Soon the snores returned and we ate in silence. I was taken by surprise as the engines started up. Mike did his seatbelt.
"Aisha can you buckle up Jessie please!" called Al from the front. "We've got a signal."
I sat in the seat beside my new friend (strangely enough it was a seat I hadn't noticed yesterday in the mad dash for sleeping space) and gently manoeuvred her so the strap supported her body.
"Signal?" I mouthed at Mike but he didn't notice.
It was extremely difficult eating during the bumpy drive. Everyone else was accustomed to it but I wasn't. After several narrowly avoided spillages I decided to hold the bowl closer to my face and eat faster. Mike watched from the bed with a bemused look on his face. I frowned at him and he went back to eating, not that there was much left in his bowl.
"You didn't look too happy this morning." he said in a quiet voice so he wouldn't disturb Jessie.
"Well someone sat on my glasses!" I screeched.
"Ssh! Not so loud! That's not what I meant anyways."
"What did you mean then?"
Mike unbuckled his seat belt and put away his bowl and spoon. He nearly fell over but just about managed to get to his seat again with no accidents.
"You were thrashing in your sleep."
"Oh. Well I did have a small nightmare."
"It didn't look small."
"It was short but scared me to death." I admitted.
"What was it about?"
"Dead people, Scrabble, I'd rather not go into details." I answered.
"Ooh zombies playing Scrabble, scary!" Mike mocked.
"You would've been scared if you'd been there."
I sighed as I remembered that Mike had been there and in no position to feel anything. But I wasn't about to tell him that.
After a few hours of rock paper scissors with Mike I was relieved when we were able to wake Jessie. She was rather grumpy but I was just glad to have someone else to talk to. Mike seemed to enjoy irritating me when I was unable to fight back physically. After breakfast Jessie perked up a little but before I could say anything Mike told on me.
"Aisha had a nightmare about Scrabble playing zombies as of this morning."
I groaned as Jessie turned to me.
"Okay, what was this dream really about?"
"Look I really don't want to talk about it."
There was a short silence that was promptly broken by Mike's yell of:
"Are we there yet?"
"Actually yes." Came Al's reply.
Shortly after this the ambulance stopped and Mike opened the doors. Right in front of us was a gorgeous lake that stretched out into the distance. It glimmered in the sunlight as the water rippled. I gasped, it was beautiful. Jessie looked unimpressed as we stepped out onto the grassy moor.
"This is one of our regular stops." she remarked dismissively.
Kevin soon joined us.
"I've always thought this place was magical." he admitted.
Mike made a vomiting noise.
"Me too." agreed Jessie.
I rolled my eyes.
"Follow my lead!" yelled Al by the riverbank.
"Al I know this place like the back of my hand!" snorted Mike and raced up to the man.
Kevin locked the ambulance behind us and we set off. Mike was chatting to Al, Jessie was making eyes at Kevin and I was left trawling along at the back, admiring the landscape. It was a shock to all of us when my mobile phone started to ring. I picked up quickly and answered the call.
"Hello Aisha Wheathers speaking."
"Darling! Where have you been?" my mum screeched hysterically down the phone.
I winced and held it further away from my ear.
"Mum calm down I'm fine!" I reassured her.
"Tell me where you are, I'm coming to pick you up right now. You have some explaining to do young lady."
I glanced at the breath taking lake.
"Erm…I don't really know where – "
But before I could even finish my sentence Kevin snatched the mobile from my hand.
"I'm sorry but parents don't go down too well with this."
Al strode towards me from the front of the group.
"Aisha this is important. For now your parents must be kept in the dark."
Kevin handed Al my phone.
"But – "
"Whether you like it or not."
After that little development Jessie dropped back to talk to me whilst Kevin joined the boys up front. She sensed that I wasn't in the mood to discuss what had just happened.
"Tell me what that dream was about."
Now that the boys were distracted I was much more willing to share the contents of my nightmare. I didn't want Mike's teasing.
"I was in the ambulance. It was really early and I'd just woken up."
"Sounds like this morning."
"With two big differences." I explained. "I walked over to the window and when I turned round you guys were – dead."
"What was the second difference?" Jessie asked.
"This huge scrabble tile fell out of the ceiling and hit me. That was when I woke up."
"It was just a dream though."
We wandered on for a bit not saying anything but I soon had a question burning in my mind.
"Al talked about a signal this morning. Do you have any idea what that means?"
"Not really. Kevin sorts out the techno stuff." I started to head towards him but Jessie pulled me back. "Mike's the only guy who can translate Kevin's jargon into English."
"I'll leave Kevin to you then." I grinned and ran over to Mike who was leading the way.
I regretted my actions instantly, my scraped knees were by no means fully healed.
"Aisha what brings you here?" he quizzed.
"A bunch of lunatics in a van." I retorted. I was going to ask him about signals but then I noticed the dark circles under his eyes. "You look tired.
"You look like you've been sleeping on the floor, oh, wait a minute." Mike joked.
"You got the bed last night, how come you look so tired?" I cut in.
"You're not the only one with sleeping problems." he muttered.
"Never mind. I joined you in the first place to ask about the signal Al mentioned on our way here and by the way, where is here exactly?"
"It's complicated. Somehow the signal always leads us to the Schlepy. As for this place? That's confidential." he sighed.
"Confidential? But you can trust me!" I spluttered angrily.
"This morning you looked like you wanted to eat me." Mike defended.
"Yesterday if it hadn't been for my cricket skills you'd be dead."