This is Chapter 5 of The Seed Episodical. Click here to go back to the Table of Contents.
Hudson watched as the Avilodia swirled and swooped in the air, exhibiting as much artistry with their acrobatics as with their song. They floated to Moonbeam Meadow where Hudson and William stood with the line of vine prisoners that awaited them.
The Avilodias’ massive wings pumped up and down in large waves. One by one, they alighted onto the meadow, creating a line facing their imprisoned family and friends. Two wings arched up and curled behind their backs while two more wings folded in upon themselves over the front of their chests.
“Hello Brother, hello Sister,” said the largest of the winged creatures, who was obviously their leader.
“Hello Antiphon,” Lyric and Diapazon said in unison.
Antiphon was a head taller than all the other creatures of the Avilodia. He held his head high with a fixed, stern expression of a stolid stare onto his vine-covered siblings.
Another winged creature stepped forward, who was more slender and muted in color. Hudson wondered if this was a sister.
“How is Goliphant?” she asked them.
Diapazon turned toward her. “He is well and resting, Selah. Your call for help was just in time.”
William turned towards Diapazon. “Goliphant? Who’s that?”
“Shh,” said Diapazon. “Later.”
Antiphon shifted over his own feet in agitation. “Now, who do we have here?” He nodded at the two boys standing near the end of the line.
“These are our new friends, Hudson and William,” said Lyric. “They’ve agreed to help us and have come to meet you.”
Diapazon gave a rude snort and looked at the sky.
Antiphon looked at the boys and narrowed his eyes. “So…you’ve come to help, have you?” He boomed a large, strong voice.
“We just wanted to help the Vine Lady,” blurted William. “The prisoners need to be free.”
Hudson shook his head in embarrassment. “What he means to say, Sir, is that we were saddened to hear of the imprisonment of your people.” He shot a glare at his brother.
“Hmm. You’re quite strange, and much smaller than the others,” said Antiphon. “They did tell you of the others, didn’t they? The land of Kelos has seen a few explorers in our day, each trying to help our people.” Antiphon’s wings rustled and resettled, arching up and over his back. “One explorer tried to hack at the Kakaya with axes, but the Vine became angry and overpowered him. His entire body was covered in vines the next day, the way a serpent coils around its prey. Another explorer went underground, trying to kill its source, and was found dead, hanging from a noose-like Kakaya root. One woman explorer tried uprooting the Vine out of the ground, and was strangled to death by Kakaya leaves that coiled around her head.” His wings shuddered and his face scowled.
Selah put a hand up to speak. “But the last explorer… what happened to him?” she asked.
“He said he discovered something from his books,” said Lyric. “His plan was to journey to a new world in search of a cure. Goliphant helped him back into his world. But… Goliphant was punished by Kakaya that night.”
“And?” asked Selah in a whisper.
Lilikin peeked around the group. “And that explorer never came back again,” he said in a sheepish whisper.
“Ahh, my Pyxmy Friend,” said Antiphon, “I’m sorry I didn’t notice you over there. So you see, no explorer has managed to bring freedom to our land. So, what in all of Kelos do you think these two boys can do?”
Lyric spoke up. “These boys came from the same dark place in the same tree as the last explorer. I think if they go back, they could follow his trail and bring us back the help that was promised.” Lyric looked around at the Avilodia people. “It’s worth a try, isn’t it? I mean, we can’t give up! Not yet!”
Antiphon cleared his throat and looked at the winged creatures that stood on his right and left. They nodded silently to him, encouraging him to speak.
“I’m sorry sister, but our people have decided to give up. Kakaya has infiltrated every home, and has finally reached over the mountains. The Pyxmies have begun to search for new earthly dwellings. The animal kingdom has migrated towards the Eastern Sea, and the Behemox are also on the move.”
William leaned over to Diapazon. “Behemox?” he asked. “What’s that?”
“Shh,” hissed Diapazon. “Later!”
“The Avilodia will migrate toward the East, beginning at the full moon, in two weeks,” said Antiphon.
“Two weeks?” Lyric crumpled to the ground and began to weep.
Hudson bent over to lend her a helping hand. She refused to stand up. Her arms hung limply at her sides, and her body rocked back and forth, creating a soft susurration of leaves across the ground. Hudson felt a sudden urge of indignance. This evil power had to be stopped. Whatever this Kakaya vine was doing to these beautiful people, it had to be stopped. He took a deep breath and turned bravely to look up at Antiphon.
“Uhm, Sir, what if we went and found this…uh… cure?”asked Hudson. “Would you be willing to stay?”
“That depends on you,” said Antiphon. “No one has yet been able to find the cure to such evil, and our lives are threatened more every day.”
“Then, we must go and try,” said Hudson with force.
“Hoo-yeah!” whooped William. “Now you’re talking! Finally! You see my side! Hooo-YEAH!”
As William whooped again, a wind suddenly rose up from the Western sky across the ocean, rustling the leaves that wrapped around the prisoners. Gray, ominous clouds filtered towards them and distant thunder rumbled in the air. The wind blew with ferocity that jostled the trees from side to side, as if their spindly tops were mopping the newly darkened sky.
“A storm!” cried Selah, with a tremble in her voice. She positioned herself in front of Hudson and put a hand-wing on his shoulder. “Hudson, if you truly want to help my siblings, you must hurry, especially now, as dark clouds are forming! The Kakaya will be awakened in this darkness. It will try to prevent you from leaving! Quick! You must go! Now!”
As she spoke, thunder rolled above them, quaking the earth underneath. Hudson looked at Lyric and Diapazon who nodded in agreement.
“Quick, Friends,” said Lyric, wiping a tear from her face. “You must run fast!” She motioned with her arms to speed the way. “Go! And bring us back the cure!”
“As fast as your legs can carry ya!” yelled Lilikin, jumping up and down.
Hudson and William looked at one another. They both knew what to do. They took off running back into the forest, toward the massive tree that held the window from which they came.
As rain pelted their heads and soaked their bodies, the boys galloped through the forest and stepped high over the vines, running in a zig-zag path over the hills and around the well that had so rudely captured them before.
Hudson looked down at his feet and noticed the leaves creeping over the forest floor, as if the vines underneath were walking across the ground. “Quicker, William! I think Kakaya is awake!” he said.
The boys came to a small creek and jumped from stone to stone towards the opposite bank. Kakaya leaves that hung from blackened branches lurched up and snaked outward, slithering up behind them. Thunder from the sky rumbled again, quaking the earth underneath.
“William! We must run faster!” yelled Hudson.
The boys pushed towards their tree destination with legs burning and arms pumping furiously.
“I can’t run anymore!” yelled William. “I think…my lungs…are going to explode!”
“Just keep going! We’re almost there!” yelled Hudson.
As they ran, Hudson looked up, and between the vine-gripped canopy, he noticed the dark clouds had become fuller and blacker. The air around them cooled, and the visibility in front of them grew dim, as if the night was seeping into their day.
“It’s getting darker, Hud!” yelled William from behind. “I don’t think we’re—“
The sudden ceasing of William’s voice caused Hudson to be alarmed. He looked behind him as he ran and noticed his brother was lying on his back, sliding backwards, with vines slowly wrapping around his middle.
“Will!” yelled Hudson. “I’m coming!” He turned around and ran to his brother, frantically trying to unravel the vines that enveloped his body. As Hudson’s hands were busy at work, he felt a tickle around his ankles and legs. Looking downward, he noticed that the vines had begun to twist themselves around his leg like the stripes on a candy cane.
“Ahhkk!” yelled Hudson, hastily trying to pull the vines off of his legs. “We’re being captured, Will! I don’t know what to do!”
“I dood dow ut oo do edoo,” yelled William with a vine wrapped around his face, muffling his words. He desperately fought with the leaves, trying to get his face free. With one swoop, William cleared the leaves for a quick moment. “I don’t know what to do either!” he yelled.
Hudson rolled around, fighting his own battle with the vines that curled and snaked around him, getting tighter and tighter. He felt the breath being squeezed out of him slowly, slowly…
And then he knew it. This was it. This was how he would end his days. He would be another ‘explorer’ who was killed by the Kakaya. He and William would be eaten by this vine, with their bones thrown into the deep, dry well. And his parents would never know the truth of what happened to their boys.