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TIME PORTAL--PART TWO
"IN THE OUT DOOR"

by Lisa Marie Bell
dl.chevy@sympatico.ca

    Holly and Will sat by the fire in their cave, staring pensively into the flames.   Only that day Annie Porter had been with them and then had returned to her family through the time doorway.   Holly sighed wistfully as she missed the only female friend she had known in years.  Will sighed wistfully as he wished that he and his family could also have gone through the time doorway, back to their own world.

Rick Marshall entered through the cave opening, carrying a bag stuffed full of vegetables for supper.

“You two look like two sacks that used to contain my children.”  He remarked casually, but in his heart he worried about them, as he always did.  Stuck here in this world, if any o f them ever got sick, they would be totally helpless against disease with no medicine and no access to a doctor.  “How about some help making supper?” he said as he set the bag on the cave floor between Will and Holly.

“Sure, Dad.”  Will volunteered, but didn’t reach for the vegetable bag.  He furrowed his brow.  “Dad, what do you think the time doorway was up to, opening by itself?”

Rick crouched down by the fire and poured their water jug’s contents into the cooking pot as he spoke.  “I don’t think we’ll ever understand this land, son.  But I do think that  in the morning we should all take a walk toward the Lost City and check on the doorway, see if  perhaps it might still be open and maybe even take a crack at the matrix crystals, see if we can look for a way out of here.”

Holly’s eyes widened and brightened and she looked at Rick excitedly.  “Really, Dad?”  Will enthused. 

Rick smiled and nodded.  “If there’s any chance of us getting home, Will, we always need to be on the ball.  Now, both of you grab a knife and let’s get some stew on.” 

“Okay!”  Holly smiled, and the family spoke hopefully about the planned trip they would make first thing in the morning as they prepared their supper and the sun sank in orange and pink glory behind the tropical foliage outside.

The next day, Marshall, Will and Holly strode through the jungle eagerly, packs strapped to their backs, prepared for their journey over the crevasse and into the always tension filled Lost City . 

“We really have no idea if the sleestak will be in  hibernation or not, so I want you two to stay close to me, and no funny business!”  Rick lectured as they neared the huge fallen piece of rock which would bridge them across the seemingly bottomless crevasse and into the sleestak side of the Land of the Lost.  “And Will, watch your sister.”

“Yes, sir.”  Will replied, and Holly quietly squinted her eyes and bunched up her face.  Errgh, she wasn’t a baby that needed to be watched!  But this trip was so exciting, going to the Lost City to possibly work with the time doorway, that Holly kept her silence and quickened her pace, her beige hush puppies stirring up tiny clouds of dust as she hurried on ahead of her father and brother.  Stepping up to start across the slab of rock bridging the crevasse, Holly suddenly stopped and stared off away to her left, over the canyon to the east, where the family had never been able to explore because of the sheer cliffs to either side.  Holly’s eyes widened and she turned to beckon at Daddy and Will.

“Daddy, look!  What is it?” 

Will and Rick jogged up behind the little girl and pointed their eyes in the direction she was pointing.

“Dad!  Look at that!  It’s some kind of golden rectangle, like a light, like………it’s the same gold as the time doorways are when they’re beginning to open!”

“You’re right, Will.  I wonder what could it be?  We’ve never been able to explore down that direction before.  It’s very likely there are more time doorways down there, and who know what else.”

Some distance down the canyon, and about on  the level that the Marshalls stood at, shone a bright golden rectangle of light, seeming to sit almost where the sheer cliffs of the canyon appeared to meet in the distance.

“What should we do, Dad?  Maybe that new light is what’s making the time doorway open itself.  Maybe it’s disturbing the other doorways somehow!”

Rick frowned and looked from the golden rectangle of light and then back at Will.

“I don’t know son.  But my gut tells me that you’re right.  That new light should be looked into – perhaps it is a doorway that has just come alive, or a special doorway.  But whatever it is, we’ve got to be careful.”

“But, Daddy, how can we ever get to it?”  Holly questioned.  “We’d have to crawl along the cliff side like spiders!  There’s no ledge or anything to stand on!”

“Well, Holly, we’ve got our ropes and climbing equipment.  The only thing we can do is lower ourselves into the ravine and walk along the bottom, and then climb up the cliff to the spot where the light is hovering.”

Holly gave a gasping sigh, shaking her head.  “Ohhh, no.  No, I’m not doing that.  Daddy, you know I don’t like heights!”

Rick squatted down and took his daughter’s hands into his.  He looked into her eyes.  “Honey, I know you don’t like heights.  But this could be a way for us to leave this place, and to do that, we all need to be together.”  Holly looked at her father and then down at the ground.  “I don’t like the thought of taking you and Will on this journey, but I don’t see how there’s any other way.  If we have any chance of getting home, we need to take it.  And Will and I will be right there with you.”

“Yeah, Holly, this is your big chance.  You’re always saying that you want to go on the trips that Dad and I take.  Well, this is one where you can!”  Will spoke encouragingly to his little sister.

Holly took a deep breath.  “Okay.”

Rick patted Holly’s hair and stood.  “That’s my girl.  Allright, Will, let’s get our climbing gear together.   I’ll tie Holly to me,” Rick said as he did just that.  After a brief effort he looked over at his son.  “Will, are you all set?”

Will finished attaching his clip locks to his climbing apparatus and tugged to make sure his knots were secure.  “All set.”

Rick and Will tossed their climbing claws up at the cliff face above and to the left of themselves.  “Okay, Will, I’m going to swing out first, then we’ll both help Holly.”

Holly swallowed deeply and Will put his arm around her shoulders as Rick swung himself off of the rock slab that crossed the crevasse and hung onto the cliff face. 

“It’ll be okay, Holly.”  Will assured his sister.  “Remember, just don’t look down.  Look at Dad and look at me and look up, just don’t look down.”

 “Allright, Will, now help Holly to swing off the bridge and onto the cliff.”  Rick called.

“Will, Will, I’m scared!”  Holly hung back and cringed as she gauged the distance between herself and her Dad and the long, long space down to the bottom of the crevasse.

“Holly, don’t look down!”  Will instructed.  “Now, all you have to do is grab the rope and step off the bridge. You can do it!”  Will soothed as he lifted Holly.  “Just reach out and grab the rope!”

Holly gritted her teeth and reached out for the rope, which hung from above on the cliff face.  She stretched out one foot, staring at her father as Will supported her weight, then felt her other foot leave the rock slab, and suddenly she was suspended in the air, hugging the cliff.

“Thatta girl, honey!”  Rick said.  “Just hang on and follow me.  Will, are you okay?”

“I’m okay, Dad.”  Will had already swung himself off the rock slab and was also hanging from the cliff face, alongside his Dad and sister.  Little by little, the Marshalls slowly lowered themselves down and down and down, until they were finally on the bottom of the crevasse.

Soaked in perspiration and panting from their exertion, Will and Rick lifted Holly the final few feet to the solid ground, where she sank on rubber knees to the ground.

“Oh, whoa, I’ve never been so glad to have my feet on the ground as I am now.”  She sighed.

“You did wonderfully, sweetheart.  I’m very proud of you.”

Holly smiled at her Dad.  “Yeah, it feels good, you know.  I just kept looking at you and Will and I made it!”

Will wiped his sweaty forehead and squinted up and ahead at the golden light, which still hovered in the distance in front of them. 

“What now Dad?  Walk along the crevasse floor until we come to the spot where the light is?”

“Exactly, son.  Let’s go.”

The Marshalls were thankful not to meet any dinosaurs or sleestak on their trek along the dry riverbed bottom of the crevasse.  Holly often gazed up, up, up to where the land was that they usually walked on, and she pointed out to Will and Dad how very far away the rock slab bridge was.  “We must look like little ants from way up there!” she smiled as they stopped for a few moments to drink from their canteens.  Rick passed the canteen to Will and mopped his brow.  “It’s amazing, isn’t it?  So much like the Grand Canyon in many ways.”  He frowned.  “Hmm, something I hadn’t ever really thought about, there.  We were rafting in the Colorado river when we were pulled into this lost land, and this canyon, filled with water, could be that exact river!”

Holly’s eyes widened and she turned her head back and forth, mentally verifying Rick’s words.

“Gee, Dad, you’re right!”  Will marvelled.  “I don’t know why we never really put those two canyons together in our heads before!  Do you think this might give us a better chance of getting out?”

“I don’t know, Will, but let’s get going.  I’m anxious to get to that time doorway, if that’s what it may be!”  Will and Holly smiled at each other and set off after Rick, thoughts of home flitting sweetly through their heads. 

After some time, the three Marshalls stood on the canyon floor, gazing up the sheer rock face at the glowing rectangle many meters above their heads.

“It looks exactly like the time doorways, Dad!”  Will exclaimed.  “Do you suppose that when we get up there, we’ll be able to go through and get home?”  The grin on Will’s face went from ear to ear, he couldn’t contain his excitement.

“I hope so son.  Come on, let’s start up.  Holly will be tied to me just like last time when we climbed down.  Will you be okay on your own, Will?”

“Just fine, Dad.”  Will was slipping into his climbing harness.  “I don’t need to be slung in a baby basket and carried up.”  Will grinned wickedly at Holly as he teased her.

“Daddy!”  Holly whined.

“Will, that’s enough.”  Rick ordered sternly.  Holly leaned her head to the left and looked at her brother and Will narrowed his eyes at his sister for getting him into trouble.  When Rick had put his climbing gear on and helped Holly into hers, they began the long, slow climb up the cliff toward the golden time doorway, Rick first, then Holly and Will last.

Holly was very nervous, Rick could tell, but he kept encouraging her as they all scaled the sheer rock face on their way up to the light.

Rick was finally just below the rectangle, which the family was now certain had to be a time doorway.

“Holly, I’m going to climb up and investigate this doorway.  I want you to stay right where you are!”

Holly hugged the rock and kept her eyes up, watching her father.  “Okay, Dad, I’m not going to move, believe me!”  she said faintly.  Will hung loosely just below her, quite comfortable in his climbing equipment, hanging over 100 feet up from the ground.  Rick climbed the final six or so feet up to the golden rectangle time doorway, then swung his rope a bit to the left and disappeared inside!

“Dad!”  Will hollered.  “Daddy!”  Holly cried, scrunching up her face in anguish.  “Will, he went inside!”  Holly cried.  Then, with her faced screwed up in a determined look, she started climbing.  “I’m going too!”  Holly grabbed her rope and hand over hand she quickly and determinedly hauled herself up.  “Holly, no!  Wait for Dad!”  Will shouted, but even as he did, Holly too swung into the yellow light and vanished.  “No, no!”  Will groaned, then with great speed he began the climb up to join his father and sister, no matter where they had gone.  The Marshalls always stayed together.  Will reached the doorway and stepped inside, into………………..Will couldn’t believe it!  The room he stood in was beautiful beyond belief.  Holly and Dad stood right beside him, mouths open and eyes wide.  They seemed to be standing in water, bright with sunlight, and glistening like jewels in all the colors of the rainbow.  Will took a few sideways steps toward Holly and Dad and stood, shaking his head in wonder.  A smile slowly came onto Holly’s face as she took in the surrounding curtain of water and light. “Wow,” she breathed.  “Daddy, what do you think it is?”

Rick slowly shook his head.  “I don’t know, honey.  Let’s look around for any time doorways, but stay close together!”

The Marshalls walked slowly further into the breathtaking, crystalline room.  Holly stuck out her hand to try to touch the surrounding watery looking walls, but quickly drew her hand back.  “I can’t feel anything!  It’s not wet or damp, it’s like the beautiful water jewels aren’t even there!”

Will stuck his hand out too and then quickly pulled it back.  “She’s right, Dad.  Not even a feeling like mist!”

Rick’s eyes continued to search his surroundings for a time doorway.  “I don’t like this.  There’s too many tricky things here  in this Land.  I don’t know……..”  his voice trailed off,  “wait!  Look, just to our left!  It looks like……”

“A time doorway is forming!”  Will shouted as the family watched a golden rectangle form, and then the image of a jungle appeared in the space.  Rick, Will and Holly stood watching as the jungle slowly changed, as if they were actually walking through it. 

Holly’s eyes started getting very heavy, as if she was so sleepy that she could hardly keep them open.  She frowned and passed her hand over them, but it didn’t help.  “Daddy, I feel strange!”  she cried, but there was no answer.  “Daddy?  Will!”  Holly turned her head to look at her brother and her daddy, but they were both staring blankly forward into the doorway, motionless.  “Daddy!”  Holly cried, but then she felt her eyes drawn back to the doorway and everything but the jungle shown inside seemed to fade to black.

 ***********

Rick Marshall was walking through the jungle towards High Bluff, hoping that Will and Holly might actually have supper started when he reached the cave.  He’d been hunting for hours and had been lucky.  In a burlap bag, slung over his shoulder, were 3 multi-colored chickens, plucked and cleaned and ready to roast.  His mouth was watering just thinking about the feast.  Rick frowned and cocked his head.  He was close enough to the cave now that he could hear Will talking to Holly, but instead of the voices coming from High Bluff, they seemed to be out in the jungle with him, and moving.

“Holly, hurry up!  Dad will probably be back anytime and we have to heat this water to get the carrots started for supper!”

“I’m coming!  These jugs are so heavy!”  piped the voice of Rick’s twelve year old daughter.

“You wanted to carry them.”  Will reminded his sister, standing with his hands on his hips.  Then he looked off behind Holly.  “Amy, what are you doing?  Keep up with us!”  Will shook his head with a fond smile on his face as he looked behind himself and Holly, back on the trail they were walking through the jungle.

“She’s picking a bouquet for Daddy.”  Holly said, as a little girl with dark, curly hair just like Rick’s and Will’s appeared from out of a thicket of Boston ferns, tucking some tiny white flowers into an already full handful of pink and red blooms.

“Wait for me!” she called, running toward her brother and sister.  Rick stood watching the three children, rooted to the spot where he stood, mouth hanging open and tears starting to burn in his eyes.  He shook his head in disbelief.  It couldn’t be!  He breathed deeply in big gulps as his mind drifted back many years to his wife’s third pregnancy.  Before she had even started to show, before they had even told Will and Holly that their mother was expecting a little sister or brother for them, the Marshall’s third baby had died and Rick and his wife had borne the grief in silence, never sharing it with their other children or family members because they wanted to save others the pain they were suffering.  Rick’s eyes were glued to the scene playing out before him, as the little girl in navy blue cordoroy pants and a blue t-shirt with a daisy on the front of it ran up to Will and Holly and Will crouched down so his smallest sister could hop onto his back to piggy-back ride the rest of the way back to the cave.  He could hear the kids laughing as the strode off, away from him.  He wanted to call out, but he couldn’t.  Rick started running, wanting to follow this family he saw, but his feet felt as if they were trying to move through mud, and they slipped away, and Rick felt himself sinking into an unknowing blackness.

 ***********

Will Marshall opened his eyes and stared around at the beautiful scenery inside the golden time doorway that he and Holly and his Dad had come into.  Surrounded by watery scenes and rainbows and feeling as if he stood in a sunlit room full of jewels, Will could see his sister and his Dad standing beside him, eyes closed and bodies totally relaxed, looking almost as if they were floating.  “Dad?  Holly?” he whispered.  Will walked over to his sister and touched her.  She felt normal, but it was like she wasn’t there.  “What’s going on here?”  he said aloud.

“Nothing to worry about!”  Will jumped as a bald, portly man in a drab brown suit spoke to him, smiling cheerily.  “Your father and sister are simply in a state of suspended animation, as you yourself are also!”

“Who, who are you?”  Will asked, stepping back.  “How did you get here, into the Land of the Lost?”

The British man smiled.  “You want to know how I got here?    Will nodded.  “Follow me.”  The man said, and walked forward, away from Rick and Holly, and he seemed to be disappearing into the rainbow colored mist that surrounded them.

“Wait!  Who are you?  What’s your name?”  Will asked in surprise, hurrying after the strange visitor.

“My name is William Blandings,”  he replied, stopping and turning toward Will.  “But  you may call me Will.”  He smiled. 

Will frowned in perplexion.  “Will?”  he chuckled without amusement.  “Just like me.”

“Yes,”  Blandings nodded, “exactly like you, as a matter of fact.”  He replied mysteriously.  Blandings removed a crystal from  his jacket pocket.  It was about nine inches long, and had eight sides, with a point on each end.  As Will watched, Blandings closed his eyes and moved the crystal in front of him, from his forehead, right down to his lower abdomen.  Instantly, Will found himself staring at a mirror image of himself.  Will shook his head in denial and shock.  “Wh-what-what’s going on?”  Will was afraid.  “Is this some kind of sleestak trick?”  he asked angrily.  Blandings smiled and Will saw himself standing there, and the look on his face was totally honest and understanding.

“I’m you.  Don’t be afraid.  Holly and Dad are fine, you’re fine.  I brought you here, into this time doorway, to protect you all, to give you each some protection against the dangers you’ll find here in the Land of the Lost.”

“But, how?  How did you do it?  And why did you look like an older British guy?  Is this what’s going to happen to me?  Are you…..me? Am I going to look like you when I get older? Did we get back to earth?”  Will’s questions tumbled out one after the other and his other, Will Blandings self, laughed.  “I can’t explain how, but yes, you do get back to earth, all of you, but………”he shrugged “let’s just say that you all end up feeling like fish out of water, and you decide to come back, to make a difference here, and to help others that find themselves trapped  here for a time.  And no, you are not going to look like me,” Blandings laughed.  “This is just a persona I put on.  You’re really quite handsome!”  Blandings laughed again as he waved his crystal from forehead to abdomen again, and before Will stood the British gentleman again.

“Wow.”  Will shook his head in bewilderment. You’re saying that Dad and Holly and I get back, but we decide not to stay?”  Will’s eyes were wide at this revelation.  He couldn’t imagine ever leaving earth if they got back. 

“That’s right, but I can’t tell you anymore right now.”  William Blandings now spoke in an older version of Will’s own voice, with no British accent.  “I have something for you, and for Dad and Holly.  It will protect you, and it’ll give you the knowledge you need to get home, when the time is right.”

“But why can’t you get us home right now?  We’re all here, in a time doorway!”  Will asked enthusiastically.

But Blandings shook his head.  “I know it’s hard, impossible, for you to understand, but the Land of the Lost is actually very carefully governed and there are many, many rules.  It was harder than you could believe to actually be able to help you as much as I am.”  Blandings started walking away from Will, back towards where they had left Dad and Holly.  “Come with me.  It’s time I did what I came here for.  My time is running very short.”

Will followed after his older self, after the man called Blandings, and in a few short seconds they were standing before Rick and Holly Marshall.  A soft, dreamy look came over the older man’s face as he looked at Rick, who seemed so young and strong looking, in the prime of his life.  Then Blandings smiled at Holly and brushed his hand over her soft little cheek.  Then he cleared his throat and brought out his crystal again.  As Will watched, Will Blandings waved the crystal from Rick’s forehead and down to his abdomen, then did the same to Holly.

“I still don’t understand!”  Will protested.  “How is it that you………….”  Will found the world around him slowly fading to black as he spoke, until  he was unaware of anything except the sensation of floating in a world of colored, rainbow mists.

 ***********

Holly was sweeping the cave and humming softly to herself.  She didn’t know where Dad and Will were right now, which confused her a little bit when she gave it some thought, but mostly she was just smiling to herself as she thought of her mother and back home.  She sighed as she swept the dust from the floor out to the mouth of the cave and flicked it off into the air.  She enjoyed her view of bunches of red and pink flowers blooming just to the left of the cave arch, leaning on her broom, and thought that she would go get a gourd vase right now and pick a bouquet to sit on the table for supper that night.  As she turned to get the vase from the storage shelf near the back of the cave, Holly stopped short in her tracks, and then her face burst into a huge smile.  “Rani!”  she cried, and ran toward the older woman who stood smiling in her long, blue-green dress, a beautiful pendant hanging over her full bosom and her blond, shining hair falling in gentle waves over  her shoulders and down her back.

“Hello, Holly,” she smiled.  “It’s wonderful to see you again.”  Rani stepped close to Holly and folded her into her arms for a quick hug.  Then she stepped back, still holding Holly’s arms lightly and looked at the little girl, her younger self.  “I’ve been able to look in on you sometimes since we last met, to watch over you and your Dad and Will.”

Holly scrunched up her face a bit.  “Huh?  You mean,  you’ve sort of been watching us when we didn’t know it?  Hmm, that’s seems kind of weird.  It seems kind of like someone watching when you’re sleeping or something.”

Rani smiled and her laugh tinkled in the High Bluff like little chimes.  “No, not watching you, just, well, keeping an eye on you all when you’re in dangerous situations.”  Rani brushed Holly’s bangs off her eyes.  “I’m very proud of you, Holly.  I know that you’ve done many brave things here in the Land of the Lost.  You’re quickly becoming a very capable young woman.”

Holly grinned.  “Thanks, Rani.  I can’t believe you’re actually here again!  Oh, fat rats!  Dad and Will aren’t here again this time.   Will probably would never believe you!”  Holly gave a small laugh.  “I bet he’d think you were beautiful!  He’d probably fall in love with you!”   Holly considered this a moment.  “Ew!  Since you’re me, I think, only grown up, and if Will fell in love with you………..”  Holly let that statement trail off as she shook her head.  “I definitely think it’s best that only I see you!”

Rani smiled and nodded.  “I think so too, honey.  It’s our special secret!  Holly, I have to go again.  I just needed to take this opportunity to see you, to tell you that everything is going to be all right.  Be strong, Holly.  You’re such an intelligent girl, I know you’ll always do the right thing.” 

Holly frowned.  “What do you mean?  You don’t have to leave again so soon do you?  Will I ever see you again?”

Rani smiled again.  “Of course you’ll see me.  We’re the same.”

“Are we going to get home, Rani?  Can you tell me how, can you help me?”  Holly felt herself growing very tired, but she focused on Rani.

“Yes.  You all will get home to earth again.  And you and Will are both going to do many things to help others who come to the Land of the Lost.  Just like I’ve been able to help you.  Good-bye,  Holly.”

“Rani, wait……..”  But Holly never got to finish her statement, because everything around her went black, and Rani had disappeared.

  ***********

In a huge room which seemed to be filled with mist colored rainbows strung with jewels of every color of the rainbow, an older version of Will Marshall stood with his arm around an enchanting-looking young blond woman who was an older version of his sister, Holly.  They were smiling as they watched  three people blinking their eyes and taking deep breaths as they woke from their very real dreams.  The three seemed visible in a misty circle on the wall of the room in which Will and Holly stood, and the three people also were in a room which looked the same, misty and pastel colored, with no walls or ceiling visible, as if they stood in a pocket of time.

“They’re going to be just fine.”  Will said, and smiled at his sister.  She laughed.  “I know!  I’m just glad that they won’t have to go through what we did.  Losing Dad, I mean.  Everything should be just fine for them now.  When it’s time, they’ll be able to get back home.”

Will tightened his arm around the young woman as he withdrew a long, eight-sided crystal from the pocket of his brown suit coat and tapped it three times on the wall at his side.  A golden rectangle time doorway appeared there, and inside they could see the entrance to a beautiful white building, surrounded by lush green lawn and fronted by a fountain, glittering and splashing in the bright, warm sunlight.  “Let’s go.”  He said, and the two young people disappeared into the time doorway.

***********

Rick Marshall took a deep breath and blinked his eyes.  His body felt so relaxed, his mind clear and calm.  “Will!  Holly!”  he gently grabbed each of his children by their arms.  “Are you both alright?”

“Yeah, Dad.”  Will was the first to answer, and he too was shaking his  head a little bit, and Holly was frowning.  “I’m okay, too, Daddy, but, well, I feel like I’ve had the strangest dream!”

“What was your dream, Holly?”  Rick questioned, remembering his own bizarre experience, or dream.  Remembering the sweet face of a little girl who had always been real to him, and yet never so real as in his experience out in the jungle in the Land of the Lost, where he’d seen her little face, and her curly hair, so like his own and Will’s.  He’d seen his little girl playing with her brother and sister and he would never, ever forget the feelings that scene had brought to his heart.

Holly looked at her Dad and bit her lip.  “It seemed like I was talking to……..to a lady with beautiful blonde hair.  She told me that she was me, but grown up.  And,”  Holly hesitated, uncertain as to whether her father and Will would believe her.  “I’ve seen her before.  Do you remember that time I got those pendants, and I told you that someone gave them to me in the sleestak cave?  Well, it was the same person.  She told me her name was Rani.”

“I do remember that, vaguely.  I really just thought that it might’ve been some kind of illusion.  While we were trying to escape the sleestak and Will’s ankle was hurt, I just never had time to think about it.”

“Dad, I had a dream or something just like Holly!”  Will stood beside Rick and Holly with his hands pushed into the pockets of his brown cordoroy pants.  “I dreamed I met an older man.  He said that he was me, only grown up, just like Holly’s experience!  But this guy said he only took on the appearance of an older man so that I wouldn’t be confused

by looking at myself, only older.  I”  Will paused in confusion.  “I just can’t remember now what he looked like, or what he sounded like.  It’s all gone from my head!”  Will held his hand to his forehead in bewilderment.  Rick put his hand on Will’s shoulder.  “It’s allright, son.  Was there anything else?”

“He told me that we were all going to get out of here.  He said that when the time was right, we’d go home!”  Will finished excitedly.

“Yeah, Rani said that to me too!”  Holly put her hands on Rick’s arm.  “Daddy, Rani said the exact same thing!  That when the time was right, we would all get home!”  Holly gave a little jump in her excitement.

Rick  considered his children’s words.  It gave him a good feeling, although the whole experience was quite strange.  He gave a quiet, half chuckle to himself.  Strange was the norm here in this alternate world.

“Dad, do you think that’s why the time doorway was here?  So that these people could come to help us?  So that they could let us know that we do get home?”  Will asked hopefully.

“Well, son, I certainly think that this time doorway isn’t going to do anything else for us.   I believe that it was put here for us all to have these dreams or whatever they were.”

“Did you have one too, Daddy?”  Holly asked.

Rick shook his head.  “No, not really, honey.”  Rick lied.  He and his wife had never told Will and Holly about their little sister, and he certainly wasn’t going to inflict that pain on them now, especially not when he couldn’t even be certain that the vision could be based on reality, even a reality in an alternate universe.  “I half remember some strange feelings, but nothing like you and Will had.  Now I think we had all better get out of here.  I don’t want to stay in here any longer.  Let’s go.”

“I wonder if this strange doorway had anything to do with the other doorway opening in Enik’s cave?  The one that seemed to open by itself, that Annie came through?”  Holly wondered. 

Will shrugged.  “I think that could definitely be true!  Maybe using a time doorway for something that was different than what they usually seem to do did mess one of the other doorways up.  This doorway didn’t seem to lead anywhere, it seems like it was just here for us to experience something that someone else wanted to show us.”   He shrugged.

“The older Will and  Holly.”  Holly filled in.

“Right.  And if the older Will and Holly are still anything like we are, they may have been fooling around with something they didn’t totally understand.”  Will continued to speculate.  “Who knows?  Maybe opening this door upset the workings of the time doorways a little and caused one to open?   Or maybe another doorway did just open by itself and Annie got caught in it and maybe her being here in the Land changed something that needed to be fixed, something that  might’ve stopped us from ever getting home!”

“Alright, let’s go.”  Rick reminded.  “We can talk about this all  you kids want once we’re back at High Bluff.”

The Marshalls walked to the time doorway’s golden rectangular light and paused.  Their climbing gear was on still laying on the floor where it had fallen when they had entered and they quickly put it on. 

“Holly, you go first.”  Rick instructed.  “Will and I will lower you down, and then I want you to just wait, okay?”

Holly sighed, but nodded.  “Remember, Holly, just don’t look down.”  Will reminded Holly as he and Rick took hold of  her climbing rope and she gingerly poked her foot out into the nothingness beyond the time doorway.  As she stepped back, she disappeared suddenly from Rick’s sight.  He hated it, but he quickly helped Will to follow Holly, and then he lowered himself out also.  Once out of the rainbow cave himself, he felt marginally better, because he could see that Will and Holly were both hanging on the cliff in the bright, warm sunshine, waiting to begin the long climb down.

Slowly and carefully Will and Rick lowered Holly down as they climbed themselves.  It was another long, hard climb, but finally the three Marshalls reached a shelf that was about twelve feet from the ravine bottom, and there they flopped onto the dusty rock and drank from their canteen.  Will wiped his sleeve across his sweaty forehead and turned his face up to the sky.  Holly, who had gripped her ropes in a death grip all the way down from the time doorway, was so grateful to be on solid ground that she simply sat, drinking her sips of water.  She looked up and behind her and yelled,”Daddy, look, the time doorway is gone.”  Rick turned his head from his position of squatting on the ground and nodded.   “I think that doorway must just have been there so we could all have those dreams.”  Holly guessed. 

“I just don’t know why it appeared in such an odd place!”  Will said.  “I don’t know why it couldn’t have been someplace lower!”

Rick smiled a bit sadly.  “That’s for sure, Will.  We’ll probably never know.  Well, what do you kids think?  Should we head on back to the cave?”

Will and Holly nodded and got up.  “Holly, you go first again so Will and I can hold your ropes.”

“Okay, Daddy.”  Holly allowed Rick to take her under the arms and lower her over the side of the shelf they had rested on.  Slowly the lowered her to the ravine bottom, and then Will swung himself down.  Rick had just stepped off of the shelf and was beginning to rapell himself down when suddenly there was a deafening roar and all the Marshalls turned to find that right behind them stood Big Alice.  Holly screamed, “Daddy!”  Will grabbed Holly by the shoulders and pulled her close as they watched their father swinging ten feet above them, right at eye level with the allosaurus.  “Dad!”  Will cried.  The allosaurus turned to regard the two children standing small as playthings beside her, but instead of roaring, she cocked her head.  Holly, breathing heavily because of her terror for her Dad, said to Will “Will!  That’s not Big Alice!  She’s not as green looking as this dinosaur!”

Will took a moment and studied the huge reptile before them.  “You’re right!”  Will glanced in fear up at their father, who was staying quiet and still.

“Will, Holly, get out of here!”  he called in a stage whisper.

“No way, Dad!”  Will asserted.  Then he spoke to the allosaurus.  “Look down here!  We’re a lot easier to get!”  The dinosaur continued to look at Will and Holly, without roaring.  It made two unbelievably deep growls low in it’s throat and actually took one step closer as it lowered it’s massive head and seemed to regard the children with one eye and then the other.

“Will”  Holly said in amazement.  “I think it’s Junior!”  Will still held Holly close to him, not knowing what exactly he could do to protect her, but ready to run.  “Look, he’s not roaring, he’s not mad.  It looks like he remembers us!”  Holly almost smiled and then she spoke more loudly.  “Hi Junior!”  she began, her voice quavering a little.  “Is that you, Junior?  Do you remember us?  Do you remember that we helped you to get born?  And then we took you back to your mother!’  The dinosaur actually cocked it’s head now as he listened to Holly speak, and then, with another rolling growl from deep in it’s throat, it turned and stalked off, back up a crack in the ravine that the Marshalls had taken no notice of.

Holly and Will sagged in relief as Rick hurriedly finished his descent to the ground and rushed up to his kids.

“Dad!”  Will gasped.  “I thought you were like a worm on a hook up there!” 

Holly put her arms around her father, relieved that he was safe, that they all were safe.

“I don’t know how, but somehow we are all okay.  That dinosaur must actually have somehow remembered you and Holly, your scent or something.”  Rick shook his head in disbelief.  “I can’t believe it!”  he chuckled, then grew serious.  “Come on, we had better get out of this ravine and back up onto our regular ground.  At least there we’ll be able to take cover in the jungle when danger approaches.”

Rick and Will and Holly hurried along the bottom of the ravine, wondering if their day of adventure would ever be over.  As they walked along, Will and Holly were asking their Dad questions about the allosaurus they had encountered.

“Do you think that that was Junior Daddy?”

Rick crooked his head to the left.  “It’s very possible, honey.  Most likely Big Alice wouldn’t want to share her territory, even with her own baby, so he’s likely marked the ravine off as his territory and left Alice with the Lost City .”

“That would definitely explain why we’ve never seen Junior since he was tiny.”  Will added.

“I guess what you always tell us makes even more sense now, Daddy.”  Holly remarked.

“What’s that?”  Rick asked.  They had very nearly reached the slab of rock that crossed the crevasse and he was hurrying up his pace, wanting to get safely back to their cave.

“That we should always do what we can to help others,  not only because it’s right, but because  you never know when a good deed will come right back to help the one who did it!”  Holly smiled.

Rick laughed.  “That’s right, honey!”  Will laughed too.  “We sure had a perfect example of that today!”

Then the Marshalls scaled the cliff face one last time and came up onto the rock slab that they were so used to crossing to reach the Lost City .  Back at the cave, finally, Rick and Will sat preparing another supper of carrots and strawberries, while Holly pulled a fresh, warm loaf of smilax out of the clay oven.  As they all sat together around the little, round, wooden table in their cave home, Rick raised his gourd drinking cup.  “Well, we’re back in our cave, safe and sound.  Here’s to the promise of getting home.”  Will and Holly raised their gourds and tapped them against Rick’s own.

“When the time is right.”  Will chimed in.

“All of us!”  Holly added.  Then they all drank to the toast and started their supper, as another day in the Land of the Lost came to a close outside the cave door in a glorious orange, purple, pink, gold and red sunset.

 

THE END