When asked later why he had walked away from the campsite, Noah would sometimes say that it was because the smoke from the campfire seemed to be more attracted to him than anybody else, while at other times, he would reply that it was because the mosquitoes were getting rather bad. He would forever keep the truth to himself.
While sitting in his fold-up chair, surrounded by his family as they toasted marshmallows and told humorous, made-up stories, he saw a glow coming from the forest. Although he was only five-years-old at the time, Noah’s family had instilled in him a love for hiking and for the rainforest. They camped regularly, so Noah had more knowledge about nature than most kids his age. Noah never had the urge to boast about what he knew, but it did mean that he was less intrigued by some events when compared to other kids, say, seeing some glowing mushrooms at night or hearing critters scrounge through the campsite as his family slept. But, the glow that he saw that night was not coming from a mushroom. It was far too bright for that. Though he didn’t have the words for it then, Noah would one day describe it as a signal. A signal that he couldn’t ignore and a signal that his life was about to change forever.
While still sitting in his camping chair, Noah drew some pictures in the dirt using the walking stick he collected earlier to assist with his hike up Dakota Peak. He used the picture as an excuse to move out of his chair and out of the light of the orange flames. It wasn’t uncommon for someone to leave the campfire for a few moments while they were talking so Noah was confident that he would have a few minutes to go exploring. He didn’t have a torch. He didn’t need one. By the time his eyes adjusted, Noah was already halfway up the small walking track on the hill beside their campsite that would lead him to the rainforest. He could still hear his family laughing and the occasional pop from the fire but when he turned his head to look deeper into the forest, those sounds drifted into the background, no louder than the crickets or the trickling from the creek in the distance.
The glow was still there. It was coming from a small clearing not far from where Noah was standing. He stepped into the forest, being careful not to break too many sticks to avoid drawing attention to himself. By the time he reached the clearing, he could make out a small, spherical object giving off just enough light for him to find a comfortable space, not covered with too many twigs, so that he could sit down crossed-legged in front of the object and observe it for a moment. After several minutes, Noah reached out, his fingers blocking some of the light, making a pattern that he found hypnotic. Just as his mother called out to him, he pushed through the light and picked the object up in his right hand.
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW…
My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.
Illustrations by Alisha Towers: FACEBOOK
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