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Chapter 24

After several hours of mostly downhill hiking, the group arrived at a point close to the ‘lake’ of crystal pebbles. Remembering it as they had last seen it, they expected to find the ‘lake’ healed except for a few broken pebbles that they would somehow repair. Instead, they found the same disturbing scene they had encountered when the ‘lake’ lay fully damaged. It was the same avocado green that had made them almost ill to begin with. If that wasn’t bad enough, they could see a dim rainbow glow ahead around a slight bend in their path. As they moved forward a few more yards, the rainbow glow resolved itself into their doubles standing directly between them and their progress toward the ‘lake’. The doubles were semi-transparent but with more visual substance than they had had at the dining room table. They also appeared to be without any emotions, not dead or alive, just standing there blocking their way forward.

The real siblings paused briefly to discuss their options and then moved forward. Their first instinct was to just walk right through their crystalline images and proceed to the lake without slowing down or even allowing themselves to fully see them. Their images stood shoulder to shoulder.

When they collided with their images, though, they came to a complete halt. The images stood as solid as stone across their path and could not be moved even slightly by hard pushes from the children.

“OK,” said Nissa,”We’ll just go around them.”

That maneuver was quickly defeated as the images shifted their positions and spread out to completely block the path without moving a muscle, once again blocking the way forward.

“Maybe if we shift our positions, we can fool them,” said Leven.

“I think that is an excellent idea,” said Iknow. He told them what he thought might work and they proceeded to arrange themselves.

Once again, they approached the four images, but this time, as they walked single-file right between the images of Nissa and Iknow, they were able to pass through with no interference.

The images of the crystalline doubles stood stock still for a few moments while the four children sped up their pace toward the ‘lake’.

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