Chapter 20: Returning (Elements of Vaalbara)

Despite London having returned, the tree spirit had not and nor did the dark atmosphere disperse.

‘It’s not over,’ said Ash, ‘Kurumi, take care of London please.’ Bradley and Kurumi looked bemused. Ash kissed London and held her tightly. He stood up, held Kurumi and gave her an earth kiss. He approached the sphere looking back at his friends.

‘Only the tree spirit can take you home. We’re safe now. Goodbye my friends and thank you for helping me save London.’

Although the sphere looked solid, Ash was able to step inside before anybody could stop him. Bradley rushed to the sphere after him but crashed into it. He continued to try and find a way in, but could not. Moments later the tree spirit emerged from out of the sphere with a crystal blue water cloak wrapped around it.

‘Thank you my dear children. As you can see the water spirit and I are now one. I am no longer the tree spirit, but instead, we are the Spirit of Vaalbara. I will transport you home,’ said the spirit. It now had a more warmer and soothing voice. ‘It has been evident that some evil force elsewhere had separated the two of us, but because of you all we are united and balance will be restored to Vaalbara. You have saved earth for now at least.’

‘But what about Ash?’ asked Kurumi.

‘He has sacrificed himself in order that I can return you home,’ replied the Spirit of Vaalbara, ‘be both humbled and in gratitude.’

‘No, I won’t leave him,’ cried Kurumi.

‘We came together, we leave together,’ added Bradley.

‘It must be within your power to fix this,’ begged Kurumi, ‘We’ve already lost Aruna and Jumo, we can’t lost another friend.’

‘You see the sphere. It is the life force of this dimension. It needs Vaalbara’s energy to keep it charged. Usually, it is myself and the water spirit that keep it charged, but we have both grown weak and cannot recharge it enough right now in order to sustain it. We will be able to do so in good time, but what energy we have we must use to return each of you back to earth. It is Ash’s sacrifice, which has helped recharge the source of life for both here and on earth. The sphere ensures the growth and survival of this dimension, which in turn keeps life on your planet evolving and in resonance.’

‘But I want Ash back now!’

‘This new power that you have obtained, your elements, you must give them up. You will not need it back on earth. Are you prepared for this?’

‘Of course,’ cried Bradley, ‘I don’t want power, I just want my friend back.’

‘Very well. Each of you must touch the sphere with the palm of your hands and transfer your energy into the sphere. Your full focus will be required.’ Kurumi and Bradley stepped forward and placed their palms onto the sphere. The sphere rotated into a rainbow of colours gradually getting faster and brighter. A mist of all colours imaginable and unimaginable engulfed the atmosphere with a breeze whirling around the sphere sucking in energy from all around. The darkness disappeared revealing a crystal clear orange sky. There was a silence.

‘Well, that was weird,’ said Bradley, ‘I feel…’

‘Ordinary,’ added Kurumi. A figure emerged from the Sphere. It was Ash. He was radiating with every vibration in his body.

‘Bloody hell mate, you’re glowing,’ said Bradley, ‘what happened in there?’

‘I was drifting through different dimensions of space,’ he replied, ‘or more like space was drifting through me. I could hear Aruna and Jumo calling me. Everybody hold me.’ Kurumi, Bradley and London were already holding him before he finished speaking. They all now glowed for a brief moment.

‘Earth and human beings are made up of the same elements of the cosmos and the laws of nature itself. These elements in all its different shapes, forms and energies can be used from both within yourself and from around you. You are enveloped in a grand field of energy that stretches far beyond earth’s atmosphere. Understand, that you are not just a being of earth, but of life itself and the cosmos. You must relearn your existence and purpose, and live. Are you ready to return home?’

‘Yes we are.’ Ash held London.

‘Can we ever come back,’ asked Kurumi.

‘No, you can not return to Vaalbara.’

‘What are we supposed to do now?’ asked Bradley.

‘Is it not amazing that the body can grow. You can age over a period of years, allowing yourselves to experience. Allowing others to experience you. Be a hermit and you can skip through dimensions, playing with the laws of physics. Be a part of society and you can explore every layer of emotion and experience living. Be both, and you can open up new gateways. Now return.’

A veil of mist settled over the group and the resurrected Spirit of Vaalbara disappeared from sight. They held each other’s hands.

‘The world will never know what happened here,’ said Ash. Everything became dark and warm. Unlike the journey to Vaalbara there would be no dramatic wormhole journey back to Earth. As the darkness settled they heard the voice of the spirit, thank you my dear children. You will never be forgotten. They drifted slowly through a nebula of colours. A bright light appeared and forced them to close their eyes and when they re-opened them they found themselves back in Springfield Park beside the tree wearing their normal clothes again. The rain had stopped and the sun glistened over the blades of green grass. The geese ambled along beside the pond eating bread from the ground. The sounds came rushing through their bodies. Ash held London tight to his body and looked around in the distance as if searching for something or someone he had lost.

‘What is it Ash?’ asked Kurumi.

‘I was hoping Aruna and Jumo would be here.’ They all sighed and dropped their heads in sadness.

‘Ice cream,’ said London.

‘Yes, strawberry ice cream, replied Ash.’


The each returned to their homes vowing to meet the next day and disillusioned as to whether they had made any change at all. Ash opened the door to be welcomed by his mother with a wide smile and big warm hugs.

‘How was your day my little lion cubs?’ she asked.

‘It was…’ Ash hesitated. Realising that his mother would not understand or possibly believe what had really happened. He put on a very brave, but emotionally painful smile, ‘great. Fun as always.’ His mother sensed something was wrong, but did not press Ash further.

‘Anyway, I had a great date!’

‘I’m happy for you mum. You deserve it.’ Before his mother could continue Ash walked into the living room to sit down. London followed behind him and clicked her fingers three times. A large 50K-SHV projection screen appeared on the wall with a variety of options to choose from. London swiped her hands in mid-air and as she did this the projection flipped through even more selections. She scanned the options, fixed her eyes on an app and blinked once.

‘No London, no news, not now,’ said Ash. The news appeared with three headlines flashed up.


World leaders have called a truce at roundtable discussions to alleviate tensions amongst fears of another War World.


ESA and leading international scientists confirmed today that the solar flare would not strike earth as initially thought.


Over fifty reported missing children have all been found on an abandoned oilrig off the North Sea.


Ash smiled and gave London a big hug. Although sad he was overjoyed that he and his friends had succeeded in their quest.

‘We did it London!’ said Ash. She looked at Ash and smiled back.

‘Now you must go and save Aruna and Jumo,’ she replied. Ash gasped in shock. Deep down he knew his friends were still alive, but how he was supposed to save them he did not know.

(The End).

 B. L. Crisp | Copyrighted to © Barry Crisp


Chapter 19: The Elements of Vaalbara (Elements of Vaalbara)

The wind ebbed and flowed. They were tired, but full of greater determination than ever before. The nearer they got to their final destination and the challenges they faced the stronger and more resilient they had become. They were more ready than they ever would be at that present moment. The open field of white salt trembled beneath them to some invisible movement and fluctuations. Cracks under the skin of the sky illuminated above their heads as the gigantic sphere rose high into the air. It was covered in a white coating with splashes of neon colour.

London was somewhere inside the slowly rotating sphere and the determination clothed on the face of Ash transmitted to his friends that through any means possible he was going to get his little sister back even if it would cost him his life. As the sphere continued to levitate and rotate in the air six gold and silver columns broke through the ground and rose up creating a barrier around the sphere. As the columns came to a halt, the sheer force and resulting vibrations knocked all of them to their knees except for Ash. The group looked on speechless and motionless. They had shared every emotion possible on this journey thus far and their faces now painted a serious glare devoid of any real expression.

Ash looked back towards his friends with a free smile upon his face.

‘Things are different now. You’ve all changed. Remember me. For I will never forget you.’ He glanced at Kurumi, ‘I’m in harmony with you Kurumi.’ He turned and ran towards the shadows before him. None of his friends could move no matter how much each of them tried to propel their bodies up and forward. The gravitational force became heavier.

‘Wait!’ Kurumi screamed. She somehow managed to rise to her feet. Such were the deep emotions running through her that she did not once glance over at the rest of her friends before running after Ash. As she caught up to Ash they both realised that they were no longer running at the sphere and its protective six columns, but now an army of creatures of every shape and form imaginable including those they had encountered on their journey. Without warning these creatures had appeared a hundred metres ahead of them. There were fierce hyena’s, wolves, cloned human bodies cloaked in a white light, menacing small dragons, and wild satyrs and bears. There were so many creatures that it was impossible to analyse them all. The evil intent of the army which stood before Ash and Kurumi was clear for each of their eyes were glinted in a murky red and green. Such was the piercing darkness that Kurumi began to tremble in fear. She had run forward into the unknown.

Ash took a deep breath and ran forward leaving Kurumi behind once again. ‘We return to you our beautiful earth, we see beyond colour and form,’ he said whilst running. His voice traveled in the layers of the atmosphere by telepathy and was carried into the minds of his on looking friends.

‘Get up!’ screamed Bradley to himself, ‘we’ve depended on Ash too much, but don’t you see, he believes in us.’

‘We will believe,’ said Aruna. They helped each other up to their feet and looked over to Ash, who by now had come to another halt in front of the growing mass enemy. To their disbelief the enemy’s numbers in force was immense. The Sphere illuminated and as it did a disturbingly sinister female voice surrounded them. ‘You can not win, you will all die!’ it said in a slithering tongue. This was the first time they had heard from the enemy, but strangely neither of them bat an eyelid. A voice that spoke in the sky or in their heads was the least of their worries right now.

‘Tree spirit, come here please!’ shouted Ash. He jumped into the air, touched the tree spirit and fell gracefully to the ground. He then brought his two fists together, took a deep breath in and moved elegantly into an earth shadow dance. He moved like water flowing into a tree and then branching out into a tiger, a lion and a polar bear. Each form he did a creature appeared behind him. His friends had now caught up and stood united. The tree spirit touched each of them and one by one they began to earth shadow. They had seen Ash do this previously. At the time it did not much sense to them, but it did now, it all felt right and necessary. Kurumi moved as if holding a sword and symbolically slashing through the confidence of her enemies with every swoop.

There were now two vast armies of good and evil facing each other. The evil creatures snarled and chattered in an unsettling manner to say the least, but Ash smiled at his friends and they did so in return.

‘London’s waiting for us, let’s go.’ he said. They moved forward together. The battle began. Snow leopards clashed against more sinister snow leopards. Tigers, great big birds and rocklins. The group fought in unison and covered each other’s back. They threw punches and kicks at the cloned humans and some animals, but after a while realised that they were causing no real damage to their enemies. They were only serving to push them back slightly. Frustration and anxiety began to seep into the veins of each involved.

‘Stayed focused,’ shouted Ash.

‘Why aint they falling mate,’ replied Bradley. By now the tree spirit had disappeared and as nimble as it was however, it could not afford to take a blow or swipe from any oncoming enemy. Ash saw an opening in the haze of the battle and broke off from the group.

‘You lot stay together,’ he shouted over his shoulder.

‘Come back!’ shouted Kurumi. She stepped forward, but Bradley pulled her back into formation.

‘It’s about time we trusted him,’ he said, ‘he’s got us this far already.’

The opening for Ash came to a sudden dead end for he came face-to-face with a creature that could only be described as a cross between a hyena and a bear. It took a slash at him, but he evaded only to be then set upon by three other creatures of the dead from all angles. He had been caught by one of them. Any normal human being would assume this to be his or her last breath and cringe in fearful defeat, but not Ash. He relaxed his body, smiled, and rolled his right arm like a snake around the arm of his enemy and struck it in the chest. It was a Wing Chun move he had learned. The creature however came back at him, but this time instead of hitting the creature he used the electromagnetic energy around him to repel the attack. He continued to repel attacks until he realised he needed to deliver one himself.

‘Tree palm! Be at peace,’ he said, as he firmly struck one of the creatures with the palm of his hand. The creature dissolved into water and disappeared. ‘Relax everyone, strike them with confidence and love,’ Ash said to his friends through telepathy. Kurumi palmed her closest enemy. It disappeared. The fortunes of this battle had now appeared to turn in the favour of the group. They broke off from formation and waited for the creatures to attack knowing their greatest offence started from a solid defence. They defended life and all that was good with all the energy and strength that they could muster. Love was a stronger force than hate. They were no longer wandering in the dark naked; instead they were clothed with purpose, empowered by the love for each other and their bondage with nature.

Before they could begin to reap the benefits of their change in fortunes, the dark shadow which had followed them since their entry into Vaalbara had now entered the field behind them. The strikingly brilliant contrast of white and black stroked the atmosphere with an intense force field. The force of good began to advance forward towards the sphere with greater urgency and potency. Some of the injured creatures – both good and evil – that fell behind became consumed by the darkness, vanishing into an abyss of nothingness. The battle was still in their favour as they edged closer to the sphere and just when it was within reach a sudden flux of violent tremors rattled the ground echoing around like a thunderstorm. Uncertainty and fatigue resurfaced and crept into the arms and feet of Aruna and Bradley. The battle had been raging for a seemingly long time now without respite.

From within the columns the guardians of the sphere broke out. To the shock of the group they were clones of themselves standing tall with intimidating strength. They exact replicas of themselves to everyday fine detail. Each of their clones held a wooden pipe, which they brought to their mouths and played a frequency that disturbed the atmosphere and made the animals fighting for the preservation of life become dizzy and confused. A bear crashed into one of the columns in an attempt to stop the sound waves. The column cracked. The music stopped only to be followed by another terrifying roaring sound. The column crumbled into an enormous golden and black jaguar the size of two double decker buses. It had killer sharp spikes sticking out its body like a hedgehog. The rest of the columns crumbled into mythical creatures of similar size. An atros, glamin, falger, kokiklo, and a black and grey lion. The atros had six enormous legs with wings on its back; scales along its grim face and its teeth were razor sharp. The atros walked beside the glamin, which stood like a bear on three legs with its body being a mixture of different animals merged together. The falger was a quick moving creature. Its head could twist in a total loop with its body stretching and expanding as it moved around, yet its skin was as hard as stone. The kokiklo was the most mysterious of them all. It moved like a lizard, but could change its shape into a snake with its legs disappearing into its body. It had no wings, but yet it could levitate in the air and allow physical objects to pass through it. This was tested immediately when a regular lion in all its bravery tried to claw it down, but simply passed through it. The clones stood upon their creatures with expressionless faces and the same evil red and green glint in their eyes as the rest of the evil force. One step of their evil elemental creatures crushed a dozen animals. The group of friends were unsettled having to look at an enemy that cloned itself to look exactly like them.

Kurumi was closest to one of the creatures, the jaguar. She turned as quick as possible to run in the opposite direction. Her heart was pounding against her chest and her breathing heavy and tight. Ash charged into Kurumi’s direction calling after her, skipping in and out of individual and group battles that took place. Kurumi in fear of being pursued lost sense of her surroundings. A passing vulture struck her and as she tumbled to the floor the jaguar pounced upon her with its claws expanding out from its paws at lightening speed. Ash saw this moment play out before him in ultra slow motion and as he continued to move forward and get closer to Kurumi, he let his guard down in his haste and was struck from behind. He hit the ground with his eyes still focused on Kurumi. The jaguar brought its paw down with ferocity followed by a large crunching sound. Ash quickly got to his feet, but could no longer see Kurumi. There was only salt rising and falling in the air from the impact that had engaged her.

‘Kurumi!’ screamed Ash. He dropped to his knees and punched the ground. His body began to shake. He looked up at the sky and screamed again with his arms reaching out. In his rage and despair he had forgotten where he was for a moment at least. A hyena charged from behind unnoticed to Ash who now had his eyes closed as he calmed his thoughts and breathing to a more stabilised condition. As the hyena jumped to attack Ash, a tree root emerged from out of the ground and caught the hyena in mid-air crushing it to sleep. Ash remained unaware of the attempted attack as he continued to calm himself, and as he did so a warm tingly sensation came over him. His body became enveloped by emerald and azure flames burning and flickering all around him. The energy levitated him off the ground and up into the sky and back down again in a gentle warm swoosh. When his feet touched the ground the flames dissolved into his skin. He breathed out slowly and deeply. He brought his fists together, opened his eyes and then palmed the floor. The ground began to shake yet again. A cloud of salt dust now surrounded Ash and when it cleared he is stood on top of a snow leopard equal in size to his enemy’s creatures. Ash had now released his element. A power given to those who have dissolved all the barriers and restrictions layered upon the human mind and emotions.

His appearance had also changed. His Vaalbara attire had turned into a silky dark green and the patterns were glowing in a gentle golden shade. The markings on his hand had disappeared and his facial skin was refreshed. He looked stronger, taller, more confident and fresher. It looked as if he had been living with nature all his life.

‘I can feel the energy all around me even more now,’ said Ash, ‘Bradley, your colour is dark blue. Visualise it. Focus on drawing the energy from all around you and release your element by palming the floor. Tree spirit, I’m sending energy through you, please pass it on to my friends to help them. Also, create a momentary barrier around them to help them focus. That creepy figure may look like me, but it’s not me. There is only one me in all existence.’ Ash turned and through thought commanded his animal to charge at the jaguar. The snow leopard and jaguar clashed at a frightening pace, ripping into each other. Such was the force of their dual that the atmosphere fluctuated. Ash was able to hold on by wrapping the snow leopard’s fur around him. As the others focused on releasing their elements, tree roots sprang out from the ground protecting them from the fierce attacks aimed in their direction. Aided by the tree spirit and Ash’s energy transfer, it only took a short time until a glow of colours sparkled across the sky. Now they had all released their elements. Each of their attires was now identical, except of course for their elements. Bradley was on top of a wolf and Aruna a mountain gorilla. Bradley looked stronger and from the smile on his face you could sense that he felt it to. His hair was even neater and shorter than previously. Bradley looked over at Aruna whose hair was now veiled beneath a beautiful gold and green hijab.

‘Focus Bradley,’ said the tree spirit. Noticing that Bradley was momentarily dazed looking at Aruna. Aruna like the rest of her friends looked more earthy and organic, as if she were the source of nature itself.

Ash took on the jaguar and atros together whilst his friends fought with the other creatures. The atmosphere trembled even more because of the ferocious battles taking place amongst all the elements. It rained, then a swift gush of wind bellowed across the area eventually slowing down under the dazzling sunshine, followed by hail and snow, thunder and lightening. The weather was now in constant change and transition. The realisation was evident, they needed to finish the battle before the atmosphere became unstable beyond repair for who knew what would happen if the sky cracked open like it threatened to do at any moment.

Ash seized the opportunity and flipped on to the atros and kicked his clone off. He jumped into the air following his clone and gave repeated mid-air tree palm blows to his enemy’s chest. His clone and the atros vanished before hitting the ground. Ash’s elemental snow leopard swooped on its back to cradle him. Whilst reflecting upon his brief victory the jaguar pounced him upon. There was a roar and flash of yellow in the midst of the battle. Ash’s opponent darted a sharply carved branch towards him under a flurry of attacks. At the same time his snow leopard was now pinned down by the jaguar and held by a mass of other unknown creatures. Dark weeds of unbelievable strength were also holding Ash’s feet. He could not move no matter how hard he struggled.

‘Help!’ screamed Ash. The branch drew nearer to his chest aiming directly at his heart and just as it was about to pierce into his chest a sword reached out, its ice-cold blade cooled his anxiety and stopped the branch from hitting him.

‘You finally learn to ask for help,’ said Kurumi in a confident voice. Dangerous as the moment was Ash’s heart skipped a beat yet again for Kurumi. You could say he fell in love with her all over again. She stood on top of a red panda. Her hair, which was slightly longer than before, was hanging in the wind like a flag on a pole. Her attire also matched the rest of her friends.

‘But how?’

‘In anger our eyes are clouded from reality,’ said Kurumi, ‘the tree spirit had protected me with its roots, though the impact did knock me out for a while. It was your voice that brought me back. I heard you shouting my name.’


‘I’m in harmony with you too, Ash. This is my fight, so don’t get in the way.’ Kurumi kissed her red panda and together they attacked the jaguar in co-ordination with a group of Asian tigers. Her hair flickering by her side as she advanced in full speed was a picture of pure beauty. She defeated her opponent swiftly and in the same manner as Ash by applying a tree palm. She communicated to the others on how to defeat their enemy.

Bradley moved swiftly to join Ash and Kurumi. Aruna chased after him and stopped one of the elemental creatures striking him from behind. He turned to see Aruna smiling.

‘Phew, that was bloody close, thanks Aruna.’

‘Don’t mention it,’ she replied. In her lapse of concentration she was pierced through the heart by claw of an unknown creature. The life in her eyes disappeared and a gush of blood came out of mouth in her final breath. Bradley grabbed onto her hand, but she had vanished before he could pull her close to him. Ash and Kurumi though engaged in their own battles could sense that Aruna’s energy had disappeared. They hurried to where Bradley was to find him going on a rampage of anger. They both placed a hand on Bradley’s shoulder to calm his emotions and bring him back to his senses.

‘Aruna, she’s…’

‘We know,’ said Ash. There was no time to mourn Aruna’s death because they were being attacked from all angles. They quickly formed a triangle defence and attacked back. With Aruna and Jumo close in their hearts and the will to save London they eventually defeated their opponents in a non-stop fight; defending and attacking in sync that lasted for at least ten minutes. They were virtually on their last breaths when the atmosphere finally became stable and all the creatures and animals on their side began to retreat. The group advanced forward with their elemental animals and lunged at the sphere with a unified attack striking at the same time. They were thrown backwards with their animals disappearing in mid air, but they each still managed to land on their feet. The sphere rotated at speed charging up a mass of energy, which surged out towards the group.

‘Put your hands on my shoulder now,’ screamed Ash. Both Kurumi and Bradley did so in hast without questioning. As the flash of energy drew nearer, Ash held out both hands in a motion to stop the energy surge, which was now funneled into a spear shape.

‘Give me your energy!’

The flash struck some invisible barrier, which now surrounded them. The energy bounced away and span off into the distance before crashing into the ground creating a massive explosion. All that was left was a gigantic crater in the ground.

The tree spirit appeared from behind them and dived deep into the sphere. There was a roaring thunder and the atmosphere grew dark. The group watched as the sphere crashed to the ground. A small figure rolled out onto the floor. It was London. Ash rushed over to pick her up.

‘Strawberry ice cream,’ said London. She was awake and giggling.

B. L. Crisp | Copyrighted to © Barry Crisp

Chapter 18: Tomb of Spirits (Elements of Vaalbara)

They stumbled out into the open air to be greeted by a fjord with statues in a row stretching right across the cliff’s face. Immortals to the imagination of men carved in a mixture of stone from marble, jade and granite to limestone with gold outlines and crystal patterns.

‘Who are they?’ asked Kurumi.

‘Sages from your world,’ replied the tree spirit, ‘Every God created and human immortalised in your world appears here. This peaceful inlet of the sea is the passage to the realm of Sopdet.’


‘Well, for now we have no time to divulge into that matter, as the darkness is upon us.’

‘Are you saying there is an afterlife?’

‘No, I am merely saying that this way leads to another place. You existed before earth was born and you will exist far beyond it for you are born from the elements of the cosmos. Its energy is constant and endless, as are you.’

‘So are you saying that these Gods and Sages are real?’

‘That’s for you to decide.’

‘So then if something is imagined it can become reality here or in Sopdet?’

‘Only if the masses believe it into existence.’

‘Impossible then.’

‘You imagine these Gods to have powers and capabilities beyond the realm of humans and so you have created a barrier and disconnect from your true potential that has existed for generations and throughout the cosmos. Be free from your history.’

A great bright light broke out from beyond the statues reaching far into the sky piercing the atmosphere and striking through an aurora.

‘Quickly, time is against us, you must hasten our steps.’ They descended down to the water and stepped across the slippery rocks. There was no clear route beyond the statues, which in themselves created a vast wall except for a small hole in the ground that grew larger the closer they got. The hole welcomed them with ghostly sounds and drafts of cold air.

‘Leafy, lead the way. We need your light again,’ said Bradley. The ground was soft with the warm earth and the walls lined with iced sculptures of animals. Aruna stopped at an empty spot that was being filled before her eyes.

‘It’s a statue being made of an animal I think.’

‘These are not statues my dear children. These are sculptures of spirits that have left this realm.’

‘Look, it’s Jumo,’ said Kurumi. They each stood motionless in front of the ice sculpture of Jumo with its vivid life-like realness.

‘No more tears. We have to save London. Come on let’s go!’ They each took one last look before moving forward. Aruna reached out her hand and touched Jumo’s cheek as it was being formed. The sculpture burst into water touching other sculptures and in turn creating a mini tidal wave.

‘Run,’ she shouted. Though, try as they did, the force and speed of the water was too much and swept them off their feet. It carried them out with frightening pace into an open field where to their amazement, Jumo stood there facing them all.

‘Hey everyone,’ he said in a quiet and calm voice.

‘This is a dream, the rest of us died as well,’ said Bradley.

‘Somehow, I’m alive, although I don’t know how. I was trapped in a bright white light, but I could hear your voices and feel your tears washing over me. Then I felt a warm touch on my left cheek and before I knew it I was rushing forward and standing here.’

‘I’m so sorry I was rude to you all those times mate,’

‘It’s okay Bradley! You have woken up the spirits of Vaalbara. They’re going to join you, but I can’t.’

‘What do you mean?’ asked Ash. He went to touch Jumo, but his hand slipped right through him. ‘What the… I thought you said you were alive!’

‘I am, but not in this world.’

‘What’s going on Leafy,’ asked Bradley.

‘Jumo is neither dead nor alive, although he did seemingly die. Some alternative dimension has been forced open. Some vacuum or void your eyes and my senses have failed to notice,’ said the tree spirit.

‘I have to go now,’ said Jumo.

‘Go where?’ asked Kurumi.

‘I don’t know exactly. But Vaalbara is waking up. Goodbye my friends.’ Jumo disappeared.

‘Leafy…’ said Bradley.

‘I know dear child; so many questions but deep down you already know the answers. I have no more wisdom or knowledge to awaken within you all, especially you. I have questions of my own that need answering.’

An even stronger white light than before rose up from the ground.

‘Your sister does not have much time left now. We must hurry!’

They hurried towards the light and stood at the edge of a cliff looking down at a vast salt desert with the source of the light now visible. It was a gigantic solid rotating sphere levitating in the air. This was it, the journey had come to an end and their final chapter was about to take centre stage.

‘Jumo’s compass points in the direction of the sphere,’ said Ash, ‘London must be inside it.’ They descended the cliff not knowing what fate would befall them, but certain they had to face everything and anything together and without cowardice if they were to rescue London and somehow return home.

B. L. Crisp | Copyrighted to © Barry Crisp