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The Dreams of Annabelle Cloud

The girl in the pic­ture said that her name was Kayleigh, but I knew she was lying. So, I called her Dilly Dilly after the song, Laven­der blue dilly dilly, Laven­der green. She didn’t like that. When­ever she was get­ting on my nerves, I would just say, “Yes, Dilly Dilly,” and she would stop get­ting on my nerves. She would stamp her feet, and stick out her tongue, and then frown like an old man think­ing. She insisted that her hair was red, but it wasn’t. It was bright like the sun, sparkled like the stars, and smelled of the ocean.
Mum bought her pic­ture for me at a car boot sale. Paid fifty pence for it. She could have paid twenty five pence for it, but the small­est thing she had was a fifty pence piece, and she said that she felt guilty ask­ing for change.
The man sell­ing the pic­ture said, “Thank you.” And gave her a wink and a smile, and then he looked ever so stern, opened his eyes wide like the lights on the front of his car, stared mum right in the eyes, and said the darnedest thing.
He said, “Be care­ful with that ‘un, she’s trou­ble all right.”
He then turned to the woman look­ing at the egg timer next to me and said, “That’ll be a pound love.” Bright as a but­ton as if noth­ing had happened.
I shiv­ered despite it being the hottest day of the year.
Mum bought the pic­ture because she said it would look good hung on the wall above my lit­tle yel­low desk. And she was right, it did. The pic­ture was of a girl, sat on a swing that hung from a large oak tree. The tree was in the mid­dle of a field of Blue Laven­der. Appar­ently it had been painted by some local celebrity artist. That’s what the man had said. But I fig­ured that they couldn’t have been that good, because the pic­ture was sell­ing for twenty five pence at a car boot. I think the man would have told mum that it had been painted by Monet if he had thought he could have got away with it.
Much later in my life I did find out who the artist was, but that’s another story alto­gether. It wasn’t Monet by the way, just in case you were wondering.
It was many weeks later before Dilly spoke to me. I was sat at my desk doing some maths home­work. Maths, I hate maths, all those num­bers, give me the hee­bies. Any­way, all of a sud­den I heard this voice, quiet, but smooth like the purr of a kit­ten. She said, “They are com­ing you know.”
She was always say­ing things like that. She didn’t use that voice of course, because that was not how she sounded. That had been for dra­matic affect. Nor­mally she just sounded like any other girl. At least like you’d expect any other girl to sound like.
Let’s do an exper­i­ment shall we. Stop what you are doing, and turn the telly on. Flick through the chan­nels until you can see some children’s chan­nel with a kids pro­gram on. Wait a while until a girl appears and starts talk­ing. Can you hear her? Well, that’s how Dilly sounds, exactly like that.
But hang on a moment, I’m get­ting ahead of myself. How rude of me. Just like me of course. Bab­bling away with­out think­ing. Let me start again.
My name is Annabelle, Annabelle Cloud. I’m ten years old. And I have dreams. The other chil­dren call me the Day­dream Believer, like the Mon­kees song. If you don’t know who the Mon­kees are then ask your mum or dad, they prob­a­bly know. If they don’t then watch Shrek, they sang the song “I’m a believer”, actu­ally that won’t help you either, because they didn’t sing the ver­sion of the song in the film, so for­get that then.
I have adven­tures. I have adven­tures in my dreams, and dreams in my adven­tures. And they all started the day my mum gave me the pic­ture of Dilly.

I never fully under­stood the trav­el­ling. I tried to ask Dilly about it, and she told me that she was a con­duit, or a por­tal, or a tal­is­man, or some­thing like that. Actu­ally, she told me that the pic­ture was the tal­is­man, and that she was just trapped inside of it. That’s and inter­est­ing story in it’s own right, and I’ll likely tell you that one later.
I just think about her as being the key. She unlocks doors that I can travel through. And when I can smell the ocean in her hair, I know it’s time for a jour­ney. Some­times I start the jour­ney before I smell the ocean. I think I’m hav­ing a nor­mal dream, and then, all of a sud­den, the ocean fills my nose, and I know that Dilly and I are going on a trip.
She told me about the chil­dren, and the twelve Dream Stones, and how they were usu­ally the tal­is­man of choice, and that she was an anom­aly, and she wasn’t really sure if the guardians knew any­thing about her.
I met the chil­dren once, well I met Grace. She was lovely. But their story is a much big­ger story, and not mine to tell. So hope­fully some­one will tell you that story soon. But again, I’m get­ting ahead of myself.

I like telling sto­ries, love writ­ing. I try to write down every­thing that I can remem­ber from my trav­els. I’m like a travel writer.
Mrs Pop­ple my teacher says, ”When writ­ing a story, you must make sure that you show and not tell.”
I think that is really odd state­ment, because I’m writ­ing a story and not mak­ing a film, so I’m always going to tell you the story. Appar­ently, it’s about how you tell the story that turns it into a show. You the reader, or the lis­tener, needs to think they are in the story and not just being told about it, even though I am just telling you about it.
It doesn’t make much sense to me really, but then few things do. So I am going to apol­o­gise before hand, and just tell you my sto­ries any­way, and you can lis­ten, that is if you have the audio­book ver­sion, oh I do hope they make an audio­book ver­sion, if they do I won­der who they would use to nar­rate it? Oh, that’s so grand, they could have some really fab­u­lous actress to be my voice. You will get lost in the lovely lilt of her, or should I say my voice. It sounds really nice by the way. It sounds like Rasp­berry Rip­ple on Vanilla ice cream, on a very hot day. All smooth and sugary.
Oh, but if you don’t have the audio­book, and you are read­ing this, what will my voice sound like in your head. That’s a tricky one. I don’t think Rasp­berry Rip­ple really helps you does it? You know what, just pick a voice, I don’t mind which, just make it a fab­u­lous one. Hmm, be care­ful though, because if they make a film of my sto­ries, the actress might not sound like the voice in your head, and then you will be all of a quandary, because my voice will be so impor­tant to the telling of this story, that you won’t be sure that you want to go and watch the film, because you might think that the actress will spoil in. You’ll be like to your friends, “That actress, well she’s noth­ing like Annabelle Cloud, I don’t know why they cast her.” But one of your friends, you know the one, the one that knows lots about films, they’d be like, “No, she’s per­fect”. And you know what, that friend is right, because she is per­fect. The film will be great, so make sure you go and watch it.
Oh, dear, I’ve done it again. I’m waf­fling. I have a habit of doing that. What I really wanted to say was, I’m going to tell you these sto­ries, and there might be some show­ing in it, and there might be some telling in it, and for that I am sorry. But hope­fully we can all get along majes­ti­cally and have a good time.

So back to Dilly. Dilly has become my friend. Actu­ally. She’s prob­a­bly my best friend. I know that she can be hard to live with some­times, but most of the time she is ok. We have our argu­ments every now and then, but don’t all friends do that?

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