As soon as Ash and Jason reached near the bank of the Sanctus Lake, Jason’s breath got deep. Ash didn’t notice it, he was too happy at the thought of introducing his friend to Aurora, for the first time. But soon, Ash did notice when Jason paused, while crossing the old-looking wooden bridge.
“Hey, what happened?” asked Ash, turning himself to get back to Jason.
“I don’t know, I just don’t feel good,” said Jason grabbing the edge of the bridge.
“If you’re not fine, we can go to her house some other day. Let’s get back to home,” said Ash, pressing his hand on Jason’s shoulder.
Of course, Jason couldn’t even think of crossing that bridge. After what he saw in the Umbrane forest, the thought of being in that forest was enough to make his body cold and numb. He was just a small child when the nightmares of that memory started haunting him.
Jason couldn’t forget that day, even if he tried so many times. For the things we try to escape, are the ones that always stick with us. Jason remembered what happened that day, very well.
In the evening, when the sun started dwelling in the clouds and painted the sky with a tint of orange. Jason was inside his home, trying to eat very fast. As soon as he ate the last bite of his lunch, he yelled, “Mom, I have eaten the snacks. It’s playing time.” He picked up the plate and ran towards the kitchen.
“Mumma, take it fast! I got to go,” said Jason, jumping with the plate in his hands.
“You’ll drop it, Jason.” Jason’s mom took the plate from his hands, “Why do you go to play in the evening only? I don’t even see your friends calling you,” asked Jason’s mom while doing the dishes.
“Mumma, they all wait there for me, may I go?” asked Jason with his glittering eyes.
“Fine, but come back before it gets dark, and I also have to teach you Arithmetics, so don’t be late,” said Jason’s mom. “And, stay away from the woods, too.”
Jason was happy, but on the other hand, Arithmetics threatened him. But now, there was no time to waste by getting upset over what was going to happen. His friends were waiting for him. Jason ran to his mom’s room and carefully opened the cupboard, avoiding the creaking noise. He knew where his mom used to hide the candies’ jar. He filled his pockets and closed the cupboard.
He trotted towards the old looking bridge. Even though his mother didn’t allow him to go into the Umbrane forest, he used to go there, for it was the place where his friends lived. He crossed the bridge and went into the deep forest. He walked a few steps and suddenly his friends popped out from the bushes. Three squirrels, quite larger than the ones you and I know, came out of the bushes. Jason sat on the ground, welcoming them with this arms wide open. All the three squirrels started climbing up on him. One squirrel sat on his shoulder and nosed him, “Hey, that tickles,” said Jason playfully. One of them was searching for the treasure in Jason’s pockets, and before Jason could even pick out the candies he had brought for them, the third squirrel snatched his cap from the head and ran.
“So you want to play thief and police?”
Jason ran after the squirrels, as they kept on passing his hat to each other. They were climbing from one tree to another which made it difficult for Jason to keep a track of them. Soon, Jason understood that he there was no use of following them, their speed was too fast. “I give up, you win!” said Jason, half-heartedly, he didn’t like losing. He sat down on the cold ground and waited for the squirrels to come back. “Friends, I give up! come back!” Jason shouted, standing amidst the dark forest, alone.
Haven’t read the previous parts yet?