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Sorry, posted chapters in wrong order …

11 Dream share

plimsolesShe came up, gasping and spluttering, and then spluttered more with shock to find herself in the bath at home. Looking around in astonishment, there was no chamber, no pool, no Luke. But it had been so real. She shook her head several times and pinched herself. Getting out of the bath, she shrugged off the unwieldy heavy clothing and wrapped herself in a big, multicoloured beach towel while sitting on the edge of the tub to pull off her plimsolls and socks, chucking them over by the towel rail, where she’d left the clothes.

Her mother came in. ‘You’ve been a long time, young lady.’ She picked up Elisha’s clothes from the towel rail, then made a strange face and dropped them on the floor. ‘What on earth have you been doing, Elisha? These are soaking wet!’

Elisha looked over at her plimsolls, which were making a puddle on the patterned linoleum. ‘And your shoes too! Did you get into the bath before getting undressed? Honestly, what a mess. Wring everything out and bring it down to the kitchen. All I need is another trip to the launderette! And clear this place up or there’ll be hell to pay, you little madam.’ Her mother stormed furiously out. She sometimes called Elisha ‘young lady’ as a joke but used ‘little madam’ when she was really in trouble.

Elisha sighed and put her head back against the wall. She didn’t know any more what was real and what was not and was starting to wish she’d never set eyes on the magic wishing well.

A few minutes later, while she was still pondering on the peculiar dream episode, her mum shouted up the stairs: ‘Elisha!’

She finished drying herself, and pulled her mint-green towelling robe round her as she opened the bathroom door.

‘Yes, Mum?’

There’s someone here to see you. Come down now and you can mop the bathroom later.’

Feeling vaguely apprehensive, she went down rather hesitantly, in her Mum’s pink flip-flops from under the basin.

It was Luke, looking at her a bit oddly before smiling. ‘Did you wake up in the bath too?’

She nodded and led him into the lounge, struggling a bit to control the oversize flip-flops, plonking herself down on the sofa. His hair was wet, not as thick yet as it had been in … her dream, whatever it had been. And his eyes were bright and excited.

‘Did we have the same dream?’ she wondered aloud.

‘Was it a dream though?’ he queried.

These musings were interrupted by Elisha’s mother, who brought in two glasses of milk and a plate of Garibaldi and Bourbon biscuits. ‘I’m glad to see you two are friends again,’ she said, as she went back into the hall.

‘It must have been a dream,’ Elisha spoke adamantly to convince herself. ‘I’ve been having very weird dreams lately. Plus, I can’t swim in real life.’

‘You still haven’t learnt to swim? So why did you come after me? You could have drowned.’ Luke took a bite of chocolate biscuit while she nibbled round the edges of one before sucking out some of the filling. She didn’t answer so he continued: ‘You must have pulled me into one of your dreams. I mean, I’ve never seen a well like that. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a well at all. That means it can’t be coming from my subconscious.’

‘From your what?’ She dunked a Garibaldi into her milk, then bit off the wet bit.

‘That’s how my Dad explains dreams. He says it’s like your mind’s an adding machine storing information all day long and at night it sorts it all out and totals it up properly. While it’s doing that, all these things become your dreams.’

‘Oh. Then I think you’d better come up to my bedroom a minute.’

His eyes widened; he was intrigued. Elisha noticed that they’d lost that dull hopelessness she’d seen in them on the last day of school. In fact, Luke no longer looked resigned and depressed. He was energised, enthusiastic, more like he used to be before, when they were younger and he was fun to play with.garibaldi

Elisha’s mother was reading a paper in the kitchen when she heard them thunder up the stairs.

The well was on the desk where she’d left it, looking innocent and stationary.

‘Wow,’ Luke breathed. ‘It’s like a miniature version of the one in my dream.’

‘Yeah.’ She sat down and watched him touch it carefully, reverently, marvelling at the detail, the colour and its similarity to the one he’d climbed into.

‘Something creepy’s happening, isn’t it?’ He looked across at her, eyebrows raised.

‘Yes. It’s been happening for a while. It’s a magic well, you see, that my Aunt Jessie gave me.’ She thought the fact that Luke had shared her dream must mean she could tell him the secret.

‘Whoah.’ He was silent a minute or two, taking this in, dismissing disbelief. ‘So what can it do?’

‘It might sound stupid but … it grants wishes.’

‘Hold on, what’s this?’ He’d found the gold 5p. The well had let him find it. Elisha shrugged her shoulders as if to say, ‘You see.’ She no longer felt uneasy being with Luke. Since she’d gone into the pool after him, she felt different. She even found his presence reassuring.

‘Will it …’ he stopped to gulp in some air, suddenly breathless with the hope in his chest. ‘Can it … make me well?’ His voice faltered and his gaze transferred from the well to her face, his eyes large and solemn.

‘I already wished that.’ But she felt a bit bad that it had taken her so long to think of doing so.

He sat down next to her. ‘You have? And there I was thinking you were a fairweather friend. And you came into the pool after me … .’ He became lost for words.

‘I am a fairweather friend.’ She sighed, feeling the weight of this truth, shouldering the guilt for abandoning him.

‘I knew you’d come though.’

‘How did you know? I didn’t even know I would.’

‘Do you two want this milk and stuff?’ called her Mum up the stairs.

They looked at each other briefly, then decided as one and charged down the stairs together.