The short time at the cave’s entrance seemed much longer but really just a couple of days. The walk felt endless, at times, and the times walking in darkness pathway you were largely robbed of your senses though it was estimated by Speck and others to be 4 or maybe even 5 days. There was a dispute about the time of day, 6 am or 6 pm.
All food of any kind had long been eaten and most of the team had not eaten for over 3 days. The knawing pains had passed on the third day and now there was just an emptiness. Fortunately, along the pathway, there was fresh water from the trees that dripped down from their branches to get a little cold, cold water. They all did not recognize that then, but most now thought that the trees had and hopefully are going to continue helping them.
Chloe, Sarah, and Rowan all complained about the need to wash and change clothes. Few had brought anything to change into and now the whole group stank horribly. They wanted to wash and of course to eat.
Speck and Keith decided to take a better look around and see what they could find. Several hundred metres from the cave they found a small stream and with fresh running water from the hillside, but so cold. They drank it with cupped hands until their hands hurt so much.
They ran back to let the other know about the stream, and to get a fire started…….. (to be continued)
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.
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.