Saving Starbird

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Chapter 8

Secret of the Stones

Sally started to follow Archie deep into the tunnel. It was very dark and she was unable see Archie’s feet ahead of her anymore. Moreover, the rocks above her head seemed to be getting lower and lower, as if the cliff above was trying to crush her flat.

Something fell into her hair!

Sally cried out to Archie and, although she could hear him answer, she could not make out anything he was saying.

It was at that point that she began to panic. She stopped crawling forwards and tried to wriggle back towards the entrance. In her imagination she could feel the tiny feet of spiders crawling all over her head.

As soon as she began to reverse back down the tunnel her belt hooked against a rock that was jutting out and Sally found she was stuck fast.

She screamed out to Archie and then started to cry with fright. At once the stone in her pocket began to throb again. Sally could feel it move slowly upwards until it came out of the deep pocket in her dress.

As her arms were still out in front of her, she could not move her hand backward to try and grab hold of her stone. However, to her great surprise and relief, she could feel the stone slowly moving along on its own as she crouched in the low tunnel.

Suddenly, the stone got loose from under her body and it shot forward into the tunnel in front of her. At once it began to make a loud humming sound and then started to emit a green eerie light that quickly got brighter and brighter.

Sally felt better and less frightened so she stopped crying.

She could see from the light of the stone that there was a bend in the tunnel just ahead so she started to crawl forward again. As soon as she began to move forward the belt became unhooked from the rock that had been stopping her from crawling backwards.

Once she got her head and shoulders around the bend in the tunnel she was able to see that the roof got sharply higher, so it only took a few more seconds before she was in the cave and she could stand upright.

She brushed her hair frantically and was relived to find that it was only bits of rock and sand, not spiders that fell out.

The stone flew up into her hand, becoming still and quiet again with its green light fading.

Sally could see Archie standing halfway down the cave where he was holding his stone that was providing a torch like beam of light.

She quickly ran up to join him gasping, “Archie I was so scared in that horrid tunnel. I was stuck and I was sure I could feel lots of dreadful spiders and other creepy crawlers falling into my hair.”

Archie threw his arms around her and gave her a big hug that Sally found very comforting. She clung on to him for several seconds before stepping back to gaze around the cave in wonder. She also noticed the smooth surface of the cave floor as they walked towards the large strangely marked stone Archie pointed out to her.

They knelt down together in front of the large stone. Archie explained, “My stone fixed its self in a notch on the big stone without me helping it. Then it seemed to be even more alive.”

Archie and Sally both looked up at the same time to find the big white bird perched on a rock above them. Neither had heard its arrival, it just seemed to appear from nowhere.

The bird fluttered down to land just in front of Sally and gently pecked at the pocket of her dress, which contained her stone. Sally took the stone out and held it on the flat of her hand, then offered it towards the bird that nodded its head.

Later Archie told Sally, what happened next was exactly the same as had happened to him earlier. The stone flew from Sally’s hand and fitted its self into another notch on the large stone. As before the markings became brighter and the eye opened.

Then Archie gasped as his stone shot out of his hand once more; locating itself into the slot it had previously occupied. It too opened its eye and the large stone started to make a loud throbbing sound, and began emitting a bright green light that lit up the cave almost as bright as sunlight.

Both Archie and Sally jumped up and backed away in fright and for a second time Sally was extremely glad to find that Archie was hugging her tightly.

The white bird fluttered down onto the cave floor and stared hard at the two children with its bright black eyes. It started to hop towards them then stopped, and began to fluff up its feathers.

To the children’s amazement the bird got bigger and bigger.

Sally screamed in fright and struggled to get free from Archie’s arms. Archie held her even tighter and watched with his mouth wide open and his eyes almost bolting from his head.

The bird was now almost as tall as Sally, with its eyes shining like bright black stars against its white feathers. Its yellow beak had become enormous; looking as if it could bite straight through arms or legs on anything it wanted to attack.

Suddenly, green smoke started to appear from the bird’s feathers and quickly obscured the bird completely from view.

“It is witch craft,” screamed Sally. “It was an evil-eye curse after all.”

Slowly from the smoke cloud a shape began to emerge. At first it was very difficult to see what it was, it was almost like a shadow of an object, something that was not solid.

However, it quickly became smaller and more defined. It certainly was not a witch in a pointed hat.

It was a small creature about three feet high, but was not like any thing either of the children had ever seen before. It had a very large head on a very small body covered with green scales, with two thin legs having long pointed toes. In the centre of its head there was a single eye that shone with a bright yellow inner light. This large eye was not recessed into the skull but was at the end of a stalk that allowed the eye to look in different directions without moving the head.

In the centre of its head there was a round hole that the children guessed was its mouth. It did not have arms like humans, but long tendrils with what looked like suckers on the end. It had three of these tendrils on each side of its tiny body and they moved constantly in different directions.

The creature stepped out of the green smoke cloud and moved in a jerky fashion towards the terrified children.

Archie let go of Sally and they both spun around in panic starting to rush towards the entrance tunnel, both screaming at the top of their voices as they ran.

From behind them an unearthly voice bellowed out “STOP, STAND STILL”

Sally and Archie spun around and for the third time found that they were hugging each other as they stared at the strange, and to their eyes hideous creature, standing in front of them.

They both screamed as loud as they could in total terror as the creature took several more jerky steps towards them.

Archie pushed Sally behind him to protect her as he wildly looked round for a loose rock or anything he could possibly use as a weapon to defend them.

The creature suddenly pointed all six of its arms towards the children and in a much softer voice than before told them not to be frightened and to sit down on the smooth floor.

Sally and Archie shrank back away from the creature until their backs touched the cave wall.

They both held hands and stared at the advancing creature when a very strange thing happened. They both stopped trembling and felt a warm glow take over their bodies and suddenly everything seemed very peaceful.

They both slid down the cave wall and sat on the floor completely relaxed.

The large yellow eye in the creature’s head seemed to be getting larger and larger until it was all Sally and Archie could see. They then both became very warm, their eyes closed together and they fell into a deep sleep.

The creature looked down at the two sleeping children then turned and made its way back across the cave to the large stone and began to carefully touch the complete surface with its six arms as if it was checking for damage.

When it had finished this examination, two of the arm tendrils grew longer and longer until they reached the stones the children had originally found. It then gently placed the arm’s suckers over the stone eyes and at once the green light dimmed, the throbbing sound died, and the cave became silent and completely dark.

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