Coming out of my stupor from the beauty before me, I just knew I had to get to the mystical land below. There was only one problem. The drop from the mouth of the tunnel was long and jagged. Years of debris had become snarled in the chicken wire that had once hung over the mouth of the tunnel to keep people out of this place. Moss had grown on the edge, making it slippery.
"We can't go down there," Tracy warned, sure that we would fall to our deaths.
We were all a little afraid that our parent's warnings, although dramatic, could come true.
"I don't know about you two, but I am going to go down there!" I announced, as if my life depended on it.
We eased our way over to the corner of the tunnel, hoping to reach our now soaked feet over to the edge of the hill, grabbing earth with our toes and flinging ourselves onto land. Amy held onto Tracy and Tracy held onto me. The stakes were high but the excitement... higher.
"I'm almost there..." I strained to say through my teeth as my foot cramped in pain. "I think if you can just stretch a lit-"
"Oh my gosh, I'm slipping!!!!" Amy yelled, echoing through the tunnel.
We tumbled down the iron and steel jungle, landing in the water at the bottom. We all took a minute to see if anyone was seriously injured, feeling our arms, legs and heads. Luckily we were only scratched up. We may have had tetinus shots in our futures but we didn't care. We were in a real live Terabithia!
Tired and banged up, we dragged ourselves out of the water, laying on the bank for a minute to catch our breath. I was the first to notice the trees with the low hanging branches on the edge of a beautiful meadow.
"Let's climb the trees! I wonder if they have fruit! We can make a tree house!" Words tumbled out of me as if they couldn't wait their turn. I ran, grabbing a branch and swinging my already torn up legs over the branch. Amy and Tracy followed and the three of us hooted and hollered, stepping from branch to branch. We were monkeys. We were spies, looking down on unsuspecting people we imagined down below. We were Tarzan and Jane. We were snakes, laying on the branches, waiting for a large animal to amble by.
When we got tired of the tree, we followed the creek a little while until we came to a bridge. It wasn't a large bridge like the one we played under by the pool. This one looked like someone made it from scrap lumber. There was a picnic table in the clearing. It looked like the trees parted just enough for light to filter through to that table. The girls and I were starting to get hungry and the sight of that table just made our bellies growl.
We decided to eat a fake meal with our favorite British accents (like we did at home when we had tea parties). I was serving Amy and Tracy when we heard a voice.
"You thought you seen em come through here?" a deep, husky voice was asking.
Amy, Tracy and I froze only for a minute until we dove under the table. We heard the footsteps getting closer when... "Probably just more teenagers getting into some shenanigans over here where no one can see them."
I could hardly breathe, I was so afraid of getting caught. I motioned to the girls that we needed to get out of there and dove toward the creek. I laid down in the water and my friends did too. We were so still in the water that you couldn't hear us at all. When the men got too close, we slowly went under the water and waited until we couldn't see their swirly forms just over the bank.
As soon as the coast was clear, we ran back along the bank, climbed the hill and threw ourselves back into the tunnel. Our cautious entry into the tunnel forgotten, we ran as fast as we could... along the fence, into the entrance and under the water.
We all came up at the same time, laughed and exchanged a knowing smile. We had just had another amazing adventure and we couldn't wait to go back.