The Last Ravine (Part 2: Brave the storm.)

Two mile fallsPart two to the last ravine, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or Enjoy the Break to all. Cheers! Part of the “Forrester’s water project”

The Last Ravine (Part 2: Brave the storm.)

“Hey, Thomas!” yells Suzy. “Renee, you wait here.”

“I’m coming too. Dad didn’t say anything about lizards.”

Into the forest, Suzy and Renee follow Thomas at a fast pace. Twisting, turning, swinging around trees and vaulting over rocks with a bump and a bounce, as only kids can get away with. All of a sudden, Thomas stops dead in his tracks, the girls running into the back of him. All of them end upon to the ground, howling with laughter as they disentangle themselves.

“Thomas, you shouldn’t have run off like that. Dad and Mum are going to kill us,” says Suzy, almost running out of breath.

“Why’d you stop all of a sudden anyhow?”

Thomas gently parts the large ferns in front of him to reveal the expanse of water that is Parrot’s Pavilion. Suzy and Renee’s eyes light up.

“Like wow, who would’ve thought that was here!” exclaims Suzy.

While the three kids stand there taking in the surrounds of the world they have escaped to, the roll of thunder fills the air, as an entwined chain bolt of lightning strikes the water several hundred metres upstream from them. The children lurch back in fright, as the once light breeze whips into a gusting fury. Giant thunderheads roll in across the tops of the trees on the other side.

“Where did that come from?” shouts Renee. Before anyone can answer, the sky opens, huge droplets teeming like lofty sheets caught on the wind.

“We need to get back to Mum and Dad, and we need to go now!” Suzy says sternly.

But the downpour is so heavy that the siblings can hardly see two metres in front of themselves.

Then Thomas hears something, something, not rain or thunder, almost as if it were a whisper.

“Beware ‘The Last Ravine’, Once you enter there, you can never come back.”

Thomas turns towards the sound. “Sis, did you hear that?”

“Hear what? I’m soaking wet, the thunder is loud as, what am I suppose to hear?” shouts Suzy over the noise of the storm in a less than happy manner.

“Just hold my hand. You, too, Renee. I don’t want to lose one of you now; we’ll be in trouble enough as it is.”

Suddenly, a bolt of lightning lights up the silhouette of a man with an axe. The strange whisper repeats again, “Beware The Last Ravine. Once you enter there, you can never come back.”

“You have to have heard it that time, Suzy,” yelps Thomas.

“I did Thomas,” shouts Renee.

“Same here, but be brave” says Suzy slightly nervously.

Another bolt of lightning lights up the forest shattering a treetop high above. The creepy shadow of man and axe seems to move towards the siblings. They all see the man and sprint in the opposite direction as the voice repeats in a tandem echo, “Beware The Last Ravine. Once you enter there, you can never come back… Beware The Last Ravine. Once you enter there, you can never come back…”

The deep sound of a tree hit by a heavy axe starts to fill the air behind them, getting closer and closer, the voices still in their heads. In their panic the three, stricken with fear, slam into rocks, smash into trees, fall and get up again, until Suzy’s arm catches what seems to be man-made wall, the remains of a slab hut.

“Quick! In here,” says Suzy at almost a whisper, dragging Thomas and Renee into the cover between two slab walls and thick vegetation. “Be brave, we’ve had worse storms that this at home. but that thing chasing us,…”

Back at the camp, Annette and Ash have gone into a panic, with Cameron the park ranger helping them to search for Suzy, Thomas, and Renee, the squall making it almost impossible to work out where they might be. As the three near the far end of the campsite, Annette spots Renee’s bag caught in some low branches.

“Over here!” shouts Annette. The three gather where the children had previously broken the vegetation.

“They’re headed for The Pavilion!” yells Cameron over the storm. “We have to move slowly, to make sure we don’t miss them.”

Into the forest the adults venture, with Cameron following the broken trail of plants as the rain begins to ease up.

“Suzy! Thomas! Renee!” roll out the shouts , pausing  now and then to listen for a reply. Over and over, they repeat the process, till they reach the edge of Parrot’s Pavilion.

“Fan out, look around, see if you can see which direction they went next, but look carefully,” Cameron instructs Annette and Ash.

About thirty metres away, Ash finds some trampled ferns.

“Over here! Over here!” he shouts, as he follows the new trail at a rapid pace. Annette and Cameron struggle to catch up.

“Slow down, Ash, we don’t want to lose their tracks,” shouts Cameron.

Just as Ash starts to slow he spots blood splattered across a large rock, and a short trail just after. Ash quickens his pace, yelling, “Hurry up, they’re hurt!”

The adults start calling the kids’ names out as loud as they can, racing along the trail of carnage they left at the height of the storm.

Underneath the dark of storm-battered vegetation, three young sets of ears hear what they’ve been waiting for; not eerie whispers, but familiar voices. Smiles begin to light up their faces as they hear the sound of the adults’ feet rushing closer. They all shout at once.

“Mum, Dad, over here!”
“Mum, Dad, over here!”
“Mum, Dad, over here!”

They dart out through the vegetation from behind the slab wall remains looking dishevelled and slightly bloodied.

Hugging all three, Annette queries, “Where have you all been?”

“Mum, mum, we were all so scared. There’s a crazy axe man out here!” exclaims Thomas.

“Yes Mum, and we were being warned off. What was it, Suzy?” rattles off Renee.

“ ‘Beware The Last Ravine. Once you enter there, you can never come back’ or something like that. It was like scary as.”

Just as Suzy finishes, the sound of an axe echoes as it cuts into a tree.

“Beware The Last Ravine. Once you enter there, you can never come back.”

“What the hell!” shouts Ash, as Annette grabs the kids. “Cameron, what’s going on?”

“Just wait a minute, and be quiet as a mouse. Everybody, squat down, as low as you can.”

Then emerging from behind some ferns and brush a few metres apart arrive two ornate lyrebirds with the distinct sound of an axe cutting down a tree coming from their direction. As they disappear back into the low brush cover:

“Beware The Last Ravine. Once you enter there, you can never come back.”

“Cool! That’s totally wild,” says Suzy. “But that still doesn’t explain the man with an axe in the lightning of the storm.”

“Everyone, follow me,” says Cameron. Walking back a hundred metres or so, Cameron points about a quarter of the way up an old almost dead tree where some branches fork.

Thomas spots it first.

“Look! It’s an old axe head, and the way the branches sit, it looks like a man holding it.”

“Wow, it does too. Look, Ash,” says Annette in amazement.

“The story goes that the axe head up there, and two partial walls of his old hut, are all that remain of Forrester,” says Cameron. “The breeder of horses and writer of books was killed in a storm, one not too different from the one we just had.

“Storms up here can come from nowhere, and if you’re not careful, they can take your life. Your kids are very lucky, Annette and Ash. C’mon, let’s head back up to the camp and see if we can warm up.”

“We foun..” is all Thomas gets out about finding the remains of the old hut before Suzy elbows him in the ribs.

“Some dry clothes too,” says Ash.

On nearing the camp, everyone hears a deep, loud echoing belly laugh off in the distance behind them all. They all turn, looking for the lyrebirds. But deep in the forest, a lone shadowy figure long forgotten with book in hand disappears into the remains of Forrester’s old slab hut.

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