The Diary Of Pamela D. (Chapter 2, page 1 of 13)

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Chapter 2

Pamela started awake when someone sat on the bed beside her.

'Sorry to disturb you, my dear, but it's time to get up and go. I let you sleep in as long as I dared. There's no need to worry about breakfast; we shall have it on the plane.'

Pamela opened one bleary eye, ventured a peek at the digital clock on the nightstand, and gaped. 'Why didn't you wake me? I've never slept that long in my life! I'm sorry-'

'Don't be absurd! You were exhausted, overwrought, and, if I may say so without bruising your feelings, half-starved. You slept like the dead because you were badly in need of sleep, that's all. There's no reason to apologise for that. Now, by the time you're dressed, there will be a car waiting to take us to the airport, so vit! vit!'

Once in the cab, Pamela yawned all the way to the airport. Mrs. Dewhurst was right about one thing: that comfortable bed, added to the older woman's presence, had caused her to entirely leave her guard down, so that everything caught up with her at once. She had slept deeply for the first time since she could remember simply because every fibre of her being told her that it was safe to do so.

Pamela had never been to an airport in her life. Nor had she ever flown before, or seen an aeroplane close up. The sheer size of the British Airways 747 was beyond anything she could have imagined. Once inside, however, she stayed awake long enough to enjoy her first takeoff, a fairly good breakfast, and that was all. She was only vaguely aware that Mrs. Dewhurst reached across to trip the reclining mechanism, of the light blanket that was carefully spread over her, the pillow that was gently tucked beneath her head. In her sleep Pamela seemed to struggle a moment, her features suffused as though she were unable to come to terms with whatever she saw there, at last mumbling a single word that clutched at Mrs. Amanda Dewhurst's throat like a vice.


'Well, my dear,' Mrs. Dewhurst said with a sad, fond smile, 'it's a lucky thing for you that there is a world of difference between stray cats and stray kittens.'

Pamela woke midway over the Atlantic feeling as though she had crossed over into a waking dream. Nothing felt quite real: riding and sleeping on an aeroplane, the woman sitting beside her who seemed more fairy godmother than human, seemingly poised in stasis at the top of the world, the dark blue expanse of ocean far below; it seemed she was surrounded by and passing through whole worlds.

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