ghostly graveyard entrance and even in broad daylight it was unnerving. They walked through the rusty gate over to an old looking grave stone. There was a small photo frame laid on the grave showing a photo of a girl, it was very damaged but you could identify who it was. And it was her.

Both Dave and James stood still, speechless as their whole bodies rapidly started to get colder and colder. Thinking that nothing else could frighten them, they were soon proved wrong as neatly folded on the headstone was the overcoat that Dave had kindly handed the girl he thought was alive and well just the night before.