The car drove along the bumpy road. It was such a contrast to the smooth motorway. The funeral was in a town far away that Uncle Robert had been fond of.
In the car were Layower, his Dad, Dillim and Aunt Bella. His Mum, Aunt Carol and one of Uncle Robert’s friends were in the car behind them.
“This is the last thing we needed, after…” His Dad said but tailed off towards the end.
“Absolutely terrible…” Carol said.
Layower felt himself crying. Dillim was just sitting with a blank expression, not sure what to say.
They arrived, and went into the church.
“Is Phillip coming?” Mum asked. Layower had never though about him, which seemed stupid of him.
“I don’t know,” Aunt Bella said, then bursting into tears (again). “M, m, my f, first husband was an id, idiot! My s, second is dead! W, Wha!”
“He’d better come, or...” Dad said.
“Or what?” Layower asked.
“Or, um, we’ll never speak to him again”.
“How old was he?” Dillim asked.
“64,” Dad answered.
“Too young,” sobbed Aunt Bella.
The funeral lasted half an hour. It seemed sadder than when Diane died. But she didn’t have a funeral; they hadn’t found her body…
Phillip arrived, but only stayed for the funeral and left straight afterwards before Aunt Bella could talk to him. This upset her.
When it ended they went back to the car to decide what to do next.
“There are some nice views around here,” Dad said to Mum. “Maybe I could take the kids to see those and you can take Bella home,”
“Ok, I’ll take Carol as well, she’s quite shaken up,” Mum replied. “Will you get the bus back?” There was a bus that ran twice a week to Neyunn.
“Yeah, ok.” Dad said.
“The views” turned out to be some cliffs. It was very foggy, so there wasn’t a view. There was a tour guide telling them about how the natives had used these cliffs to look out for enemies.
“And it was very effective too,” he said.
“Why are we learning about history when my uncle-in-law has just had his funeral?” Dillim said quietly. It wasn’t quiet enough.
“Not enjoying this, young man?” he asked Dillim.
“No, I meant-” He began.
“I think we’ll leave now,” Dad said. “This wasn’t what we had in mind. Sorry.”
They took a shortcut back to the car. They couldn’t read the sign because of the fog (it was really thick) but there was a footpath, so it couldn’t be bad. They were wrong.
As they were wandering through the fog Dillim screamed and fell onto the ground.
“What is it!” yelled Dad.
“There’s a cliff there, I almost fell in!” he cried.
“There’s grass here, it’s away from the cliff,” Layower said, pointing at a green patch even though they could see him.
“Layower, where are you?” Dad asked. He must have been far away, it was quiet.
“I’m here, Dad, where are you!” Layower replied. Dad must not have heard him. He didn’t know how he’d got so far away so quickly.
“Layower?” he asked. Then he screamed.
“Mr Autumfield!” Layower could just hear Dillim say.
He tried to find them, following the voices; except the voices had stopped. There was silence. No birds, or people; not even the sound of the sea. There was complete silence.
“Dad?” Layower cried. “Dillim!”
He ran; he ran as fast as he could; which was stupid, considering the cliff was near. But Layower wasn’t thinking straight. He saw the cliff and pulled to a halt.
“DAD!” he shouted. He then looked around. There was more silence. He could faintly make out the waves of the sea crashing into rock metres underneath him.
“Layower!” he heard in the distance. It was Dillim!
“Dillim, is that you?” he asked.
“Yes, but your Dad-” he began.
“What happened to him!” Layower screamed. He didn’t mean to scream, it just came out.
“I don’t know, I think he fell off!”
No…that couldn’t have happened; Dad dead? Layower couldn’t take any more. He felt himself start shaking, and the ground was spinning.
“Layower!” Dillim shouted.
“I don’t feel well!” he shouted. Everything seemed to happening fast. “I…”
“Look, the fog’s clearing,” Dillim said.
To Layower this wasn’t good, because then he’d see the body.
“Mr Autumfield!” Dillim shouted. There was silence again, except for the waves.
“I see something,” Layower said. It looked like a dead body. Only dead bodies don’t move…
“He’s alive!” Layower shouted.
“Mr Autumfield!” Dillim shouted again.
“Dillim?” he said weakly. Layower could see him, the fog was clearing.
“Dad, are you ok?” Layower shouted down.
“Yeah, I have tons of cuts and bruises though,” he said.
“How are you going to get up?” Dillim asked.
“We’re going to miss the bus,” Layower said. This wouldn’t have occurred to the average person, who’d just be glad their Dad was alright, but Layower wasn’t the average person.
“Does that matter?” Dillim shouted.
Layower’s Dad started climbing up.
“I think I can get a grip,” he said.
After about 5 minutes he climbed up.
“We’d better run, I can see the bus!” Dad shouted. He couldn’t run though, and the boys had to help him stay up.
They waved at the bus, which was just leaving. The bus driver saw them and stopped.
“Are you alright?” He asked Dad when he limped onto the bus.
“Yeah, I just had a fall,” he replied. Then he covered his face with his hands.
“I must have left my wallet at the bottom of the cliff.
“The tide was coming in,” Layower said. Again, he was surprised that under the circumstances he’d noticed that.
“I have some money in my pocket,” Dillim said. It was just enough to pay for the trip.
“Thank you Dillim!” Dad said when they sat down.
Layower could see why the bus driver was surprised when he saw dad, he had blood stained all over his shirt.
Eventually they arrived, and Layower and Dillim helped Dad into the house. Mum and Aunt Carol got a shock when they saw him.
“It’s just one thing after another!” shrieked Mum. “First Diane, then Van, then the crash, Robert, and now this!”
She was hysterical for quite a while.
Eventually they recovered from it, and normal life began. Aunt Bella had to sell the farm; she couldn’t do the work on her own. Layower offered to help, but she still didn’t trust him. She said she was retiring.
By that point Dillim only had a few days left. Dillim was Layower’s only friend, and from what he had said, in America he didn’t have many friends either. His school was tiny (smaller than the one in Neyunn) and all the people there smoked and took drugs.
Layower was still being bullied at his school. He had 10 months before the move to England…
© Copyright 2016 Mathew Nicolson. All rights reserved.