Danielle walked into the cave

on

She waited, staring at the giant with its green eyes burning an ugly blue.
After a few moments, the giant said its name. “Carson.”

“What does Carson mean?” Danielle said.

“It means the man named Carson who was a friend in the woods.”

“Oh, okay.”

“Why would it mean Carson?” asked K.R.

“I don’t know. I think it wanted to make sure I hadn’t been talking to
anyone before.”

“It could have just asked you if you had talked?” asked K.R.

“Maybe.” Danielle pondered that. In the first place, she didn’t talk to
people. In the second, she didn’t think she would be able to give false
answers. She hoped Carson would be the one to tell her all about people.

She hoped so, too. Carson was like family to her. She hoped so, too.

“It wants to play with me,” she said.

“You can’t play with it on its own,” S.R. said.

“I wonder if I can do this.”

“Yes, you can.” S.R. pushed her through the open front doors of the cave
and began to lead them back toward the entrance where the Knights and their
assistants stood waiting for her.

S.R. led them into a small clearing with a dirt floor. She turned south
to face the mountains. Danielle found herself staring up at the rock wall
with all that was about it.

“No one would climb here,” someone said.

“Who would?” asked Daniel.

“The climb would be the hardest in this cave,” said a man from the group
there.

“Yes, but it’s my mountain,” said S.R. “I want it to be my mountain.”

“I’m not climbing it. There are too many obstacles,” said S.R.

“Carson wants the rock to stay this way. A better idea would be to
change what it sees. The wall could be made much steeper to accommodate
the climb up it.”

“There aren’t any cliffs,” Danielle said.

“There’s no need for a cliff,” said a woman. “If Carson can climb it, it
will be a challenge.”

“It’s a challenge for everyone,” K.R. said.

Danielle and S.R. went to work, using every piece of rock to build the wall
up to it’s height. K.R. found the smallest pieces, and S.R. began to
sand the wall as high as she could. After about an hour, the wall was at
a point where S.R. could do nothing and K.R. could do everything on it, but
the wall was still a long way up.

“I think the Knights will have to go to the next mountain with the
people,” S.R. said.

“S.R., go up and check on things,” K.R. said.

“Yes, Commander.” S.R. left the room.

After a minute, Daniel opened his eyes.

“Can you feel the wall up here?” he asked.

Danielle nodded.

“You know,” Daniel said. “One of the reasons I like the Knights, is
because they’re always right. They always know.”

“Yes,” Danielle said.

Danielle looked at the Knight. The Knight looked at her. He smiled.

“You’re going to climb that wall, I’ll bet.”

When Danielle climbed the wall, she was surprised by how easy it was.
When she reached the top, she was surprised by what she saw. The walls
around her were just as they had been. The cave was not made of rock. It
was stone. The ceiling was about twenty feet tall, with a hole big enough
to crawl through.

Danielle walked through the hole. The walls went on forever, and the floor
was covered in dirt and leaves.

Carson sat by the river as the sun slowly crept up behind him. He watched
the last rays of the sun sink behind the mountains. He sighed and stretched
his arms. He looked down at the water and realized it wasn’t even running.
He stood up and moved toward the river, but something blocked his way.

“Why did you come down here for?” it asked.

“To learn what it felt like on the other side of the river,” he said.

“I bet you got turned back by the knights,” Carson said.

“I did.”

“How do you know?” it asked.

“Two of them told me it could take me a hundred years to get across.”

“Who said that?” it asked.

“Two knights that were here long before me. They said if I wanted
to take a long trek, they should be going with me.”

“Did they tell you about people who had died here?”

“No,” he said.

“Don’t you remember what you saw back there?” it asked.

“Yes,” he said.

“Then why are you still standing here?”

“I’m waiting for someone to come and give me a ride home,” he said.

“I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Carson said.

“Can you send a message to the two knights?” he asked.

“Let me call them up,” Carson said.

He pulled the phone out of his pocket. Carson dialed. He held the phone up
to the window.

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