Chapter 1: school Trip

“Are you coming with us?”

The teacher smiled back across the table and nodded in affirmation.
The wrinkles at the corner of his eyes, meant that smiling made him
look at his best. His hair was dark brown, slightly thin on top with
the odd grey hair at the sides. Stubble and dry skin marked the lower
part of his face, his nose was over large, but neither drew the
attention. What did were his eyes. They were pools of myriad brown,
grey, green and blue. They were different each time, seemingly the
colours would move into different patterns. And set as they were
behind the prominent smile lines, they drew and held the gaze of any

The girl smiled and turned to her friend to begin chattering about
something else. The teacher turned away and let the chatter wash over
him. The children were excited. It was a rare trip to the coast – a
yearly excursion that this particular age group did. Some of them had
never been there before, had never seen the sea, or sand. They would
be seeing something unique this year. Something nobody had seen
before. The teacher’s smile turned slightly grim.

The journey was uneventful enough. Only one case of travel sickness
was a reasonable return on one hundred and fifty miles. The first
night passed with the normal over-excitement from the children whereas
the teachers looked forward to the children being tired out after a
full day of activities on the second night. But the first full day of
activities was very different from previous years.

The morning on the beach was followed by a cliff walk. Each teacher
shepherded their children cautiously up the cliff path that ran only a
couple of metres from the edge. The children were equally nervous –
most were unused to the countryside, let alone a steep drop into
churning foam. Which is why they were shocked when, at the highest
point of the walk, the teacher with the eyes stepped off the path and
right up to the edge of the cliff.

“Mr. Saunders!” shouted the girl from the morning before. This shout
drew the attention of the children and teachers in other groups spread
along the cliff path, who all see Mr. Saunders calmly step off the
edge of the cliff. He was still smiling.

There was a brief, silent flash as he fell. Remarkable maybe, but not
compared to what had just happened. In the shock of the aftermath,
those children and teachers that had seen the flash dismissed is as a
trick of the light, the sun glinting off the sea maybe. It had been a
bright day.

They never found a body

Chapter ? A meeting of friends

Chapter ? A meeting of friends

They stood in the dark.

“Can you believe it?” one said.

There was a deliberate rustle. A piece of paper being waved in evidence.

“It’s all here.” said another voice.

“Just like he said it would be,” a third voice added.

“I don’t like it,” a fourth voice joined the conversation. The first female voice. “And I didn’t like him.”

“You made the promise.” It was the first voice again, followed by silence.

After a moment, when the steady beat of the rain on the jet windows began to dominate, a fifth voice joined in, female and quick:

“The promise? I liked him for a while, but I hadn’t seen him for years. When he died, I…” There was a catch in her voice. “What is the promise?”

“It doesn’t matter now he’s dead,” the other female voice responded with a hint of a snarl.

“Can’t you see?” came a sixth voice, rich and deep. “He’s not dead. He used it. And we haven’t even made it yet.”

A light of any kind would have revealed the sudden wonder and amazement etched on their faces. Understanding soon replaced that, followed by concern and then anticipation.

“We’ve got work to do.”

And within a minute the room was silent once more, as six figures strode off into the night.

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Nano Chapter ?: The Day of the Dead.

Imran hit the floor with the thud that forced the air from his lungs. He tried to breathe but nothing happened. Waves of desperation flooded over him. He sucked air again. Nothing. Doubled up, he felt the pain of the impact on his chest, but a worse feeling was growing inside his chest as he struggled for air. His mind drifted to the journey that had brought him here. His missing father. The other children with missing parents. The letter from 1850. Nothing made sense.

And then he realised that he was breathing again. The air back in his lungs, the blood taking oxygen to his brain once more, he began to notice his surroundings. 

It was dark. There were indeterminate noises somewhere in the distance.

As his eyes became used to the dim orange light from the street lights, he became aware that he had landed between the wall of a house and a few low bushes. It was a side passage that lead to a nondescript wooden gate of some back yard or garden. A few days ago he would have looked at the house he knelt by and thought how modern and new it looked. Of course the experience of the last few days had blown away any previous notions he had held of 'new'. Growing up in a Victorian house, surrounded by street after street of Victorian terrace, he was used to the grey stone and faded magnificence of that era, not the shabby red brick of sixties modernism.

The noises grew louder. Peering over the bushes he could see that beyond a wide grass verge, a road sloped darkly down to a T-junction at the 
bottom of a hill. Perhaps one hundred metres way, at the junction, he could see shapes of people. He was sure that was where the noises were coming from.

Perhaps seven people, were gathered, seemingly laughing and shouting in the middle of the road. They were a range of heights, mainly adult-sized, although there was a smaller person there too – maybe about Imran's size. There was something about the tone of the shouting that made Imran rather nervous. It was a bit too loud, a bit too forced, a bit too raucous. And then Imran realised that there was something lying on the floor at their feet. Something, or someone – it was dark shape about man-sized and lying quite still. It was also the object of their attention. He could see them kicking it, bending down to touch it and laughing at it. Then all of a sudden, the smallest one pointed and shouted something. The others looked and howled – a terribly ominous cry – and then they ran off in the direction shown to them, leaving the dark shape lying on the floor.

As the hooting and howling faded into the distance, Imran realised that he was alone. The answer to a small mystery lay a short run away at the bottom of the hill. So not having anything better to do, Imran jogged as quietly as he could down to the dark shape lying on the floor.
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