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At the Festival

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Liza had dreamt of going to Glastonbury for the last three years of her life and she had finally saved up enough money to go. Her mum had agreed to it as Liza was now old enough to go on her own. She would get the bus there. It would involve a lot of change overs but her mum didn't want to have to pay for petrol to get her there and then have to drive all the way back. Liza's parents had split up a year previously and her and her mum had been suffering financial difficulties ever since. Liza had only saved up enough for her to go on her own so she was bringing no friends. She had got a job at a local café. The hours were long and tiresome but it had finally paid off. Her mum had told her that she would make some friends whilst she was at the music festival but Liza doubted it. She was no good at making friends. She was bringing her steel string guitar with her in case she got bored or lonely. Liza was an average girl. She was quite shy and often went unnoticed. She was the sort of person whose name was always forgotten and it embarrassed her, having to keep reminding people of it. She had shoulder length mousy brown hair and she was quite short; about five foot three. Although she was very shy, you would never guess if you had seen her at performing. She played guitar (electric and acoustic), piano, saxophone, violin and she had a beautiful voice. She expressed everything she felt through music. If she had been playing one of her instruments right before she left for Glastonbury that morning she would have been playing very loudly indeed.

The day before the first day of Glastonbury was Carmella's sixteenth birthday. She slept in late but was woken up at ten o'clock by her parents bringing her breakfast in bed. "Where are my presents?" she asked.
"You'll get them later" her mother replied "Eat first." Carmella sighed melodramatically but then proceeded to eat her food as quickly as she could.
"Now can I have my presents?" Carmella asked when she had hastily finished the Full English Breakfast, fruit and yoghurt.
"Follow me" her father said and both her parents led her outside. On the driveway sat a baby pink Volkswagen Kombi.
Carmella was confused "But I can't even drive."
"Look inside" her parents smiled. Carmella walked up to the door and took a peek. There were stacks and stacks of presents but her mother shouted "Open the envelope first." So, Carmella sat down and opened the envelope. She was expecting a boring card to be inside but she was pleasantly surprised to find two tickets to Glastonbury.
She turned round to her parents "Thanks so much, which one of you is gonna come with me?"
"We're both working, but you're old enough to go on your own now" her father said.
"We thought maybe you could go with Melisa" her mother suggested "We've hired a chauffeur to take you there in your new van tomorrow morning."
"But my party's tonight" Carmella said "I won't be able to get up early."
"Why not?" her father asked "You won't be going to bed late and you certainly won't be drinking."
"Right" said Carmella, rolling her eyes "I'll call Melisa now."
Melisa's phone rang but it wasn't Melissa who answered. It was her mum. "Hello, Carmella."
"Hi Mrs Ornellas. Can I talk to Melissa?" Carmella asked.
"Certainly not" Mrs Ornellas said. Then she hung up.
Carmella sighed and dialled the number of Melisa's emergency phone. Melisa's mum was really strict and her phone was confiscated often so Melisa had bought another phone that her mum didn't know about.

Melisa answered her phone "Carmella, my mum found the alcohol I was gonna bring to yours tonight. She went crazy. I’m totally grounded for the foreseeable future.”
Melisa listened as Carmella described the Glastonbury tickets.
“That sucks” Melisa said “I’d love to go, but…”
“You can go” Carmella said on the other side of the phone, she thought up an idea silently for a few seconds and then told her friend “Don’t come to my party tonight because your mum will know where you’ve gone but pack your things and walk round mine first thing tomorrow morning when your parents are still asleep. I’ll tell my parents that your mum said it’s fine but really she won’t know anything about it.”
“OK, let’s do it” Melisa said, smiling.

Jeanie and Tia were walking through the high street, but they weren’t shopping. They had been following a certain girl for two hours now. “Jeanie, do we have to do this? I mean, I want to, but we’ve been walking round for two hours. She’ll get suspicious” Tia said.
“Don’t be such a wuss. She hasn’t noticed so far so she's too dumb to notice. We are getting those tickets even if it takes us all day.”
“Fine” Tia sighed “Let’s get on with it then.” Tia pulled up her hood over her head and sprinted forwards before Jeanie could stop her. Tia grabbed the girl’s bag but the girl grabbed Tia. Tia struggled but she couldn’t break free. The girl had a firm grasp.
Jeanie pulled her hood up and lunged forwards at the girl. She managed to free Tia and they legged it “Run!” Jeanie screamed. And they did. They ran all the way through the high street and into the shopping centre, through the shopping centre and into the car park. By the time they reached the car park they were both out of breath but fortunately the girl whose bag they had nicked had been unable to keep up with them. “You idiot” Jeanie said, between gasps of breath “You weren’t meant to take the whole bloody bag.”
“I had to do something” Tia said “Otherwise we would have been there all day.”
Jeanie sighed “Well, do you have the tickets?”
Tia looked around the brown leather handbag until she found a pink Fiorelli purse. She opened the purse and sure enough, inside it, were two tickets to Glastonbury. “Yep” Tia replied “The tickets are here.
“Right then” Jeanie said “We better get home and pack. We’re going to Glastonbury!”

Melissa threw her suitcase out of her window. She did a quick pray that it wouldn’t make a loud noise as it hit the ground. She let out a sigh of relief when it didn’t. Now it was time for an even trickier manoeuvre. Melissa now had to get herself out of the window. She had thought up an escape route but it was still sketchy in her mind because she was forbidden to leave her room therefore she had planned the journey to the ground just from what she could see from her bedroom window looking down. The fact that it was dark outside did not help either. Melissa took a deep breath in as she stuck her right leg out the window. She managed to find a secure branch to rest it on. Next she got out her left leg and placed it next to her right. She moved her first hand off the window sill but as she did this the branch, that she had once thought was secure, snapped. She could not help herself from letting out a scream but as she did so her parents’ bedroom light turned on almost instantly. Melissa was in pain as she had fallen from the first floor. As she stood up an agonising pain shot through her ankle. She clenched her teeth as she took a step forward. It killed but she knew she couldn’t waste any time. Her parents would be out any minute now. The lights went on, on the ground floor and Melissa knew she would have to break into a run. She grabbed her suitcase and sprinted down her road.

By the time Liza got to the entrance of Glastonbury her heart was doing somersaults. She was exuding excitement. She disliked drawing attention to herself so she felt embarrassed because she felt so happy that she genuinely believed that she might be glowing brightly. She showed her ticket then collected a map and a time table. She headed in the direction of her campsite. Hauling along her big bag, guitar and a tent proved to be rather challenging for skinny Liza so she was relieved when she heard someone behind her offer to help. She turned around and saw a girl around her age. Liza nodded. "Thank you" she whispered. The girl took hold of Liza's tent.
"Hi, I'm Jeannie, by the way" Jeannie said. Another girl, about the same age approached Jeannie. "And this is my friend, Tia."
"Hiya" Tia smiled.
Tia and Jeannie walked to the campsite with Liza. They helped her put up her tent and then all sat inside it. "So, do you have a tent?" Liza asked the two girls.
"Nahh" Tia replied "We won't be sleeping much this weekend."
"Oh" Liza said.
"So, you play the guitar?" Jeannie said, glancing at Liza's guitar on the floor at the other end of the small tent.
Liza nodded.
"Do you wanna become a real hippie guitar rocker person thingy?" Jeannie asked.
"What like play it professionally do you mean?" Liza asked.
"Yeah, something like that" Jeannie shrugged.
"Well yes, I'd love to do that" Liza smiled.
Jeannie nodded, knowingly then she dug her hand inside her pockets. When she pulled her hand out she was holding a clear plastic bag, sealed along the top. Liza struggled to see what it was but she soon caught a glimpse of the brown substance inside. Cannabis.
"I err... I really shouldn't" Liza said, eyeing the bag cautiously.
"Ahh...come on. It'll be a laugh" Tia said.
"Don't tell me you're into all that music, hippie stuff and you've never even done a bit of weed before" Jeanie said.
"I mean, it's not like it's bad for you or anything" Tia laughed.
Liza raised an eyebrow "It isn't really my scene but..." she looked up at Tia and Jeanie's eager expressions and made her decision "Ahh. Whatever. It's a festival. I came here to have a good time and to have a laugh so I might as well go with it."
"Too right" Jeanie said "I'll roll up a joint for you now."

Carmella and Melissa arrived late as the new Volkswagen Kombi had broken down on the way. Carmella was utterly pissed off and Melissa was trying to calm her down.
"I can't believe it" Carmella said, for the millionth time since it had happened "Why would mummy and daddy give me a car that didn't even work properly?"
"Well, it is supposed to be vintage" Melissa mentioned "Therefore it must be pretty old."
Carmella ignored her "All the good tent spots will be gone by now."
"I'm sure it will be fine" Melissa rolled her eyes.
"Well, I'm telling you now; if someone has nicked the best tent spot then I will march in there and give them a piece of my mind. Or at least bribe them to move with money" Carmella said and Melissa knew her friend wasn't joking.
"Carmella, really? Ever heard of the saying the early bird catches the worm?" Melissa said.
"Don't you dare try and turn this round on me" Carmella said, angrily "It isn't my fault that we got here late."
"You're into all that meditation stuff from the far east. Ever thought that maybe it's karma for me coming here when I'm meant to be grounded" Melissa said.
"Oh Melissa. You do make me laugh" Carmella giggled "There is a difference between the meditation and the superstition. I do the meditation because it's good for you but I don't believe in all that karma nonsense."
"Suit yourself" Melissa said. They had reached the campsite now "Oh look. There's a spot over there" Melissa said, pointing to an empty space in the distance.
"I'm not walking that far everyday" Carmella said "Anyway, I can see a good space."
"Where?" Melissa asked. It looked pretty busy.
"Over there" Carmella said, pointing at a tent near them.
"No, Carmella" Melissa said.
"Yes, Melissa" Carmella said and before Melissa had the chance to say anything more, she was being dragged towards the desired tent.
They stepped in together to find the room filled with smoke but it didn't smell of tobacco.
"Oh" Melissa said and Carmella turned to look at her friend.
They backed out of the tent.
Tia climbed out the tent with Carmella and Melissa. “Hey” Tia said, slurring her words slightly “Wassap?”
“What is up? What is up?!” Carmella said, raising her eyebrows.
“Oh” Tia said, holding out her cigarette “Did you want a puff?”
“Get it away from me. No, I do not want a puff. We just wanted your tent space” Carmella said, matter of factly.
“Sorry, no can do” Tia said “We’ve already settled here and we ain’t moving. Do you know how long it takes to put up one of these things?”
“I can imagine it takes considerably longer when you’re stoned” Carmella said, spitefully.
Tia gave Carmella an angry look.
“Don’t worry, we’ll find our own space. Thank you anyway” Melissa said, trying to sound cheerful “Come on, Carmella” she said, dragging her friend away.
“Why did you start being nice to her?” Carmella whispered as they strode away.
“We don’t want to get on the wrong side of those sorts of people” Melissa whispered back “Come on, let’s set our tent up over there.”

That night there was a concert with some less known artists playing but everyone was enjoying the music nonetheless. Liza had had a great day with Jeanie and Tia. At least she had made some friends. She felt sort of guilty about the weed but it had been fun and at least she had experienced a festival properly now. She was dancing in the mosh pit and she lost sight of both Jeanie and Tia.

Jeanie and Tia were at the bar. They had been watching Melissa and Carmella for a long time but the latter pair had not noticed their two acquaintances sitting across the bar from them. Tia wanted to just leave them alone as she was embarrassed about earlier but Jeanie was determined to get them back for being so stuck up. Jeanie had not only brought cannabis to the festival; she had brought LSD too. Carmella got up to leave, perhaps to go to the toilet and Jeanie sat down in the seat, next to Melissa. “I really must apologise for earlier” Jeanie said, sounding genuine.
“Oh, it’s fine, really” Melissa said although Jeanie could tell she was on edge.
“Thank you, you’re so forgiving” Jeanie smiled, then her expression changed “Oh my God, look at that!” she squealed pointing in the other direction.
Melissa turned around, quickly and Jeanie popped the pills into the drinks. They were both drinking Coca Cola so it was dark and they would not notice any change and if they did it would probably be too late “What?” Melissa said “Where?”
“Oh...nothing” Jeanie said as Melissa turned back around “I just...I thought I saw a... never mind. Enjoy your drinks, we’ve gotta dash. See ya around.”
“Bye” Tia said, guiltily. She was into weed but she did not like to come into contact with anything harder. She felt awful about what she had just let Jeanie do.
“Ok, bye” Melissa smiled.

Liza arrived at the bar just as Jeanie and Tia were leaving. “Hi guys” Liza said brightly.
“Hello, Liza” Jeanie said, equally as cheerful.
“Can I get you a drink?” Tia asked, trying to steer the subject to make it as genuine as possible.
“Sure, thanks, I’ll have a coke please” Liza said.
“Of course, I’ll go and get it” Tia smiled.
“So, do you want another spliff?” Jeanie asked Liza.
“Erm…” Liza wasn’t sure. It had been alright to do it once just to try it but to do it again would just be wrong wouldn’t it? However, on the other hand she had felt more relaxed and her anxieties about making friends had diminished. Her conscience was eating away at her when she said “Oh alright.” The lengths she would go to just to make people like her…

Liza looked everywhere for Tia ad Jeanie but she couldn’t find them. She felt paranoid. Everyone was looking at her. She walked over to a couple of girls her age sitting at the other side of the bar. She vaguely remembered them but she wasn’t sure where from. Anyway, they looked friendly enough so she sat down next to them. She still had her half drunken glass of coke and she placed it down next to the other glasses of drink.
“Hi” Liza said.
“Hello…” Melissa said, confused.
“You were in the tent earlier, weren’t you?” Carmella asked, knowingly.
“Ahh…” that’s where she knew them from “Yeah, I was.” Liza broke into a laughing fit on the bar. They were getting funny looks so both Carmella and Melissa left. Liza was upset that they had left her and she wiped the tears out of her eyes with the back of her hand. Suddenly, she was overcome with thirst. She finished her coke and then finished off Tia’s and Carmella’s which they had left behind.

It was past midnight when the ambulance arrived. And it was too late. They tried to bring her back to life but she had fallen from a great height and she had landed on her head. Liza had died almost instantly. She had climbed to the roof of the stage and jumped off it. Traumatised spectators recalled her screaming “I have wings! I can fly! I can really fly!” over and over again before making that fatal jump. The forensic examination proved that Liza had a large amount of LSD in her system and cannabis that had been tampered with as well.

Epilogue

The police conducted a full drug search of the festival but they started it and never needed to finish it because Tia handed herself and Jeanie in. They are due to be charged later this year.

Carmella was shocked when she found out how close she had come to being in a similar position to Liza but she went back to her normal life as a spoilt teenager.

Melissa’s mum found out about Glastonbury and Melissa is now grounded for the foreseeable future.





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