9th August

I’m still a little dazed by everything that has happened today. Nat promised to cover for me so I slipped out of our hostel and made my way to the road with the shop. I’d allowed for plenty of time to find it but it hadn’t actually been too hard, so when I arrived it was still deserted. A few minutes later, Eleanor appeared, nervously glancing around.

          “Kate!” she exclaimed. “I’m so glad you came, I couldn’t be sure you would …” I reached out and hugged her. It was obvious immediately that she had stopped the drugs, though whether through choice or lack of supplies I could not tell. Tears came to her eyes. I could tell she’d not had much kind treatment recently. She was covered in bruises, and even cuts. Even as she spoke she swayed on her feet and I could tell she could hardly stand. There were huge bags under her eyes, and her face was prematurely lined. Her hair was unwashed. By the smell of her, so was she.

          “How did you get here?” I asked gently.

          “I don’t know,” she admitted. “I was unconscious at the time. I woke up and they told me where I was and why. I couldn’t believe it … I thought it was all just a bad dream…” I wanted to comfort her but didn’t know how. “I thought I was never going to get home … I didn’t know you’d be here … but as chance would have it our paths intervened, just for a moment … Oh, Kate!”

          Tomorrow, I’m going to call the English police. The Dutch police probably speak English, but I doubt they can help. I’m going to tell them everything. I’m also arranging a phone call to Elle’s parents, so that she can speak to them. They’ve missed each other terribly. It was such a wonderful, beautiful sight to see hope rekindling in Elle’s eyes. She’d just about given up, but as chance would have it, a holiday brought me to her.

The End

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