Dawn seeps through the trees. Cam is leaning on my shoulder.
Still, no one has been able to locate Nate and Trillium, and Cam still thinks Auralee has them somewhere.
And I can't say I disagree with her.
I'm expecting a beautiful place, like hills or mountains to be on the other side of the forest. Something someone would give to see. So it comes as a hock to me as I register my surroundings.
This foggy, gray sky is not what I expected. The air is moist and thick. There's rocky landscape and a huge lake. Maybe a sea or an ocean. Nothing makes a sound. It's as if the color, the life, of this place has been leached out, leaving only gray. Cam squeezes my hand, as if she needs something to hold on to to keep her from being sucked into this empty place.
Spindly trees, black against the sky, stick out at odd angles, their branches bare. There's a lonely looking stretch of rocks connecting the sea to the land.
It all started when I crossed the barrier.
I should have known that the Secret, Hollow forest would change my life forever.
And I realize something. I think everyone else realizes it, too.
I do not want to be here at all.
Cam looks over at me, looking upset; she has reason to, ceartinly. "Anna, how will we get out of HERE now?"
She has Nate's knife, but what can she defend against? There is no one out there.
Then a voice comes, and we both jump. It could be the evil Auralee trying to "avenge her death".
But this girl sounds younger.
Still, I can't bring myself to trust her, when she says, "I can help."
The tan girl steps out, her hair long and pretty whipping around her head I gasp and step back.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you," she whispers. She's sitting on a rock out in the sea, her face shrouded by mist. "My name is Rev," she says, smiling.
"Rev," Cam echoes hollowly. "I'm Cam."
"I'm Anna," I say.
She looks so lonely sitting on that rock.
"Did you go through the forest?" she asks.
"Yes, did you?" I say.
"Auralee tried to kill me, and she almost suceeded."
Tears come to Rev's eyes.
"She killed my... killed my best friend Trisha."
"How?" Cam asks.
"Shut up," I say, nudging Cam.
"No, it's okay. But they did tell me one thing," Rev says. "I have to find the black light."
"What's that?" I ask.
"Years ago, there was a legend of the woods. The girl haunting it could only be killed if you had ceartin things. The black light is one of the things. It's here somewhere," she explains, sweeping her hand across the ground, making little swirls in the black dirt.
"So, we need to find the blacker light?" I ask.
"Have you ever heard of the mystery kills?" Rev asks.
"No," I say.
She plows on.
"Well, once a month on every new moon, someone here gets killed. We think the island's cursed," she whispers. "Until someone finds the black light, every new moon someone dies. We need that light. It will help stop Auralee's curse and is one of the items that will eventually destroy her. When IS the next new moon?"
"14 days. My parents are astronomers and they're always trying to get me to learn stuff about it. But I'd rather do other stuff. I hate astronomy," Cam says. She's not lying about hating astronomy. She built a diorama of the planets once, and it was clear she hadn't read most of the textbooks. Her final diorama looked great, but her first diorama had the planets orbiting Saturn and the words, "I hate astronomy so much! Kill it!" scrawled across the caption box.
"Any idea where we can find this black light?" I ask Revelyn.
She shakes her head quickly and fast.
"OK, so now... where would someone hide a black light?"
"What happens when we find the black light?"
"We're one step closer to destroying Auralee's curse on the island. Which would put us 1 step closer to destroying Auralee. We need to find the 4 things, and then she's gone. People have tried, but getting these things is dangerous. People have died."
"I HATE Auralee," Cam hisses.
"Oh don't we all," Rev says. She stares out at the misty gray sea, a lost look on her face.
The air is cold, and cam wraps her arms around me. For a minute, we sit down, wrapped in warmth.
Then she releases me, and says, "Revelyn, how old are you?"
"I'm 12," Rev says.
"Same here," I say.
"I'm going to be 12, in January. The 14th," Cam says.
Rev gets up.
"So you have no idea where they might hide a black light?" Cam asks.
"Well, maybe," Revelyn says, a thoughtful smile spreading across her face. "You're not afraid of water, are you?"
"Me? I'm not afraid of anything. I'm FEARLESS," Cam says.
"You can still be fearless and have fears," Rev says. "Having fears is part of being fearless."
"I was kidding."
Rev gets up and looks at me. "You coming, Anna?"
"Sure," I say, preparing to jump into the icy water.
Then as I step in, gasping, expecting the cold, I am shocked by how warm it is.
I pull my bare foot out and instantly the cold air makes it sting.
Long tendrils of smoke rise and float off the surface.
Rev looks at me. "Should we go in?" she asks.
"If we do, we'll get soaked and freeze to death," Cam puts in. "When we get out. Once, at practice, the pool was so warm, I thought the air was warm, too, so I got out and didn't even try to get my towel. I thought I could air-dry a little."
"Worst mistake of your life."
"Hang on," Rev says. "I see something."
She walks over to one of the black trees. Intrigued, Cam and I follow her.
"There's an "X" on this tree," Rev murmurs.
"Oh good LORD. Now she thinks we're pirates," Cam says, rolling her eyes.
"Cam, please be serious," I say. "We're looking for things to destroy Auralee, and this might be something.
Cam laughed. "I thought you knew me, Anna. I'm never serious."
"Look," Rev says, pulling something out of the sand.
I lean in, eager to see what it is:
"What's that mean?" Cam asks stubbornly.
"I don't know," Revelyn says.
We stare at her.
"But I THINK I know someone who might know."
"So? Are they here?"
"No, only me. The rest of them died... the mystery killings... their bones are still being found. By me, anyway. One of the bones was in the shape of a "T", but I couldn't figure that out, not yet."
"But if there's no one else here, then... how are we going to get out?" Cam asks. "This is too confusing. Will we still be killed by these "mystery killlings" if we go out? WELL!? DO something!"
Rev seems shocked by her outrage. "No, we won't get killed if we leave."
"HOW ARE WE GONNA FIND OUR WAY BACK? HUH? WELL?"
"We will, I'm sure," Rev says convincingly.
Cam lets her shoulders drop.
"What now?" she asks, eyes still flashing malevolently."We see Flo," Rev says simply.
"Who's Flo?" Cam asks, still glaring at Rev. "And how do we find her?"
"I've visited Flo before. She showed me a door that is concealed under a large clump of black moss. You might be... a bit alarmed at her appearance."
"That's what they look like where she comes from."
"Why? What does she look like? Is she mangled, or deranged looking? Is she missing hair? Is she a skeleton? What --"
"Do you want a PICTURE of her?" Rev scowled, "Or can we just wait until you see her!?"
"I'll wait," Cam says.
We cross over the rocks. Finally, we come to the moss Rev must be talking about.
"This is the part I can't understand," Rev mused, staring fixedly at the spongey, gray-black dirt. "I never realized how dangerous... to pass into the next dimension."
"This is a cross between two dimensions -- the Capricorn dimension and the Fire dimension. There is one door that leads you to the other dimension. This is it, but I..." her voice trails off. "...Can understand I am making no sense."
She glares at the confused look on Cam's face.
"The dimension you lived in is the Capricorn dimension. Between us... this is the cross. Right here. It's called the dimension of Lost Time. We go through the moss, and we find the Fire dimension. That's where your friends are. Nate and T-Tracy?"
"Trillium," Cam corrects her. "Her name's Trillium."
"Yeah." Rev continues to glower at Cam.
"So right now, it'a the dimension of Lost Time... so... we go through the moss..."
"We're wasting time!" Cam says. "Let's just go through the moss."
She gets up and looks pointedly at the moss.
"Tell it where you want to go," Rev says.
"Wherever Flo is," Cam says to the moss.
She sweeps back the curtain and disappears into the dark.
"You coming?" Rev asks, already up on the stone where the moss hangs down.
"Yeah," I say.
I repeat Cam's words and fall into the moss.
Everything glows. I am falling into white. Pure white. Blinding white. It feels as if I'm falling through caramel. In slow motion.
Chapter 4:Flo is... well... I am lost for words. She's pretty but strange. She has long flowing red hair with two black wings sticking out just above her ears. Between her eyes she has a metallic black spade tattoo. She has green eyes and wears all black.
"Greetings," Flo purrs in a silky tone. "What do you want?"
"Greetings Flo. I bring with me 2 beings from the Sky-and-Earth dimension."
Cameron leans over. "How can there be so many 'dimensions'?"
"I don't know. Sh."