We have stopped under the Pine trees that grow just behind Springdale town. The horses breaths are coming out in great steamy clouds. Astride Dune I feel like a giant, towering as high as the snow-laden Pine trees that surround us. Tracks have been made in the snow by forest animals that I have yet to encounter. I am hoping you only get the fluffy kind out here like wild rabbit and beavers.
Hannah has been talking to me about school, she is hoping for a big snowfall sometimes soon so that school will be closed but I don’t like the thought of that. Cooped up in that cold house – just my aunt and I? I think I would crawl out of my own skin. Maybe changing the subject will also change the weather’s mind. I ask her about Pierre. She has the biggest crush on him. Hannah turns pink at the mention of his name and shrugs.
“Are you going on the Aurora camp?” She asks me.
This I don’t know about. I say as much.
“Oh we have it every year – we head on out up the coast on this camp to see the Northern Lights towards the end of winter.”
I am stunned. Not at the prospect of a camp but at the new knowledge that this is considered the end of winter. And then again … people camp in this weather? I am sure there is a definition of insanity in there somewhere.
Hannah is laughing at the look on my face. She says I turned pale just at the thought of it and she is probably right. It’s not so much the thought of going camping in sub-zero temperatures in the middle of winter for the off-chance of seeing a weather phenomenon but more the prospect of having to ask my aunt for permission to go. Vara has never liked me taking part in any extra-curricular activities that meant me going somewhere where she was not in a 5 km radius of. It’s one of the odd things about her; she wouldn’t mind if she didn’t see me for days on end at the house but going away was a big no-no.
“You know all the seniors go to the camp,” Hannah gives me a sidewards glance and I offer her an embarrassed grin of my own.
I know who she is referring to of course. The dreamy and rather hunky Griffin Parsons. His thick golden hair and cleft chin made him look godlike. I had bumped into him, literally in my first week at Indian River High School. Juggling books and a heavy bag around blind corners is never a good idea. But at least he had been a true gentleman and helped to pick up the chaos strewn across the hallway, regardless of all the sniggering around me.
I’m so used to being the new girl though, that none of it fazes me anymore. The trick is to keep your head low until you’ve learnt the lay of the land, something that I am finding rather impossible in a small school like Indian River High. Even on the first day practically everyone already knew my name.
Griffin, I soon discovered, is in only one of my classes much to my chagrin. But history has never been so interesting in my entire school life, especially since I sit two seats behind Griffin and to one side so that I can gaze unobtrusively at the back of his head for most of the lesson. Pathetic I know, but I have gathered I’m not the only one with a crush on Griffin Parsons.
“Camping in the snow might be fun after all.”
Hannah looks beyond delighted.
We had better head back with the horses. It’s an hour before school starts and I have to start thinking up a strategy to convince Vara to let me go and see the Aurora.