During the summer months in Blissville the weather was unpredictable. Up North it could be sunny, rainy, cold, hot, or just pleasant with no extremes. It was Saturday and the Warren household was busy rising to meet the day. Robert and Elise were going to work in the hardware store most of the day. Scotty woke up with a definite plan in his mind.
He washed up and walked down the hall to Meg’s room. He knocked on her door.
“Who is it?” Meg sleepily mumbled.
“It’s Scotty. Can I come in?”
“Did I wake you up?”
“No. That’s alright. What’s up?”
“I really want to go to that place we went to last week where I found the bubbling spring.”
“I’ve been thinking about it too. I’d like to explore it a little more. I’ll call Billy and see if he wants to join us.”
“Shhh. I don’t want mom and dad to find out about it yet. Keep quiet.”
“Sorry. I forgot. What’s the big secret anyway?”
“I don’t know. I just have a feeling that there’s more to this than it seems. Go on, get out of here so I can get dressed.”
Scotty ran downstairs and poured himself a bowl of cereal.
“Good morning young man. What’s on your agenda today?” Elise asked Scotty.
“Not much. I think Meg and Billy and I are going hiking around the river. What are you doing today?”
“Working at the store. Your father’s already there and I’ll go in a little later this morning. Be careful hiking around that river. It’s easy to get lost around there. I’m glad Meg and Billy will be with you.”
“You never let me go there by myself anyway, Mom. I always go with Meg and Billy.”
“You’re right about that. One thing you do have when you go anywhere, is a good sense of direction. I remember when we all went to Seattle and we were trying to find a particular street that had a park on it and just couldn’t find it. You popped up with an idea about going a couple blocks down the road and turning left and there lo and behold we found it. That was pretty good on your part. You have built in radar!”
“Good morning Mom,” Meg said, walking slowly into the kitchen yawning.
“Hello sleepy head. What time did you go to sleep last night?” Elise asked.
“I got interested in a book I’m reading and didn’t fall asleep until about 2 am.”
“Serves you right. Well, have fun today hiking around the river. It’s a beautiful day.”
“I’m going to call Billy and see if he’s free.”
Meg went to her room and dialed Billy from her cell phone.
“Hey, good morning. How’s it going?” Billy asked.
“Good. Scotty and I want to go to the place we went to last week with the spring. Are you free to join us? I hope so, because I don’t think I can find it again.”
“Sure. My parents are busy today. Mom has a big dinner she has to cook for the McCreedys, and Dad is working overtime at the lumber company. What time are you picking me up?”
“Is half an hour okay? I hope we can find this place.”
“If anyone can find it, it’s Scotty.”
“True. He’s the one who suggested we go today. I don’t know. I have a strange feeling about that place.”
“You just have a big imagination, that’s all,” Billy teased.
“See you in a bit. Oh, I’ll pick up some sandwiches at the deli for us before I come to your house, Meg offered.”
An hour passed, and Meg drove to the river with Billy and Scotty. She was feeling a little apprehensive. Elkwa River was particularly beautiful today. The water was still and clear and reflected the mountains surrounding it. At the lodge, a few people were taking boats out and rowing a distance away from the dock. Some people were jumping into the river around the dock and yelping because the water was so cold. Children were laughing and various people were sitting on the lounge chairs reading their books.
Meg parked the car at the river and they all got out. Meg and Billy didn’t know which trail to take and Scotty said, “This way guys. Follow me.”
Meg and Billy just looked at each other and rolled their eyes.
After a while the three of them reached a familiar place where they had sat down last time they were there. Meg recognized the rock she sat on.
“Aha, I remember it now. Scotty, do not run off like you did before. You can lead us to the spot with the water, but do it slowly with us walking behind you. Okay?” Meg asked with authority.
“Yes sergeant!” Scotty retorted with a salute. The three of them laughed and started on their way with lunch in hand.
“The birds are particularly noisy today aren’t they?” Meg noticed.
“Yeah, they are. We’re probably disturbing them,” Billy answered.
“I think we’re almost there guys. Look, I remember that big tree over there,” Scotty said happily.
They walked several yards further to the big cedar tree that Scotty remembered when they were there last. Each of them found a rock to sit on to eat their lunch. It was a beautiful spot.
“I love this place. It’s so peaceful,” Billy reflected.
“It sure is. Scotty, we owe it to you. You’re the one who found this place. I love all the cedar trees circling this spot,” Meg said quietly.
They started to eat their lunch when Billy said, “Hey guys, I don’t hear any birds here now. I wonder why they stopped chirping. Also where’s the bubbling water we found before?”
“You’re right about that, Billy,” Meg agreed.
Just then, Scotty jumped up from the rock he was sitting on and said, “Whoa, did you guys see that?”
“See what?” Meg asked.
“I didn’t see anything,” Billy added.
“Out of the corner of my eye I saw something move fast over there,” Scotty said apprehensively, pointing at the massive cedar tree to the right of where he was sitting.
“I think your imagination is running wild, Scotty,” Meg commented.
“No, Honest, I feel weird in here. It’s too quiet or something. Let’s leave. I’m a little scared,” Scotty admitted.
“Really Scotty, there’s nothing to be scared of. We’ll protect you. There are no animals here, and there’s no one else here with us. Finish your lunch and we’ll leave,” Meg reassured him.
Scotty reluctantly finished his lunch not saying much of anything the remaining time they were there.
As they were driving back home, all three of them were wondering why they didn’t see the water like before, and also why the birds stopped chirping in that area. Also, Scotty didn’t let them forget that he saw something or someone out of the corner of his eye. He wasn’t imagining it. It left him feeling uneasy.