Chapter 2:

The sound of birds chirping in the morning light awoke the two teenagers suddenly. The both of them sat up and looked at the world in front of them. They were dismayed to what was before their eyes. The scene was beautiful, the trees were green (grass green) and there were bright, colorful flowers everywhere they could see. This is what they would call home for the rest of their lives, or so they thought silently.

There was no sign of life around them, nothing moved but the trees from the calm, spring breeze. The sun was shining a different color, it was redder, as if it had cooled down slightly through time. The green grass at their feet was so thick and comfortable it felt like a carpet lying beneath their feet. Mark and Becca stood up frightened by this new place. What the two didn't realize is the incredible heavyness to this new place. Although it seemed so beautiful to the eye, there was something dark behind the surface.

The two of them took the liberty of showing themselves around the area. An opening appeared before them and when they entered the large field the thick forest disappeared with their memories of the path they took to get there. Nearby they could hear a stream flowing rapidly. There were no houses nor people, it was quiet, too quiet. This new place seemed peaceful, like there were no problems or conflict in the world. As Mark and Becca walked they approached the stream they heard before. It was absolutely beautiful and the sound of the running water was musical. The rocks in the stream seemed like the perfect place to sit and relax a little, so they decided to hop on them and inhale the clean spring air.

They still haven't spoken to each other because of their state of amazement. So Becca decided to break the silence. "This is amazing, it's ridiculous. When did this happen? Why? Mark? Have I changed too? Do I look different?" questioned Becca.

"Huh? Oh! Umm, no you look good, the same I mean," replied Mark. "Actually, now that I look at you closer, your nose has gotten bigger, and wow, you smell!"

Becca chuckled uncontrollably for a couple minutes as she absorbed the sarcastic criticism Mark just threw at her. "This place seems pretty nice," said Mark. "Why would we have ended up here?"

"I have no idea," replied Becca still looking around at the new sight. They sat there together in silence until a large boom shook the ground beneath them. The two jumped slightly and looked at each other worryingly. They stood up and started heading towards the booming noise. It may not have been the best idea, but what did they know, this was the first time they'd ever been here. As they moved hurriedly towards the boom, their surroundings began to shift. There were little trees around them, staring. As they became more and more distracted by the small trees, they began to near a large canyon. It was deep, deeper than anything they'd ever seen, and the closer they got to it, the farther it went. Thunder crashed loud above them, it echoed through the large valley. It felt like it surrounded Mark and Becca, and it sent a shiver of fear through them. They backed up towards the large forest again where many enormous oak trees stood and stared. There was no shelter, so they stood under one of the large trees as the rain began flooding from the sky. Mark grabbed Becca and hugged her to keep her warm. It stopped her from shaking for a while, but when the voice of a small man happened to hit her ear, she became frightened once again. He yelled to them both, saying it wasn't safe to sit there. They looked up to find him sitting inside the large tree, he didn't have room for them to stay there through the storm, so he told them of this little cave just around the side of the mountain. He said that the storm would only last about ten minutes and to come back when it's over. He needed to talk to them about where they were and how they got themselves there.

Mark and Becca got into the cave just as the lightning shot down from above. The sky was dark, almost black. The rain flooded into the gorge and all the two kids could do was wait for it to stop. They sat in silence listening to the rain patter down unhesitatingly. Mark began a new conversation about the unusual old man atop the tree. The old man seemed nice, but who knows what kind of evil lives in this unfamiliar place. They discussed what could happen when they returned to the old man's place in the tree. They figured they might as well go because they had no idea if they'd survive either way. The rain began to fade after about ten minutes, and as they stood inside the cave anxious to leave, Mark asked Becca a personal question. "Why did you come all this way with me? Would you have gone if it were Greg or Scott or your girl friends?"

Becca was startled at first by the question so she turned away from him as she blushed slightly. She mumbled to herself why, and decided to make something up. "Well, I probably would have gone either way, it seemed like something I would want to go check out. I would have gone alone if you didn't want to go, ya know?"

He looked at her face and couldn't help but smirk at her obvious lie. He knew why she went with him, he just didn't want to call her out on it. He saw her blush when he asked the question, and instead of being a gentleman about it, he would continue to act like an egotistical dick for the rest of their adventure.

They left the cave after the rain died to a drizzle. The trees were still dripping from the downpour they just encountered and the two teenagers headed back to the old man's tree house. They were distracted by the clearness of the sky after the rain fell. When they looked into the canyon, they couldn't see the bottom anymore. The rain that lasted for ten minutes had filled the valley to the top. They didn't think it had rained that hard, but then again, what kind of rain lasted for only ten minutes. Not only was the gorge full, but it had a luminous glow to it. There was no sun in the sky, and it didn't look like there were any lights on around them. It was too early for the moon to be out too. It was as if time here was no issue, like things would finish as quick as nature wanted it to. It was almost magical and it seemed to relax the two of them. They walked together towards the oak tree the little man was living in. When they approached the trunk of the tree the little man exited his shelter and greeted Mark and Becca. He introduced himself; his name was Phil, and the more Mark stared at his old face, he noticed he looked a lot like Greg would as an old man. The old man was full of wisdom, and spoke to Mark and Becca of what would happen if they stayed here. He knew of the path they took, for he had once taken it as well. This place seemed wonderful and peaceful, but as you stayed there longer, it became unbearable. The old man could never return to his life for this place controls him now. It gives those who travel the path one day to leave again until it takes over your body completely. Nature is what controls everything and everyone here. There was no turning back once they made the decision to stay, so they had to think together carefully. As they pondered what Phil just told them, he brought them atop his tree house. He was getting rather fidgety as they two conversed about staying there or leaving. "YOU MUST LEAVE HERE!" yelled the old man. He was beginning to sweat slightly; he noticed the sun was going to set completely in a couple of hours. It would take them forever to find the path if it turned to night before they left his house.

Mark and Becca looked at the old man, this time genuinely frightened. They wanted to know why he was so forced on them leaving, but instead of asking they nodded their heads in confirmation of hearing what he just yelled. They asked him where they would go to find the path again. He seemed so omniscient; everything they asked about he knew the answers to. They liked him, and for the little amount of time they knew him, they'd miss him when they returned home.

Both of them took a deep breath and listened as Phil told them where to go to find the path again. He said that the only time it reappeared was when the sun began to set, so they had about 30 minutes to find it. There would be a sage color streetlight in front of it just like the one they saw in Greenwood Valley. If anybody stopped them on their way, they would have to ignore them. The people here would try to convince them to stay forever and the old man wasn't going to let that happen. Mark shook the old man's hand and thanked him. Becca hugged him hard like she would her grandpa (if she liked her grandpa that is). They said their final goodbyes and off they went to find the mysterious path once again.

Next to the old man's tree house lied a field full of blue strawberries. They looked delectable and as they walked through the field they picked and ate a couple. They were bitter at first, but the more they chewed them the sweeter they became. There was no fruit like that back home, so they figured they'd eat as many pieces as they could before they got to the secluded path.

At the end of the field lied a large boulder. It was full of ledges so it was easy to climb over. Becca led the two of them across the boulder knowing Mark would save her if she fell backwards. The climb was very simple, just straight up. There was nothing they had to avoid so they got to the top in no time. It wasn't too high up from the ground, so when they bent over the other side of the rock they jumped down the other side, landing in a pile of soft dirt. They slid down the large mound to the pavement ahead of them and continued on their search for the trail.

As they neared the end of the paved road, a large statue stood next to the road. It was of a lady and it looked like it had been enlarged. She had a gleam to her eye and it looked as if she were trapped inside the cement structure. When the finally approached the bottom of her feet they admired her beauty. Her body looked so relaxed but as you stared into her eyes you noticed the tenseness in her. Her curly hair was flowing to the left with the wind, and she looked remarkably like Jade. Mark and Becca looked at each other with a weirded out expression on their faces. They took a mental picture of the statue and continued on their walk. There were a lot of statues as they went around corners and found themselves at the beginning of the forest again. When they passed the first tree the air changed from beauty and calmness to windy and talkative. It felt like every gust of wind that passed them by spoke to them softly. It sent shivers down their backs creating goosebumps all over their pale bodies.

They huddled closer to each other and continued searching through the woods for the path. It was darker in the forest because of the trees, and also the sun was beginning to set. In the distance they could see a dim, sage green lamp. The both of them perked up when they noticed the indication that the path was ahead of them. They looked to one another and decided they were going to run for it. On the count of three they let go of each other and split up. Running through the trees they were parallel to each other. They zigzagged all around trying to avoid running into the trunks of the trees or the rocks that lied beneath them. As the path became more visible they slowed themselves down. They were out of breath, considering they were both lazy and due to neither of them playing sports anymore. It felt good to them though, the feeling that their bodies were beginning to work from top to bottom. It was releasing and they both inned on the entrance of the path.

They stopped at the entryway right before the green streetlight and pondered whether or not they were ready to leave here. They smiled at each other excitedly and casually made their way down the mystical path and back to their lives.