A good distance away, George’s family were unpacking their items. He had slowly and carefully guided his family to a small cave which stood behind the middle of a waterfall. Spacious enough to hold ten or more people, there were odd grooves within the cave and small vents through which a cool breeze flowed. A stream of fresh water also flowed through a circular groove from the top of the cave leading into the ground.
Forest and Viola had exclaimed in surprise upon entering the cave. When questioned about it, George gave a small smile and mentioned that this was a place he and some friends had discovered long ago when they were much younger. A place where they would often come for weeks while exploring secrets and wonders of this place.
As the children continued unpacking, Rose approached George. “So this is where you three always went, where I pestered you to take me to. Are you OK coming back here, with what happened?”
“It’s alright Rose. That happened a long time ago and this place, this place is like a home to me. It’ll do for now.”
“Sorry to interrupt guys;” Fern said as she slowly approached her parents. Passing her hands through the waterfall in front of them, she splashed her face with water and then turned to speak to them.
“This place, the drawings, even the hidden room further in.” Here, a huge smile came to George’s face. “It’s beautiful, even a bit wondrous. But what are we going to do?”
“Fern, what are you talking about? Do in regards to what? And what hidden room are you talking about?”
“Mama, I’m talking about food. Sure we have fresh water and enough food to last a few day, but what about after? I’m talking about our lives! We can’t go on living in a cave for the rest of our lives! And somebody’s bound to come looking for us.”
Taking a deep breath, she continued, “As for the hidden space, Viola discovered it. She and Forest are exploring there right now. Mom, where are you going! It’s nothing to worry about, just another part of dad’s space!”
“Your father will answer your other questions. I’ve gotta see what those two are up to. Who knows what’s there after so long!” Her voice fading as she hurried along the passageway, she shouted back; “And don’t you go exploring neither! We’re gonna have a family dinner, just like we used to!”
Turning to her father with an exasperated look on her face, Fern waited. Laughing, he pulled his daughter into a side hug. “Fern, overthinking is no good. Sometimes, it’s good to take things one moment at a time, instead of worrying about this situation or that situation. Why worry?”
“But, dad…” A loud shout interrupted her. “Was that…mom?” This time a short scream followed.
Staring at each other the two begun to run towards the back of the cave. As they came closer, they begun to hear a soothing melody slowly getting louder. “Dad, the entrance it’s closed!” Stopping at a corner of the cave, George picked up a small oddly shaped rock off a ledge, fit it into grooves on the cave wall and quickly moved it around in a set pattern.
As the door slowly opened, they heard another short scream followed by cries of; “Give him back! Give him back!” They rushed inside to see Rose pounding at one section of a wall and Viola staring in shock at the area. Turning to her father, Viola run pass the items that lay strewn about the place and into her father’s arms.
“Fern, go get your mother or her hands will be a bloody pulp. Viola, what’s going on. Talk to me! Where’s your brother and do you know where that music is coming from?”
“I; I don’t know papa! The music started playing, the Forest left what he was doing and walked to that corner. He looked at me and said to tell you everything’s gonna be OK, right before some green shadowy things grabbed him! Papa, his whole body turned a different colour and then he just vanished!”
“It’s OK, it’s OK.” Turning to Rose, who sobbed while Fern held her and looked around, he said; “It’s gonna be OK Rose. We’ll figure it out. He isn’t hurt…I’m sure. I’ve seen those shapes Viola mentioned before, a long time ago…”
“He better be George! Or there will be some hell to pay! And what do you mean you’ve seen those things before?! Did you know they’d be here?! What’s with this blasted music?!”
“Mom, quiet.” Fern held her mother firmly, as the music’s rhythm had changed. “Look. Look at at the walls.” Where she pointed, a pattern of colorful leaves now seemed to flow and the walls were slowly changing colour. “I think we should get out of here. Mom, Mom! We’ll come back.”
Nodding at his daughter who was slowly pulling her mother away, George took hold of Viola and they both turned and run. Suddenly the entrance of the cave slammed shut, forcing them to stop suddenly. A melodious voice sounded in the air as two green ghostly figures drifted from the top of the cave wall to lightly land in front the closed entrance; “Ah, ah, ah. Now, now, now. We can’t let you leave. Have no worries mam. Your son is safe. The colours and the leaaavves are flowing and soon this whole place, inside and out, will be covered. You’ll see him again.”
As they laughed lightly, George leaped forward and swung a right hook at one of them. As it connected and sent one flying the other stared wide eyed; “How? How? You’re not supposed to be able to touch us? Then again, we were told to…” His melodious voice was cut off as a fist took him square in the jaw.
“You’re not what I once knew! Where’s my son?” Shaking the being who smiled at him, George raised his hand for another punch, till the other being suddenly appeared by his side and with a kick sent him soaring to the side. As the other, got to its ghostly feet and brushed its ghostly clothes, they smiled at George. “Now, now, now. No reason to fight. You see…”
A scream and a punch to the gut raised one slightly in the air as Rose then swung a roundhouse kick at the still smiling being. “Mom, do you need help?”
“No Fern, honey. I got this.” As she advanced on the being, it looked to its companion who was slowly getting to its knees and winked.
“Seems, seems, it runs in the family. Oh well, till we meet again for the colours have come.” With that, they both slowly faded into small streams of light green which dispersed.
“Mom!” Turning to her daughters Rose cried out again! Clouds of different colours had now covered most of the cave, along with both her remaining children. She heard Fern shout, “I love you!” and then Fern was gone. As she was about to rush into the clouds, a hand held her back. Turning with tears in her eyes, she saw George smiling at her.
“It’s gonna be OK Rose. We’ll meet em soon.” They hugged each other as the clouds covered them, spreading ever outwards.
The scenes around them faded as different coloured clouds rushed through them. Any pains they had faded and a bright light beamed as they suddenly heard the sound of weird bird songs, followed by a mighty voice speaking.
“George, I’ve been waiting.”
Two voices, then spoke. “See Fern, Viola? I told you; Everything is gonna be alright!”
“Alright Forest. Mom, Dad? Can you hear me?”
In the space where the once were, colourful clouds and colourful leaves floating on melodious music raced throughout caves, trees, hidden places and through all things that were in that space. Those who lived on the edge of that space stared in wonder, shock and for some fear. Though some tried to get closer, a green fog, never before seen kept some out or made some reappear further away.
After some time had passed, silence reigned, till slowly the birds and other animals once again entered into their space.