Riding High

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The box beckoned to me, itching to be opened. I wiped the dust off the top of it, sneezing as it tickled the inside of my nostrils. Pulling off the lid, I smiled as the photo sitting on the top of the pile beckoned to me. The large, green mountains sprawled in the backdrop of the photo, their beauty only surpassed by the crystal, aquamarine water flowing softly in front of them. That wasn’t what caught my attention though. It was the figures in foreground who captivated me. To the right stood Nancy; her back tall and proud, her skin kissed pink from the sun and a beer clasped firmly in her grasp. Her arm wound around my neck, and mine around her waist as we grinned happily at the camera. Next to me stood Rosie, her eyes sparking with laughter and her mouth partway open in a huge belly laugh. I couldn’t help but giggle as I remembered what was going on in this photo. Next to Rosie stood Lila, her golden hair sparking under the beaming sunlight. Unaware of Rosie’s ‘trick’, she stared straight down the camera, beaming with exhilaration. Throughout her hair, courtesy of Rosie, lay small particles of hay; a ‘surprise’ Rosie had bought back from the farm we’d visited that day. In front of us all crouched Amy. Her mouth was opened in a half smile, half shriek as she’d fumbled to keep her balance atop the small rock she’d found to perch herself on for the photo. The only word that came to mind when I looked at this photo was happiness. Sighing, I put it aside and tried to push back the memories of what happened next…

 

“My back is still aching!” Nancy complained as she plopped onto the seat next to me. “Those rides were so totally worth it though!” She exclaimed, taking a big slurp of her beer. 

“For you maybe,” I said with a shudder. “I still can’t believe you guys conned me into going on every single one! Never again.” I added determinedly. 

Laughing, Rosie headed over and topped up my glass of champagne. “If I remember correctly, you were the one who insisted we go on the biggest ride in the park five times in a row!” She insisted.

“Nope.” I shook my head, “wasn’t me. They really kinked my neck out though. Every time it moved I was thrown against the supports. Makes me highly envious of your substantial padding, Rosie!” I called as she moved towards the barbeque again.

“Well, I was given these beauties for a reason!” She called back as she flipped the steaks.

Laughing, I got up and stretched, heading inside to go to the toilet.

“Grab some insect repellent while you’re in there will you!” Amy called out as I walked towards the door, “the mozzies are eating me alive tonight!”

“Will do!” I called back. She’d been attacked the whole time we’d been here… They’d left me alone though so I wasn’t too upset about it.

It was our last night in the cabin. I sighed wistfully as I looked around the front room where the old, tattered lounge sat longingly awaiting some TLC. It’s back was adorned with Lila and Rosie’s clothing – mainly the dresses and clothes that were highly inappropriate for a week spent out in a log cabin at the lake. The room seemed to hold the heat of the day inside its walls, though as we’d come to realise, it also held the creatures of the night pretty darn well too!  

Smiling, I looked around and grabbed my camera to take some last minute photos of all of us together, noticing I only had a few shots left. This had been one of the most amazing weeks of my life with just us girls. I didn’t want to go home.

***

 Chaos would be the only way to describe what I opened my eyes to the next morning.

The room swirled with stirred up dust and heated, stuffy air, clogging up my airways. Sitting up, I eased out of my sleeping bag on top of the old, creaky bed and looked around blearily. Rosie was throwing clothes onto her bed, trying in earnest to get them squished back into the suitcase. Lila was sitting on top of her bag, grunting in her effort to get it closed. Watching her progress, I debated whether or not I should tell her she’d forgotten to put her toiletries bag in or not.

Hmm… Not. I decided sitting back against my pillow grinning. This was just too entertaining!

“Uh, Lila?” Nancy called tentatively from her bed.

“What?” Lila growled, glaring at her half closed suitcase.

“Forgetting something?” She asked, smothering a laugh.

Looking around, Lila spotted the abandoned toiletries bag. “Ugh!” She screamed in frustration. “I give up! These are going in your bag!” She said, throwing a bunch of clothes on Nancy’s feet.

Laughing, Nancy, Amy and I crawled out of bed and headed into the bathroom to get ready for the long trip home today.

***

 “This town is simply adorable!” Rosie exclaimed as she took in the idealistic, old-fashioned town surrounding us. 

It truly was beautiful – the streets not clogged with congestion and traffic but patient, slow paced weekend drivers. The streets were lined with small, boutique shops and the people wandering around seemed relaxed and content. It was hard to wipe the smile off my face as we melted in with the crowd and explored before our flight left later that night.

“STOP RIGHT THERE! HANDS WHERE I CAN SEE THEM!” A voice boomed through the air, cutting through the daze of happiness and silencing the streets.

Confused, I turned around to see what was going on. Behind us stood a beefy, burly policeman, his gun trained straight at Amy’s chest. Shock filled her face as she slowly raised her hands, her eyes watering and chin trembling in fear.

“What the hell is this about?” Lila demanded as we took in the approaching guard coming up behind the officer.

“I think you girls know.” He said quietly, motioning for four other officers to come forward with handcuffs at the ready.

 Bewildered, we looked at each other, searching for a sign of awareness in anyone’s face. There was none. This was completely unexpected. 

“HEY!” Yelled a voice from behind the policeman, “Over here!”

Looking beyond the line of local law enforcement that boarded us in, I saw a young woman, waving her arms frantically above her head. Clutched in her hand was a large machete, its blade glinting manically in the beaming sun. The police turned, and started forming a line against her, giving up a split second window of escape.

And we took it. Piling into our rental car, Nancy grabbed the wheel and spun off the curb and down the street at a rip roaring pace, hightailing us out of there. Dodging traffic, she swerved, weaved and cut off other motorists, eventually merging in with the heavy traffic headed towards the airport.

“That was close.” She said, gripping the steering wheel tightly. “But I think we’re in the clear now. No one followed us.”

Letting out a collective breath, we settled back and laughed nervously about what we had just escaped, wondering what in the world would happen; why they targeted us.

 

Fighting for control of my pounding heart, I placed the photo back on the top of the heap in the box. Maybe today wasn’t the best time to relive those memories again. Especially considering what happened after that… 

 

Photo Credit: http://www.youwall.com/index.php?ver=MjQxNQ==
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