The next day was a Saturday and Mia was planning on spending most of the day in the town Library, he father was due to fly out on a business trip that morning. She was still annoyed with him for waking her the night before, of course, she hadn’t told him why, deciding that telling people about the fair may not be the best idea.
“Mi, I’m heading off now!” her father called upstairs as she dressed after breakfast,
“OK dad, I’ll see you soon!”
“What, don’t I even rate a kiss goodbye anymore?”
“Dad I’m busy, I’ll see you in a few days!” she called back,
Downstairs in the kitchen, “I don’t think she’s daddy’s little girl anymore” her father sighed to his wife,
“Oh yes she is,” his wife replied, “She’s just sixteen, you remember what that was like, don’t you?”
Mia’s father stood still, staring at the ceiling, lost in thought,
“OK, stupid question” his wife joked, “Look she’ll be your little girl again by the end of the day, wishing she’d said goodbye to you and missing you, just you wait”
“If you say so” Mia’s father kissed her mother, then, picked up his suitcase and headed for the door,
“Last chance, Mi!” he called up the stairs, but Mia didn’t even answer.
Half an hour later and Mia was walking down the street towards town, it was a gorgeous summer day, the sky was brightest blue and cloudless, the trees running alongside the road of her street were in full bloom, cherry blossom filled the air. Mia strode quickly, despite the heat. She wanted to get onto one of the libraries computers early, before one of the local university students ended up using it for the whole day.
Mia walked along the parade of shops which made up the town centre, if you could call it that, a newsagent’s and off licence, a small supermarket which had a small video rental shop built onto the back and a fried chicken takeaway. At the end of the road, opposite a rather dirty looking old pub, was the town library.
Two floors, one for children’s books, public toilets and the main lobby, and the upper floor for adult and reference books, made up the library. It was the largest building in town and also served as library to the larger neighbouring town. Mia strode into the main lobby and up to the main desk,
“Yes my dear?” asked the young, plump blonde woman working behind the desk,
“Hello, I would like to use one of the computers for the morning, for.....er.....school stuff” she was a terrible liar, but really didn’t know what else to say,
“I think there’s one free upstairs dear, here,” and she passed Mia a large plastic key, that looked very much like a credit card,
“Thank you” Mia walked towards the stairs and headed up to the adult section.
There was one computer free on the table holding three, she sat down between too rather large male students, who Mia was sure were actually playing an online computer game rather than actually working. She slotted the plastic key into the PC and waited for the monitor to tell her in was now open for use. Mia signed online and then tried using the same key words she had tried at home, VAMPIRES MASS, WARLOCKS MEET, GHOULS FAIR, she waited for the search engine to finish, it was taking a very long time, which she decided must be a good thing, until the results came back as zero, not even one small reference,
“Oh come ON!” she exclaimed out loud, wishing instantly that she hadn’t as the two male students gave her questioning looks. Blushing madly, Mia moved closer to the screen, so she wouldn’t have to see them looking at her.
For the next hour, Mia tried every single format of GHOULS FAIR to the internet and libraries own search engine, for a solid hour she entered everything she could think of, until she remembered something else, a name, not just the fair but the name of someone she had met there, Bastian. Mia typed it in and was present by thousands of online results, switching to the libraries own data base, she tried again,
“Well at least now I’m down to hundreds”.
Mia scrolled down the list of various Bastian’s in the data base, Bastian Adams, Bastian Crossly, Bastian, Bastian, Bastian, she even found a Bastian Bastian, but none of the names felt familiar, nothing jumped out as she had hoped, if only she could remember more,
“YES!” the male student on her left suddenly cheered, then going rather red, put his head back down out of sight, then, waved frantically at the student on Mia’s right,
“PSSST, dude, hey dude”,
“What?” the other replied,
“I did it, I passed the Boss, I’m in the new area”
Mia was trying her best to ignore the conversation,
“No way?” the other replied, then got up carefully not wanting to arouse the attention of the librarian, and went to look at his friends screen,
“How?” he asked,
“Yeah, like I’m gonna tell you, go figure it out, loser”,
Mia was looking over the names of Bastian’s again, she sighed heavily, sitting back in her chair and putting her hands behind her head, tilted her head left, she looked down at the screen of the student. His little character was standing outside a castle, on a draw bridge, hanging below the battlements above the archway inside the castle, was a huge red banner, and in bright gold letters, were the words,
Welcome to the Ghouls Fair
Mia sat up bolt right, staring at the screen in disbelief, after the shock had worn off, she tapped the sitting student on the shoulder,
“Excuse me, what game is that?”
“Battle Lore, don’t you play?” he looked very surprised, Mia wasn’t too sure how to take this comment,
“Should I have?” she asked, a little more indignantly than she had meant,
“Well, everyone has, I mean does, even my sister, and she hates computer games”
Mia thought about it, Battle Lore, she was sure she had never heard of the game before, of course she didn’t watch a lot of TV, preferring to sit in her room and read or write, do home work and talk to her friends online, but then, she had never seen the game advertised online either,
“I’ve never even heard of it” the two students began laughing at her,
“Seriously, never?” the standing one asked,
“Not even online?” the second added,
“No, never, so it’s very popular then?”
The two students did not reply, they just shook their heads and mumbled something about ‘kids’, before returning to their games.
Mia decided to give up on the computers, she did search for the game, but it required a credit card payment to join and she did not own one, so, she walked to the librarians desk and asked her,
“Excuse me, so you know of any books that make reference to ‘The Ghouls Fair’?
“The Ghouls Fair”
“No, can’t say I’ve ever heard of it, are you sure it’s Ghouls Fair?”
“Well I can’t say that I have dear, sorry”, as Mia walked away, she looked back towards the librarians desk, she wasn’t sure why, but when she saw the librarians face, she could have sworn she saw a look of concern.
Mia left the library in a mixed mood, she was disappointed to not have found anything, but then there was the game, when she got home, she would ask her father if she could use his credit card.......”Oh no, dad’s gone away” she said out loud, her mood shifted to down heartened, her dad was due to be away for a week, and she’d never be able to talk her mum into using her card, but perhaps she could research the fair through the game title, she cursed herself for not thinking of it back in library.
Opening her front door, Mia threw her coat onto the end on the stairs banister and walked into the kitchen, her mother was sitting at the kitchen table,
“Mum, I don’t suppose you’d do me a teensy tiny........” she trailed off as she saw the tears in her mother’s eyes, the tissue she was clinging onto with both hands, which shook violently on the table top,
“Mum, mum what’s worn?” Mia pulled out the chair next to her mother and put her arm round her, her mother turned her head, and then took Mia’s hands in hers,
“Oh baby, oh my beautiful baby” she sobbed, staring at her,
“Mum you’re freaking me out, what’s going on?”
“Oh baby, I’m so sorry, I don’t even know how to tell you....”
“Tell me what?”
“It’s your father, his plane.......there was a problem....”
“He’s ok though, right, he’s not hurt or anything, right?” she spoke very quickly, panicked, and as her mother pulled her into her arms, Mia sobbed and sobbed, because she already knew what the answer was.
Mia did not sleep that night, or the next, instead she stayed with her mother, they sat up, drinking hot chocolate and taking turns in cuddling the other as they cried. Mia felt empty, hollow, like she had fallen into a deep pit, black and bottomless, she could not think of anything, whenever she tried, happy memories of her dad crept in, making her heart ache, her throat close and heads throb and the very last thing she cared about, was The Ghouls Fair