“Torch, water, sandwiches and spare clothes,” Harry’s mum called out. “Everything’s there,” Harry smiled as he patted his backpack.

“Stay safe and take care of your friends too,” Harry’s mum called after him as he left the house.

“Yes I will, don’t worry,” Harry assured her.

Harry and his friends met at the jetty by the sea, with boats lined up in front of them. Beaming and excited, all four of them settled themselves down, and Tom and Lucy started up the engine.

The weather was beautiful, the sun shining down on the gleaming blanket of water ahead of them. They were going to make the most out of their vacation.

The boat whirred up and set off, a small stream of water splashing behind them. A gentle breeze was blowing and small droplets of water spattered on their faces. The sea looked magnificent and wide.

Jane looked out to the sea, a colony of seagulls flew across her. They dipped their beaks in the water and came up with a fish, then cackled as if to celebrate their catch.

The boat spurred on and on. Harry handed out sandwiches to everyone while they waited to see the island they planned their trip to. An hour went by, when a distant piece of land loomed up in front of them. Tom hooted, announcing that they were very near their destination.

Not long after, they hit land. The island was as pretty as its name: Bloom. Exquisite flowers in different shapes and sizes bloomed, tall trees laden with exotic fruits lined up, birds chirped and butterflies flew past them. Even the soil smelt fragrant.

Lucy took in a breath of air and exclaimed, “So beautiful!”

As they walked across the island, it started to get hot. The sun had already reached the top of their heads. They came across a small stream of fast-flowing river and settled down beside it. Tom splashed water on his face, and cooped his hands to drink some. It was very cool and refreshing.

“What is that?” Harry shouted in surprise, pointing to a direction in front of them. The others looked around to see what he had noticed.

“Doesn’t it look like a cave?” Jane remarked, her eyes shining bright.

Always ready for new adventures, they quickly scuffled over to the cave’s opening. The cave looked enormous, its opening wide enough to fit five people at once. But it looked like no one had been to it in ages, spider webs sprawled all over it.

A chill ran down Tom’s spine. “Do we have to go inside?” he stuttered. “What if there’s something scary in it?”

“Don’t be a mood spoiler Tom,” Jane scowled at him and pushed him to go inside first. All of them trudged after Tom.

The cave was larger than they thought at first. They observed their surroundings in awe. Ivy covered the walls and icicle shaped formations, deep red in colour, hung from the top.

“What is that?” Lucy exclaimed, pointing to the roof.

“Those are stalactites,” Jane explained as she adjusted her glasses on her nose. “They are formed by the precipitation of minerals present in water. Beautiful, aren’t they?”

The rest of them nodded their heads in unison, impressed by Jane’s general knowledge.

Harry pulled out the torch from his backpack and swivelled it around. A winding passage led from one corner of the cave.

“Let’s see how far it goes,” Harry said, his voice echoing back and forth, and sounding scary. Somewhere behind, Tom’s steps staggered.

They stepped into the passage one after the other. Here too, ivy grew on the stone walls and the air smelt moist. They silently walked along the passage, occasionally whispering to each other and all of a sudden Harry stopped walking. They bumped into each other after him.

“What’s wrong Harry?” Lucy squeaked up from the end of the line.

“Oh, it just suddenly ended,” Harry sounded sad. “I thought we would find something interesting!”

“What did you expect? Skulls? Treasure boxes?” Tom laughed at him. “Let’s go back,” he added.

They turned around and walked back in dismay, shuffling their feet. They heard a loud thud, which sounded louder due to the echo. A small shriek from Jane’s mouth came out as she stood there holding her toe.

All of them rushed over to check if she was fine, Lucy flashed the light in the direction of her foot. Jane’s toe looked okay, and she could walk with a little limp. But what caught their attention was a small box, looking ancient and rusty, lying right beside her feet.

Gleaming jewels scattered all around it. Rings, necklaces, bracelets and coins of gold!

With excitement shining through their eyes, in a flurry they bent down to examine the jewels. Intricately crafted, and with sparkly stones, the jewels looked very valuable.

“We actually found a treasure box?!” Tom’s voice sounded hoarse with disbelief.

“With this, we can go on trips every vacation!” Lucy sniffled.

Hand in hand, the four friends beaming as brightly as the jewels they were carrying, walked towards the sun shining through the cave opening, towards all the fun that they would now plan out!

Published in Dawn, Young World, May 14th, 2022

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