Illusions of a young mind

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Information about Illusions of a young mind

Published on February 26, 2014

Author: kb4421



A brave explorer deep in the jungle, but will his courage disappear just like the sun has when he comes to face to face with his worst fear?

Illusions of a Young Mind As he pushed his way through the dense jungle the razor sharp branches of the trees that surrounded him cut at his face and forearms leaving harsh red marks along his sensitive skin. The big, broad leaves reached out far over the faint dirt path leading his way as if trying to hold him back and the constant need to push up his hat that kept slipping over his eyes hung around him. His sweat wrenched hair matted against his temples and the strap under his chin holding his hat on was rubbing badly. As he kept wading his way through the blur of green trees, thrashing out with his hands, he did not see the thick vines that carpeted the jungle floor and he stumbled heavily as his feet got entwined. Only a small grunt escaped him as he got up. He still had a long way to go and now he was even more determined. Continuing along, he collected a staff like stick, an object of balance to guide his steps that was nearly as tall has he was. His eyes were now well aware of the lingering vines that still came his way, hidden under the growing moss and his legs automatically stepped over them. Walking around for a while the explorer felt the ground under his feet shifting and becoming softer, his steps slipping under the clay. Lifting his head and smelling the air he stool still and listened. The distinctive, but small, smell of water filled his nostrils and the faint trickling of a river could be heard over the distant calls of the birds high above his view and the small buzz of the insects filling the air. Soon there was a huge, bubbling river before him that looked very deep and bitterly cold, but the width was obviously the biggest problem. How could he continue his journey for the lost treasure if he couldn’t cross it? Fumbling around inside the huge pockets of his cargo pants he searched for his compass. Pulling it out, he held it steady in front of him and watched the needle turn and spin slowly, unsure of where to land. It gradually stopped and his face fell as he studied its position. He was heading in the right direction; he needed to cross that river. Instantly an idea came inside his mind. It was crazy and it was dangerous but he was desperate enough. Stepping backwards a few feet away from the edge of the water and raising his staff above his shoulder, he took a deep breath and ran. The moment the stick connected with the rocks at the bottom of the river and the force propelled the explorer forward into the air, he felt like he was flying. His arms flailing wildly at his sides and his eyes squeezed shut he hit the ground and rolled to a stop, a bush pillowing him. His hands were bloody and he had thick clumps of prickles painfully stuck in his blonde curls but he had made it. It was a few minutes that he just sat there, wondering if he should go on. He was tired and his hands hurt. What if he never found the treasure? No, he had come this far, he had to keep going. Locating his hat that had fallen off during the jump and trudging on through the jungle that never seemed to change, his spirits lifted. He began to whistle softly, the tune one very familiar to him. It was an old song that his mother had once sung to him at his bedside when he was a toddler. Even now he could still clearly hear her voice singing in his mind as if it had only been yesterday that he

had last heard it. The noise had broken the forming silence that had crept around him and it was a warming to his heart that he gladly welcomed. Out of breath from whistling and hiking at the same time, the explorer stopped to catch his breath. The vast jungle around him seemed to stand still as no sound was present. A slight breeze rustled its way through the trees and as it whisked past the nape of his neck the fine hairs stood on end, Goosebumps forming instantly over the surface of his scratched skin. Shivering slightly he pushed his hat up, it was only the wind. He laughed vaguely and continued on whistling. As the sky got darker the explorer started to get worried, was he lost? Would he ever find what he was looking for? In the growing darkness the trees looked even taller, as if they were giants, looking down on him. He imagined them as friendly creatures with big hollow smiles, his watchers to protect him, using their long branches as arms to stop an enemy in its tracks. The only thing he didn’t have to imagine was the cluster of fireflies that were coming out of hiding, their tail ends glowing dimly in the fading light. As he slowed down to watch their display of buzzing and darting, he noticed the slight thudding that was coming from somewhere far behind him. Studying the foreign sound, he tried placing it with an object in his mind. It didn’t sound like another river, or any kind of bird or insect that he had encountered so far. It wasn’t his own feet treading over the ground, but he was all alone for miles. It is just the wind, he tried reassuring himself again, but the knowledge that he knew it definitely wasn’t the wind started to gnaw at him in the back of his mind. The slowly approaching thuds were becoming so much louder and the explorer started to fill with panic. Suddenly, the sound stopped and he whipped around, frantically searching for whoever (or whatever) was following him. But as he searched he couldn’t see anything, tall grass forming a ring around him. Everything was silent as if in anticipation. A rustle in the grass, movement striking past behind him. It was after him. The heavy treading returned but it only took 3 moves until he could practically feel its presence behind himself. Hot, humid air fell onto the back of his neck, his whole body paralysed, and his feet rooted to the ground. Did he dare turn to face it? The thick breath was audible and all he could do was listen to the rhythm. Inhale, exhale. In, out. Clenching his fists up into tight balls so hard that his nails bit into his palm, and squeezing his eyes shut as brutally as he could, he mustered all his will together and turned around. The hot air was now directly on his face, hitting the tip of his cold nose and making it run. His eyes started to twitch as he opened them slowly, millimetres at a time. Looking through the gaps in his long eyelashes he swallowed a whimper that had begun to rise in his throat, knowing that startling the creature would be a sure way to get himself killed. Before the explorer, which he was now staring at with very wide eyes, was the most real and wild tiger he had ever seen in his life. It was a giant that was much taller than him, with four huge paws that could crush anything in its path. Its coat was orange but the black stripes that were darker than the night sky were a vast contrast against the dull burnt colour, making it obvious why it had been so easy for the animal to hide among the trees. Compared to the body, the face of the creature was a

completely different animal, instead of the long cuddly fur that reminded him of his stuffed toys he had as a child the facial features were frightening and ferocious. It had matted fur in clumps that were stained with the blood of its last prey, teeth so razor sharp that even looking at them could cut you in two and its eyes were huge black orbs that never left yours, piercing your insides, compelling you to stare back. The tiger’s face was fuelled with wild anger, as if he would attack him at any moment. But it never did. The two were face on, both in their own form of defensive stance, yet even though the tiger could have easily killed him with one quick swipe of its deadly paw the explorer was still alive. Maybe he didn’t come across as a threat or maybe, just maybe this animal could sense his fear and was capable of compassion. The thought gave him the urge to nervously giggle, oh great now he was going delirious. A small glint behind the tiger caught him off guard and his eyes were forced to leave the softly growling animal before him. Only daring to move his head slightly he could just see past its big body but still enough to see that there was a hollow in the large truck of the tree directly behind. He was also able to see that there indeed was something almost shining that was inside of the hollow. Pushing the luck that had already been thrown his way he took a shaky, minute step sideways all the while keeping his eyes glued to the tiger’s, waiting for any sign of movement. Surprisingly he was able to continue shuffling his way around the tiger without it attempting to attack and he silently thanked God. It might have taken longer than first realised but eventually the explorer was approaching the tree hollow with gaining speed. The glint that was being produced inside of it was also becoming clearer with each new step and he soon knew that he would be able to see the whole mysterious item but in his heart he already had known what it was the moment he had first seen the moonlight reflections. His hands sifted through the sea of gold and rainbow colours, fistfuls not even enough to take anywhere near half of the gems and coins that he saw. Dipping his whole arms into the glowing mass he pulled out rings, crowns, goblets and many other assortments of precious, majestic souvenirs embedded with the rarest of gems. Mounds of cold coins spilled out of the gaps in the old tree trunk and even the nets of cobwebs that lingered over the treasure could not take anything away from the wonders that were there. This had been his mission all along, he had located the lost treasure, after days of looking and all the pain he had been through, it was right in front of him. The explorer’s eyes frosted over, oozing with temptation and greed, how much could he fit into his pockets and could he make his escape? Maybe he would only take a few pockets full of diamonds. Oh and a necklace… and a crown and… “AUSTIN! DINNER’S READY!” The cup filled to the brim that he had been grasping in his hand fell to the ground, spilling its contents all over his feet at the same time that the little child gasped out loud. Grappling at the insides of the hollow he shoved it all into his pockets, as much as he could before dashing back into the thicket of the grass all around him. Running as fast he little legs would carry him the boy zoomed across the field that he had been playing in and accidentally stepped into the big puddle that was in the middle of his track, the splashes soaking the bottom of his pants right up to the knees. Continuing on

he dodged around the bright green hoses that were sprawled across the ground, making sure not to trip over them again and raised his arms high above his head to avoid the harsh rash that he would get if he was touched by the patch of stinging nettles that grew at the entrance of the backyard. Seeing the backdoor in his sites he started to slow down, catching his breath before he passed out. Taking the bucket of his head and kicking off his boots he swung open the door and waltzed inside. Reaching the kitchen he heard his mother’s exasperated voice. “Baby, how many times have I told you not to play out in those fields? It’s a wonder you even heard me calling your name.” She came over and patted his damp little head, “there are all kinds of scary critters in those grasses. Please don’t play out there again.” All he could do was nod, the warning having no effect on him. He had had such an amazing adventure yet he was being told off? His head now tipped towards the floor not only in tiredness but defeat. “What is in your pockets, Austin?” his mother asked, sounding as tired as he was. Slowly pulling out his found treasures he was shocked to discover his hands were filled with rocks and dirt. All the sparkling jewels were gone. From outside in the fields, all the creatures could hear Austin’s mother’s shrills that continued into the night. Well, all but the tiger that was slinking away into the shadows, silent, invisible, unnoticed in the darkness that swallowed its growls.

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