As another sleepless night passed by, the group awoke again to another morning without a sunrise. As the stars gleamed above, the group packed up camp and headed on their way. Following the river for about five miles further up the mountain to a field. At the far edge of the field was a small lake with a waterfall.
“Let’s set up camp here guys,” Rose said as she tapped Jared to look at the view over the cliff on the right.
“Wow babe. Your mom was right. This place was beautiful,” Jared said as he realized that Talia was staring at the two. “Do you have a problem Talia?”
“No Jared. I just think you’re hiding something but whatever.”
“Talia, leave them alone. You’re seriously annoying,” Jaz said as cam wrapped his arms around her neck.
“No one asked you Jasmine. You always put yourself into everyone else’s business.”
“Guys. Can you all stop? This was my mother’s dying wish that we made it to these falls and you’re ruining the memories of this place,” Rose said as she looked at the group. “I have been hiding something. There’s nothing usual or regular about these falls and it’s surely not good. The water in these falls is from the river of lost souls. If you swim in the water or drink it you will stay young forever. But if you do drink or swim in it you will be cursed to see all the souls of the dead around you. I’m going to be quite honest here, I’ve already decided to drink the water.”
“Wow. Rose you’re crazy. Did you seriously think we would believe any of that?” Talia said as she rolled her eyes and crossed her arms. “How stupid do you think we are like seriously.”
“It’s true. Rose’s mom killed herself because she couldn’t take seeing the souls anymore. It was in her suicide letter,” Jared said as he glared at Talia. “Why would she lie in a suicide letter?”
“I don’t know Jared to make it easier for her family to move on from the fact that they were probably why she killed herself.” Talia said as she stepped closer to Jared.
“You know what Talia? Screw you. I’ll prove it’s true,” Rose said as she ran towards the water.
As soon as she got to the bank of the lake, the waterfall parted and Rose froze. A water nymph carried by an under tide glided over to the bank.
“I am the guardian of this water. I must warn you; if you drink from this water you will be cursed for the rest of your life. You will see the souls of everyone who has died but not passed. You will see the dead and undead the possessed and the seven deadly sins. It will cloud your judgement and make you miserable. Do you accept these consequences?”
“I do. I accept these terms,” she said as she looked back at the group. As she slowly walked into the water, the nymph retreated into the cave sealing the rocks back up. Rose submerged her entire body into the water and swam to the edge of the waterfall. As she stood on a rock directly under the running water, she wiped the water from her eyes. She looked at the group and to her surprise her mother was standing with them. Her mother smiled at her then started to turn away. Scared she was going to lose her mother again, she swam and ran as fast as she could to the group.
“Mom. Where are you going? Why are you leaving? I have so many questions!”
“Rose, who are you talking to?” Jaz asked worried about her sister.
“It’s mom. She’s here with us.”
“Princess, I can’t stay. You’ve completed my dying wish I have to pass on now,” Roses mother said as she stepped off the cliff and disappeared.
“Mom, don’t go!” Rose said as she fell onto her knees crying.
“Babe it’s going to be okay,” Jared said trying to comfort rose.
“Rose it’s going to be okay,” Caron said as he tried to help Jared calm her down. Talia still in shock from seeing the water nymph fell to her knees.
“Rose I’m so sorry. I doubted you and didn’t believe you. I flat-out called you a liar. I am so sorry,” Talia said as she silently shed a tear. “I just… I didn’t… How could anyone believe this? I don’t believe this and it happened in front of my face.”
“Okay so I hate to cut you off Talia but I feel something watching me. Can we just hurry up and get our camp set up? I don’t like these vibes,” Jaz said as she nervously looked around.
“Yea let’s set up camp here for now,” Jared said as he noticed Rose looked exhausted.
As they were setting up the camp under the stars, Talia had just lit a fire in the middle of the circle of tents, when she noticed sitting on a nearby boulder Jaz was staring at the waterfall.
“You wanna go swimming?” Talia asked sarcastically.
“Actually I was thinking about it.”
“Seriously Jaz, you are joking right? You’re not actually going anywhere near that water, right?”
“I don’t know I was thinking about it.”
To be continued…