"KAPOW!" the screen started to run through the victory video to the accompaniment of a rather cheesy bit of marshal music.
"Yess!" Drew punched the air in delight at getting through level 3 of D-Day Landing - The Push for The Rhine , a present from Gran last Christmas. Shoot em ups weren't really his thing but he enjoyed watching his troops charging across the countryside like so many hundreds of ants.
He glanced at the clock - nearly one - had he really been playing for three hours.
He felt a slight vibration through his chair, just like you get when a bus or something is in the wrong gear, some idiot but instead of disappearing it got stronger. Sugar! What the... The building started to shake and the vibrations started to have an effect on the stuff in his room - a couple of pictures fell off their hooks, a model plane launched itself off the shelf and everything was shaking, building to a crescendo before - nothing. Silence.
Drew sat shaking, what the hell was that. For all the shaking and rattling his computer was still playing away to itself and the lights hadn't so much as blinked.
Then the noise started - dogs barking and a couple of car alarms started screeching.
"Drew, Drew you awake up there?" Mum's voice called from the landing below.
"Y…yes, what was that?"
Mum climbed up to Drew's eyrie before replying.
"A little earth tremor kiddo, you sure you're okay?"
"Little! There was stuff flying around and everything was shaking an, an..."
"Come here luv." Jenny sat on the teen's bed and Drew, still visibly shaken, joined her for a cuddle. Jen could feel his heart racing as she held him close but after several minutes he seemed to of calmed down somewhat.
"D…does this happen a lot here?"
"Not very often, a bit more than at home but after all we are in a very active area."
"I'll explain in the morning, for now its bed!"
"Everything all right up there?" Dad queried.
"Yeah, I'm just coming down, night Drew."
Sleep however wasn't easy to come by; a dose of Sheryl Crow eventually did the trick some time after two.
“Come on Drew, time to get up!” Mum's voice broke into the dream.
“He obviously doesn't want to go Mum” Jules chipped on.
“Sometimes Drew Bond! The airport?” Mum sighed.
“The quake must've addled his brain.” My sister added.
“The girls?” Mum offered.
“Bum!” it came back in a flash, the gang from Warsop are arriving today. I shot out of bed, nearly strangling myself with my walkmans headphones.
“What kiddo?” Mum slid the minibus onto the autobahn between a couple of juggernauts and we were headed towards Bonn.
“Yeah, I didn't know they had them in Germany.”
“Well they don't happen a lot, at least not that you'd notice. They even have them back home.”
“I don't remember any.”
“Me neither.” Jules put in from the back.
“Well I think I was still in Uni the last time there was a big one, early eighties.”
“You know what causes earthquakes?”
“Something about volcanoes?” I ventured.
“It can be. Earthquakes and volcanoes are a bit like a safety valve for the earth, releasing pressure from movement of the earths crust.”
“So why wasn't there a volcano last night?”
“Dur!” Jules noted.
We took the turn for Bonn and the airport, the morning haze already clearing to blue skies.
“Well you get volcanoes where the plates meet usually but the pressure can build up a long way away which we then get as quakes.”
“But I thought those pointy hills were volcanoes.”
“They are or rather were thousands of years ago, the Rhein gorge is an old fault in the rocks.”
I sort of understood but the whole volcano / earthquake thing was still a bit confusing.
“You can see the planes lining up to land.” Jules pointed out the window.
“We should be there in about five minutes.” Mum advised.
I was getting a bit bored and impatient now.
"Give over fiddlearsing Drew." Jules huffed.
"They shoulda been here by now."
"Give ‘em a chance, it only landed ten minutes ago."
"So when have you cleared customs that quick?"
"When we went to Paris."
"That was different, it was only a little airfield wasn't it Gaby ?"
"Mu-um" I complained.
"Leave your brother alone Jules."
"He started it" Jules whined.
"And I'm finishing it. They'll be here soon enough."
It was warm in the concourse - why do they build these places with so much glass?
We heard them before we saw them; Mad, Ally, Bernie, Helen and Jules mate Charlotte. My heart picked up a few beats in anticipation, I mean I've not seen them for months, will they look the same? Will they recognise me?
I found myself engulfed in lots of teen girl before being nearly hugged to death!
“Girls!” Mum tried to attract our attention, “time for that later, the meter's ticking in the car park.”
It was a bit odd really, these were, are, my friends but there's like some sort of barrier that wasn't there before. I can't really put my finger on it, its like I'm not one of them anymore.
“You girls hungry?” Mum enquired after we'd extricated ourselves from the multi story.
“We've not eaten for hours.” Charlie advised.
“Okay, we'll stop and get something.”
Sounded like she had a plan but to be honest we were all too engrossed in catching up to take much notice.
“I thought we could eat at the top, there's a good restaurant and quite a view along the river.” Mum told us as we spilled from the bus.
“We got to walk up there Aunt Jen?” Maddy voiced the question on all our minds.
“Well it'll only take an hour.”
“An hour?” Ally clarified as we traipsed across the car park.
“Just kidding, we'll catch the tram up.” Mum advised.
The tram thing took us up this really steep hill to deposit us at the summit of Drachenfels.
“Wow, they should have one of these at home.” Bernie mentioned.
“What? Like up to Clumber Park?” Ally queried.
“Why not?” Bern defended her comment.
“Come on you lot, we'll eat on the verandah.”
We trooped into the concrete block and made our way to the restaurant on the balcony.
“How cool is this?” Mad told no one in particular, “You can see for miles.”
We commandeered a table overlooking the river and Mum pointed out where we live – well the general direction at least!
“Those hills are very pointy.” Helen pointed out.
“They're volcanoes” I advised.
“What? Like Vesuvius?” Charlie asked.
“These have been inactive for a long time.” Mum told us.
“We had an earthquake last night” I gloated.
Its gonna be a great week!
Maddy Bell 04.03.08 © 2008
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