8. Endings and Beginnings

9. No Time Passed

Days seemed to pass, yet the children still didn’t feel any hunger pains.  Nathaniel commented on their lack of appetite. “Hey guys, have you noticed we’ve been here for several days, and yet we’ve not thought about food” he said.

“Oh yes. You’re right. That’s weird”, replied Ada. “I’ve not even had the urge to eat a piece of healthy fruit”.

“Well that proves one thing”, added Jacob, “If you’ve lost the urge to eat, this place is officially weird”.

Ada glared at Jacob, then stuck her tongue out to tell him she didn’t care what he had said.

Nathaniel suggested “Let’s go back the way we came”. Jacob and Ada both nodded and agreed. The three children turned around and began walking towards where they had first appeared in the land.

After a while they reached the river where they had first seen the warthog turn into a waterhog. They all stopped and removed their shoes and socks. They scrunched up their socks and placed them safely in their shoes before tying the laces together and putting them around their necks.

Ada called out “I’m going in first”, but Nathaniel beat her to it. He stood at the edge of the water, placed one foot in the river and suddenly cried out “It’s cold. You go first Ada”. Ada rolled her eyes, thought ‘What a baby’ and began to cross the river. The other two looked at Ada, and followed her quickly.

The children shook the water from their feet and put their shoes and socks back on, before continuing their journey.

Finally, after another long walk they reached a familiar looking area of the land. Was this where they had first arrived? They looked around, wondering what to do next.

“There must be a clue to help us somewhere around here” muttered Jacob, “Split up, and start searching”.

The children split up and began to look at the ground. After a short time, Ada noticed something in the grass. It was a small shiny, purple, oval pebble. She bent down and examined it more. It seemed too nice to leave where it was, so she picked it up and placed it in her pocket to look at later.

Meanwhile, Nathaniel was looking at another part of the ground. It looked different to the ground around it. It felt a little bouncy. Nathaniel called out to the others “Hey, you two. Come and check this out”. The other two ran over to join Nathaniel.

“What have you found?” asked Jacob.

“Watch this”, Nathaniel replied, as he began to jump up and down on the spot. The ground did begin to bounce, and then it began to rumble. Ada’s eye widened. Jacob looked at the ground as cracks appeared all around them. Without any chance to run, Nathaniel began to sink into the ground, and then suddenly a great hole appeared and all three of them fell downwards.

Ada screamed. Jacob tried to grab the dirt walls as he fell. Nathaniel saw Jacob doing this and began to do the same, but it was no good. There was nothing to grab. Down they fell.

With a smack they hit the ground. It was dark. It was dusty. It smelled like a damp blanket.

It took a few minutes until the children's eyes adjusted to the dark hole. Jacob squinted and stared ahead of him. “Is that a light over there?” he asked.

“It’s very dim” answered Ada.

“Can we reach it?” asked Nathaniel.

Slowly they made their way towards the dim light. As they got closer and closer the light became brighter and brighter until they were standing in front of a sparkling, shimmering oval light that stood upright. Although the children did not know it, it was the same light that Isabelle had stood in front of when they had lost her.

“What is it?” asked Ada.

“No idea” answered Jacob.

Ada replied, “What do we do?”

“Test it” Nathaniel said quietly.

“How?” called out Jacob.

Without warning, Nathaniel stuck his arms into the light, waited a moment, and then pulled them back crying out “Ta-da. It’s safe.” as he waved them in Jacobs face.

Ada called out “3…2…1…jump” and all three of them leapt into the light.

...

They were sat in their seats in the classroom. Isabelle was sat in her seat too. All four children looked at each other, dazed. What had happened?

“Nathaniel” shouted the teacher, “Are you listening? What is wrong with your table? First Ada, now you. Pay attention over there”.

All four children looked at each other confused – how long had they been gone for? They thought it was days, but it seemed that no time at all had passed. Was that possible? Was it real? Had they imagined it? Did they all have the same daydream? They could still remember the beasts they had discovered, and so at break time they began to draw them once again. Soon they had all the beasts drawn, and decided to make a game from them. They created a card game to play with the class that was like Top Trumps. The class loved it, and wanted to play it all afternoon.

As Ada left school later that day, she put her hand into her pocket and felt something strange. She took the object out of her pocket and looked at it. It was a shiny purple pebble.

Perhaps her adventure had been real after all.

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