Two young siblings discover a secret and go on a magical journey.
|3,499 words Prompt 3
“Do not dismiss my words children. The place where you are going holds a mystical and fantastic secret. Some people who go there do not come back, “said the old man at the gas station counter.
“So you’re saying my uncle’s mansion is haunted or something?” asked a young boy named Charles.
“No. There is a large stone in the inner courtyard that has writing barely readable. It tells that there is a way into another world in the vast outlays of the manor. It is quite old.”
“What do you think of that Lisa?-a parallel universe.” Charles said to his blond haired and blue eyed sister. Then he addressed the man. “You have watched too many twilight Zones dude.”
“I do believe in the supernatural like an afterlife, but this is a bit of a pill to swallow even for me,” Lisa said with a raised an eyebrow.
A man in a denim jacket and a baseball cap approached them. “Okay kids, time to hit the road,” he said as he walked outside the mini-mart.
“Just don’t get too curious,” the old man said with a grim look.
Everyone got back in the maroon sedan and they continued their way onto the rural highway with rolling hills and majestic mountains.
“Dad, has uncle Byron ever said anything weird about his home?” asked Lisa.
“Only that many people have tried to break into it. There is one strange thing that has occurred every so often.”
“Yes.” Lisa said anxiously as she leaned forward.
Her dad continued. “Sometimes people will break in and not steal anything. It’s like they break in just to look around and then it appears they simply leave. There is no trace of them. They say that the place is haunted.”
“Oh, Peter, stop that.”
“He, he, he. Just kidding kids,” their dad said.
“Mom, how come we have never been to Byron’s before?” asked Charles.
His dark haired mom with deep brown eyes responded. “You uncle travels a lot and this is the first time in a long while he has been able to spend a month at his manor. Whenever he is gone he sometimes lets loose friends and colleagues look after it so it will almost be like he is a guest in his own house.”
“Sandy, tell them about the genuine pirate treasurer chest.”
Sandy elaborated. “There is a treasure chest that once belonged to captain Black Beard in one of the rooms.”
“Cool! Does he have any swords or treasure maps?” asked Charles enthusiastically.
“I don’t know about that,” Peter said.
The four went on talking about their destination. One hour later they pulled into the large U-shaped driveway. A man in his mid-fifties came out of a very old wooden door. The whole manor was faded to a white antique luster with cracks on statues of cherubs and angels. Six large pillars held up a stone canopy that was over the entrance.
Peter got out and approached the man with open arms and a big smile. “How’s it going big brother?” he said as he hugged him and patted him on the back.
“I’m just happy to see my brother, sister in-law and their two children. Come on in.”
When they were all ushered in, they were speechless at the grand design of the interior. Two curved staircases with gold railings at both sides of the walls led up to a single balcony. Under the balcony were three corridors with arches having vines and fruit made out of silver and gold.
“Let me show you kids to your rooms.”
Byron led them to the center corridor with murals of ancient cathedrals, murky caverns and mysterious groves portrayed on the walls. He opened a door on the left revealing two old beds with cast iron frames.
“They may look old but they are comfortable.”
Lisa came to the bed on the right and pushed on a silk comforter and found mattress to be soft as down. “You’re right. I like this place already. What’s in there?” she asked looking at a small wooden nightstand with silver handles.
“Just some very old books including a Bible. Feel free to read them if you want.” Byron motioned for the two to follow them. “Come this way. I’ll show you the inner courtyard garden.”
The siblings gleefully trotted off behind their uncle as he led them back to the entrance hall.
“Upstairs leads to it.” He continued to speak as he took them up the crimson carpeting of the left staircase “This place was built in the 1800s and there are some rooms even I have not been in.”
When they got to the balcony, he led his nephew and niece into another corridor entrance. The three walked to the end of it to a locked wooden door with iron bolts and hinges. Byron pulled out a very old rusty key as big as his hand and opened the door revealing the garden.
“It’s so cool!” exclaimed Charles observing what was before him.
“Beautiful!” Lisa said after her brother.
The garden was full of large sunflowers, daisies, rich red roses, bright yellow tulips and exotic flowers they had never seen in real life. They walked inside the garden and saw diverse breeds of birds chirping and flying from flower to flower.
“Look at that fountain. It would be cool if it worked,” said Charles.
Lisa looked at it from top to bottom. She walked around it and saw a large protruding bolder. She stared at it with interest and wide eyes.
“Charles, I think I found what that man was talking about.”
Her brother approached it along with Byron.
“Why this was written or how it got here has stumped me for the longest time. It is written in Latin and most of it is faded as you see,” said Byron.
“My mom said you inherited this from a relative. Didn’t that person tell you of it?” Charles asked.
“That person was barely related to me. I was his only nearest kin. I never met him. I had a historian examine this and from what he could tell it just mentions some superstition.”
Charles and Lisa traded eager glances.
“What was the superstition?” asked Lisa.
“It’s been a long time. As I recall it speaks of heaven, space or that magical power is in the house, some nonsense like that.”
The two were speechless for a few moments.
“Don’t worry it’s not real,” Byron said as he shook them on their shoulders with both arms. “You can stay here for an hour more then it’s time for dinner.” Byron turned around and went back into the manor leaving the door open. Then he stopped and winked at them with a coy smile before he left.
“If the superstition is not true, how did that guy at the gas station know of the boulder?” asked Charles.
“I agree. I think it is worth investigating only we do not know Latin.”
“It does not matter. Remember what dad said. Whatever happened, something is really strange about this place,” Charles said.
Lisa felt the faded relief and got a chill down her spine. “Can we get out of here? Something is giving me the creeps.”
“Alright, I’m getting hungry anyway.”
The dining hall where they had their dinner was enormous. The whole family was amazed by the long banquet table with exceptional flat ware.
“Is every metallic item in your house made out of gold or silver?” asked Lisa.” This golden fork is probably worth over a thousand dollars!”
“This place is very decadent indeed. I would not doubt that the entire mansion has most of its objects like the flat ware. One of those chandeliers that hangs over us is probably worth over ten-thousand dollars. How is the turkey? I dressed it from scratch.” Byron said.
“It’s delicious. You’re a good cook,” said Sandy.
They continued eating and conversing about the mansion mostly and also other questions.
“Oh, I’m stuffed. Bed sounds real good about now,” said Peter.
“Honey it’s only 6:30pm,” Sandy countered.
“Mom can we be excused?” said Charles.
“Byron, may they look around?” she asked.
The two leapt out of their seats and ran to the main hall.
“Where should we go?” Lisa asked.
“Where else? The garden!”
“I don’t know Charles. I’m kind of sacred.”
“I felt something eerie. It gave me the chills.”
“I didn’t feel anything.”
“Maybe it was because I touched the stone.”
“I think you’re letting your imagination run off with you Lisa.” Charles noticed her looking down in silence. “Okay, we’ll go back there and I’ll touch the stone myself. Then you’ll see.”
Lisa nodded and they went up the left hand staircase to the balcony and both of them walked through the corridor. They saw light at the end and came to the entrance of the courtyard garden.
“Wow. No matter how long I stare at it, it is still overwhelmingly beautiful,” said Lisa.
“It is very cool. We should take a picture of it before we leave. Well, let’s go,” Charles said as he went into the garden.
Lisa stood reluctantly with her hands behind back.
“The only way you’ll get past this is if you just come on and let me show you it is nothing.”
Lisa took a deep breath and followed her brother. They went around the fountain and stood before the boulder. Charles stretched out his hand to touch it.
“See there is nothing to…” just as he touched it, he felt a mysterious force brush over his body. Immediately he pulled back.
“You felt it too didn’t you?”
“I…how can it be? Uncle Byron probably touched the thing before and he said nothing plus he believed it was all just superstation.
“What if he was not being entirely truthful? What if he intended for us to get curious and find out? What does it mean? Is it haunted or enchanted or something?” asked Lisa.
Just as he was about to answer, he noticed a small golden shine in a hedge of tall bushes.
“Whoa! Look over there,” Charles said pointing.
Lisa’s eyes widened in wonder. Both of them felt a strange, emotional pull from the shine and walked towards it. They followed it through the hedge and felt a gust of air rush past them. The two siblings smelled the pleasant and calming scent of fresh roses as the moist of greenery teased their skin. The golden shine brightened with every step they took through the foliage. At last they came to a narrow pathway opening in one the enclosed stone borders of the garden. At their feet was the start of a stairway that led up to the magnificent golden shine. They felt the soothing heat and the hypnotic glare of the golden resonance.
“What is it?” Charles spoke into the air.
“It must lead to the other world the man spoke of,” Lisa said with a drifting voice.
“Come on, let’s go!” Charles shouted.
“But…” Before Lisa could finish, her brother was running straight for the light.
“Wait!” she said as she ran after him.
Charles darted into the light and Lisa followed after him. Both were puzzled at where they now had come. They found themselves in a very dark place like a starless black sky all around them. The two were on a flat round pillar top. The only light were from torches that lined the circular ground that also ran along an extensive narrow bridge without borders. It lead to another pillar with three doors made of three metals; gold, silver and bronze.
“Where are we?” asked Lisa.
“I don’t know. But it is obvious where we must go.”
“All I see are three doors all by themselves. There is no structure behind them. And the bridge has no hand rails and it is no more than three feet wide. Well fall!”
“I’ll hold your hand. I won’t let you fall,” assured Charles.
He held Lisa’s hand then Charles stepped onto the bridge delicately at first. Then he walked at a steady, slow pace so Lisa could follow.
“Just keep your eyes on the other side. Don’t look down.”
Inch by inch they crept across the long bridge.
“Don’t worry Lisa. Soon we’ll be over the bridge and at the place where the doors are. I cannot imagine what awaits us!”
“Where do you think we are? Are we truly in another world?” asked Lisa in a slightly trembling voice trying not to look down.
“I don’t know. It feels like we’re in space or something.” Then they came to the halfway point. “We’re almost there.”
Suddenly there was a strong wind that made Lisa lose her footing. She let go of her brother’s hand and stumbled over the edge then grasped the side of the bridge. As she daggled over the ominous black, darkness below her, Charles knelt and grabbed her forearm.
“Charles!” Lisa cried.
“I’ll pull you up! Hold on!”
Charles was puling with all his strength but his hands were sliding and with every inch that they slipped he began to panic just as his sister was. And when he was holding her hands with his own, she suddenly lost her hold and fell screaming into the void.
“Nooo! Lisa, no!”
He put his face in his palms and cried rocking back and forth. He kept expressing his pain for a few minutes. Then he heard a sound. It was coming from below and was approaching him. The sound was like the pushing of air. He stood up and backed away a few inches.
“It’s the sound of flapping. What could it be?”
Suddenly a burst of gold and white shot up from under him and went over his head.
“Is that…a griffin?”
The flying figure descended and placed its talons on the bridge.
“Lisa!” Charles exclaimed with joy as he looked at his sister on the magical creature.
The Griffin stretched its wing and lowered it so Lisa could slide off.
They both hugged. Then the griffin spoke. “Good for you that I happened to be traversing through the Doorway Access Realm. I was about to pass through a door that only my kind can see when I heard her scream. ”
Charles looked at griffin then spoke. “You can talk.”
“indeed. I am learned in a few of the human languages.”
Charles looked expectantly at Lisa.
“I was falling and he caught me. It was completely black, and felt myself land on feathers,” she said.
“Thanks,” Charles said to the creature.
“You’re welcome. How would you two like a lift to the other side?”
“That would be great!” exclaimed Lisa.
The griffin lowered his head and they climbed up the neck onto his back. They gripped his feathers and the griffin flew to the other pillar top. It took a few seconds to reach the doorways.
“I have not seen a human in a long time much less children. You were drawn to the golden light?”
“Yes,” said Lisa.
“That meant you both were chosen to come here. It is a delight to see such beings. You must have questions but I cannot simply tell you. As you explore the realms you will gain an understanding of them. Now I must go.”
“Which door do we take?” asked Charles.
“Just choose one. They all lead to different realms. Good luck and enjoy your journey!” With that the creature took flight and went back down into the darkness.
“Let’s choose the golden one,” said Charles.
“I think it looks the coolest.”
“Well, that is as good as any other reason I can think of,” said Lisa.
They pushed on the door and walked through to a large balcony. It was all surrounded by a dense white shining mist. On either side of the middle section of the balcony borderer, were two staircases.
They walked in and the door shut by itself.
“How beautiful!” Lisa said observing the mist around them.”
They went down the left staircase and they found a plain wooden door with two small trees at each side. They both held their breath. With a quick glance at each other, they opened the door and saw what was beyond it.
“Are we in some kind of fairy tale land?” asked Charles.
“It’s like a city made of ice. Everything is so pointy,” said Lisa. “It reminds me of the Kremlin but made of ice.”
“No one is here.”
“Not true,” said a voice behind them. They turned to see a man in a thick white cloak and a long gray beard. “This is the realm of the past. Here all things are frozen in memory and time. Actions and thoughts are symbolized inside different kinds of buildings.
“Lisa that big ice ball has a frozen image of our last Christmas with our first dog, Slugger. And that wide tower there has an image of our first house inside it! This whole place is amazing…and huge!”
“I’d prefer that you stay, but there are other realms to see. I will lead you to the next one.”
The man brought them to yet another door made that was made of emerald.
“Go ahead,” he said.
Lisa grabbed the knob and opened the door. They were now at the foot of a ramp of stone going up a light incline with narrow walls. When they walked in the door, the man shut it behind them. The two ascended the ramp and saw they were on a structure floating on the clouds. Likewise, there were castles, towns, cathedrals, towers, and even mountain ranges floating sky high. Long white staircases going up and down connected some of the places and buildings to one another.
Suddenly a white unicorn flew up through the clouds and landed by Charles and Lisa. “This is the dream realm. It is where children and adults have their most wondrous dreams.”
“How high up are we?” asked Lisa.
“There is no ground, only endless sky and clouds.”
“Look! People are flying way over there!” exclaimed Charles.
“Now that you have seen this realm, you must move onto the next.”
“We just got here,” Charles said.
“You must not draw attention to this place. Some may come looking for you.”
Both of the children looked down in sadness.
“I will lead you to the next and final realm that you will see. Climb on my back.”
The two did as they were told and were wisped to a tower top where there was a wooden door dyed crimson.
“Make haste to enter,” the unicorn said.
The children wanted so badly to stay in the dream world but they had to go. Lisa grabbed a handle and opened it. As soon she did so, a blinding light overpowered them. Next, a man in shining white came before them and touched their eyes. Immediately, their sight adjusted to the brightness. By far it was the most magnificent world yet.
“The buildings, they’re glowing! And I see…angels?”
The man in shining clothes spoke. “This is the third heaven, the abode of the righteous souls who have died.”
Then the two saw something that brought them to tears.
“Grandpa?” Lisa said.
“It is me. Although we can talk briefly now, know that you will be here someday too.”
Both children hugged their grandpa.
“Why can’t we stay here along with all the other realms?” asked Charles to the man in shining clothes.
“Such a thing would pain and bereave your parents. We could not do that.”
“What is that black metal door there?” asked Lisa.
“That leads to the dark realm, the abode of the wicked souls. You will not see that place though. It is strictly for the evil to observe and experience. It is time to go home.”
The man in white led them to a silver door. He opened it and within was that same golden light that had brought then to witness the spectacular places they had come to.
“Can we ever return?” asked Lisa.
“Not through the manner you came. But there are other portals to the special realms. You may find one."
“Well, goodbye and…thank you.” said Lisa.
“Good by children and may the Father’s blessing be upon you.”
They passed into the light and they were back standing at the bottom of the staircase, where the foliage was at the back of the inner courtyard garden. They felt their way through and were soon at the stone boulder.
“Will anyone ever believe us?” asked Lisa.
“No, or else I think they would have told us to keep it as secret.”
“Do you think there are more realms than the ones we saw?”
“Maybe. Come on let’s go back inside.”
The two ran inside and hoped someday to return to that wondrous place of mystery that they had stumbled upon. They would always remember their brief but amazing journey for years to come.