Chapter 5 (3)
He found something else that day that was breathtakingly beautiful.
Elysium falls was a sight that was second to none.
A massive half-moon that encircled the view before them. It towered so high above them that it almost hid the sky from their view. The sound it made was loud, even from the distance they were standing, but also strangely soothing. Like a mother’s lullaby.
He stopped staring at the waterfall when he realized that Alice was watching him. He turned to where he thought she was and found her again smiling. Her hazel browns were glowing brighter than usual.
“Come on, we are not done yet,” she said, gesturing towards him.
Then she turned and walked towards the lake that flowed from the waterfall. Actually, it was more like a sea, even with small waves created by the falls. She didn’t stop or hesitate as she stepped from stepping stone to stepping stone until she reached one that was large enough to form a little island several feet from the bank. She gently eased her way around it and sat down, smoothening the skirt of her dress.
The way the rock was made, it seemed to form two continuous seats, like thrones. To sit and watch the waterfall with comfort and convenience.
She turned towards him and smiled: “Come on scaredy cat” she said.
Sam looked down at the water. It was clear like glass. He could see right to the bottom; which in itself looked quite clean. He could see fish of varied sizes and colours swimming about.
Sam turned towards the stepping stones that jutted out from out of the water. Tops of little mountains of the seabed that peeked out. They were well rounded but they also looked slippery.
He then knelt down and undid his laces. Removed his shoes and then rolled up his trouser legs. Leaving his shoes on the bank, he slowly put one foot into the water. Strange enough there was no current, and the water itself was soothingly chilly. Fish swam past completely oblivious to the strange thing with them. Some even brushed against his skin, sending sensations up to his head. He then stepped completely into the water and again felt Alice staring at him.
He looked up at her and she was smiling still.
“Silly Mr White Rabbit, you could have used the rocks and avoided getting your feet wet.”
“Well, Mistress Alice, I rather get my feet wet than walk back to the hotel dripping wet!”
“You are such a girl,” she said and laughed again, throwing her head back as she did.
Sam stopped in the middle of the lake and watched her laugh.
Soon he was sitting next to her, on the wet and slimy rock. But he didn’t mind. He wouldn’t have cared any form of discomfort at that moment. He could feel nothing but her.
She then turned to him and edged closer; brushing up against him. She was so close that Sam could smell the sweet fragrance of hair and body. It was not perfume or shampoo, it was natural. Like the trees and flowers, he had walked through. He liked it.
“Don’t tell anyone,” she said, and then looked around her as if expecting someone to be watching. It made him look too. But then there was no one anywhere remotely close; or at least close enough to hear her whisper; the sound of which felt like the wind.
“For all its comforts, the hotel makes me feel like I am in a posh sanitarium,” she said and he smiled. He agreed.
“This place on the other hand. Feels…it feels like home” she said staring at him. She then pushed a few strands of her hair away from her face and behind her ear; looking shyly away. Then she turned away from him completely and back towards the waterfall. The smile was gone but her face still glowed and her eyes still were filled with that same joy. “I feel like I am in the embrace of my mom and dad” she continued.
Strange enough he understood what she meant. The warm rays of the sun and the gentle vapour of the waterfall created a strange sensation of warmth and humidity that felt like love.
And in that embrace they sat, next to each other, staring at the falling water.
“Sam,” Alice suddenly said, breaking the silence.
“I know you feel like this place would drive you mad if you stayed long enough. Sometimes, it may even make you feel like you are living in a prison,” she said and he turned to find her looking at him. There was no smile on her face. Instead, the expression on her face was serious.
“The reason is that ‘this is a prison’, Sam,” she said, and he found his heart stop for a second.