Fifteen year old Adam Edwards woke up with a start. He had had another strange and inexplicable dream. In his dream he was standing by the shore watching a boy drown. The sea was rough and tempestuous, and Adam was unable to help him, but even though the boy in the dream was some distance away, Adam could easily see that the drowning boy looked just like him. Adam sighed, it was not the first time he had dreamt such a dream.
Ever since Adam could remember, his dreams and nightmares had been filled with this other boy who was identical in every way, and yet Adam knew he was not looking at himself. He seemed to be linked with this identical boy somehow. However, Adam was so used to having these dreams that he did not think them unusual.
Even during his waking hours, Adam felt this strange bond. He would sometimes sit at the top of the stairs and talk to his own shadow as if it were the boy in his dreams. It did not occur to Adam that there was anything unusual or different about any of this, because until he reached the age of fifteen or so he did not really give his own behaviour much thought.
As a very young child Adam thought that everyone had dreams similar to his. He had heard of other children having invisible friends, and this apparently was not unusual, but Adam had never thought of the boy in his dreams as a make believe friend. The boy of his visions seemed very real, he was a part of himself. And when he awoke from his dreams Adam always felt that a part of him was missing. Now that Adam was older though, he realized that other people did not have these kinds of dreams, and most people did not have the sensation that a part of them was not there.
Adam sighed again, and tried to get back to sleep. He had to be up very early the following morning as he and the rest of his class was going on an activity holiday to the Lake District in Cumbria. It was a long drive from London, so they were going to set off at six thirty that morning.
At a quarter past six Adam arrived at the school ready to board the school mini bus that was going to take him and his classmates on their trip. Once the luggage was loaded on the bus, the teachers, Mr. Martin, and Mr. Trent, read out a roll call of names to ensure that everyone who was meant to be going was present. When this was over and it was time to board the mini bus, all the teenagers said a hasty good bye to their parents. Adam's father, John Edwards, patted his son's shoulder and said rather stiffly. "Well, good bye son, have a nice time."
"Remember to phone home occasionally," his mother, Linda Edwards, said, giving Adam a dry, fleeting peck on the cheek.
And with that they quickly disappeared out of the school court yard. Adam turned to watch some of his classmates and their parents. It seemed to him that other people's mothers and fathers were a lot less reserved than his own. He wondered if maybe it was something to do with them both being scientists. Perhaps all scientists were a detached, aloof breed.
Adam took his seat on the mini bus. He sat next to his best friend Matt Healy, and a couple of seats behind Kirsty Clark, who he had secretly liked for months. She never seemed to notice him though.
The drive up to the Lake District went by fairly uneventfully. Adam chatted with Matt about inconsequential things. They mostly discussed school, girls, and the forthcoming activities they hoped would be on offer at the activity centre. They wondered what the centre would be like. Both boys hoped that the accommodation was not going to be too basic, and that the food would be at least half way decent.
Every now and again though, there was a lull in the conversation, and Adam found himself gazing out of the window. He watched as the scenery slowly changed. They drove past the industrial chimneys of the Midlands, and Adam noted how the flat landscape of the south was replaced by the hillier north. Eventually, as they approached their destination, the scenery became far more majestic. This area was mountainous and wilder than anything they were used to back home in London. Deep, large lakes were surrounded by high hills and mountains. A mixture of deciduous and evergreen trees bordered the lakes and wound their way up the mountain sides, a buzzard few overhead. It was breathtakingly beautiful.
The activity centre itself was near the shore of Lake Windermere. There were row upon row of Swiss style chalets, and three or four bigger buildings. Adam thought he could also make out a boat house, housing a variety of boats and canoes, and up towards the hills some sort of assault course. Adam was to discover later that the activity centre offered a great variety of sports and activities to try out. There was canoeing, sailing, raft building, archery, rock climbing, abseiling, orienteering, and quad biking.
The mini bus parked outside one of the larger buildings, which seemed to be some sort of reception area. Mr. Martin stood up.
"Right, we're here. I'd like all of you to make your way off the bus as quickly and as calmly as possible. Then as soon as we've all collected our luggage, we will go into the reception area, and someone will show us to our chalets," the teacher explained rather wearily. He sighed, one or two of the more troublesome students in the class had already tried his patience, and this was only the first day. What was he going to feel like after a whole week?
Adam did as he was told, he got off the mini bus and collected his luggage. It was at least another fifteen minutes before all of Adam's classmates were reunited with their clothes and belongings. Eventually though, everyone was ready to go into the reception area to meet one of the activity leaders who would show them all to their chalets.
"I'm Pete, and I'm going to be in charge of most of your activities" a young man in his early twenties announced.
Pete then proceeded to show everyone to their own personal chalet. Adam was going to be sharing with Matt. Adam noted with pleasure that the chalet was not as basic as he had feared. It had its own en suite bathroom and toilet. There were electricity sockets, a small heater, in case it got cold, a wardrobe, a couple of chests of drawers and two bunk beds. And best of all it was clean and tidy.
Once the two boys had unpacked, they decided to visit the canteen which was housed in one of the bigger buildings on site. This building comprised of a canteen, and a large hall where people could play snooker, darts and video games.
It had been a long day and both Adam and Matt were now rather hungry. The boys went to see what was on offer in the canteen. To their immense relief the food turned out to be better than they had anticipated. Adam chose sausage, egg and chips, and found himself and Matt a table to sit at.
Adam was just about to take his first mouthful of food, when his attention was caught by a group of teenagers from another school party. There standing in the centre of this small group was a boy who looked just like him. Adam stared at him. At first the boy did not notice him, but after a second or so, he spotted Adam and stared back. Adam felt an immediate affinity with the boy. It was the boy he always saw in his dreams and nightmares, he was sure of it.