We were learners
In which the mystery begins…
School was a mundane thing; however, it was also a necessary thing. Gwen didn’t like all of the stares she got, she wasn’t used to the attention, and she remarked that high school students shared a lot of similar traits to a pack of wild animals; the hierarchical system, the play fights, the hunting for prey, the rapid tearing into food at dinner time. Nevertheless, Gwen was a lot more mature then them, she was the human looking in on the cages at the zoo, but sometimes she was not much better than them. Today was such a day like that.
Today was the day where Gwen looked similar to a zombie, everything hastily pulled together on her frame and her movements sluggish as she drifted from class to class. Her friend, Bethany, had told her that she shouldn’t have come in – after all it was only a day after the funeral – but Gwen was adamant about her return to education and told Bethany to stop acting like Grace (Grace had tried the same exact game that morning after all). It was only at dinner time, in which Gwen was shoving every piece of food into her mouth that she could, that thing’s started to heat up.
The one thing that Gwen hadn’t counted on was meeting Rob ever again.
It was just her luck that he would come strutting in with his band of merry men (which simply consisted of a set of twins). They came in during lunch and of course that was the most unattractive moment of Gwen’s life, spaghetti sauce staining her chin and the stray strand of spaghetti smacking against her lips with a crude pop. Of course he spotted her, he tuned out the Head Teacher (a boring, middle aged man who tried constantly to be fun and constantly failed) and simply, effortlessly stared at her.
Gwen stared back. She was not one who stepped down from a challenge. What she wanted to know though was how he had so hastily located her in the busy cafeteria? His eyes seemed unnaturally haunted today, as if some metaphorical demon was clinging to his back, weighing him down and keeping him from sleep. He looked like he needed that too.
Bethany was complaining about her and todays tendency of pass caring, she had seemed to forgotten that her friend was ‘fragile’ and ‘still in the trauma of an ordeal’. Those were her words and not Gwen’s. Bethany was dabbing at Gwen’s chin with a napkin as if she was a child, this irritation consequently made her lose her staring battle with Rob. “Damn it, Beth,” Gwen whispered as she shook her best friend off. Beth was a god send sometimes but other times Gwen swore that she was a she devil in disguise that had come to punish her. She tried to recommence the battle but Rob was facing away for once, talking to the Head about something or another, though he was smirking. What a cocky boy, Gwen mused and smiled for the first time in weeks. Now, that sounded depressing but as they say the truth hurts. Beth, unfortunately, found her smile and then found who had caused it.
“He’s cute,” she said nonchalantly, why did she say it that way? Could she not say it another way? Any other way, one that actually told Gwen what her attitude towards Rob was. Gwen spluttered and nearly choked on a mouthful of water. Gwen inwardly groaned, she was having the worst luck today. “Who would think, Gwendolyn Hunter actually liking a boy, a good one at that.” Beth crooned, a perfectly manicured hand nestled on her chin. Sometimes Gwen hated her best friend, this was one of those times.
Gwen had always lived a sheltered life, preferring time with her family and her friends, on those occasional casual outings, than outside partying and being an ordinary teenager. Gwen was not like most 16 year old girls; she was a girl who liked to read and study instead of being silly, she preferred tea to alcohol and she preferred her brain instead of her looks. This story may have some cliché aspects but not that cliché. Anyways, her father had always instilled responsibility into her and had her protected from the world. Gwen had not really shown a like to boys before, even if she had she kept them quiet, enjoying her time not in the relationship spotlight.
“Wait ‘til you see his personality,” Gwen muttered. That was such a mistake.
“You’ve met him before!” Beth screeched, drawing the attention of practically the whole cafeteria and halting Rob and the twins from their approach. Gwen slammed her head onto the table and proceeded to repeatedly knock it against the wood. Please let the ‘knock of wood’ theory bring luck, please if anyone has mercy for me up there, Gwen imagined that her father would simply laugh and shake his head at her words, that was who he was.
“You’ll rattle your brain ‘Just Gwen’. Rob chuckled as he took the vacant seat opposite from her,
“Nice seeing you, Bird Boy,” she grumbled and picked at the remainder of her food. For some reason she had suddenly lost her appetite.
The boy half of the twin pairing, was suddenly roused from his silence, “She knows about the bird,” he hissed, “When did she have a chance to know about the bird?” He questioned and the girl twin looked curious to Rob’s answer too.
“Seb, I met her yesterday, she actually found Hugo – “
“Hugo found me actually,” Gwen spoke up and Rob shot her a playful glare going on to introduce, the twins; now known as Sebastian and Melanie who were both quite quiet unless provoked.
“You should’ve told us, brother, and then maybe we would trust you when you go out alone.” Melanie was saying and then she and Beth got into a conversation about clothes and things of the like. Rob glanced over at Gwen once and then stole her remaining food.
Gwen would’ve started a food fight with him if she wasn’t so responsible.
The school day carried on much slower than Gwen liked. Gwen hated the clock and its lying tick tock, it’s icy time and it’s everything. The only source of entertainment was when the teachers asked the new trio about themselves which were as follows;
Rob – “Well, my full name is just about a curse so I won’t tell you that and if you ever find out you may find yourself kidnapped. I’m not actually a sibling of those two weirdo’s, I’m adopted. I, uh have a bird, I love archery, music and reading. Oh, but don’t ever call me boring.” He said all of this with a wink.
Melanie – “I am your typical girl with an edge. Fashion may be my favorite thing but kickboxing is a contender. I love cooking though some people vacate the kitchen when I’m in it and everything else about me is just for me to know and you to never find out.” Terrifyingly nice is the message that she gave out.
Sebastian – “I love designing and throwing knives (and I’ll leave it up to you to decide if I’m joking or not). I know about a handful of languages - Latin, Spanish and French to name a few. Loyal is the word to describe me is what I’ve been told and I’m great at hide and seek.” He smirked at those few random facts.
Those three were going to cause so much trouble in that small town. Especially, for Gwen.
Gwen loved hiking. It was one of those moments where there was nothing but you and nature and your emotions and thoughts that made Gwen feel truly at peace. There was no drama, no internal war, no nothing but those things. Gwen loved it also because her father had instilled a love of nature within her. She was told that her mother would just sit outside in the garden for hours and hours just soaking in every little sound of nature.
Gwen was hiking because she was going to Avary Lake (or Avary Loch as her father had often said). This was where she thought the next note would be hidden because her father once took her there and said, as an acute fact, that this was a place where a writer wrote about Avalon. Her father hadn’t said much more about it than that but that was enough. Avary Loch was a huge lake with clear blue water and a small island, inhabited only by a cluster of trees and a flock of birds in the center of its depths. The island was only accessible by boat yet her father had said that she must never venture beyond the shore of the Loch. There was something similar to an urban legend that haunted the island and the water and so she would heed her father’s warning and instead looked for his letter in the surrounding forest.
The forest was the variable which meant that hardly no one knew the location of the Loch because they didn’t explore more than the average person. There was one particular spot that Gwen wanted to check; a place called the Campfire’s Domain. It was a popular camping ground to those who found the Loch with a burnt out campfire in the middle and a rough circle of shacks, with tents in between, around that. Gwen knew the note would be in Shack 3 – the one that her father and her had slept in many times, sometimes it was a second home to her, her home in the forest.
She found the note in between the rusty springs of the bed where her father had once slept, the paper crinkled and adorned with a familiar cursive.
Dear my Wendy,
I will start this note with a single desire; let me tell you a story.
This story is of courage and cowardly acts, of triumph and failure, of beauty and of madness. But it is in fact a wonderful story, I am telling you it of course. This is the story of the Isle of Avalon.
Avalon; probably from afal, meaning "apple" is a legendary island featured in the Arthurian legend. It first appears in novels as the place where King Arthur's sword Excalibur was forged and later where Arthur was taken to recover from his wounds after the Battle of Camlann. Just to let you know; Avalon was associated from an early date with mystical practices and people such as Morgan le Fay.
Like I said briefly before Avalon is the place where King Arthur is taken after fighting Mordred at the Battle of Camlann to recover from his wounds. Tradition still claims that Arthur had never really died, but would eventually return to lead his people against their enemies. Another key person in the Isle was the enchantress Morgana le Fay who was the chief of nine. Some descriptions of the island indicates a sea voyage was needed to get there. A single description depicts the magical nature of the island;
The island of apples which men call “The Fortunate Isle” gets its name from the fact that it produces all things of itself; the fields there have no need of the ploughs of the farmers and all cultivation is lacking except what nature provides. Of its own accord it produces grain and grapes, and apple trees grow in its woods from the close-clipped grass. The ground of its own accord produces everything instead of merely grass, and people live there a hundred years or more. There nine sisters rule by a pleasing set of laws those who come to them from our country.
Another description of the island says:
The name of the Isles of the Fortunate signifies that they bear all good things, as if happy and blessed in the abundance of their fruits. Serviceable by nature, they bring forth fruits of valuable forests, their hilltops are clothed with vines growing by chance; in place of grasses, there is commonly vegetable and grain. Pagan error and the songs of the secular poets have held that these islands to be Paradise because of the fecundity of the soil.
The location of Avalon is still unknown.
But moving on, Avary Loch is the place in which an author discovered his muse; he thought that it was similar to Avalon but he discovered that this Loch was situated with an urban legend. It depicted that anyone that went out to adventure on the island was never seen again. Victims include; Nichole Chambers, Adam Turner, Flynn Brown and Lucy Cowen who still remain missing and have now been pronounced dead by drowning although no bodies were ever found in the lake. I personally believe that if this is indeed Avalon all missing people are still on that island much happier than they are on this land.
I also cannot tell this story without introducing Merlin. Merlin was a poor boy from a little village who had a talent for magic, it is said that he was born with it which was quite unheard of as magic was a skill that could often be taught and learnt. Anyway, he ventured out on his own to find out his preordained fate and stumbled across Camelot. In turn, he discovered the future King Arthur and along in his life he helped him on his own destiny.
Still this boy did not know of his own fate.
This boy stumbled and strayed and turned from what he knew; he never returned back to that good place that he was once in.
I know this may not make much sense but I’m sure that you’ll have to find the next note for the story to continue. I’ll give you a hint – I am a way of communication but I can get rather sick, however I am confined to my chambers and cannot swim.
I love you dearly,
Gwen stared at the letter. It had not revealed much besides textbook paragraphs of Avalon and Arthurian legend which wasn’t needed in the mystery of her father’s death. It aggravated her greatly but if her father was willing to make her wait than what awaited her in the upcoming notes must be big.
A sound, a quiet yet so loud, sound drew her out of her reverie. It was footsteps, footsteps that were so careful that they avoided the crinkle of leaves. The door of the cabin creaked open and as it did, Gwen turned so fast on her knees and fell over. Promptly, head butting the iron frame of the bed. “Ouch,” she whispered as she sat on her butt and rubbed at her head. She was sure that a bump was going to form and she groaned internally at the prospect of explaining that to her Aunt. Looking towards the door she found the lone figure of Melanie, who had her arms crossed over her chest and her staring so beadily, almost like a birds, into hers.
“Rob!” she shouted and more sets of footsteps echoed from the distance.
“What are you doing here?” Gwen asked cautiously, from her limited knowledge of this girl she was typical but fierce, unpredictable and random. She was strange to know the least. Melanie, didn’t even stir at her question, instead she turned around, blocking the door and the light coming in.
“I could ask you the same thing,” she said, still giving nothing away. “It seems that we just keep finding you in every place that we are,” she cocked her head and beckoned her brother and Rob into the small cabin.
“Hey, ‘Just Gwen’, what are you doing here?” Rob said as Melanie shut the door behind the duo.
“We were getting ‘round to that,” Melanie said and she said in a rocking chair, Gwen flinched the memory of her father reading stories to her on that chair tainted with the embodiment of Melanie. None of this was fair.
“Why I’m here is none of your business,” Gwen retorted hiding the letter in the pocket of her jeans and standing. Sebastian stood in a corner, arms crossed over his broad chest while Rob stood aloof and slightly confused. “If you have to know my father used to rent this cabin and I wanted to visit to relive some happy memories.”
“Used?” Sebastian uttered as he moved to his sister’s side.
“My father died recently, now excuse me…” Gwen muttered and moved to the door and opened it.
She left them in that cabin, and she angrily stalked home. It took her until she came into view of her house that she realised that she never found out why they were there.