What Lies Beneath?

By Amanda Marek (Sun Valley High School)

Samantha was walking through the woods on her way home from school.  It was June 16th, and it was her last day of the 6th grade.  She was the only one from her school that had to walk through the woods everyday in order to get to her house, and everyday she would walk through the entire forest.

The hot summer sun was bright as Samantha hurried into the shaded woods. It was just another normal day. She walked on the same old dirty path. Throughout the forest, she saw the same green oak trees, and she saw the same old overgrown plants. Samantha was running, hurrying to get home for the first day of her summer vacation. As she ran, she looked down at her phone while texting her friend, making plans for the day.  Samantha was texting and running at the same time until she accidentally slammed into something. She fell flat on her back, and her phone went flying out of her hand and into the air.

“Ouch!” she yelled, as she rubbed her back. “Where did this come from?” she asked herself.

She was sitting on the ground, looking at a mysterious door that she had run into. It was sitting in front of a hill. She had never seen it before. She walked over this hill many times, and that was the first time she had ever seen this door in her life. However, it was a very old looking door. It looked as if it had been around for years. It was wooden, with grass growing all around it.

“That is so strange,” Samantha whispered. She stood up, and continued staring at the door.

Then, with a lot of curiosity, she decided to open it. Before she did so, she looked both ways, making sure no one was in sight. Then, she turned the door knob as slowly as possible. The door creaked as she opened it carefully. Samantha opened the door, and saw nothing but complete darkness. It looked like it went deep into the hill. It looked almost as if it could be a cave. Other than that, it was too dark for her to see anything.  She waited a few minutes to see if she would hear anything. She didn’t.

She took a deep breath as she tiptoed into the doorway. It was still too dark for her to see anything.  She walked back out to the bushes and picked up her phone. She used the blue light from her phone to light the way as she courageously walked deeper into the entrance.  She walked endlessly for ten minutes, and didn’t see a thing.  All she could hear was the chirping of birds from outside. Even though it was super quiet, the suspense of what she was going to find made her very nervous. She was about to turn back, until something caught the corner of her eye. She squinted as she tried her best to see what was to her right. It was another door.

“It’s another door!” Samantha silently exclaimed.  She used her phone as a helpful lighting tool again, as she held her phone up to the door. She saw a picture. It was a picture of a tree with a lot of little doors around the trunk of the tree. The doors were colorful, and very tiny. It was a very weird picture. She stood in silence for a few minutes.

Samantha held her breath again, as she opened the door. Suddenly, bright lights flashed in front of her eyes. They were bright lights from the hallway that were behind the door. Since there were pictures and lights set up, Samantha obviously knew that someone was in there. She automatically told herself to return home immediately, but her curiosity made her want to enter deeper to find out exactly what was in there.  Was it a house? Was it a random hide-out place? Has it been here all along? Does it serve a purpose?

Samantha told herself, “I’m allowed to walk a little further, but only a few more steps.” Then, she continued to walk. This time, she walked quickly. She wanted to see as much as possible, before she became even more frightened. She walked through the mysterious hallway.  Hundreds of posters and maps lined the walls of the hallway. The maps appeared to be maps of the forest. However, the posters scared Samantha. Every single picture had images of magical fairies. They looked like they belonged in a fairy-tale book. Samantha walked and walked.

“Who’s there?” a quiet voice of a man finally asked. Samantha froze. Her heart pounded. Someone was in there.

“I knew I shouldn’t have entered the door!” Samantha thought to herself.

“You can come in if you’d like,” the voice said again. Samantha’s first instinct told her to run back outside as quickly as possible. At the same time, she didn’t want to be rude and ignore the man. After all, she had already been rude. She entered someone else’s property without being invited. Samantha’s hands trembled nervously as she walked further down the hallway. It led into a very small room. Then, she saw the man. He was a man that looked as if he was in his late twenties, or early thirties.   He wore big round glasses. He was sitting in a wheelchair. The room looked as if it was a small library. Book shelves surrounded the room. It was a dark room, but lanterns lit the bookcases.  “Hello,” the man said. “What brings you here?” he asked. Samantha shrugged and tried to think of a quick answer. “I am very, very sorry! I don’t know what I was thinking! It’s just that I haven’t seen the door on the side of the hill before!  Though, I have been through these woods as far back as I can remember. I’m sorry.” The man laughed. “It’s okay. This is my home. It’s no big deal.” Samantha was scared.  At that moment, she was very worried. She couldn’t believe that it was his home. Samantha didn’t know whether he was joking, or being serious.

“Welcome,” he said politely. He grinned. “My name is Max Brookinson. It’s nice to meet you. I’m actually glad you came. I haven’t seen anyone in such a long time. It’s been many, many years. I have been living in these woods by myself for a long time. It is nice to talk to another person again.” Samantha nodded politely, but she was scared. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing! Max Brookinson continued, “My parents died in a car crash a few years ago. I’m the last one of the Brookinson family.” Max frowned and looked to the ground. Samantha began to feel bad for the man.

“I’m sorry to hear about that,” she said. Max smiled.

“It’s alright. What is your name?”

Samantha replied, “My name is Samantha. May I ask you a question?” Max finally closed the book that he was reading. The book had a picture of a fairy on it.

He said, “Sure. What is it?” Samantha looked at the book and tilted her head. She was beginning to wonder about the fairies.

“Why do you live in here?” she asked. Max leaned in close to Samantha.

“It’s a secret,” he whispered. “However, I am going to tell you! Can I trust you?” Samantha nodded. Max began talking again, “Other than the fact that I don’t have a family anymore, I am on a mission. I am on a very important mission. You see, there has been a secret discovery in my family from long, long ago. My great, great ancestors discovered something that no one else has ever seen! In fact, no one has seen it but them! No one knows it exists, except my family and me. Now I am the only one on Earth that knows about this secret!”

Samantha became anxious to know what the secret discovery was.  In fact, she was a little excited. “My family was full of great explorers and scientists, and one of them found a magical source here in this exact forest!” Samantha’s mouth dropped.

“What do you mean?” she asked. Max moved his wheelchair over to a bookcase.

“I’ll show you!” he exclaimed.

He went to one of the bookshelves. He pulled out a picture album that read, The Brookinson Family’s Discovery of the Forest. He talked as he flipped the pages, trying to find a picture. “It can grant any wish. Do you remember how I was telling you about how my parents were scientists? They built this secret house in this hill, so they could find our ancestors discovery! They wanted to find it. It was their dream to find it. They searched throughout this whole entire forest, but they just could not find it. ”

Samantha tilted her head in confusion. “Well, what is it? Also, how did your parents even know for sure that it still existed?”

 Max finally found the page he was looking for. He showed Samantha the page. Samantha saw something that she recognized. It was the same exact picture of the colorful little doors on the trunk of a huge tree. “My family recorded information about it. The information has been passed down the family for generations. Now, I have all of the information here in this lodge! Can you guess what this picture is? It is a home to a house of fairies! Of course, fairies were originally make-believe, but my ancestors found proof that they did exist!” Samantha’s eyes widened.

“Is this for real?” she asked in shock. Max grinned and nodded. “Real wish-granting fairies and magic were discovered in this forest by my family. Yes, I am telling you the truth, one hundred percent!”

“Are you searching for it?” Samantha asked.

Max looked down to the floor again, and sighed. “I want to. I really do. The thing is I don’t want to find it to get my wishes granted. I want to find it because of my family. My parents worked so hard together. They made this house, and they searched throughout this forest to find it. It was our family’s very own discovery. It was very important to them. Now that they’re gone, it would make me happy if I could continue the mission for them. However, there is only one problem. I am not a scientist, nor am I an explorer. I don’t have the knowledge that they did, in order to find the fairy house. Besides, I am in a wheelchair, so it is harder for me to move through the whole entire forest,” Max frowned again. He looked very sad. He sighed. “I just wanted to continue my family’s mission.”

Samantha felt bad for Max.  He was hidden away in the forest. He didn’t have any friends or family. It seemed like he really missed his family. The mission was very important to him. After all, he is the last person in his family. Samantha wanted to make him happy, because she felt very bad for him. She wanted to do something nice for him. Samantha smiled and said,

“I have an idea! How about this? How would you like it if I walked through the whole entire forest everyday? I can look for it. Besides, I am on my vacation, so I have a little bit of time to spare.”

Max’s face lit up. A big smile appeared across his face. “Would you really do that for me?” Samantha smiled and nodded.

“That would mean a whole lot to me!” Max exclaimed.

Samantha laughed and said, “Sure, I’ll do it!”

Max went over to Samantha, and shook her hand. “Thank you so much! You’re the nicest young girl ever!” Samantha smiled.  Then, she left the house and headed home.

The next day, Samantha woke up and told her parents she was going for a walk. She went straight to the woods. Samantha ran past Max’s door and ran into another section of the woods that she have never been before. She didn’t really know if she believed in this fairy house. After all, fairies were only make-believe characters in the books that she read when she was a little kid. However, she was happy she was doing a nice thing for a sad, lonely man. She ran while she looked around. She was basically going for a jog, while keeping her eye out for anything unusual. As she jogged in the hot weather for about 20 minutes, she came to a bridge. It was a wooden bridge lying right in the middle of the forest.  Samantha got excited. Even though it was just a bridge, it was something different and unusual! Samantha examined around the bridge. She looked around it, and under it. As she was looking under it, she saw something that was buried underneath the dirt. “Here goes nothing,” Samantha said to herself, as she laid on her stomach, extending her arm far underneath the bridge trying to get a hold of whatever the buried object was. She extended her arm as far as it could go, and finally grabbed onto it. She pulled it from the dirt, and pulled it out from underneath the bridge. It was a weird shaped object. She used her hands to brush the dirt off the object. Soon, the dirt-covered, unknown object was revealed. It was a gnome. It was a ceramic garden gnome. “That’s odd,” Samantha mumbled to herself. She ran back to Max’s door to tell him that she searched the woods for the first time, and she also wanted to make sure that he was okay.

 “Max, look what I found!” Samantha laughed as she held up the gnome. “It may or may not be a clue, but it sure is something!” She laughed again. Max was happy he had company.

“Thank you for visiting,” he said as he laughed at the gnome. Samantha shrugged as she held up the gnome.

She said, “The weird thing is that it was hidden under a bridge.  Is there anything about gnomes in the recorded information?”

Max thought for a minute. “I don’t know! I’ll look tonight though!”

Samantha nodded. “Okay! It was nice seeing you again! Tell me if you find anything about gnomes!” she laughed and added, “I’ll search again tomorrow!”

For the whole entire week, Samantha would look throughout the forest. She would take up 20 minutes of her day, searching for the fairy house. Also, Samantha would make sure she visited Max to tell him about her search. Max didn’t find anything about gnomes in the recorded information, but Samantha kept finding small garden gnomes in the dirt of the woods. Every other day, she would find a small garden gnome somewhere hidden in the woods. She would find them in the dirt, in the bushes, and she even found one in a tree-hole.

It was the eighth day of Samantha’s small search. Again, she was jogging deeper and deeper into the woods. She was listening to her iPod, until she heard a loud noise. She didn’t know what it was. She threw off her iPod and put it into her purse. It sounded like rain. However, it wasn’t raining. “It must have been loud,” Samantha told herself. “I heard it over my music!” She jogged into the direction of where the noise came from. She walked across the bridge. She walked further into the dark part of the forest. It was the place where there were a lot of huge trees. It had more trees than any other place in the forest. Samantha walked and looked all around, trying to find out where the noise was coming from. She passed all of the places where she had found the gnomes.  Then, Samantha heard it again. It sounded like a lot of rain drops hitting the side of a window. However, it still wasn’t raining. She walked for about two miles, and she still heard the noise coming from the same direction. She kept walking, and the sound began to get louder the closer she got. Samantha was walking very slowly, and calmly. Suddenly, she heard a weird buzzing noise fly past her ear. A beam of light moved past her at a very quick speed. She jumped as it flew past her unexpectedly. It moved so fast, that she couldn’t even see it clearly. It looked like a large lightening bug from what she could see. Her heart was pounding.  All of the sudden, she was questioning whether she believed in the secret discovery or not.

Samantha chased after it. It had a dim gold light to it. It looked as if it sparkled with the sun, as the sun shown through the tree leaves. Samantha continued to chase after it. Samantha grew very excited, even though she felt like a little kid chasing after what may or may not be a fairy. She pulled out her phone’s camera, in case she wanted to record anything for Max. Samantha ran for as long and as fast as she could. Soon, she became lost in the forest. She didn’t know where she was going. All she knew was that she was following the mysterious gold light. Samantha ran until she lost her breath and her legs became tired. She stopped, gasping for her breath.

BOOM!  The sound of thunder echoed throughout the forest.  It started raining. Samantha screamed, as she became wet. She pulled her hood over her head, but she continued chasing after the light. “I have to see what it is!” Samantha exclaimed as she ran through the rain. Samantha ran faster and faster. She jumped over bushes and dodged under tree branches. The light stopped a couple feet in front of her. Samantha ran after it, but she lost her balance and slipped in the mud. She fell into a creek. Samantha screamed on the top of her lungs. She couldn’t believe what just happened. She coughed and trembled from the cold creak. She climbed out. Her clothes were full of mud. She wanted to give up. If it wasn’t anything special, she would be so embarrassed for herself. The light started moving again. She had to make a decision quickly. She wanted to go home, but her feet started moving in the direction of the light again. “It’s too late to give up now,” Samantha thought to herself.  The light sparkled in the dark forest. Samantha starred at it. She looked at it, and found out that it had wings. Amazingly, like a fairy, the wings sparkled.

Soon, lightening was covering the sky. Samantha ran faster. She was running in the direction of the fairy, but she was actually hoping she was almost out of the woods. Samantha was now trying to find a way out of the forest. The sky flashed with lightening, and the glowing light with wings flew unbelievably faster. Samantha watched as the light flew into something at the very end of the woods. Samantha rubbed her eyes, wiping water from them. She felt weak and tired, but she decided to finish her long journey. Samantha walked slowly, and she walked towards the light. She was approaching it. It was completely still on the ground. 

Soon, Samantha was standing two feet away from the light. It looked exactly like a fairy. Samantha soon decided that it was actually a real fairy. Samantha’s mouth dropped open.  She stood there in shock. She didn’t know what to do, so she just watched it. Soon, the rain slowed down, and it finally came to a stop. The fairy flew into a tree. It was the tree with the doors! Samantha’s eyes widened. She didn’t know what to do. It was so exciting for her, but shocking at the same time. She couldn’t believe her eyes. Soon, glowing light escaped through every little entrance way of each little door. Sparkling silver light gleamed all around the tree. Gold dust slowly flew into the air, surrounding the tree. The tree was glowing. It was glowing so much; Samantha figured people could see it from miles away.

“I can’t believe this!” Samantha whispered under her breath. She covered her mouth. “Wow,” she whispered.  Then, she heard several versions of the noise that she heard before. The rain noises that Samantha heard were the fluttering of the wings. She watched as fairies flew together in a group out of the tree, and flew away at a fast speed into the sky. They looked like they were moving at the speed of light. Samantha looked up. She watched as the fairies disappeared into the sky. She couldn’t believe what she just saw.

“That was unbelievable!” Samantha exclaimed out loud.

“Yes, it was,” said a voice coming from behind her.

 It was Max. Max’s eyes were widened, just like Samantha’s. Samantha jumped up and down.

“Can you believe it?” Samantha asked. She was still shocked from what she had just witnessed.

“I know, I saw the whole thing,” Max replied. “I thank you, Samantha. You searched these woods everyday. You didn’t think the fairy house existed. I know you didn’t. You were doing it for me. Thank you so much, Samantha. You’re a very nice person,” Max smiled to Samantha and reached out his arms to hug her.

 Samantha smiled and said, “You’re welcome. How did you get here, anyway?”

Max replied, “It took me a long time to finally catch up with you, but I followed you. It took me a long time, but I needed to tell you something. It turns out, the gnomes secretly led to the fairy house. My ancestors buried them in the direction to the fairy house.” Max held out an opened book, and showed Samantha the information.

“It was hidden in the basement,” he added. Samantha laughed.

“I thought the gnomes had something to do with it! Anyway, I can’t believe what we just saw! I recorded it on my phone and everything! I will never forget this summer! I thought this was just an ordinary forest. I mean, I would walk through these woods everyday after school since the third grade.”

Max gave Samantha a jacket and said, “I know. You never know when something is hidden right in front of your own eyes. Thank you again, Samantha. Anyway, you should go home. I hope you’re not sick!”

Samantha walked over to the fairy house and looked inside, “Before we go, I want to know something. What about the wishes? The fairies are gone!”

Max threw his hands into the air and said, “After what I just saw, I’m not that disappointed about not getting the wishes. I got to finish my parent’s most important mission. Besides, I actually did get one wish out of all of this.”

Samantha looked to Max. “What is that?” she asked.

Max smiled and answered, “A very good friend.”

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