A Journey Home
Hasua sighed and plopped down on an old tree stump.
"C'mon, we're almost there," Cahlesie said, offering her hand to help Hasua up.
"But Cahlesie," Hasua started. "We've been walking for hours. Can't we take a break now?"
Cahlesie snorted. "As if! We've almost made it to the Draik Nest- a journey all Draiks want to make, but few ever get the chance to go. Don't you finally want to see where our ancestors came from?"
Hasua rolled her eyes. She hated when her sister was right. She grabbed Cahlesie's hand and the two continued to walk through the forest. Cahlesie still hadn't told Hasua a whole lot about why they were embarking on this trip in the first place, and she could tell her older sister was hiding something from her.
Sensing Hasua's uneasiness, Cahlie broke the silence. "Rumor has it," said Cahlesie, "that if a Draik makes it to the Draik Nest, they can see the ghosts of all deceased Draiks."
Hasua stopped dead in her tracks. "Does that mean?" she said faintly.
"Yes, Hasua." Cahlesie nodded. "It means we'd get to see mom again."
Hasua's eyes filled with tears. The girls were both young when they lost their mother; Cahlesie could faintly remember her, but Hasua was too young to really remember anything. The only thing she had to hold onto were the stories Cahlesie would tell her.
"Why didn't you tell me sooner?" Hasua said, a hint of anger in her voice.
"Because I didn't want to get your hopes up. It's only a rumor," Cahlesie replied.
Hasua nodded. The two walked side-by-side in silence for a few minutes, thinking about what would happen if the rumors were true. How would they react if they did get to see their mother again? It was hard to say.
Before too long, the two came to a fork in the road.
"Which way do we go?" Hasua asked.
Cahlesie sighed. "I...I don't know."
"What do you mean you don't know?" Hasua shot back.
"Well there isn't exactly a glowing path for us to follow," Cahlesie retorted. "I only know what Mother told me when I was little. She must've known she was dying, otherwise I doubt she would've told me about the Draik Nest and where to find it in the first place."
Hasua was about to say something, but decided not to. There was no sense getting upset with Cahlesie; she was doing her best. She was doing everything she could.
"I think we should take a left here. Worst-case scenario, it ends up being wrong and we just turn around."
The sisters began down the winding path. Dusk was just starting to set in.
"We should be close now," Cahlesie said. "That weeping willow up there means we don't have much further to go. The cave should be somewhere nearby."
Suddenly, a clearing appeared. Not far ahead stood an opening to a cave; it was covered in moss and spiderwebs. The soft blue light from the sky filtered through the trees and illuminated its' entrance.
"Is this it?" Hasua whispered, her voice shaky.
"I think so. Only one way to find out."
Cahlesie picked up a stick and started clearing the way for her and Hasua to make their way into the cave. The faint sound of water dripping was the only sound to be heard. A breeze blew past, sending chills up their spines.
"Are you sure this is right?" Hasua asked.
"I think so... I hope so. Here, maybe this will help."
Cahlesie blew fire onto the stick she had used to clear the mouth of the cave, making a small torch to light their way. As soon as she lit it, the girls gasped.
Decorating the cave walls were drawings. They appeared to be of Draiks- some were families, others were shown hunting and fishing. As they made their way further into the cave, the drawings became more detailed. The stories they told became more complex.
"We definitely found it," Hasua smiled.
"This is amazing," Cahlesie breathed softly. "These must be ancient cave drawings from the days when Draiks actually used to live here."
"So... these drawings are great and all. But how do we see mom?"
Cahlesie thought for a moment. "Mom used to tell me that when we got here, we'd have to look for her. She said when we saw her to put our hands up to her."
"What in the world does that mean? You can't touch a ghost." Hasua sighed.
Cahlesie's face lit up. "You're right. You can't touch a ghost- but you can touch a painting."
Hasua raised her eyebrow. "You think she meant these cave paintings? How are we supposed to find her out of all these Draiks?"
"She said we'd just... know," Cahlesie said, a hint of discouragement in her voice.
The two continued to make their way through the cave, scanning the paintings as they went. Then, Hasua stopped.
"What is it, Hasua?"
"I..I don't know. This painting just... feels different."
Cahlesie walked over to where Hasua was standing. The painting in front of her was of a mother Draik playing with her two children. Tears filled her eyes. She smiled.
"Certainly reminds me of her," she said.
"Well," Hasua started. "Should we put our hand up to it and see what happens?"
Cahlesie nodded. The two put their hand up to the painting of the mother and squeezed their eyes shut. Suddenly, a blue light illuminated the room. And then, a ghost appeared.
At first, the girls were too scared to move. They hadn't actually expected it to work.
"Mom?" Hasua cried. She ran over to hug her, but stopped right before she got to her. Hugging a ghost wasn't possible.
"I miss you so much. Not a day goes by where I don't think of you," the ghost smiled.
"We miss you too," Cahlesie whispered.
"I don't have long. As soon as the sun rises, I'll disappear back into the wall."
The sisters looked at each other and smiled. They took turns talking to their mother, and telling her about all the fun adventures they had gone on growing up. They talked about romance and future plans, school and friends. Before they knew it, the sunlight started to creep into the cave.
"Please don't leave us again," Hasua cried, tears forming in her eyes.
"I never really left," the ghost replied. "I'll always be here for you."
And just like that, she was gone. When the two looked up to where she had been, they noticed something moving in the shadows. They crept over carefully to it, unsure of what it was. And then the sunlight hit it, revealing its face.
"A... Faellie?" Hasua wondered aloud. "What is it doing all the way down here?"
"I think it's a gift from Mom," Cahlesie said, a small laugh escaping from her lips. "She always loved Faellies."
Hasua smiled. "Mom was right. She never really left us. And now we have this little cutie to prove it."
"What should we name her?" Cahlesie asked.
"Vi. After Mom," Hasua replied.
Cahlesie nodded. "Well, Vi- let's go home."
And with that, the girls made their way back home. They now had a complete family, once again.