Jack woke up the next morning aching, obviously more exhausted from his journey than he had realised the night before. Rosie was gone, Anne had probably let her out early, she was usually up by half past five, checking the post, having some breakfast with a cup of tea and waiting for the guests to come down. Jack dressed quickly, the loft felt very cold, then opened the door and stepped out into the morning light.
He pushed a mop of tangled brown hair out of his face, he really needed a shower and was finding having to walk through the garden, into the house to have one, rather uncivillised. He did his best to push the grumpy thought out of his head, he was most definitely not, a morning person! The second he had crossed half the garden, the most amazing aroma reached his nose, instantly waking his mind, and appitite! Scrambled eggs, fresh bacon and sausage, fried bread and tomatoes, Anne's world famous (or at least they should be) English breakfasts!
He rushed in through the back door, through the out house, nearly tripping over Rosie!, and burst into the tiny, kitchen,
"Pleeeeeaaaase!", he begged, "tell me I'm not to late for....", Anne put on an oven glove and removed a plate, with a second laying over the top it of, out, removed the second plate, and Jack saw a massive plate of fried bread, potato, scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage,
"First and only time!", she snapped, but smiled back, "you've had a lie in, up by nine from now on please!", Jack checked the clock above the stove, ten am!
"Awwwww, thank you, thank you, thank you!", he grinned back, sitting at the tiny kitchen table and digging into his breakfast,
"So!", Anne began, smiling as he enjoyed his meal, "any plans for today?, I don't think I have anything for you to do?", she looked about the kitchen, as if expecting something to jump off a shelf and need fixing,
"I thought I'd go look up Conrad and Alex!", he replied through a mouthful of toast, which Anne had just buttered for him,
"No one else?!", she asked in a strange, high pitched voice, he knew what she was getting at,
"Hannah's probably staying at Uni", Jack answered, not looking up,
"Oh!", Anne began, "fair enough, I better just call her back then and tell her she's still at university then!", and she made to get up,
"She's here?", Jack asked nervously,
"She's at home, if thats what you mean?",
Jack considered this new piece of information, Hannah was home, down the lane, well, up then down the lane, at her fathers farm!
"It think she's missed you", Anne pointed out,
"Yeah, I've missed her too, but we've talked about this before Gran'Anne, it won't work, I'm just to far away and shes at a uni thats even further away that here!",
"Gran'Anne??!!", Anne roared with laughter, "you haven't called me that for years!", Jack thought about it, he really hadn't?, but that was the problem with discussing Hannah, he was immediately fourteen again, just her name was enough to drag back memories he thought he'd lost years ago,
"Anyway!" Anne continued, "Who cares where you both are, It didn't stop the two of you when you were teens, without any means of visiting each other or mobile phones to call each other, still, every month it was the same story, your mum on the phone to me, complaining about her bill, 'six hours Anne!' she'd say, 'six hours!!', Jack joined her giggling, he'd utterly forgotten how long they had spent sitting on their phones together, never saying much of anything, just watching a film or playing a computer game, listening to what the other was watching or doing!
"OK!", Jack gave in, "I'll call her!", then something else popped into his head, the night before, the strange man and that awful noise,
"Has anyone new moved into the area?", he asked,
"Not for fifteen years!", Anne laughed back, "with all the kids gone or going, I sometimes wonder what will happen when to the village when we're all dead and gone!", Jack grinned, but wasn't really amused,
"Last night", he continued, "I saw someone, down by the stream. He was, kinda, well, weird!",
"Weird!", Anne snapped, "around here!, CALL THE POLICE!", she winked and grinned at him,
"Very funny!, no seriously, at first I though there were baiters down there, or snarers, but when I saw him, this guy I mean, he looked, well like I said, weird, plus!, there was this really strange noise, it sounded like it was all around me!",
"Probably one of those frightful fighter jets they fly through the valley!", Anne replied, she was now looking at her lap, not at him, this was strange, Anne was the picture of perfect manners, and never looked away from anyone while addressing them, she even made jestures talking on the phone, as if the caller could see her!
"No", Jack went on, "It didnt sound like a jet?"
"Anyway, finish your breakfast and go shower, you don't want to meet the others smelling, do you?!",
Jack smiled and carried on eating, but he couldn't help notice she was trying to change the subject.