This is Chapter 7 of The Seed Episodical. Click here to go back to the Table of Contents.
Hudson looked up and scanned the tiny room of the magical shack. What could be the key to undoing the evil inside Kelos? And what good would a key do for them…in the world of a gargantuan rainforest? He put the opened book down upon the desk and fumbled inside the drawers. His thoughts wandered to Lyric, a captive inside a cocoon prison of vines.
“Will, help me look for a key,” said Hudson. “It’s the only thing we have going for us right now.”
Instead of rising to help, William lay down upon the cot, holding his middle. Meanwhile, Hudson pulled out all of the desk drawers and sifted every article he could find. He rummaged through a stack of envelopes, two paper clips, three dried-out markers, an old capsule of medicine, a strange baggie of dirt, a pocket-knife, and two erasers.
“These drawers are of no use. There’s no key in here,” said Hudson.
“Hud?” said William, trying to sit up. “I think that—”
“Not now, Will,” said Hudson. “I need to think about where a key could be hidden.”
Hudson tapped his finger to his lips and closed his eyes. “If I had a key, where would I hide it?”
Hudson pointed in the air. “Maybe in one of these jars?” He dumped over the pencil jars that sat upon the desk and rummaged through their contents. He gave a disgusted grunt when he found nothing.
“Uh, Hud?” said the feeble voice of William, still sitting on the cot.
“Just a minute, Will. I need to follow this train of thought. Maybe it’s in a box? Is there a box anywhere?”
“Hud!” This time William spoke so forcefully that Hudson turned around.
William held out his open palm to Hudson, revealing a small key. “I found it in the sweater pocket,” he said. “What do you think it opens?”
Hudson hurried over to the cot and took the key. Putting their heads close together, Hudson examined it. “It looks rather ancient,” Hudson said.
“Maybe it unlocks a door into another world,” said William.
Hudson stood up and paced the room, looking at the windows, the walls, the floor, and the old-fashioned wooden door. He tried the key in several odd-looking holes, but nothing seemed to fit with it.
“Are you sure there’s not a secret drawer in the desk, Hud?” asked William. “I’ve seen in the movies how spies will flutter their fingers under a desk and find a secretly hidden compartment.”
Hudson had to agree that this was a unique idea. But they were out in the middle of Appalachian woods in red-neck-ville. What kind of hillbilly would build a secret compartment in his desk?
Nevertheless, he walked over to the desk and looked around. He felt underneath the desk. He pulled out the drawers and felt in between the wooden slats. He got down on his hands and knees and felt along the backside of the desk.
He found nothing.
Hudson huffed a sigh and sat in the desk chair to regroup. Lyric was probably being eaten alive right this very minute. And he looked like he was playing a game of Twister with himself in this stupid shack. He was failing in a huge way. He sat down and huffed again.
With the force of his breath onto the desk, the pages of The History of Kelos fluttered to the end of the book.
Hudson stopped for a moment and noticed something odd.
All the pages after that first poem were blank. But the very last page of the history book had another poem written in the same scraggly handwriting.
“Will! There’s more to this book than we originally thought!” said Hudson. “Listen to this!”
Hudson read the poem out loud, and again, it took on a life of its own:
With one seed
entered in a curse,
upon the ground dispersed.
Over forest and mountain
it did intrude,
in its wake ensued.
Now enmity prevails
between death and life,
and toilsome strife.
But into the darkness
light can prevail,
with hope in removing
the evil veil.
For with one seed
came power to destroy,
and through another
reigns peace and joy.
To the distant East,
you must journey afar,
for an eternal cure:
The Bright Morning Star.
William looked up while Hudson read the poem. “The Bright Morning Star? How on earth can we capture a star?” he asked. “And do you think that key has a way to get it?”
Hudson stood up and paced the tiny room of the shack. “No, Will, I think we need to collect a seed.” He pointed to the end of the second poem. “It says, ‘for with one seed came power to destroy… and through another reigns peace and joy.’ I think we’re looking for a seed!”
“Aww man,” whined William. “A seed is as small as a speck. How are we gonna find a seed? And how do we know it’s the right seed when we find it? There are literally billions of seeds on this earth!”
Hudson tapped his fingers to his lips again in deep thought. “We’ll start here in this shack, Will. Lyric said the last explorer had traveled to go and find it, so maybe…just maybe it’s here somewhere.”
“Yeah, but Lyric said that the last explorer never came back!” squeaked William. “For all we know, he’s stuck in another world, trying to find this stupid speck!”
“We can’t give up, Will. Lyric needs us,” said Hudson.
Over the next hour, and while William lay on the cot shivering, Hudson inspected the room. Holding the ancient key, he looked carefully at the window from which they came, and then at the other window, trying to find a keyhole somewhere. He looked along the walls, feeling over the rough wood, and around the door. He mumbled to himself, asking which direction was east.
“Maybe there’s a clue in one of these old books,” said William.
“Sure. Whatever,” said Hudson, completely engrossed in finding some sort of keyhole for his key. As Hudson scoured the flour for any secretly fashioned floorboards, William sat on the cot and read the books from the shelf.
The boys worked together in silence. Just when Hudson was about to give up for the day, he heard a yelp from his brother.
“Hey Hud!” yelled William. “Look at this book!” He handed Hudson a rectangular-shaped book. Except it wasn’t a book at all. It was a box that had been carved to look like a book, with wooden pages carved into its sides.
William pointed to the side of the box-book. “A keyhole!”
Hudson’s heart skipped a beat. Could this be what they had been looking for?
He carefully took the key from his hand and placed it into the keyhole of the box. It fit perfectly. Turning the key slowly, he heard a small click-click sound, and the top of the book-like box popped open.
With wide eyes, the boys sat staring. The insides of the box were lined with soft blue cloth. And lying at the bottom of the box was one small paper envelope.
“Well?” shouted William. “Are you gonna take it out, or should I?”
Hudson startled at William’s shout. “I’ll do it,” he said. He reached in and pulled the envelope out of its box home. He carefully opened the envelope and poured out its contents into his palm.
One single star-shaped seed tumbled into the palm of Hudson’s hand.
“Look at its shape, Hud!” shouted William.
The boys gasped and shouted together, “The Bright Morning Star!” They both yelled in excitement.
“We’ve already taken up so much time. This has got to be the cure!” said Hudson.
“Well, we’ve gotta get back now,” said William. He stood up and discarded the sweater onto the cot. “Lyric’s expecting us.” He reached down and picked up the straw hat and placed it carefully on top of the sweater. “I don’t want to lose it again,” he said, patting the hat where it lay.
Hudson put the star-shaped seed into the envelope and stuffed it into his jeans pocket. He turned his face toward the window. “I don’t know how or why, but according to the ending of the poem, this has to be what they’re looking for,” said Hudson.
“You ready then?” asked William, stepping toward the window frame.
“I’m right behind you,” said Hudson.
As the boys crawled through the open window, Hudson tried to keep his eyes open. He wanted to witness the transformation of worlds. But as he felt himself falling, he instinctively closed his eyes. Warm breezes ruffled his hair, getting stronger as he fell, now becoming hot gusts that felt like a punch to his middle. He finally hit the ground, landing with a bump on the soft velvety leaves.
Knowing the danger of Kakaya, Hudson quickly picked himself up and looked around for his brother. William stood by a tree, humming quietly and frowning.
“Let’s get moving, Hud. I don’t like standing in this place,” said William.
Hudson patted his pocket to double check the presence of the seed envelope before they started off into the woods.
“Do you think their time is the same as ours, Hud?” whispered William. “I mean, do you think it’s only been a few hours since we left, or has time fast-forwarded in years?”
“Well, there’s only one way to find out,” said Hudson. He knew that he needed to find Lyric. Maybe she would know what to do with the seed. “Let’s go find Lyric.”
Hudson attempted to stay courageous as they hiked, but he had forgotten how eerie the stillness felt in this forest. As they approached the top of the hill, William noticed a small figure on the ground, covered in the silvery leaves of Kakaya. As they stepped closer, Hudson could see that underneath the massive amount of tendrils and leaves lay a small deer, cold and lifeless.
William gasped. “Hud, that’s a deer under there, and it’s…it’s… dead.” He squeaked a small yelp and cupped his hand over his mouth.
Hudson started to walk faster. “Poor innocent creature. We’ve got to keep moving, Will. This place is giving me the creeps.”
Just at that moment, Hudson noticed the vines that were coiled over the deer flickered. The tendrils unwrapped themselves and moved in the direction of the boys.
“Quick, Will! Run!” said Hudson.
The two boys picked up their feet and galloped through the forest.
Without watching where they were headed, they ran straight into two trunk-like pillars. Both boys bounced and landed on their rears on the ground. Hudson looked up to realize that they weren’t pillars; they were the legs of a giant, the largest creature that Hudson had ever seen.