A/N: Well, this is the fourth chapter! I never get this far normally! (Don't worry, it's not gonna go downhill from here or anything) Thanks to everyone who's reviewed so far. It's nice to have an audience! Anyway, enough chat, Here's that disclaimer; I do not own The Wardstone Chronicles, or any of its characters or plots, only what I create in this story. Sorry for not updating sooner, but I got about 5 months of Writer's-flippin'-Block.
I woke to that fantastically mouth-watering smell that is a bacon-and-eggs breakfast, and was dressed and sitting at the table before anyone had even noticed I was awake. Conor was already eating, and I stole some bacon off his plate.
"That's my bacon!" He yelled, but I'd already swallowed, and I grinned at him as he glared.
"Aw, I'm sowwy, Conor, but I'm weeeally hungwy!" I pulled the same face Anna used whenever she got caught stealing someone's dessert. Thinking of her reminded me why we've got to leave today, and I stopped smiling.
"Hungry, are we?" Mrs. Dowse smiled, putting a plate of bacon and eggs in front of me. It didn't take long to finish, and soon I was back to staring at Conor's breakfast, which was unfortunately almost gone. He noticed me eyeing his plate, then hunched over it and ate even faster, and soon there was nothing left.
"Mrs. Dowse..." I wasn't sure how to broach the subject of leaving for Uncle Tom's house. It was important that we leave early to avoid being on the road when night fell, but I didn't want to sound ungrateful for the Dowses' hospitality.
"I...well, I've decided where we can stay, and Conor and I should really be leaving quite soon if we're to get to Archbrook before nightfall."
"Have you family there?" Mr. Dowse asked
" No, but I doubt we'll reach Chipenden by nightfall, so I thought Archbrook would be a good place to spend the night."
"Well, my sister lives there, so you could stay with her, if you want."
"Thank you! I'd forgotten about that." I couldn't believe I'd forgotten about where to stay. Idiot! I thought, for the third time in two days. Spending a cold night on the streets of Archbrook would not be enjoyable.
"You should leave in about fifteen minutes, then" Mrs Dowse said "I'll just make you some food for the journey, and George can write a note for his sister."
All our belongings were still packed into the small bag Mr. Dowse had given us the night before, and we were ready to go before he had even finished writing his letter.
"Thank you for letting us stay here, Mr. and Mrs. Dowse." I said as we were leaving. Mr. Dowse smiled.
"I'd be a pretty bad friend of your Da's if I left his little 'uns to fend for themselves, now wouldn't I? And you can call us George and Anna, if we see you again."
We finally set off, trudging down the side of the road. It felt good to have a sense of purpose, a direction to take, and I should have been happy, but I kept thinking about what George had said. If we see you again. I looked back over my shoulder at our tiny hamlet, the place where i'd barely set foot out of for my whole life, and felt a lump rise in my throat. This was my home. Was I ever going to come back?
Conor snapped me out of my reverie by pulling me further into the grass verge, just as a soldier on horseback charged past. I glanced at Conor questioningly.
"Soldiers are always up to no good." he said. I sighed. He'd been listening to Uncle again.
"Come on," I got up, pulling him up with me "And don't let anyone else hear you say that." We resumed the long walk to Archbrook.
We'd arrived at the depressingly dingy town of Archbrook, and just in time too, for the sky was orange with the sunset. The only problem now was...
"How are we meant to find George's sister's house in all...this?" Conor muttered. I scrabbled in my pocket, and drew out the piece of paper with the address. George's handwriting was hard to read, but I could just make out the words "number six Cobbler's lane". We'd have to ask directions. I looked around. There were a few people walking up the street, but I couldn't see anyone who looked trustworthy, or able to give reliable directions. Then I noticed someone. He looked out of place here, in his clean, well-kept clothes, but he walked around like he knew where he was going. I hurried over, pulling Conor behind me.
"Excuse me, sir," My voice seemed to echo around the street, and he jumped slightly.
"Please, could you tell us how to get to..." I checked the paper again, to make sure I'd got it right the first time "Cobblers Lane?" He stared at us for a second, then blinked hard and said "first right at the end of this street, then left, and it's tucked away down on your left again." He rushed off, and we were left standing there in the street, if you could call it that.
"You caught most of that, didn't you?" I said, turning to Conor, who had a knack for remembering details. He nodded slowly, then turned and walked down the street, muttering "left at the end of the street...or was it right?"
As it happened, the question was answered for us. It seemed that at one time there had been a left turn, but now it was blocked by an overturned cart. We turned right, then left, and eventually found the tiny gap in the wall that was hardly big enough for the sign that read "Cobbler's lane", never mind the row of houses that we found squeezed in at the end. Number six cobbler's lane was a very small, immaculately whitewashed house that looked as out of place here as the man who'd given us directions, and lo and behold, he was the one who opened the door when I knocked.
"Um, hello," I said, while he stared at us "We're here to see...George Dowse's sister? I have a letter from him asking if we can spend the night here."
"Lucy!" the man turned and called into the house."Lucy!" Silence. "Oh well, I'll just see that letter instead. I am her husband...Lucy!" he sighed "Why do I bother?"
I handed him the letter, and, reading it, he ushered us into the house."You can sleep in here, dinner is really only a possibility, I'm afraid, and if Lucy's up early tomorrow, you just might have a chance of breakfast...Lucy!" he hurried off, obviously used to silence from his wife.
"Looks like we'll have an early night." I said, lying down on the blankets spread across the floor. This was an odd place, and I couldn't wait to set off again tomorrow. Frankly, I wished we could have skipped Archbrook altogether, and been in Uncle Tom's house by now, but at least we'd be there tomorrow night, with a proper dinner and everything. My stomach rumbled.
I fell asleep soon enough, and dreamed of warm beds and the best dinners in the world.
A/N Sorry for the hold-up, but they will be in Tom's house next chapter, I swear!