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Critical Error (6)


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“Hey, you guys ready to hit the road?”  Eilea asked, as one by one, the kids made their way into the living room.”

“Why, what do you mean?” Christina queried.

“Well, sleepyhead, this is the weekend we planned on taking a trip to San Josef Bay, remember?”

Christina was eager to go while Andrew hemmed and hawed at first.

It was a hot, dusty rough road; but they were buoyed up by the prospect of reaching the ocean’s edge and dipping their toes in the water.

The path too, when they arrived was hilly and narrow at first.  They picked their way over or under a few fallen tree trunks which only added to the excitement,

“From from the mouth of the park to San Josef Bay its 3 km and usually takes forty-five minutes to an hour depending on how fast you walk it, to get to the ocean but our class made the trip in twenty minutes,” Christina laughed delightedly,” but then we ran the whole way.”

“I imagine everyone was racing to get there first,” Eilea grinned, tripping over a tree root she hadn’t spotted.

“Don’t you just love the smell of the forest and the way the pine needles smoosh when you walk on them?  They give off that wonderful forestry-pine scent that’s so clean and fresh smelling that you just want to savour it.  I love it!” she said, her arms opened wide, as she twirled.

Andrew said, “Yeah, it smells earthy.”

“Yeah, but a good earthy!” Christina agreed.

“Sumer holidays are coming up.  How do you guys feel about taking a trip around the island and over to Long Beach  (one of my favourite places in the whole world) this year?”

Christina was already thinking ahead. “That would be great.  We can build sandcastles, and walk the beach, stay at the cabins there.”

“Why don’t we work the details out when we get home?  Maybe Theresa would like to come too.”

Eilea couldn’t help but laugh, “The last time I was at Long Beach, Christina was in a buggy, and I was nursing you.  Your grandpa and grandma Martin came with us, and so did my mom.  I pushed you the entire length of the beach.”

“Wow that was a long time ago,” Andrew ribbed his sister.”

They reached the ocean and studied the horizon noting a fog lay across the horizon, slowly making its way inland, but it didn’t diminish the beauty of the area in the least.  “Wow, I’m sure glad we came.”

“Me too!”  Andrew replied fervently.

They threw the Frisbee around teasingly pushing one another out of the path while sinking into deep white sand and when it got hot, stopped for a drink and lunch.

A man walked past their make-shift seat, taking an unseemly interest in their family.   Normally Eilea wouldn’t have noticed but there was something very peculiar about him that made her uneasy.  She stared hard at him until he left.

“God, it smells so fresh!”

“I’m glad we did this mom, it was a great idea.”

“Thanks, kiddo, I sure am enjoying myself.”

Lunch finished, they resumed their game for a half hour more before the fog started getting heavier and Eilea suggested they head out since she didn’t want to get caught if the fog shifted.

Christina picked up the gauntlet, “It can get as thick as pea soup, but even though it isn’t that heavy yet, I wouldn’t want to have to try and make it out through dense fog or have to wait until it lifts.”

“Hey, mom, can you imagine what it must have been like for those early settlers?”

“Pretty rough from what I understand, Christina.  You know they call the town Port Hardy, but you sure had to be “hardy” to live out here.”

Christina chuckled, “No kidding.  I don’t know if I’d want to try it, especially back when they didn’t have medical facilities or much else out here.”

They were about fifteen feet from the mouth of the parking lot when a man rushed by them, nearly knocking Christina off her feet.  Eilea grabbed her and pulled her out of harm’s way, “Watch where you’re going!  You could have hurt someone!” she yelled after the jerk.  He didn’t look back but rushed on around the corner and out of sight.

“What an idiot!”

“He startled me too,”  Eilea agreed.

“Why is it that it always seems a shorter trip coming out than going in?”  Christina asked.

“I don’t know, but it does.  I’ve always thought it could be because the distance is fresh in our mind so it doesn’t seem that far, as opposed to going in, which is unknown.”

“Yeah that would make sense I guess,” Christina agreed, wrapping an arm around her mom in an uncharacteristic display of affection.


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