They sat thinking for a while around the warmth of the fire. Chloe’s words sinking in and each with their own thoughts. Keith now had moved closer to the fire wanting to sit next to Sarah, but she moved away to get something from her bag and returned to another spot.
Joel spoke now, “when will it cease to be night? This constant darkness is so depressing and oppressive.” Keith wondered if he should mention the bird and the way the sky appeared at that time.
The group was low in spirit and Keith could feel their despair. He need to share so he discided to tell them.
“I saw a bird just over there,” he said pointing to where the thick trees ended between the pathway trees and the stark black rocks. The trees were more sparse here appearing like blackness on a black background.
“When I saw it I noticed the sky appeared to have a sunset, it lasted for a few moments and then it was gone.”
Keith hesitated to mention that the bird spoke to him, the group were now eyeing him and beginning to question him on why he should see this alone and no one else did.
“The bird spoke to me!” he interjected looking about him and expecting more comments. This time though they ceased to question and seemed more interested and keen to know what the bird has said.
Keith told them and looked over to where he saw the bird. It was strange for darkness began to split apart and for a second or two a bright light, like the moon peeped through. There was gasp for the whole group and a sense of joy for this brief sighting of light and a possible near dawning.
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.
There is no time like the present. They all like the many before them now had forgotten what they were here for. The questions had long ceased and queries replaced them – those day to day questions of where what, when and how now frequented their thinking. The most basic of questions now so comment and relevant.
Was it the long walk in darkness with those black trees that creaked and murmured that affected them so? Where did it lead them and where are they now? What was the song that bird sang in the night? And how can anything make sense anymore? Maybe it was just the cold wind that blew so relentlessly until it drove you back along that dark way and of course that cave! Forgotten until now!