Around the fire, they now gathered looking to warm their cold limbs and feel the heat this fire.
Keith joined them, slipping his picture into his bag and leaning on a rock close to the cave entrance.
The world intrudes in every sphere – its needs, its greed, its seed of desire, but here they had lost it for a while.
Keith leaning and watching though furthest from the fire could feel it begin to warm him. He liked it gentle warming and with that, he regained a little of that desire as he watched Sarah. He had not noticed her before but now wondered more and more about her.
Chloe spoke for the first time for a long while. “What is this all about and where are we going?” she asked looking about her and all those seated around the fire.
It was Geoff that first answered saying, “I did not what it meant to wander across the green bridge. I did not know we could not go back.”
He hung his head as if he would start crying, but continued to speak, “I don’t know what this means or where we are going, but we have to get back and get through this.”
He looked up with a desire in his eyes and scanned about him at all the faces of them around the fire.
They all knew they had to get out of this and find the way back. They also feared what lay ahead, this was so surreal and weird. Anything could lay ahead, what next after talking trees and birds.
From the cave entrance, Keith stood looking back and now it seemed the trees were far away to the right and much more sparse than before. A heavy darkness still rested on them, though an eerie light shone behind them like a previously unseen sunset.
Keith was no artist but the time there waiting and watching made him sketch what he saw. He wondered if that was a setting sun and if so how it could set without first giving light – and warmth.
The others were now stirring from their long periods of sleep and one of them had started a fire from the numerous dry wood around this flat area.
Keith liked to think it was the setting sun, it gave him hope and a little comfort. He recalled the words the little bird had told him and looked about quickly to see if he could it again.
To the right of the picture, the dense darkness of the trees held their position and Keith choose not to shown them just a brief indication to remind him (as if he needed reminding, of this!).
Sarah caught his eye distracting from his thoughts and his picture, now complete, but she held his gaze.
“Keith! What yer doin’ there?” she said looking back as she walked away.
Keith had not mentioned it to anyone, nor had he taken any notice of it. Hunger and tiredness had blurred his mind and nothing seemed that strange to him anymore.
It was at the place where the tree covered pathway joined the exposed level area from off which lay the cave’s entrance. The trees for a short length of the pathway grew less densely and it was here Keith thought he saw something moving in the tree close branches. It appeared best in his peripheral vision and seemed to vanish if he directly at it.
For a moment Keith saw it there and it appeared like the darkness had been replaced with light. Just for a moment and in that moment he saw it was a bird. One of the birds maybe that they had heard singing in the darkness. Not it chirped a familiar song. Then without a hesitation turned to face Keith and said, “Beware of the cave and now this. All must enter the cave but none can go back until they reach the end. ” The bird chirped a little more as if clearing its throat and then continued, “Beware of the cave and now this, you will never be alone in there but often wish you were alone.”
Keith for a moment could not believe what he saw and heard but also in another moment parked it and allowed his thoughts to go with those of the others now glad to be free of the trees and finding the cave.
Keith now wondered what he had heard and a little bird told him.