"The camp gates will be closed in a few minutes." Tony said looking slightly worried. "At least that's what it says on the board, so I am not driving all that way for nothing."
"Where will we stay then tonight?" I asked feeling a bit perturbed.
"There’s a wooded area that I've noticed, just a mile or so away. It’s set back quite a bit from the road. We'll be alright there for one night."
I was not sure whether I liked the idea, but there didn't seem to be much choice.
We drove into the darkness of the wood, and it felt strange and ghostly. There were some broken-down tables and benches so it must have been a picnic area.
"It probably looks quite nice during the day!" I said, looking around with some uneasiness.
Since we had been cooped-up all night in the van, we decided to sit out at one of the tables. Tony reached inside the cooler saying, "Lets have a bottle of wine! I'm sure we deserve it."
"And we'll have some bread and cheese!" I added, "I've got a box of Camembert, we'll have that with some black olives."
Once our eyes had become accustomed to the dark, we felt better. We had a torch that we left switched on, placed on the table, so that we could see what we were doing a bit better. Our mood became light-hearted. We had just finished our wine and snack when we were suddenly startled by a brilliant white light that illuminated us. Tony sat up straight and stared intently behind me. As I turned around the light went out. A cold shiver of fear ran through me, and I shuddered when I heard Tony's faint cry of terror, "Christ! Almighty! What is it?"
We both stared in total panic as the enormous black shape came soundlessly and steadily towards us.
As it came nearer we saw that it was a motorbike with a very large man sitting on it. He had switched the engine off, and was pushing the bike along by making strong steady movements with his black leather boots on the soft pine-covered ground. He parked the motorbike behind our van and momentarily disappeared from our view. Tony threw me a quick glance that suggested that we make a run for the van, but before we could move an inch, the figure had emerged again, and stood directly in front of us, towering above us like a formidable statue, huge and gleaming in the moonlight. Then he was standing still, a huge black bulk, with a black helmet and visor, against the night sky. Before he moved, Tony's eyes flickered then I saw him walk to the door of the van and pick up something. He whispered to me, "Don't worry, I've got a hammer here!" It was concealed in his hand, by his side, ready, waiting for the man to make a move towards us. I heard Tony's sharp gasp for breath, and I could feel my own heart racing, and the back of my neck tingling. The tension was intense. We felt completely defenceless against such a colossal being.
Suddenly he removed his helmet and in a pleasant voice said, "What the hell are you doing here?" Then with a chuckle he added, "I spotted your English number-plate! I thought, gosh they are a long way from home. So I came to see. Hope I didn't startle you.”
Tony let out a long sigh of relief and answered, "No! Not a bit!" He gave me a fleeting look of surprise as he laid the hammer down discreetly on the ground under the table.
Undeterred however, the young man continued, "Do you mind if I camp here near you tonight ?.. I've got a one-man tent."
"Sure," we both replied.
"Great!" he answered removing his heavy leathers. Somehow he looked completely different in his cotton shorts and T-shirt that he wore underneath. And being bare-footed, he appeared rather vulnerable.
He joined us at our table to drink a carton of milk that he had brought with him. "This is both my supper, and my breakfast!" he laughed. Then he proceeded to tell us how he had come to be there, and it was a long story.
He had come on holiday with some friends, all on motorbikes, but he had met a girl in Nidri, and had fallen in love with her, so he had stayed, while the rest of his friends had gone on touring, without him.
"So now I have to head home!" he said, "And I feel really broken-hearted about leaving Maria." He hung his head sadly, as he sighed and added quietly, "We spent our last night together last night! And we both cried!" He looked up into my face and smiled self consciously, "Honestly, I really love her!"
"Oh!" I said, "I do hope that you will keep in touch with her and who knows, maybe one day you will get together again."
"I hope so!" He moved his motorbike, and switched his headlight on to give some light, so that he could erect his igloo-style tent, and Tony and I tried to help him.
He told us that he would be leaving as soon as it was light, so we said goodbye, and wished each other good luck.
When we were inside the van Tony reached into a cupboard and brought out our bottle of Metaxa, "I'm having a brandy!" he stated. "I have never been so frightened in my life!" Then after taking a large swig, he added, "But I was glad that I'd kept that hammer ready by my seat!"
"Oh! Yes!" I exclaimed swallowing a large brandy, "I didn't know you had that!"
We drank another glass of brandy and I whispered dreamily, "Wasn't it nice the way he told us about how he had fallen in love!"
Tony replied, "That is when I should have hit him with the hammer!"
Then with a giggle he said, “I wonder if they spent their last night in that tent! They couldn’t get up to much in that!” And we both began to laugh.
In the morning he was gone, but written on the Camembert box was, “Nothing happened between me and Maria!”
“Oh,” I cried, “He must have heard us! Whatever must he have thought? And he was so nice!”
Excerpt from "Chasing Dreams in Lefkas" (Amazon.com and B & N)