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FIVE ALIVE

By L. H. Hall


 

FIVE ALIVE

By L. H. Hall

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter 1 ... The Sea
Chapter 2 ... Aches and Pains
Chapter 3 ... The Cave
Chapter 4 ... Man on the Beach
Chapter 5 ... Fruit
Chapter 6 ... The Journal
Chapter 7 ... Aloe
Chapter 8 ... New Friends
Chapter 9 ... God's Christmas Tree
Chapter 10 ... Sunday School
Chapter 11 ... Hidden Treasure
Chapter 12 ... Swimming Pool
Chapter 13 ... The Dark Night
Chapter 14 ... Workaholic
Chapter 15 ... Christmas
Chapter 16 ... Goats
Chapter 17 ... Julie
Chapter 18 ... The Lookout
Chapter 19 ... Bats
Chapter 20 ... Making Plans
Chapter 21 ... Terraces
Chapter 22 ... Lake Four
Chapter 23 ... The Dolphins
Chapter 24 ... Unhappy Birthday
Chapter 25 ... Homecoming
Chapter 26 ... Disaster
Chapter 27 ... The Handyman
Chapter 28 ... Sarah
Chapter 29 ... The Baby
Chapter 30 ... Debbie
Chapter 31 ... Ridges and Ravines
Chapter 32 ... Growing Up
Chapter 33 ... Trapped
Chapter 34 ... The Big Day
Chapter 35 ... Surprise
Chapter 36 ... Deejay
Chapter 37 ... The Promise
Chapter 38 ... Discovered
Chapter 39 ... Sarah's Ultimatum
Chapter 40 ... Guests
Chapter 41 ... The Wedding

 

Chapter 22

Lake Four

 

I dreamed about Mom and Dad.  They had come to the island with our new sister and little brother.  I showed them around our beautiful home.  I showed them the cave, taking them through all the rooms, and brought them to this beautiful valley.  I begged them to stay and live here because I did not want to leave, but Dad said he was God's servant.  He had work to do in the Philippines.  They could not stay, as beautiful as the place was, and as much as he would like to.  I did not want to leave so we said good-by, and they sailed out to sea, promising to return. 

I knew how Julie felt, about her dream when I awakened.  The last of the stars in the ribbon were disappearing in the morning light.  I glanced at the fire; there were still plenty of red coals.  I lay there alone.  The others seemed miles away as I remembered every word that was said, and every move we had made in the dream.  Had Mom and Dad truly been here?  I wondered.  I felt like they were so close to me.  I could feel my mother's arms around me, and her kisses on my face when she greeted me, so glad that they had found us.  I remembered the pain in her eyes when I said I did not want to leave and be separated from Sarah and the girls.  I told them that we were a family, that should not be separated.  I could see that it hurt her, but she and Dad understood.  I was not their little boy anymore.  I had a family of my own.  Come back soon!  I had called to them as they waved good-by, drifting out to sea.  Come back soon!  I love you all!

"I love you!"  I said aloud.

"What did you say?"  Sarah asked sleepily.  "Did you call me?"

"No, I was just thinking about my folks, and my thoughts came out of my mouth."  I choked back the tears.

"Are you crying?"

"A little, I guess.  Don't wake up the others.  I don't want them to see me."

The words were hardly out of my mouth before Sarah was lying beside me, her arms around me, like the little mother she was, comforting me.  "It's all right for you to cry.  I understand.  You're not too big to cry, anymore than I am.  I miss my folks too."  We lay in each other's arms until we were both cried out, and no more tears would come.  The others never moved; never knew a thing.

"Let's go for a swim," I whispered.  I need to wash the tears from my face before the others see me."

"Okay." she raced me to the lake.

The splashing of the water soon awakened the others who joined us.  I didn't really mind.  The tears were washed away, and my mind was on happier things.  However, it had been more fun before they joined us.

The swim did not last long before we turned our attention to our stomachs.  I built the fire, and Sarah got the second ham, still on the spit, from the night before; and hung it over the fire on a makeshift rack, I had built.

"I wonder what happened to the orphaned kid."  I scanned the thinning goat herd.  It looked like hundreds of them were fighting to get through the opening to the valley at the same time.

"There she is!"  Debbie called, pointing to the black and tan nanny with a white blaze on her nose.  "She's eating her breakfast."

"Thank you, Jesus!"  Sarah spoke for all of us.

"Yeah."  I was satisfied.  "Jesus even takes care of the little animals when we ask Him to.  I wonder, if after all this, Sheba will drop her on the patio for our supper some evening during the next few months."

"She better not!  I  couldn't eat her!"  Julie exclaimed.

"You wouldn't know it was the same one.  There are so many that look similar."

"I'd know!"  She insisted.

With breakfast over, we cleared the camp; poured some water on the fire; and made our way slowly down the terraces; stopping to check each lake for swimming.  The third lake was the largest.  It went all the way to the cliffs on the West, but it was not good for swimming.  It was too shallow.  It did not even get knee deep until we were a hundred yards from the bank; then, suddenly, it had no bottom.  It did have lots of fish.  In the shallows we could hardly take a step without scaring away a school of minnows, and if we stopped for a few seconds, they nibbled at our toes.  In the deep I saw some almost as big as Julie.  They were so large; I was afraid they might attack me.  I got out of there, and did not go back in.  All the lakes had lots of fish, but not as many as that one.  With its wide shallows, it was a good breeding ground.

We found an excellent place to camp near the lower end of the fourth lake, and got there just in time.  The sun looked down into the valley before we had the kindling ready, but we had plenty of time to build the fire.  A few minutes later it was gone again.

The valley was not quite as pretty from this vantage point looking up the terraces; there was not much to look at but rock ledges and waterfalls.  Although spectacular, they did not match the awesome beauty of the higher elevation.  Looking down the valley, the view was similar to the one above, just not as much of it.  It was still impossible to see more than a small portion of the last lake through the thick undergrowth.  The lakes below appeared generally smaller than the one we were at.  Most of the goats had disappeared, so the grass was higher. 

We cut and pulled a lot of grass to put under our bed to make it softer.   Sarah got an idea.  She began to twist and knot the root ends of the long grass.  After just a few minutes she exclaimed, delightfully, "We can!  We can!  I'm Sure we can!"

"We can, what?"  I asked as we all gathered around her.

"Look!  I'm sure with a little practice, we can make grass skirts.  It won't be long till we will need something else to wear, and we can make grass skirts."

"I ain't gonna wear no  skirt!" Jamie exploded

"Go naked then, unless you can come up with a better idea."  Sara tied another spear of grass into the garment.  'These might not help much, but they'll give us some privacy."

"I'll stick with what I've got for the time being."  I, like Jamie, was not impressed with wearing skirts.  "These will last for a while.  I am going to check out the lake." 

"I was only thinking about the future."  Sarah sounded disappointed that we weren't as excited about it as she was.  "Us girls will wear'em even if you won't."

The lake was wonderful for swimming.  There was a broad area where water came to between my hips and waist, just right for playing, water fights and such, and deep enough to swim in if we wanted, and there was deeper water for underwater swimming.  A waterfall, similar to the one at the patio,  fell about ten feet from the lake above over a straight cliff.  I checked the depth under the waterfall.  It was deep and there was no outcropping of rocks to get hurt on.

"We can dive off the cliff."  I swam back to the shallows.

"Yeah, but look what we found."  Sarah disappeared from view at the lower end of the lake.

I ran to where she had vanished, to find a natural water slide about two and a half feet wide, nearly a foot deep, and at least fifty feet long.  "What's it like  at the bottom in the water?"  I watched them climb out. 

"Smooth as glass  'til the bottom drops away."  Jamie answered.  "I checked it before I let 'em slide down. I ain't tried it yet."

"Well, come on.  It looks like fun."

"It is!"  Sarah started back up the hill.  "The water pushes ya real fast."

I jumped in, and down I went.  It was a real ride.  The return trip was a fairly hard climb, but it was worth the free ride.  After about three trips, I jumped into the lake and swam to the slide letting the current take me over head first.  That was even more fun.  Before long, we were all going down that way.  We must have played for over an hour, before Julie reminded us we were hungry.

We had just finished the venison when a cloud rolled over and the afternoon rain began.  The bedding was in one poncho.  I threw two more over the grass we had cut.  The three younger kids shared one, and Sarah and I shared the last one for about two seconds.

"You're all wet!"  She yelled when I jumped under the poncho.  She grabbed me in the side, and started tickling.  I doubled up laughing.  I tried to get away, even out into the rain, but I was trapped by the poncho.

"Whadaya expect?  Its raining!  I've been covering up the bed." 

"Remember what you did to me that time in the cave?  Now, it's my turn," She laughed.

"You had that coming."  I tried to remember why I had tickled her.

"Not any more than you've got this coming."

I finally got out of the poncho.  I grabbed it, pulling it off her, and ran up the valley with her chasing me.  The others, wrapped in their nice dry  poncho, were watching us, cheering Sarah on.  I slipped and fell, and a second later, she was sitting astride me beating me on the chest one minute and tickling me the next.  She had forgotten that her own sides were vulnerable.  I started doing some tickling.  That stopped the fight.  She jumped up and ran off, out of reach.  I started after her, but I slipped again, and gave up.  "You got me this time, but pay backs are fun."

"That was a pay back!  Now we're even."

"No!  It was a payback when I tickled you."

"Huh uh!  What did I do to you?"

"I don't remember, but you did something, and I tickled you to get even."

"It doesn't count, if you can't remember."

"It does too."

"Does not."

"Does too."

"Does not."

"Does too."

"Does not."

"Does not."

"See, I knew you would agree with me."  Sarah laughed. "You didn't think I was dumb enough to fall for that a second time, did you?"

"I thought it was worth a try.   I'll still get you."

"You'd better not."

"Just wait and see," I warned her.  "We're all wet. We might as well go swimming until the rain stops."

"Truce?"

"Truce." I promised, and we raced to see who could go down the water slide first. "It's stupid to be afraid of a little rain, and then go swimming as soon as it stops"

 The others followed.  It was fun swimming in the rain, but it did not last long enough.  After a half hour, or so, the cloud passed over. "Come on.  The rain has stopped; lets look around."  I started toward the jungle to see what I could find.

 "Oh!"  I exclaimed, running to the fire.  "I forgot about the fire!  Lets hope we still have one."  It was not very healthy, but I was able to blow a few coals to life.  If we could find some dry leaves and twigs, we'd be all right.  I threw the ponchos off the grass mat, and sifted through the cut grass, hoping to find just a couple dry twigs. "I need some dry twigs and leaves!  Quickly!  Or the fire will go out," I called.  The three younger children were up on the hill in the edge of the jungle, and Sarah was watching the waterfall at the head of the lake.  Everybody started looking, but everything was wet.  I was desperate. It would not take long for things to dry out, but I did not have that much time.  I decided to cut a small corner off one of the blankets, but when I lifted the poncho, I saw that several leaves and twigs had stuck to the blankets when Julie and Debbie had folded them.  I scooped them up.  It was just what I needed,  In a few minutes the fire was blazing.  I decided that in the future we would have to make sure there was plenty of dry wood protected from the rain so we could start a fire.

Sarah was contemplating the waterfall again.

"Are you trying to get up enough nerve to jump off?"  I wondered aloud.

"How did you know?"

"I told you, I can think your thoughts and feel your feelings," I teased.

"That's just on the Top of the World.  How did you guess?"

"You have been looking at it a long time.  The waterfall isn't that spectacular, so I figured you must have another reason.  That's the only reason I could think of."

"Do you think I could?"

"Do you want to?"

"I don't know.  I don't like being shown up by my little sister.  I was thinking that if I jumped from this small one a few times, I might get the courage to jump off the patio."

"You didn't answer my question.  Do you want to?"

"Kinda, I think."

"Then, let's do it.  Do you see where the water flows over the dam?"

"Yes."

"If you are anywhere within six feet of the water, you can safely jump in.  Just climb up there, and like Jamie says, 'Don't look down.'  Look up at the upper lake until you get out to the edge of the water; then turn, and look straight ahead, and jump as far out as you can.  Make sure you stay fairly straight in the air.  In a second you'll hit the water.  You might want to hold your nose and close your eyes the first couple of times.  After that it won't bother you to keep your eyes open.  That second you're in the air may seem like a half hour the first time.  After that, it'll feel like two seconds for a while.  C'mon.  I'll go with you.  I promise, I won't push you or tease you if you change your mind."  I held my hand out to help her up the bank and onto the dam.

"I'm scared," she quaked.

"That's all right.  Being scared when you know you won't get hurt is fun."

"But I'm afraid I will get hurt."

"You won't.  I'll be right beside you."

"Are you sure?"

"I wouldn't lie.  Just make up your mind to jump; then, think about something else until you're in the water, or at least, until you're in the air."

"Then it will be too late.  Right?"

"That's the way it is.  Remember, when you hit the water start grabbing for air."  I led her out onto the dam. As soon as her feet touched the water, she released my hand and screamed.  It was too late.  She forgot to close her mouth, and came up with a mouthful of water.  I dove in after her, as I had promised.

"I did it!"  She exclaimed when I surfaced.  "Julie was right.  It is a fun kind of scary.  I'm gonna do it again."  She was out of the water climbing to the dam.

The others saw what we were doing and came running, and all three ran right out onto the dam.  Jamie ran off into the air, Debbie started to hesitate, but Julie yelled, "Don't look down!  Just jump!"  Debbie was flying through the air with a momentary scream.  I thought sure Julie had  run into her and knocked her off, but I guess she did not.  Debbie never accused her of it anyway.  She just said she was afraid not to jump, because Julie would have run over her.  Debbie, like the rest of us, took her second, third, fourth, and umteenth jump off the dam.

Sheba barked twice; then, she, Bruno, Buster and Cuddles, ran off down the valley and disappeared into the jungle at the bottom of the terraces.  "They've gone hunting,"  I said. I figured they'd just get one of these goats."

"Maybe she thinks goat meat for three meals in a row is enough." Sarah suggested.

"She brings rabbit ten times in a row."

"Are you complaining?  I thought you liked rabbit."

"No, I'm not complaining.  I'll eat whatever she brings.  It's sure easier than hunting it myself without a gun.  I can't imagine why we didn't find a gun."

"I know why, and so do you."

"Why?"

"You, yourself, said, that God gave us everything we need to survive on this island.  We don't need a gun, or He would have given us one."

"Well, I meant, He gave us everything we need, except a gun."

"And except some shoes, and some pretty dresses, and a comb that's big enough, and a hair brush, and a half dozen other things that we have been getting along just fine without."  Sarah continued my exception.

"Okay!  Okay!  I guess you're right.  We don't need a gun; because, we've got the dogs."

"And we can't deny that He supplied them, can we?"

"No, we can't. He's been really good to us."

"Then, stop complaining about not having a gun. If you had one, you might accidentally shoot one of us or yourself."

I wanted to tell her, I knew how to handle a gun, but I let it drop.  She was just like my mother about guns.  The only thing my folks ever argued about was me having a twenty-two.

After supper we decided to walk on down the hill, and see if it was the cove we saw beyond the point where the jungle closed in, or just another lake.  Of course, we took the easy way down to the next level, using the water slide.  "It's too bad we can't climb back up as easily."  Jamie was the last to come out of the water.

"Yeah," Sarah concurred.  "We want to be sure and get back before dark, or the climb might really be difficult."

"I think we have plenty of time," I declared.  "Of course,  that depends on how much exploring we do the other side of that strip of jungle.  It's also hard to judge the time, since we can't see the sun."

"Yeah, time flies when we're having fun," Sarah observed.

It did not take but a few minutes to reach the jungle, and like the stream below the cave, there was only one trail through jungle.  That was to wade the overflow of the sixth lake.  It was only a narrow strip of trees.  We had not gone over forty or fifty feet, before we stepped into the center of a crescent shaped pool.  It was about sixty feet wide at the center, but well over a thousand feet from point to point.  It curved around parallel to the edges of  the jungle.  Sand, jungle and sky were all that we could see.  The lake was landlocked by high banks in every  direction.  There was no apparent escape for the incoming water.

We eased our way across the lake to the opposite bank that rose twelve or fifteen feet above the lake surface.  The water gradually deepened.  A little over half way across, I found it easier to swim.  It was still only up to my armpits, but the others were already swimming, and leaving me behind.  After swimming only about a few strokes, we were walking again, climbing out of the water.

From the top of the rim we looked out over a wide flat beach.  At the high water mark, fifty to seventy-five feet from the rim, the bank dropped more steeply into the sea. From the marks on the beach it appeared that a rather large boat could come in close to shore at high tide.

We did not stay long.  It was obvious the sun would soon set.  We looked around quickly to get an idea of the lay of the land, and started back.  We made the climb from the fifth lake just before the last rays of a very short twilight disappeared.  Without question we had been to the cove.  If it was deep enough, it would make a good place to moor a boat.

Within an hour we had finished our nightly devotions and lay watching the ribbon of stars, reminiscing the day's events.  I thought about getting even with Sarah before I went to sleep, but decided against it.  We would mess up our comfortable padded bed.

 

   

 

 

 

 

Copyright 1995

By

Leonard H. Hall, Sr.

 

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