Redmond Rogers & the Riches of Life

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Deep in the jungle

“Red I think you better get that book out again and see exactly what it is we are heading to” Michael said. “We don’t want to be heading on the wrong path and come across something that may not be as friendly”.

I took the backpack from my shoulders and placed it on the ground and quickly opened it to retrieve the book.

Once I had the book out and opened, I started flicking through to where we had last looked at it to see if there were any other clues as to where we needed to go.

It didn’t really have a lot in information or instructions on where to go, but there were quite a few pictures showing trees and vines and large bright flowers. As I flicked through more pages right in the middle of the book was a map.

“Ah there you see” Rachael pointed “now we have a map to follow”.

I opened the book right up and sure enough it was a huge map. It had a lot of trees and a path, but it also had a huge mountain with smoke coming out from the top.

“Look here, this is where we need to go” I said pointing at the mountain. “Although looking at the smoke coming from the top it may be a volcano”.

I could see from the map that we needed to continue on this path and it would lead us straight to the mountain. Then we needed to get over it or through it to the other side and that’s the end of the map. Well it seemed easy enough. The map had no writing and was just a drawing that showed trees and a path and what looked like a long river. We hadn’t come across that yet.

I put the book back in the backpack and we continued on the path.

This place sure seemed magical with the talking bee and the lush bright bushes and trees. It was nothing like I had ever seen before. It made me wonder what else we would come across on our journey to return to the island and Kendall Springs.

As we were following the path the ground began to move and shake. We all stumbled as we tried to walk, but it seemed to be getting worse. “Grab onto a tree” yelled Michael and we all grabbed onto different trees quickly. The noise got louder and louder and the ground continued to shake.

It was really scary watching the ground shake and the trees moving and I could only think that it was an earthquake or that mountain was really a volcano and maybe it was on the verge of erupting.

“I don’t want to alarm anyone here, but is it possible that the mountain is a volcano and it’s in the process of erupting” I said.

Rachael had started sobbing saying “We’re all going to die, we are going to die”.

“Calm down Rachael” said Michael “it’s going to be ok. We just have to wait until the rumbling stops. It’s probably just an active volcano”.

“Well if it is the volcano we better hope that it’s just rumbling, as we are not that far from it and if it starts spewing lava we are all in big trouble” Simon said.

The noise got louder and louder until it became so loud it was impossible to hear anything else. We were all hugging our trees that we had latched onto, but the ground continued to shake.

Then the noise suddenly stopped and it was eerily silent. There was not a sound to be heard. No birds chirping or any other noises. The ground became still again and the rumbling had stopped.

“Oh my goodness” Rachael said “that was really scary. We need to get out of here before that thing starts that again and spew’s lava everywhere trapping us here”.

We all huddled closely after letting go of the trees we had latched onto staring at each other and realizing that maybe this journey was not going to be easy.

Simon started walking along the path again and everyone else quickly followed behind him. We seemed to be walking a lot quicker now, eager to get to the mountain and out of this jungle.

It was then I realized that this journey could be dangerous and take a lot longer than I first thought.

I couldn’t help think and was a little hesitant to tell the others that we either had to go around that volcano or through it. We couldn’t go over it after that last rumbling. That was far too risky.

No sooner had I thought it Rachael said “how are we going to get around that volcano now” she asked looking to me for the answer?

Simon continued to walk and we all followed behind too afraid to think about the answer. We just had to find a way through.

The path seemed to narrow a little but was still clear to see and we continued on and the noises of the jungle seemed to resume as though nothing had happened.

We approached the mountain with caution, but as we got closer we could see large pieces of rock and a lot of gravel and smaller rocks. It seemed as if these had come from the volcano.

Thankfully we hadn’t come across any more prehistoric animals either except for the large bee in the very large flower. It really was an amazing place, but I will be glad to be out of here after that volcano shaking earlier.

Isabel stopped and yelled out “please can we stop for a while and have a rest. I really need to have a break from walking”. Everyone stopped and we stepped off the path near a clearing of the bushes.

“We can rest here for a while” Simon said. “We could all do with a break. We have been walking for ages and haven’t stopped at all”. I think after the ground shaking, we had been too scared to stop and wanted to get out of here as quick as possible.

I reached behind and took the backpack from my shoulders and reached for the small box. When I took the lid off the five bottles of water magically appeared again, but this time there were apples dropping into my lap as well. “Wow” I said “Winnie thinks of everything. Kind of makes you wonder what will pop out of this box next” and I started to laugh. We all started laughing finally relaxing after what had been a frightening time with seeing a dinosaur and then leaping from tree to tree on a vine and then the rumbling from the volcano. It had been an exhausting day. I reached back into the backpack for the blanket so we could try and get some sleep before continuing on.

I stood up and began shaking the blanket while everyone grabbed at it to place over themselves.

Sitting back down and then leaning back almost curling into a ball trying to get as comfy as possible to allow sleep to come.

It didn’t seem like much time had passed when I opened my eyes and sat up and looked around to see it had become dark. Everyone else was fast asleep, so I lay back down and closed my eyes hoping I would go back to sleep.

The ground begun to shake again waking us all suddenly.

“Oh my goodness, not again” screamed Rachael. “Quick, everybody wake up!”

We were all wide awake now and sat on the ground looking around while the ground continued to shake.

“This is probably the best place to be right now” I said looking around noticing that we were in a clearing and it was probably the best place to be while this was going on. Nothing was likely to fall on us and we all huddled together until the shaking stopped.

Once the shaking and rumbling had finished Simon stood up saying “I really think we have rested enough and we need to get out of here before that thing blows” pointing at the volcano.

Once I had finished putting the blanket back in the backpack, Simon started walking with the rest of us closely behind him.

As we got closer to the mountain there were a lot more rocks and even some boulders that looked like they had only been there for a short time. It seemed there were a lot of rocks coming from the volcano and that made us more wary of how quickly we needed to get out of here.

The birds had started chirping again and daylight had returned making it easier for us to see where we were going. I’m sure we hadn’t slept all night which made me wonder how long it was dark for. I remember when I woke earlier it was dark, but there was still enough light for me to see everything around me. This was a very strange place or was there something that prevented this place from being completely dark. There were no lights anywhere and now it seemed it was normal daylight and the sun was beaming through as if it were the middle of the day.

Simon stopped and turned around to us with his finger covering his mouth letting us know to be quiet. We all stopped and looked ahead and could see what looked like a herd of dinosaurs eating just ahead of us. They were huge and there was no way I wanted them to see us although they were so big, they probably wouldn’t even notice us as we seemed so small in comparison.

“How are we going to get past them” asked Michael?

Simon had seen a tree in the middle of the path just like the ones we had seen on the island and he pointed to the tree. We all quietly walked over to the tree trying not to make too much noise. Once we got to the tree we could see a door with a small knob on it. Simon opened the door and we all stepped in. As I was last I closed the door behind me and could see it appeared to be another tunnel but very narrow and lit with small lights on the left side.

“These tunnels just seem to keep going and going” Isabel cried out. “Maybe this will lead us straight back to the island”.

We walked one by one through the tunnel while looking around for anything unexpected that could come out and surprise us. I think avoiding those huge dinosaurs was scary enough, but we had spoken briefly with a large bee and it had seemed friendly. Maybe the creatures in this place were friendly, but I don’t think any of us were willing to stick around and find out.

It wasn’t long before we reached the end of the tunnel and found another door. Simon opened the door and we all went through and found ourselves back in the jungle. It seemed it was just a path through the jungle. At least we had got past the dinosaurs.

I almost fell into Michael as I had been too busy looking around to realise everyone had stopped. Just ahead was a dinosaur and it was looking right at us. It tilted its head from left to right as if to be sure of what it was looking at. It was really bright green in colour, but with a lot of darker shades of green in it too. It was so big that we were all looking up at it while it was leaning it’s head down looking at us.

“Well, well what do we have here” the dinosaur asked?

“Oh my goodness it speaks” said Rachael as she looked at me and then back to the dinosaur. “Just like the bee did” as she tried to hide behind Simon.

Simon looked straight at the dinosaur and replied “My name is Simon and these are my friends.

We are trying to get through this jungle to find our way back to the island, so we can eventually return home” as the dinosaur leaned down to look at all of us.

“I see” answered the dinosaur. “Well it may be an idea if you all hop on top of me and I can give you a ride to the edge of the jungle. This is a large jungle and you may not have the strength to get through to the other side. I will take you there and you can continue on your journey”.

“You mean you’re willing to take all of us on your back to the edge of the jungle” asked Michael?

“Well yes, of course I will. It’s not every day that I get to speak to anyone and I think I would enjoy the opportunity to help you and get to know you all a little better” the dinosaur finished.

“What about that volcano” asked Isabel pointing at the mountain?

“No need to worry about Old Fossy” the dinosaur continued “She is always shaking and making a noise. It’s hardly likely that she will do anything else”.

“Old Fossy!” Isabel repeated “that’s what you call that volcano” she asked?

“Why yes, that’s Old Fossy” said the dinosaur. “Nothing to worry about. She shakes and rattles and then stops for long periods of time. Although in saying that recently she has been doing a lot more shaking and rattling. Now come on all of you just climb over my nose and hop onto my back and I will take you to the edge of the jungle. I know you will be able to exit the jungle through the volcano”.

Simon turned to me and I simply nodded and one by one we all climbed onto the dinosaur and sat on his back. We were all clinging to the one in front. I could not believe we were doing this, but the dinosaur was very friendly.

“Can I ask your name” asked Rachael? “We are all about to hitch a ride with you and we don’t even know your name”.

“My name is Albress” the dinosaur said. “It has been a long time since I have spoken the English language, so forgive me if I am a little rusty with my words” and he roared and roared. His body started to shudder and we all hung on as if we were going to fall off from the shuddering that he had caused with the roaring laughter.

Albress stood up and I looked around and was amazed at how colourful this jungle was. It had a lot of similarities to the island with the brightness of the flowers and green leaves. There were not many flowers here though and as Albress started to walk I felt my legs tighten on his body to ensure I was hanging on. Albress moved slowly but gracefully through the thick bush of the jungle. Riding up high on Albress allowed us to see the jungle like we had not seen from the path.

As we continued to walk through the thick jungle I looked around and found myself staring at Old Fossy. What if this thing did blow? There is no way we would make it out of here. We were getting closer and closer and Albress had said we needed to go through Old Fossy to get out if this jungle.

We seemed to be alone walking through the jungle, so I asked Albress if there were other creatures that lived here in the jungle.

“Oh they are around someplace. We all move in our own areas, but we all get along well. You have nothing to worry about should we come across any of them” he said as he continued to move through the thick bush.

I was sitting at the front and Rachael was behind me. She leaned forward to Albress “How old are you Albress and what do you eat here” she asked?

Albress replied “I am very old, but I would think well over a hundred by now” as he stopped to ponder how old he was. “It’s not something I have thought about in a long time. As for our diet, we all eat the thick bushy leaves and sometimes eat the fruit in the trees. We leave the fruit up high for the birds and eat mainly bush, but some fruit too from the lower branches”.

“Can you show us some of the fruit here and are we able to have some” Rachael asked?

“Well yes, yes of course. There is a clearing up ahead and after that there is some thick dense bush that is full of mangoes. You can eat mangoes can’t you” Albress asked?

“Yes we can” Rachael said.

Albress came to the clearing and stopped and asked us all to step off one by one. As I was at the front I climbed down first and the others quickly followed behind me.

Albress stretched up into the bushy tree in front of us and told us to look out as he shook the tree.

Mangoes began to fall to the ground. There were so many. I reached down and picked one of them up and found it to be perfectly ripe for eating.

“You know we never seem to run out of fruit to eat here. That’s probably why we also eat the leaves. There seems to be an endless supply” Albress said as he also picked up a mango and put the whole mango in his mouth and chewed.

“Just like the island that never runs out of food” Isabel said while trying to pull the mango apart to eat. The mangoes were perfect and easy to open and eat. We all began eating like we had never eaten before. There were so many mangoes that had fallen to the ground that there was plenty for all of us including Albress.

We continued to eat mangoes when suddenly the ground began to shake again.

“Oh no, not again” screamed Rachael.

“Quickly everyone go to that tree over there and hold on” said Albress who also started heading towards the trees. The ground continued to shake and the trees were swaying while Old Fossy continued to rumble.

Old Fossy finally stopped rumbling and we all stood in the tree area right next to Albress.

Albress said “I think it might be time to get you young ones on your way. Time to climb back on and I will take you to the edge of the jungle”.

One by one we all climbed back onto Albress in the same order as before with me getting on last. It also meant that I was first off being at the front.

Albress stood up and began walking through the jungle again away from the trees and path area.

We all rode in silence just looking around and wondering if Old Fossy was going to start rumbling again. Even Albress was quick to make sure we were back on him again to get us out of here. Maybe Old Fossy was going to erupt before too long and if that was the case we definitely need to be out of this place before that happens.

We seemed to go on for the longest time when all of a sudden Albress stopped. He leant his head down signalling for us to climb off. One by one we all climbed down and once we were all back on the ground I turned to him and said “Thank you Albress for your help”.

“You are all very welcome. Safe travels to you all and maybe we will meet again”. Albress then turned around from where we had just come and started to walk away.

We were standing at the edge of the mountain and there was an opening that looked like we could walk through to get to the other side.

Simon led the way and we entered the opening of the mountain.

Once we were inside the light quickly faded and it became very dark. I reached into the backpack and got the torch out to help us see.

“This place is really creepy” Rachael said and grabbed onto Michael’s arm. The torch lit up the inside of the mountain quite well and showed the path inside the mountain to be very wide. There was only walls and nothing else and they were a dark grey colour. The path seemed to go straight with no twists or turns and before too long we found ourselves in what appeared to be the middle of the mountain. It was lit up with torch lights in a wide circle and at the other side was a very thin river of water. I walked closer to the edge of the water and realised we were going to have to follow the path of the river to get out of here. The other side of the river appeared to be only a wall and there was no more path.

“It seems we need to go down this river and it is not very wide” I said as I looked along the side and could see we could probably walk beside it. Everyone else came over and knelt down to have a closer look. Yes it seemed it was the only way to continue. The river was also lit up although it wasn’t as bright as the area we were in and it was hard to see too far into the distance.

I led the way and we walked alongside the thin river until I came to a wall and could walk no further. “It seems we have run into a dead end” I said and Simon came up and started pressing on the wall looking for some sort of secret entrance.

“There isn’t anything here” he said. “Come on everyone! Start pressing on the wall and see if there is a secret door”.

We all had our hands pressing along the wall and were pressing and pressing, but nothing seemed to happen. It seemed there was no secret door and we were stuck in the middle of the mountain.

Albress had told us this was the best way to get to the edge of the jungle, but maybe he did not know what it was like in here.

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