We’ve got pictures this time! I wish had access to my own pictures, but I don’t. They’re on another computer that I have no access to at this time. It’ll be about a month before I can get my hands on them again so I’ll have to make do with other people’s photos.
======== The Path of Moonlight ========
I didn’t stop to think that I had crawled farther than the house was long. I didn’t wonder about my mother’s parting words. My only thought was getting away from my guardians. Long before I reached the end my arms and legs ached from shuffling forward on my belly for so long. I had no idea of the time that passed, only knew that I had to hurry forward away from my guardians. I had left them trying to widen the hole I had made. They were both bigger than I, my father especially, but he was also stronger and could dig faster, crawl faster. I could only hope his size would hinder them long enough for me to get above ground.
Fresh air cooled my face when I would have given up to rest. Hope spurred me on that I would soon be free. I was barely aware of my surroundings when I tumbled out of the ground. I laid there on my stomach for a moment, head craned to the side as I reveled in the fresh air and wide space. I pushed myself up on my hands but gave in to the desire to just lay there and rolled over on my back.
What I saw was green. Green all around me. The tops of trees soared above me, their leafy crowns thick so that the sun’s light was dimmed and pleasant. Moss and lichen covered much of the bark, turning the trees into furry, unresponsive creatures. Plants grew all around me, some large, some small, all various shades of green. That was my first impression anyway. When I sat up to get a better look, I saw purples and yellows and reds accenting the greens.
A tunnel was cut into the hillside in front of me. It was small but so was I. I peered into it but could see nothing after a few feet. My thoughts swam in confusion and a wave of dizziness had me crouching on the ground. I concentrated on breathing slowly till the world had steadied itself once more.
Tears burned my eyes and my heartbeat quickened in helpless fear. I had so many questions. How did I get here? Where was here? What was I going to do? I looked around again as a thought shot through the others – where was the moonlight I was following? It was daytime. Had I crawled so long that the night had turned to day? That was impossible! I looked around and bit my lip. Everything around me was impossible.
“Sssooo,” I said, prolonging the word for several heartbeats as I thought it through. “I crawled through the city, underneath the city, and…came out in a park?” It was the only idea I had that made any sense no matter how implausible it sounded to me. “And the house’s crawl space just happened to be connected to an old, forgotten tunnel. That leads out into a park. And no one’s seen it because…it’s…off the path and…hidden by…plants.” I looked around me and saw nothing but more trees and plants. “Way off the path,” I said. “Maybe the tunnel was used for…hiding priests or…runaway slaves.”
I was grasping at flimsy ideas that didn’t ring true for me, but what else did I have? I stood up, body aching, and wondered which way I should go. There was no path that I could see. I was probably right about the tunnel staying hidden due to thick vegetation – no matter where I went, I’d be tromping through ferns and climbing over stumps and generally causing havoc that some unknown gardener or troop of gardeners would have to take care of later. I sighed and shrugged my shoulders – there was no way around it. I couldn’t stay there.
It occurred to me that my guardians might go to the police to report me missing. I didn’t know what they’d say, how they’d explain the situation. Shaking my head to clear the questions I had no way of answering, I started off. Though it wasn’t cold, I put my jackets on so I wouldn’t have to carry them and then tried to wipe the dirt off me as best I could, but I was filthy and needed a bath. How I’d get that bath, I didn’t know. Nor had I figured out what I’d do when I got out of the park. These questions gnawed on my mind as I trekked through the unending vegetation.
I looked around as I walked and marveled at what I saw, but I didn’t stop until I spied a pond. It was as green as the plant life around it. Indeed, many of the plants were growing up out of the water and not just at its edges but in the middle.
I peered in and saw my reflection. Its sharp face was streaked with dirt and its long dark hair hung down in straggly tendrils on either side. With a noise of disgust, I tilted my head back and tossed my hair till the rain of dirt had stopped. Then I twisted it a few times and tucked it into the back of my jacket so I could kneel down by the water’s edge.
The water was cold and clear against my skin when I scooped up a handful. Having learned of animal bacteria and germs in unpurified water, I was careful not to drink it as I splashed my face and scrubbed the dirt off. It felt good, refreshing.
I wasn’t aware of anyone else until I turned and saw the tip of a blade poised inches from my face.
======== End of 6th Installment ========
Hope you enjoyed the pictures! It’s a real place in the Olympic National Forest in Washington. The most gorgeous place I’ve ever seen. Completely and totally in love with it. I always thought my dream home would be in a place like Hawaii or something. Then I discovered places like this. Maybe I can have two dream homes? And then I’d vacation in Greece!