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Chapter Eight
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The Hidden Path

He woke up a few hours later with a drunken drousy feeling all over. It was still very early and no one else was awake. He had a slight sickening head ache and coulden't remember the last previous hours without a sharp white hot lightning bolt pain striking his head. He groaned lightly and sat up. The room seemed to pulsate in stillness. He turned around and looked out the window. The whole world was covered in a whispy grey fog. He coulden't even see the pine tree right outside his window. He looked over towards the Windermere and saw nothing. A cold sinking fear filled his heart and the sad lonly feeling of distance ran through him. He backed away from the window and quietly crept towards the door. Each floor board creeked slightly. He stood there silently with his hand on the door and looked back. No one showed a sign of being awake. The whole cabin was consumed in a feeling of intensity. Like he was being watched everywhere. He sighed and walked outside. The cold wet air pierced him like pins and needles and the hint of a storm was in the air. He walked slowly towards the cabin ring trying not to walk into anything. Suddenly he heard a noise on the far left side of him. He stopped and listened.
" H..hello?" He asked shakily. No response. He back up a little and called again.
" Who's there?"
" 'Eet 'ees Taja. 'Oo 'ees 'zis?" He heard Taja's voice say. He relaxed and smiled.
" Hey Taj. It's me." Taja emerged from the fog and stood infront of him.
" Why are you up so early?" She asked.
" Coulden't sleep. I had a REALLY bad dream." He said and felt the lightning pain once again then decided not to think about the dream anymore. Taja looked at him oddly.
" What 'appened in 'eet?" She asked.
" I don't remember. I can't think about it without getting a headache." He said through gritted teeth. The dim grey light of the sun rise began to develope.
" 'Zat 'ees odd." She said. " I 'ad a bad dream too and I also can't remember 'eet."
He shuddered.
" Do you want to go se if the Halls open?" He asked.
" Sure. I'll meet you down 'zare." said Taja walking towards the shower houses path. He turned around and looked back at The Windigo. The fog seemed thicker and the air seemed colder and even more still. All he could see was a faint outline and the light on the side of it. A cold breeze whipped by and he felt very warm and serene. He smiled. Suddenly, the dream was painlessly replaying in his mind, but, right as soon as it came to the part with Emily and the piano, the pain came back. This time, so severe he doubled over and yelped.
" Go away." He whispered hoarsly. The warm serene feelings vanished and the cold uneasy and sad feelings came back.
" Please. Stop it!" He said even louder standing up. The whispering and the wind chimes echoed all over the area. He fought himself to stop thinking about the dream. He ran past the cabin ring and down Windjammer trail to the Hall. He stood outside of the massive building then opened the door and walked in. It was incredibly warm and smelled like warm cinnimon apple. He sat down at Winter Sky again. It faced the window and looked down at Windwalker Lake. The thick ghost like mist danced on the shore line and lightly kissed the cold grey still waters. Half awake he sighed. His headache still hung like a sickening haze. He heard the door open and looked up with half open eyes. Taja walked in and sat with him. He smiled weakly.
" Good morning." He said and yawned. She smiled back at him.
" So I take 'eet you 'ad a pretty bad night." She asked softly. He nodded.
" Yeah. But the weirdest thing happened, I was just standing there in the cabin ring and my dream was replying in my head and it didn't hurt. But right when it got to a certain part, it started to hurt again. Even worse then before."
She looked at him oddly.
" 'Zat just 'appened to me too. Did 'eet just appear out of nowhere?" She asked. He nodded again. She backed away slightly with a look of uneasiness in her eyes.
" Can you remember any of 'eet wiz out pain?" She nervously asked.
He thought for a moment.
" Yes. The inside of The Windigo. It looks diffrent. Very different. It was golden and varnished and didn't smell musty. The piano was clean and had no padlock. And a girl named-" He stopped and closed his eyes with horrendous pain.
" There...I..can't..go on." He yelped. When the pain ceased he looked up at Taja. Her eyes were wide and she sat there wordless.
" 'Zee piano. 'Eet was black..and clean looking. No padlock on the top and a girl wiz long curly blonde 'air was playing 'eet. 'Er name was Emily 'Zortonveiw correct?" She said quickly. Arnold's eyes filled with tears from pain as he gritted his teeth.
" Y..Y..Yesssssss." He said in a whisper.
" 'Se looked up at me and glared and said ' You can't stop me from playing 'zis Jackie. You're insaine. Nuzzing 'ees wrong 'wiz 'eet. You play 'eet and see. 'Zen a girl 'oo looked exactly like me came in and was about to say something 'zen stopped and stared at me. I.. I walked over to 'er and 'zen 'zee 'ole room turned old and dark up 'zen I woke up. I 'eard a piano playing." Said Taja.
"In...mine....Emily..." He said through gritted teeth. Then suddenly his eyes shot open in terror. He stared blankly at Taja like she was a murderer out to kill him. The terror and fear filled him so much, he forgot about the pain.
" heard the piano?" He said shakily. Taja nervously nodded her head. He sighed and closed his eyes, wishing that he may still be dreaming.
" I'm dreaming..please..tell I'm dreaming..tell me that non of this is true..please tell me that this conversation has just been a fragment of my imagination." He prayed. Taja shook her head.
" No...You're awake." She said. The room turned cold.
" Then..." He said." Too terrified to speak. " Then.. I... played it... I really did.. Oh God..please be a dream."
" No....A..Arnold, You're awake..." Choked Taja. " 'Zee piano I 'eard...'eet...'eet. was.." She forced herself to say. He nodded.
" You...played..." She said horrified.
" You played the piano.." Said a new voice from the door. They both jumped out of their skin and turned to the door. Gerald stood there with Sid, Pheobe, Helga, Rhonda, Stinky,Harold Eugene, Nikki and Nadine. Gerald and the group slowly walked over.
" Gerald? How long have you guys been there." asked Arnold as the hall went back to normal.
" Long enough." Said Helga sitting down.
" Yes. Long enough to 'ear 'everyzing." said Nikki. Arnold slowly began to feel a mix of embaressment and rage deep inside him.
" So you all think I'm crazy now huh." He said as his voice built up. " Totally making everything up just to scare you."
Gerald shook his head. " No, actually quite the opposite. Arnold, We heard your dream. And well..." He said then stopped.
" Well, we had the same dream Arnold. The exact same dream. Everything, The cabin, the piano, then this mean girl who looked like Taja came in and we all heard a piano playing." Pheobe filled in. Arnold stood up with a look of disbelief on his face.
" Really, then how come if you all miraciously had the same dream as me, why weren't you also trying to play the piano hmmm? Especially you, Windigo." He said.
" We didn't play the piano when she offered. We just listened." Said Helga. Arnold sat back down sliently.
" Okay come you can think of it without a headache huh?" He asked in a snarky tone.
" Because we didn't play the piano." repeated Helga.
Arnold sat back down and looked out the window. The fog had lifted and the wind was brushing against the trees. The sky was a dark red and the sun began to rise. He sighed.
" Then...why do I have a headache?" He asked slowly. Not taking his eyes away from the window.
" 'Somzing 'ees trying to make you stop 'zinking about 'eet maybe?" Suggested Nikki. Arnold sighed and leaned against the window. Dark clouds began to form on the horizon. Suddenly a bright white sparkle caught his eye. He looked over. Every now and then, a little sparkle reflected from the woods behind the North Side.
" What is that?" He asked. Taja moved in.
" 'Zat little sparkly 'zing?" She asked. He nodded.
" What?" asked Gerald. He and all the others crowded around silently staring off at the white light.
" Wanna go find out?" Arnold asked already knowing the answer he would get.
" Umm....Sure." said Gerald to Arnold's surprize. Everyone made their way outside. The air was warm and heavy and smelled like rain. Arnold looked through the trees across the lake again.
" It's over by the cabin ring. Come on lets go!" He cried as he trotted down the trail back to the cabin ring.
Up, up and up they climbed till they finally reached the cabin ring. It was still quiet and non of the cabins were lit. The wind was even gustier up here and they all stood there silently.
" Well, where is it?" asked Helga. Arnold didn't reply. He looked all around.
There was nothing there that was white or sparkly.
" Come on. Lets go back. It was probably just something in a tree." He said turning around.
" No wait guys, I found something!" cried Eugene from the far corner of the cabin ring away from the cabins. Everyone walked over.
" What on earth! I never noticed this." Said Arnold. It was a dark leaf covered path that walked down the hill and turned. It was surrounded by gnarled and twisting trees and had a sad lonesome feel. It was silent exept for the creaking trees. Then, the windchimes started up. The loudest ever as if they were just a few feet into the woods.
" Hey! I think we may have found out where those wind chimes are!" said Sid. Arnold looked down.
" Come on. What are we waiting for. Lets go." He said and walked a few feet down the path. No one moved.
" Come on guys. Don't wuss out on me now." He said facing everyone. Everyone looked at eachother.
" Please??" He asked pleadingly.
" Oh alright!" said Taja walking besides him then everyone joined in. They walked slowly down the path. With each step the woods grew darker and the trees covered the sky.
" We 'ave been walking forever!" said Taja shakily moving closer to Arnold.
" I know." Replied Helga looking over her shoulder, also moving closer to him. They all stopped at a fork in the road. Both paths looked identical.
" Well, which way?" Asked Stinky. Arnold looked both ways.
" I..uh..I don't know." He mumbled. Then the wind chimes called to them from the left trail.
" This way." He said pointing down the left trail. Just as they all began walking down the path, The wind whipped through tearing Helga's bow off her head and sweeping it down the other path.
" WAIT WE CAN'T GO ON!!!" She cried! Everyone stopped again. " Please! I can't go on without my bow! I love that thing!" She said tearing up. Everyone stood there silently.
" Okay. We'll go get your bow, then we'll come back." Said Arnold turning around and walking down the opposite path. This path was even darker and had even more gnarled trees surrounding. The trees twisted in weird angles and seemed to reach out at them and push them away as the wind blew even more. Arnold covered his face and broke through.
" I don't think we're going to find it Helga. I'm sorry." He said in a muffled voice. Helga sighed with a heavy heart and walked on.
" Lets please keep trying!" She said pathetically. The leaves crunched under their feet and the trees fought with them. Suddenly the path stopped. They were standing on a cliff that looked down at a clearing with a huge wood structure in the middle. The distant feeling was even more evident here. The wind chimes waifted through the air from the building.
" Wow." said Everyone breathlessly. The white sparkle blinked and this time was accompanied by little glints of light all the colors of the rainbow as the sun beamed down. They carefully walked down the cliff and stood silently at the base of it. It was a beautiful veiw. Rainbow colors everywhere and a grand veiw of Windwalker. The wood structure was even larger. The wind chimes sounded right infront of them and a confused look overcame Arnold's face.
" Wait a minute, those chimes were clearly coming from the other path." He said softly to himself.
" Who cares! We found out where those windchimes are coming from!" Cried Sid as he and the others ran over to the building. Arnold stood there silently with Taja.
" But I swear.." He said looking back up the cliff.
" I know. 'Zey were coming from 'zee uzzer 'paz." She said softly. With a feeling of distance and doubt, Arnold walked over to the massive structure. It was a dark wood gazeebo like structure with four benches on each side and the top was covered by hundreds of crystals and prisms along with around seventy-five wind chimes. They didn't sound like the ordinary wind chimes Arnold heard. They were a sad pitch and a little off key.
" This place is gorgeous!" Exclaimed Helga as she sat down and looked up. Arnold laughed nervously.
" I..I guess so." He said looking back up the cliff. Everyone walked around admiring the structure and talking all at once. A little pink flah caught Arnold's attention and he looked down on the ground. Sure enough, Helga's bow sat there.
" Hey Helga! I found your bow!" Cried Arnold jumping down to the ground. Helga raced over with everyone else and grabbed her bow.
" Oh thank you thank you thank you!" She said happily as she fastened it back onto her head.
" Can we go back now? This place is me the creeps." Asked Arnold standing back up.
" Why? It's perfectly nice here!" exclaimed Sid as he sat back down on a bench. Arnold looked down. There was a sign laying on the ground where Helga's bow had landed.
" Hey guys check this out! A sign!" He said picking it up.
" What's it say?" Asked Helga as everyone sat down.
" ' This chapel is built in loving memory of-" He said then stopped and looked ahead. He felt the blood from his face drain and everyone jumped alittle.
" Loving memory of?" said Pheobe in a creeped tone.
" 'Of Emily Jan Thortonveiw' ." Said Arnold slowly. Everyone was frozen and quiet.
" on." Mumbled Gerald. Arnold looked back down at the sign and continued reading.
" ' Emily Thortonveiw was a resident of The Windigo. A cabin in Aroura Heights'."
" Aroura Heights?" asked Sid.
" Must have been the old name of the North Side." suggested Pheobe. Arnold read on.
" ' She died by drowning in Windwalker Lake on November 17th 1920.' Emily Thortonveiw- 1902-1920.' "
Everyone sat there with a look on their faces as if they were a dear in headlights.
" 'Zis...'zis must be a trick!" said Taja breathlessly. Arnold shook his head.
" I don't think so...This sign looks pretty old and beat up." said Arnold. Everyone was slient again.
" So...the Emily in our dream was real." said Helga. " Unless it was a weird conincidence unlikly." She added. Suddenly a frightening thought jumped into Arnold's mind.
" Mr.Martinez's story! It's true...oh my's true!" He said backing up and dropping the sign.
" Now Arnold, I STILL don't believe that story. You can't die from playing a piano and that sign clearly said only one person-" started Gerald.
" That only one person played it! BUT that sign clearly says that Emily was a resident in The Windigo, and she was sitting inside The Windigo in the dream AND she was playing the piano!" interrupted Arnold. Everyone was speechless again.
" Well...It did say she was in Windigo, and she was playing the piano, but it said she died by drowning in Windwalker." said Gerald standing up along with everyone else. Arnold looked up at the chapel. The wind whipped through the wind chimes and they sang..sadly...even more sadly then before. He sighed and turned around. As they climbed up the wall back onto the cliff, he looked down at the scene. The chapel stood there alone and the wind chimes still sang accompanied by very very light whispering. A soft rumble of thunder was heard off in the distance.
" Well," said Taja as she stood next to him. " Mouisiour Martinez's story must not 'ave been true since 'zat sign said 'se died from drowning. You even read 'eet yourself." She added trying to re assure him. He sighed softly.
" I don't know Taj." He said walking with the others back up the path to the cabin ring. The thunder rumbled again.
" I just don't know."

Stay tuned for chapter nine!