Episodical - The Seed

Chapter 3: The Prisoners

by Jodi Hiser


This is Chapter 3 of The Seed Episodical. Click here to go back to the Table of Contents.

Hudson and William landed with a force that pounded the air out of their lungs. 

They lay in the darkness gasping and groaning.

Hudson looked around.  They had fallen into a hole that was deep, but not very wide, just large enough to lie  on their backs recovering.

Hudson looked up and saw a small circle of sunlight at the top of the hole, with dangling vines cascading down like short ropes. Like human hands, the vines waved in the breeze, almost as if they were mocking him for his stupidity. 

“Where are we?” asked William. “I think I wanna go home now.”

“Oh, now you see my side? Why didn’t you listen to me in the first place?” growled Hudson.

In the shadows of the earthen floor, Hudson noticed a scattering of white, wood-like pieces. Hudson picked up a large chunk and held it up to the light.

“Is that a….bone?” asked William. He gulped; his breathing  audibly increased.

“I don’t know,” said Hudson. He thought about the anatomy lessons from his science class. “They’re not consistent. I mean, this looks like a femur bone, but it’s as small as a child’s. And this over here,” he said, reaching towards another, “looks like a rib bone that’s bigger than Dad’s.” He held it over his own chest, showing William the gargantuan size.

“Ahhh! Sasquatch! I’ve heard about those kinds of creatures in the woods!” William began to hyperventilate. “We’ve gotta get out of here, Hud! This isn’t good! What if they come and eat us?”

Hudson growled. “If you would’ve listened to reason, we wouldn’t be in this place, Will! You’re too impulsive, and it always gets us both into trouble!”

As the boys began to argue, a small figure lowered itself by vines into their hole. The figure inched downwards until  it reached the bottom.

Noticing they were not alone, the boys grew silent.

In the muted light, Hudson could see this figure was mannish, but he was shorter than William and almost as round as he was tall. 

“Allo, there,” he said. “I’m Lilikin. What do ya think you’re doin’ down here? Don’t ya know that the Kakaya could awaken? You’re makin’ an awful lot o’noise!”

The boys sat stunned and dumb. They had never seen anyone or anything like this man-creature. He had small brown eyes that twinkled, even in the dim light, a beard that went down to his chest, and little leaf shoes that padded softly on the ground. He was covered in vines that wrapped around the top of his head like a hat and around his arms, chest and legs, creating a leaf-like clothing. Two vine trails came out of his back, linking him to the world up above on the forest floor.

“Ahh,” said Lilikin. “I can see now you’re not from this neck o’the woods. Where be ya from?”

Hudson cleared his throat. “St. Louis, uhm, Sir.”

“Well, ye who come from the Saints, we must be gettin’ ya out o’here.” He tugged on his trailing vine and looked up. “Unfortunately, me’vine won’t hold the both of ya. Let me see what I can do.”

Hudson and William stared with gaping mouths as he climbed back up his vines in a matter of seconds and disappeared out the top of the hole.

The boys looked at each other in silence with wide eyes and mute voices. 

 A dripping sound plink-plunked, as if the walls were weeping for them.

“What do you think we should do now?” asked William. “I really wanna go home.”

Before Hudson could answer, Lilikin returned with two tall, lean figures. Hudson could see that they, too, were wrapped in leaf clothes from shoulders to ankles, with vines trailing around them. But they were of a different kind. Each was tall and lanky like a crane. They lowered themselves down into the hole like spiders trailing down their silky threads. Hudson could hear a small melody emanating from their bodies, as if they were humming. They landed on their feet and began to wrap the boys in the vines.

“Now, wait just a minute,” said Hudson. “We don’t want to be a part of this…uh.. game, or whatever it is…” He tried pulling the vines off William and himself. “I’m not going to let you take me or my little brother!”

“Shhh, quiet now,” said the tallest one,  looking straight into Hudson’s eyes. He was humming! He began to talk in a whisper while the other continued the humming. “My name’s Diapazon.” He pointed to the other tall creature next to him. “And this here’s my sister Lyric. We’ve come to get you out, not to hurt you.” 

Diapazon continued to wrap the boys while Lyric and Lilikin helped. 

Hudson relaxed a bit. “Uhm…well…thanks.” He nodded towards his brother with his head. “That’s William, and I’m Hudson. Thanks for your help. We didn’t know how to get out of this hole.”

“It’s an empty well, really,” whispered Diapazon. “Though Kakaya has taken all its water. You have to understand something,” he said. “As we roll up to the forest floor, you must be quiet. It’s for your safety…and ours.”

The boys watched spellbound as Diapazon finished wrapping them in the vines. He climbed up to the ground level and pulled on the vines at the top of the hole while Lyric and Lilikin pulled on the vines at the bottom. They had made a makeshift pulley system, and the boys felt themselves  hoisted up, one jagged inch at a time.

Once they all got to the top, Diapazon put his finger to his lips and shook his head at the boys, forbidding them to speak. The strange melody of their humming made Hudson shiver, even in the hot sunlight.  The three creatures unwrapped the boys from the vine ropes and helped them to their feet. 

Diapazon leaned into Hudson’s ear and said, “Go. Find your way back and never return. This place is dangerous. If you even dare to enter this place again…well….you may not be so lucky.”

Hudson stepped back and looked at him questioningly. 

“Go!” Diapazon hissed. “I mean it! Now!”

Hudson grabbed William’s hand and took off running back the way they came. Halfway into their trot towards the hole in the tree trunk, William patted the top of his head and stopped dead in his tracks.

“My hat!” he yelled.

Hudson stopped and looked at him. “What’re you doing? We’ve gotta get out of here! You heard what that green guy said. Keep going!”

“No!” shouted William. “It’s Poppy’s hiking hat. I can’t leave without it!” He turned around and ran back, right toward the direction of the hole.

“Will!” yelled Hudson, running after  him. “It’s too dangerous!” 

But William was already yards ahead of him. Hudson picked up speed. “I can’t believe you’re doing this again! Please! Will!”

Hudson ran over two hills and finally caught up with his brother who had stopped right in the middle of the forest to pause and look up at the sky. 

“Now what?” gasped Hudson, trying to catch his breath. 

William stood with eyes wide, glaring into the heavens with a gaping mouth. William pointed to the sky where an assembly of large winged creatures swirled above the treetops, singing a melodious song with harmonies like a choir. Their bodies were long, and covered in feathers. Expressive human-like faces beamed from their winged bodies. They were a mixture of bird and human, with feathered arms and legs blending into human hands and feet. Each winged creature illuminated colors from every hue of the color spectrum. Upon their backs, two large sets of powerful wings pumped with muscular strength and graceful beauty.

“Those are my people, the Avilodia,” someone whispered softly behind them. 

Hudson and William turned around to see Lyric standing in the vines with Poppy’s straw hat in her hands. “Today is their council meeting,” she said. “They come every month to learn the news of the prisoners.” She stepped forward, handing the hat back to William.

“Prisoners?” William asked, crinkling his brow in confusion.

Lyric looked down at her feet, covered in velvety leaf-shoes. “Yes,” she said in a whisper. “I was taken by Kakaya years ago,” she said. “Many of the Avilodia were captured when the Vine was introduced into our land,” she said with a sigh. She looked up with pleading eyes. “My brother told you to go, for he knows this land is ruled by evil. But…” She looked down, as if she didn’t have the courage to look at the boys. “But I’m  asking you to stay. Would you help us? Please? Many explorers have come, trying to bring us freedom. They’ve tried and failed, but something’s different about you. I think you…could be the ones… to bring freedom.”

Hudson wasn’t interested in helping any bird-like creatures for any kind of quest. He just wanted a way out—any way out. 

But William looked spellbound. “What can we do?” he asked.

“Are you kidding, Will?” growled Hudson.  “We can’t do anything! You’re nine. I’m thirteen. All we can do is get OUT of here!”

William slammed his straw hat upon his head. “You do what you want, Hud, but I’m helping the Vine Lady. She needs our help, and if you’re too chicken, then go back. I’ll see you at Poppy’s later.”

Hudson couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He couldn’t believe this was happening. Could it be a bad dream? Oh wake up, wake up, WAKE UP!

But this was real. And he had to make a choice.

He sighed and took a deep breath.  “Let’s go meet your people, Lyric,” he said.