Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Ghost Stag

The exams finally over they had decided to have few weeks away before the results arrived and then they would hopefully be off to different universities. Suzy was expected to do well and was looking forward to chemistry at Exeter, Brian was hoping for Sports science at Loughborough and Jenny was already guaranteed a place at Liverpool doing media studies.

Suzy and Brian had known each other all their lives and were the best of friends. Their mothers had worked together and got close when they discovered they were pregnant at the same time. Suzy and Brian were like brother and sister with him being the gung ho adventurer and her usually the voice of reason. Jenny's family had moved to the area when she was eleven and she and Suzy had had a proper cat fight on their first day at senior school. No-one remembered what the fight was about or how they got over it but ever since they had been firm friends.

Lots of their friends were heading off to Ibiza and other Spanish islands so their parents had been quite relieved when they had said they wanted to spend a few weeks camping in Cornwall. The weekend they were setting off all three sets of parents were tied up but as they were a sensible trio who had never caused any concern it was agreed they could catch the train and the extra cost would be covered by their parents.

'Do you realise that the money for these train tickets could keep us in beer for at least two days?' Brian mused.

Yeh can't believe they can charge so much but what can we do?' Jenny moaned.

We are three resourceful individuals and I am sure we can get there for much less than the cost of these train tickets.' Brian had that mischievous smile on his face that usually preceded something going horribly wrong.

'I am not about to get involved in one of your ridiculous schemes that may well be illegal and will almost certainly end up with it costing us more to get there.' Suzy frowned, crossed her arms and sat on her bag. This usually meant she would let Brian run around for 30 minutes and then he would calm down and agree to the train ride.

But for once luck was on Brian's side. As Suzy plonked herself down a coach pulled up outside the station emblazoned with the words "Exeter 50p"

'Wait there I'll be back in two minutes,' called Brian as he raced over to the coach.

Two minutes later he appeared from inside the coach waving madly.

'It's only two quid each to Exeter and even if we have to catch the train from there it should save us some money.'

'Fine, if it'll make you happy,' frown Suzy. Jenny just shrugged, Brian grabbed the tent and the rucksacks and they all jumped on the bus.


Five hours later they pulled in at Exeter services.

'That's why it was two quid. It stopped at every village between home and here,' Suzy was tired and grumpy.' We would have been there by now, tent up, enjoying some good old scrumpy. Well done genius. Now what do we do.'

'Look you'll appreciate the extra beer money once we get there. Let's go and get something to eat.'

Suzy was not in the mood for any more of Brian's cost saving ideas but she was hungry, maybe they could sort something out over some food.

Yet again Brian's luck held and just as they were finishing their burgers two camper-vans pulled in. They were carrying three people, a pink one with a group of girls inside and a blue one with boys in.

'I'll be right back.' call Brian as he ran off to talk to them.


'You won't believe this but they're only stopping at the same campsite as us. They are just having a quick loo stop and they're happy to give us a lift.' Brian was grinning madly, happy to be proved right again.

'Come on Suzy,' smiled Jenny. 'It's better that sitting around here or trying to get to the train station.'

'Fine but you can take the tent and go with the boys and Jenny and I will take the bags and go with the girls.'

'Cool. See you there.'


Two hours later the pink camper pulled into the camp site.

'No sign of the boys,' Sharon, the driver called back,' I was worried they had taken a different route and would have beaten us here.'

'Right let's get booked in and crack open these beers,' called one of the other girls.

Once the camper had been booked in there was still no sign of the other camper or Brian with the tent. Suzy and Jenny decided to book in anyway so they could hopefully get the tent set up as soon as Brian arrived.

'Hi there,' Suzy called.

'Oh hello. I'm sorry were full this weekend,' smiled a jolly and lively looking Cornish woman.

'Oh it's okay we booked,' chipped in Jenny.

'We're the party of three with a tent.' finished Suzy.

'Oh I see it's just there's only two of you. Is your friend out there with the luggage?'

'No he got a lift with a different group of people. He should be here any minute now.'

'Well as long as he didn't get a lift with the ghost stag,' chuckled the woman.

'What do you mean the ghost stag?' Jenny looked worried.

'Don't worry deary. It's an old wives tale for the tourists. In the early seventies there was an accident on the main road down here from St Ives. The woman driving was killed and her boyfriend's body was thrown from the car. The body was never found and she now drives that stretch of road picking up male hitchhikers.'

'But why do you call her the ghost stag?'

'It's the car she drives, a 1973 convertible white triumph stag. But it's just a folk story. Nothing real.'

As they were booking in they heard a cheer rise up from outside the port-a-kabin and they ran outside. Attached to the back of an AA van was the other camper-van.

'About bloody time.' called the Sharon.

Suzy and Jenny ran over to the van.

'Where's Brian?' they called in unison.

'Has the lucky bugger not turned up yet?' Dave the driver from the boys van looked puzzled. 'He left us about an hour ago. We broke down just outside St Ives and had to wait for the AA. Brian said you guys would be worried so he would try and hitch the rest of the way.'

'Great. Knowing Brian he's still looking for a lift now.'

'No, not at all. He got picked up almost straight away. Damn lucky as the road was almost deserted. This gorgeous blonde pulled up and in he jumped. Car was nearly as hot as the bird. 1973 triumph stag convertible. Sweet.'

Suzy and Jenny stared at each other and the colour drained from their faces. A 1973 white triumph stag convertible. It looked like Brian's luck had just run out.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Classified ad

For Sale: camcorder, used only once, good as new


'Finally', Jenny had been waiting nearly a week for the camcorder to turn up and at last the postman was walking down the path with a parcel under his arm. Jenny opened the door before he had chance to ring the bell and Ffion was behind her like a shot.

'Mummy, is it here?' Ffion was tugging at her mothers trousers desperate to see the parcel.

'Yes sweetie. Let me just sign this and then we can go and try it out.'

Jenny thanked the postman and pushing the door shut with her bum, ushered her overly excited daughter into the living room. Ffion had a dance recital the next day and her father was away on business. He hadn't wanted to miss the dance so had ordered a second hand camcorder from a classified in the local paper. It should have been here days ago and just as Jenny was starting to think it was another one of John's money saving ventures gone awry, it had turned up.

Jenny opened the parcel and was surprised to see there was already a tape in the device. Well the advert had said it had been used. She threw the used tape onto the coffee table and inserted one of the new ones she had bought and pressed record. As she pointed the camcorder at Ffion, the little girl lit up and started dancing around the living room. After a few minutes Jenny stopped recording and pressed playback. After a few seconds she could see Ffion on the little screen and by adjusting a few controls she could hear her too. Looked like John had fluked it this time.


"Play it again,' Ffion called. This was the fourth time the little girl had watched the tape of her dance recital.

'Okay but this is the last time and then it's off to bed.' Jenny smiled.

After Ffion had finally settled Jenny poured herself a glass of wine and settled down in front of the TV. She had really missed John this time and she was looking forward to having him back tomorrow. Ten minutes and fifty channel flicks later she started looking round at the DVDs on the shelf to find something to watch. She noticed the tape on the coffee table and smiling to herself popped it into the camcorder. You never know what sort of things people video themselves doing, it might be worth a look, she thought.

Jenny pressed the play button and the first five seconds where black, then it looked as if the lens cap had been removed. In front of her on the screen she saw the image of her husband, strapped to a chair and badly beaten.

'Jenny. You have to help me. They want money. Call my company. Whatever you do don't call the police. Please Jenny do as they say and then I can come home.'

The screen went blank and the phone rang.

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