Please read my latest plot twist and comment with your opinion or feedback! Thanks!
“We’ve made it,” he exclaimed. “We’ve made it to the Munkwon steps’ grove.”
Annalee gazed up through the brush Innu held aside. In the pale shine of the moon, she saw a ring of birches perfectly spaced like Grecian marble columns around an open meadow. In the center of this meadow, seven positioned stones jutted up toward the night sky. At the far end, the pattern of birches were interrupted, as several of their sentry brothers had been chopped down and rubbed smooth. Beyond them, a row of matching stumps gleamed, curving up and away like a wide, round staircase.
All five of her party members moved soundlessly into the tree ring. A sensation covered Annalee as she passed into it, and she thought to herself, I don’t know how I know, but this is a sacred place.
They crept near the boulders in the center of the space. Annalee spied markings all over them, symbols less elaborate then the tattoos of the Kaqtukaq. They each seemed to tell a story like the Egyptian hieroglyphics she’d learned about in school. People, animals and items in nature all were depicted, but among them strange symbols also repeated and varied in size.
The old ones say this is the center of our world, where it all began. Innu thought to her.
They are ginormous!
Skirting around the boulders, they came up to the birch stubs at the far side of the clearing. Annalee started at the width of them once she stood next to them. From the far side of the clearing, they looked large. But up close they exceeded large, being nearly five feet in diameter and so old that the edges had worn smooth and round. The age rings in the wood were several inches thick and rippled out in so many colors, it was staggering.
“Munkwon means rainbow,” Cremoe muttered quietly. “Isn’t the name fitting?”
“Yes,” Annalee whispered.
“Let’s rest here a while. My leg is starting to ache,” Anewj stated.
Everyone agreed. Innu and Annalee gathered some moss and leaves to make a cushion for Anewj’s leg to rest on, while Zidi and Cremoe set to work building a small fire. Annalee wondered if camping in the sacred area was wise or would disturb anyone they may not want to cross. But everyone else seemed at ease and eventually, they all drifted to dreamland.
The moon still glazed the world in sapphire when Annalee jerked awake. She shivered, not because the fire had smothered to cool ash, but because the unshakable feeling that something unseen watched her. More than one actually. She swept the perimeter with her eyes, but nothing moved or seemed out of the ordinary. She slumped back down on her side and closed her eyes, but they snapped back open when she began imagining heavy breathing and growls from somewhere outside the birch circle. She lay like this for hours, sweating in fear until the moon disappeared behind the mountain shadowing them and ruby sunlight blinked between the birch trunks. (D)
“Kwe and tepgig, la.” Zidi said softly on her right.
“Morning,” Annalee croaked, her dry throat telling of her long night.
Their other three friends began to stir. Eventually, they nibbled seed cakes together.
“Annalee, why do you wear your clothes inside out?” Cremoe suddenly asked.
Looking down, she saw that her clothes hung on her body the wrong way.
“What… how…” Annalee stuttered, looking around at her friends in confusion.
From somewhere near the large stones, a jolly set of giggles erupted. All of Annalee’s party hopped to their feet.
“Wait a minute, la!” Zidi exclaimed. She looked down at her leather wrap in dismay. Dozens of knots had been placed in the straps.
Another wave of snickers burst from the stones.
“Kwe and tepgig!” Cremoe shouted at them.
“No need to SHOUT!” hollered a booming voice from the rock closest to them. Additional chuckles followed his words. The surface at the bottom of each stone began to writhe and shimmer, and then seven short bodies wiggled free. Their rough skin and broad faces reminded Annalee of the horned lizards she chased around Arizona’s low hills, and their pointy joints clacked as they moved, like puppets made of pebbles.