‘That’s impossible! We only walked forward.’…’unless….’ Smiling Teddy’s voice faded in a futile attempt to avoid the conclusion.
‘Unless this is the trap.’ Tina finished with a frown.
‘Ay, ay, ay! What now?’ Ella almost whispered for the fear of disturbing the silence and hear a 3 times more powerful echo hitting her back with her own question.
Although staring around was completely pointless, it still seemed like a good thing to do in search of solutions. The crepuscule was not at all inspiring.
‘Do…we try a thread? Like the legend? With the labyrinth?’
‘Might as well…breadcrumbs, anything really. Although… we are only going ahead…’
‘At least pinpoint the place were we are restarting the trail.’ Ella insisted.
And seeing as action is always better than standing still and worrying, they opened the ballon’s nacelle and ransacked the provisions in searching for some rope. Or any other piece of clothing that could be turned in to a thread. Luckily, thier supplies were properly made by the two fairies. There was plenty rope.
Tina made a strong tie from a tick branch, pulled it a few times and, quietly, gestured toward the road for Ella and Teddy.
And on they went. Again. Clip, clop, clipty, clop, clip…
‘Wow, is the echo loud in this forest!’ Tina complained.
She pretended to be a hawk. Sharp. Quiet. Quick. She was set on finding a clue, any clue, as to when and why the trail was looping. She tiptoed at every step, circling Ella and Teddy, looking back, on the sides, ahead, and even up and down. But, despite her commendable efforts, it was a quiet forest. Same darkness, trees, stones and road ahead. She halted. Exactly the same trees, stones and road ahead!
‘Stoooop! We’ve re-started.’
Ella approached. Yet, there it was, on a side. A tree with a neatly tied knot. Behind her, the same thread unfolded as far as she could see. Two threads. Different. Identical.
‘We’re never getting out of here. Her voice had a subtle shrill of panic. I don’t get it.’
Tina got so discouraged that she just sat on a stone. She was beginning to feel tired. Any hint of new discussions and possibilities irritated her. After her, analyzing was moot. A completely new approach had to be DONE.
She knew better than to wonder off in the pitch black of the forest, but she saw no other choice. She was jumpy as it were. How bad could it get? They were completely stuck. Not even going back was a possibility now. There was no back any more.
Ella followed her glance with a sigh. Back to the ballon’s nacelle to search for a light source. As she searched inside, she kept thinking about Teddy’s reasoning as to why the ballon could not fly it over. The darkness of the forest made it impossible to cross it over. Should they try then? By foot at that?
She could not fathom a stone forest’s height so wide and so far as to not fly it over with a ballon. And, what if, amidst the trees the same problem is going to block them? What if, at some point the trail will just restart? Then they would be truly lost, no light with them, and, with a very real possibility that the ballon gets stuck in the trees branches. They would have to just abandon it. In the cold pitch of the forest. Forever. Pffff! If only my imagination would fly off with such enthusiasm in finding a solution to our predicament! It makes no sense. We haven’t even walked as far as the previous time. Why reset now?
And, while she was struggling with her doubts, muttering to herself and trying to find a candle of sorts, an idea hit her. Of course, the fairies though of this, and, if none was in their basket, it was producible with the dust.
A few moments later they were all gather behind a warm, gentle light held by Tina on a tall stick.
Although, she tried to appear brave, Tina was twice as worried. When she first reached the conclusion she would venture off in the forest, she didn’t think Ella, and the rest would have followed her. Somehow, she pictured them, safely, on the trail. Waiting for her to come back.
Yet, there they were. All gathered behind her. Including the balloon. They just started following her. And she didn’t stop it. As courageous as she felt, the darkness and the unknown of the forest begun to grow at pantagruelic proportions, while she thought she would face it alone.
Now, it all seemed somewhat dimmer. She could follow her thoughts and think ahead. She looked back at Giggle Teddy to see if he was still holding her thread, as she told him. She looked past her friends, knitting her brow. Was it something left on the trail? The stones leaves could not move. And yet…did she just see someone moving there?