A small fire crackled, danced and sent smoke swirling into the air above the sandy beach on the south side of Anderson’s Point. Good memories of picnics, of learning to swim, of water fights flooded Morgan’s mind as she approached Josh.
Anderson’s point stretched almost a quarter of a mile into the quiet ocean waters. About half way out into the Pacific, it curved to the north and formed a large bay. Only a few overgrown paths led through the thick tall trees to the bay.
Josh raised his eyebrows, “Wow, you really are expecting a ship to come for us.”
Morgan replied, “Not really, I’m going to run away.” She bent over, weeping.
“What?” Josh yelled, not wanting to believe her.
Morgan shouted, “You heard me, I’m going to run away.”
“Why?” Josh felt his whole world ending, “What about our birthday party?”
She growled, “Grow up Josh. Birthday parties are for kids. I’m not a kid anymore, and I didn’t think you were one either.”
Josh insisted, “You still didn’t tell me why.”
“I had another big fight with Mom. I wanted to go to Victoria and see Billy before he leaves. He and his brother are going to Vancouver and then to Toronto as soon as they get enough money.” Morgan sobbed.
Josh put his arm around her and patted her right shoulder. “You’re not planning on going with them, are you?”
Morgan replied through her tears, “I wasn’t at first. I just wanted to see him, but now I don’t have any choice, I can’t live with Mom anymore, and Dad doesn’t want me either.” She wailed, “I’m taking the early ferry. Billy is going to meet me.”
“Where are you going to spend the night?”
“Here,” Morgan blew her nose on a well-used piece of Kleenex.
“I have a better idea.” He pleaded, “Come and spend the night in my tree house. I already asked Mom if I could. It’ll be fun. I have my portable DVD player there and we can watch movies. Please? Who knows how long it will be before we see each other again, if we ever do. I am going to miss you,” he hugged her.
“That will be cool, real cool,” Morgan hugged him back.
“I’ll walk you to the ferry in the morning and cover for you as long as I can.”
She cried, “Oh Josh, I’m going to miss you, but I’ll keep in touch, I promise.”
Josh went to where the fire was and kicked sand onto it.
“Don’t do that Josh, not until we do the ritual that you’re gramps sent us. At least you’ll be here to tease him about it.”
“Oh alright,” Josh hesitated for a moment before he stopped kicking sand on to the blaze. He remembered the warning gramps had sent him.
Morgan joined Josh at the small fire. They marched around it twice to the left, changed directions and circled it three times to the right. Neither of them was surprised when a ship didn’t appear. Josh started to kick sand on the fire again.
Morgan begged, “Please Josh, put some more wood on the fire, I’d like to sit here for a while and think about all the good times we’ve had.”
Josh put a few more dry branches on the smoldering embers. The fingers of the flame grew larger and reached up towards the full moon that floated above them. He dragged a big log close to the warmth. The two of them sat close together and put their arms around each other.
Morgan rested her head on Josh’s shoulder and they sat in silence, overwhelmed by sadness.
The moon sank lower in the dark sky and Morgan broke the silence at last, “We should go Josh,”
Josh stood up and kicked sand onto the dying embers, making certain to extinguish the last tiny glow.
Morgan stood up, turned around, and screamed.
Josh whirled around, his mouth dropped open. Right behind them, and less than twenty feet away stood four oddly dressed men. Two of them were reaching for long black shafts in quivers hanging over their shoulders, and a third held a long gleaming sword. Josh screamed, his knees buckled and he fell to the beach.