Originally posted 2016-08-05 17:00:51.
She sat in the dark tent, blanket over her head, flashlight tucked into her tank top strap, staring down at the paper and pen in her hand. She didn’t want to disturb her tent-mate, so she tried to write silently, willing the batteries to hold out on her flashlight long enough to finish what she needed to write.
This had been the best camping trip so far, and was full of so many memories already, but she wanted to make it even more so for not just her friends, but herself as well. She was sure that what she was going to share with them was going to be just the ticket for the best camping trip yet.
Dear fellow campers,
Please follow the trail I’ve marked with these teal ribbons. Bring waterproof items only, and food for the entire day, as we won’t be back until after dark. I… we I mean, will be waiting. <3 S.
P.S. It’s so beyond worth it, see you soon!
She had to backtrack four times along the way, realising she had gone too far without tying off a ribbon to any noticeable branches along the way. She didn’t want to make it too easy, or others would find this as well, and that wouldn’t bode well for those she was protecting.
An hour later, she was being met at the gateway.
“They will be kind to us, right?” Nymzi said in a tiny voice that sounded more like wind kicking up leaves in an English word way.
“I trust them, Nymzi.”
“When will they arrive?”
“My tent-mate was just stirring when I was leaving, because I was clumsy and tripped out of the tent. If she didn’t roll over and go back to sleep, she would have woken to see the note and informed the others.”
The wait wasn’t long before the sounds of people’s voices carried softly toward the rushing barrier.
“I’ll bring them just to this gateway, to introduce you.”
“Thank you, sweet mortal.”
She left, chuckling to herself at the name she’d been called, feeling somehow special for having found this beautiful being to share time with.
“OH COOL!” and “Sweet! You found an epic lil waterfall!” The whoops of delight that her fellow campers made, only reinforced her happy mood as they emerged into the clearing, to see the backdrop she had, while she made a simple dandelion and daisy flower chain.
“I need your words that what I’m about to show you stays here. Forever. Protected. Safe, and pure. If you have even one drop of doubt, or nefariousness in your heart, it will be seen and you won’t leave here with the memory at all, and will lose something you love in the process, so be sure you are one hundred percent truthful that you will never divulge the secrets I’m about to show and tell you. I won’t be upset if you turn around and go back to camp, but you’ll never know what transpires here.”
The words were barely out of her mouth, and one of her camper mates, turned around, waved half-apologetically, and sprinted back down the pathway they had just walked for over an hour. He wouldn’t learn, but at least he was honest enough not to try.
The rest wore looks of resolution and curious determined anxious grins of delight.
She showed them a tiny light at the bottom of the pool below the waterfall. She nearly had missed it the day she had first discovered it, as it was overcast and she had convinced herself that it was only a piece of shiny rock, rather than an the crack under a doorway, which it was.
They dove in under the waterfall’s pounding mist, and swam downwards until their lungs felt like they were burning and they were about to run out of air completely, but they watched her grab ahold of a mossy algae covered bar of sorts, and swing herself up half out of sight behind a chunk of rock. They could see she was standing on a large platform, and quickly followed her motion, realising there was a gap for air as well.
The air felt different as they took the gases into their body; one of the campers was an avid deep diver, and recognised the helium/nitrogen mix easily. The looks of shock on the faces of the others, as he explained everything was fine, just a different mix of breathable gases slowly started to dawn on them.
Two tiny taps from the inside, and four taps back was the signal.
The doorway opened inward, and a rush of water preceded them into the antechamber, where it rushed into a grate and disappeared from sight.
The room was snug, covered in mossy stones, and had the distinct feel that it was rarely ever visited, as it was cold and dank and completely uninviting, and none too spacious either.
“Welcome”, a tiny breath of a voice whispered, and they all searched for the sound’s creator. There was a shift in the back wall, furthest from the water’s pounding, and a stairwell of sorts fell away slowly, allowing each of the campers to walk casually down the stairs with ease.
“I am Nymzi, What you will see here will amaze and delight, but know that water will blank your memories if you ever wish to try to bring us harm.
“Whaaa…what are you?” and “Where are you?” came out of several mouths simultaneously, making Nymzi laugh a breathy airy wind-kissed laugh that filled their senses with soft blues and happy playful creatures enjoying sunshine and love.
“I am a sprite. Welcome officially, to our world.” She pushed the final barrier away, and they gasped, seeing the world they never knew existed, but delighted beyond all words that they were allowed to partake in such an incredibly beautiful place and experience.
They drank dew collected from the finest flowers in the forest, and forgot they were humans. That they had jobs and bills and responsibilities. They laughed for a lifetime, and slept under the same stars they would have in their tents, yet the stars seemed somehow brighter and larger and closer than when they were in the boring world of humans and groceries and car payments and reality television and politics. Each counted a different length of time spent with the sprites. One could recall twenty years passing. One had grown old and was heading to their final goodnight, and one had long since completely forgotten the life they had in the world of the humans.
During one afternoon’s walk together, they came upon an old stone doorway that headed up some stairs. Deciding to climb upward, Nymzi waved silently goodbye as they went back into the antechamber, and out into the world above.
It had been nigh on twenty minutes since they had left, and in that time, they were changed forever.