4 teenagers embark on a mystical journey and encounter strange gods. Nanowrimo 2011 Novel.
|The pictures were pure symbolism. Except for the cave, everything else had to be representative. How else would one explain the blooming flower gardens? There was nothing but grey surroundings. Dull, lifeless, and boring. Completely at odds with what was shown in the drawings.
Kalina sighed. She'd die for some green stems and pink or yellow blossoms. She imagined soft, tender leaves, with fuzz growing on the stems, tickling her fingers.
"The gardens must be some kind of haven. Little stops set upon the path to allow the traveler to rest before continuing the journey."
Kevin sighed. He knew Kalina was dreaming. "Beautiful flower gardens to show how safe those spots are. That's a great idea but I don't think I'd be daft enough to believe the signs are so simple. I mean, come on, we're in a cave! We've been here for how long? There's no danger here as far as I can see. I suppose this could be one of those flower gardens... But I think if we dig a bit deeper, the flower gardens could be warnings for lingering distractions. They'd make a wonderful place to sit and watch from, but if we linger there for too long, we might forget what we're doing and lose ourselves forever there."
Evan peered at the writing along the walls. The color of the text gradually changed to match the landscape. They were nothing but indecipherable glyphs. The man at the bottom and the man at the top both walked at the same pace and their paths seemed to end in the same place... somewhere to the left of the book. "Wouldn't this make more sense if they made the men walk from left to right? Why make them walk right to left. We open the book from right to left. We flip the pages from right to left. Why is this the first page of the book from right to left? If we read from left to right, we see the end of the journey first and then find the man on the right side where the journey actually starts. That makes no sense. It's like solving a maze by finding the exit and retracing it to the entrance."
Joshua flipped the book to the last page. The man still travelled from right to left.
He returned to the first page, thumbing the large number on the top right corner. Centered atop of the left heel of the upside down man, the man seemed to carry a large burden. "I don't understand why they drew the book this way. Whoever did this probably had lots of secrets. If I had to agree with anyone, I'd say Kevin is right. The meanings for the symbols can't be so simple, else why not just point out the dangers? There's nothing scary on any of the pages. If just by looking at the pictures, I'd say we're in Heaven or Paradise. I can't imagine anywhere more beautiful."
Kalina sighed. "It was just a thought. I'm not saying that the gardens couldn't mean something more. But if this is a map, why make it so complicated that we can't figure out how to use it? Like treasure, pillaged and buried by pirates at large, wouldn't it make more sense to keep it simple so they could come back for the treasure when the coast was clear and the authorities aren't looking for them anymore?"
Joshua shrugged. "Alright, I suppose. But there are so many gardens..."
"Set about like traps," added Kevin. "It's like saying, trap here, and here, and here. Don't come here. Or here. Or here either."
Kalina laughed. "Alright, I'm outnumbered. I'll get out of your way." And she did so literally by rolling across the floor until her back touched the side of a stalagmite. Then she sat up and gave a look to dare them to say more.
Joshua pointed at the stone path by the feet of both men. "I'd say we're here." He looked up and met his big brother's eyes. "If we go that way, we should be able to move along the path to here."
"Whoa! What makes you think that spot is the same as over there?" Kevin asked as he waved his hand to indicate the direction of where over there meant. "Where in a dark cave, where everything looks the same everywhere. How do you know where there is just by looking at this picture."
"The statue, what else?" Joshua said.
"The one we saw earlier. The one that vanished." Joshua rolled his eyes. "You know the one that..."
"Yo, Fish you are, I'm talking about the book. What statue?"
Joshua met Kevin's challenging gaze steadily. Without looking at the book, he tapped the page, indicating the spot that Kevin should look at. There by the upside down man's front leg, the one that made the first fateful step along the journey was a small right side up image of a small man making it's first step along the journey. It was a smaller version of the right side up man at the bottom.
Kevin harrumphed. "I guess you could say that. I don't like to count on it. Seems a bit reaching."
Joshua smirked. "I'm sure you have a better way of doing things. Am I right?"
Kevin laughed. "You know me too well." He pointed at the small lake that both men had to pass. "They both cross a bridge. It's the only common theme they both share. I think it means we have to find the bridge and cross it."
"And where might that be?"
Kevin pointed into the darkness. "When we were running, I saw something that looked like steps. If the bridge is a symbol for anything, I'd say it means the steps."
Joshua's face scrunched up. "Those weren't stairs," he cried out. "Even if they were, you're the only who saw them because I know I didn't."
Evan tapped Joshua on the elbow. "Easy, Josh. I agree with you. It looks like the statue is where we have to go to."
Kevin stared at Evan. "Are you serious?" seemed to be written all over his face.
Evan leaned closer to the book. His eyelids drooped. "Alright, whenever we're ready, we can start walking."