THE ADVENTURES OF CECILIA SPARK:
The Mystical Mountains of Terra
Excerpt from The Adventures of Cecilia Spark: The Mystical Mountains of Terra written by Ngaire Elder:
There wasn’t much conversation between them as Cecilia and Soldier followed Pacha to meet her master. Cecilia marvelled at the variety of animals and birds that lived on and around the mangrove root system; oysters and mussels, monkeys and spoonbills. Pacha paused now and then to snack on a shrimp or crab, catching them nimbly with her paws.
“Not far now,” she announced.
They had travelled for about two hours, and were deep in the heart of the mangrove. They could see fires flickering a short distance away. Soldier shivered. He glanced at the gemstone, and then looked for Pacha, but she was nowhere to be seen.
“Psssssst, Cecilia, something’s not right.”
“Shhhhh, Soldier. We’re nearly there.”
“But look, look at the gemstone! And Pacha has gone.”
She glanced at the citrine gemstone which had now turned a dark shade of grey and then at the compass; the needle was spinning round and round. The mangrove had become deafeningly silent and the hairs on the back of Cecilia’s neck were standing up.
“This feels creepy!” exclaimed Cecilia.
“I know. Let’s get out of here!”
Cecilia was shaking her head and gazing around. She didn’t know which way to go since the compass was still going wild.
“I wish I’d listened to you.”
“Too late for that!” scoffed Soldier.
Pacha reappeared on a branch close to them.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered.
The screech that followed was ear-splitting. Something moved down towards them; massive wings out-stretched and the ear-splitting noise came with it. The leaves on the trees began to wilt and curl up, then fall to the ground. The tree bark turned black in a flash.
Soldier jumped into the backpack to escape the noise. Cecilia covered her ears and crouched down. Gazing up she saw the shadow of a man in front of her. She did not get up; she followed the man’s shadow with her gaze, then let out a frightful scream.
It was not a human being but a beast, with the antlered head and legs of a deer, and the wings and body of a bird.
The last thing Cecilia remembered seeing before drifting into the shadows was the gemstone. It was now black.
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