Water, water as far as the eye could see.
“So, this is it?” I asked.
“I’m afraid so,” Tej said. He pointed out into the water. “Look, though, you can see the path is still there.”
I had seen it, of course, but it didn’t help our cause.
The trail continued into the sea for a very short distance on a narrow point of land. As it went out, the soil was washed away leaving bare rock. And finally, the rock was gone leaving just water.
I shook my head. “That’s it. Fine. Let’s make camp on higher ground. We’ll look around tomorrow, but I’m afraid we’ll have to return empty handed.”
I followed Tej, our best tracker, away from the water’s edge. He would find us the perfect place to spend the night. He always did. He had a feel for the land and a knack for discovering its secrets.
Later, I stared into the fire as Tej finished his meal. I had eaten little, my appetite gone.
I couldn’t believe that our quest had come to such an end. On the other hand, the fact that we made it so far was remarkable. We wouldn’t have even attempted it if we didn’t believe in our cause.
“Don’t worry, if a path exists, I will find it.”
Tej was watching me across the fire.
“But if the legends were wrong? What then?” I asked. “Our people are dying and they say only the ancestors would know a cure.”
The legends appeared out of the great mists of time. Few believed that they were a real history.
But I had to believe, and Tej with me.
And so far, we had proven at least part of the legends correct. A trail did exist, at least to the sea.
Tej nodded, as if reading my thoughts. “There is the causeway.”
He pointed up to the milky white band across the sky.
“So say the stories told to our children, that our ancestors followed the that causeway across the Ocean Sky, but I think it is allegory,” I said. “Perhaps at one time a path did lead across the sea to a farther shore. I have heard that land that once existed is now submerged. Perhaps, our way back to the homeland is now lost to time and ocean.”
Tej shook his head. “You brought me along to find your trail. And I show it to you again – look up!”
“And how can I set foot on that mystic causeway? It does me no good up in the sky while I’m stuck down here.”
Tej laughed, but I was uneasy.
The feeling of restlessness at the end of our journey grew, so I got up and walked away from the protective glow of the fire. I soon found my way back to the water’s edge.
The great Sky Ocean Causeway was much more visible as I neared the sea. I kept my eyes on it, yet paid enough attention to walk out on the tail end of our trail, out into the water.
I stopped at the edge and looked out.
I drew a deep breath and forgot to let it out for a moment.
The Sky Ocean Causeway was perfectly reflected in the calm water. It glowed a pathway across the water all of the way to my feet.
I stepped, but the illusion was shattered. I lifted my foot out of the center of those circles spreading across the surface.
But then I noticed that the ripples seemed to push light before them. The ripples grew, instead of diminished, and the light grew brighter. A bright flash shot across the reflection of the Sky Ocean Causeway, but was itself echoed as a reflection across the real sky. For a brief moment, the entire landscape was lit, as if by the sun, so bright that the stars were hidden.
The night quickly dropped it’s dark veil and the sky and smooth sea glowed in stars once more.
It had to be a sign.
I held my breath and waited. And waited. I began to breath normally, and waited.
Was it my imagination?
Tej was already asleep when I returned to camp and I soon followed him to that unworldly world of dream.
We spent the next day exploring the coastline, but found nothing. All clues pointed to that tiny peninsula, to that dead end.
We decided to spend one more night by the coast before heading back.
As with the night before, I grew restless so walked out to the point of land. I was once again fascinated by how the refection of the band of light in the sky made it appear to be a continuation of the land, across the sea and into the heavens.
I was about to go back to camp when I saw a movement in the stars. One point grew in brightness and began to move, descending down towards the ocean. Just on the surface, it continued to grow.
I realized it was coming closer, not growing.
Soon a craft made of light flew over my head and landed on the flat beach.
A woman exited this luminescence boat of the sky and walked towards me.
“We received your signal,” she said. “Do you need help?”
Using her craft, we were able to get to our village in only a few minutes, bringing the much-needed relief to our sick.
And so we found the route the ancestors had taken to get to this place.
Although I am staying with my people for now, a desire has grown to one day follow that causeway across the Ocean Sky and join our people of the Stars.
This story was written for Sue Vincent’s writephoto challenge. She provided the story at the top of the page and the key word, “Causeway“.