H is for Holidays

I have just realised that my theme choice for the A to Z Challenge means that I am trying to succeed at two challenges – to blog 26 times over he month of April is the main task. But I am finding that it is also quite a challenge to throw 9 dice and try to craft an instant story from the pictogram prompts. 

When I throw the dice for the letter H the following nine pictograms fall for me to string together. 

 

But to make it even more interesting I will throw in an expansion pack (Enchanted)  

The annual camping trip was a boring ritual but they had done it since Eloise was a little girl. It mainly consisted of muddy fields, ants in the food stores, camp fires that took hours to light and lost sheep that wandered into the tent at all hours. One year they had ended up abandoning the whole thing because of the cockroach infestation but apart from that it generally passed with very little to remark on.

This year they were camping at an commercial campsite with lots of activities organised for the families. There were songs and nursery games for the little kids, clowns and magicians for the older kids. It was possible to pay for day excursions and experiences such as rock climbing and white-water rafting in the hills or paragliding on the lake nearby. But all in all it felt very sterile, not close to nature as they had been in previous years. So when they found out that there was a two night bivouac excursion up into the mountains Eloise had begged to be allowed to go with the other teenagers. Her parents had hummed and hawed, concerned about so many hormones in such a confined space but in the end they relented and on the Friday afternoon the teen team headed off hiking. 

About an an hour into the hike they met a tiny old woman who appeared to be in a hurry to get down the mountain. She approached the team leaders and a frantic conversation ensued. Eloise couldn’t hear much of it but the gesticulation suggested the lady was entreating them not to go up the mountain. She shrugged and rubbed her eye as a bug had flown into it and it was starting to water. 

At around 7pm they reached a small clearing and struck camp. It was obvious that this was used regularly with the cold remains of a stone-circled fire in the centre and all the brush and shrubs within easy reach cleared, presumably to start previous fires. Two of the boys headed off to collect firewood while the rest of the campers assembled their makeshift covers. Soon a rosy fire was crackling away with beans bubbling and potatoes roasting in the embers. 

The entertainment was the usual campfire fare, ghost stories by torchlight and tales of alien abductions. The girls huddled together and the boys feigned bravado but by 10pm they were all bundled up in their two shelters. It was colder up here in the mountains and Eloise was glad her sleeping bag covered her head to toe. The night sounds replaced the laughter and the chatter died down as the fire cooled. From under a loose flap of the bivouac Eloise could see the fireflies in the dark recess at the edge of the clearing like fairies dancing just out of reach of the humans.
The camp was slowly bathed in pale light as the full moon emerged from behind a cloud and her eyelids closed as she drifted to sleep. 

In in the morning it was the silence that woke her. Eloise was always a heavy sleeper when she camped – a combination of fresh air and exercise. But this morning the silence was eerie. She sat up and looked around to see if she was the first up and saw…..nobody. The camp was empty, abandoned, sleeping bags and clothes strewn along the ground. She was the only one there. 

Eloise sat in the chair by the window. The ticking of the clock was the only sound in her hospital room. She hadn’t spoken a word since they had found her, wild eyed and dishevelled in the remains of the campsite. The doctors said she might never speak again. They never found the remains of the others. Just lots of blood on the bushes round the hillside. Wolves the inquest had ruled. 

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