THE RABBIT HOLE
End of Book One. The Royal Twins
When Kit and I caught up to ChiZato, the Tiangou shaman, he was standing in the middle of a circle of large stones bordering a hillside, a place not so different than the upper heiau in Anahola.
ChiZato pointed to the large lava rock hillside wall, and we were immediately drawn to it. We were amazed with the hundreds of ancient engraved symbols, set in a geometric pattern, all very similar to the ones in the Hawaiian sacred site.
The shaman clapped three times, and we turned to face him, our backs to the lava wall. “You’re here to re-seem the seam between what was and what is. The seamless and seeming seen.”
“That’s enough with your riddles,” I spoke with defiance. “I know you know my mother! She has been here! Where is she? Tell us right now. Where is she?”
“It’s too soon for the moon,” the bearded old man chuckled. “Under the sea is where to be.”
“Are you nuts?” Kit yelled. With those words the entire environment altered. A storm cloud suddenly appeared, ready to release a torrential downpour. The shaman raised his arms to the sky and then pointed his index fingers at the twins. We were jolted by the raw intensity of the shaman’s power, and then his gaze. Ki energy moved from his fingers, from his eyes, from his being, into and through the twins.
“Stop it!” I demanded. “We just want to find our mother. You don’t have to hurt us.”
The earth began to vibrate as the shaman continued to extend his ki energy. We tried to run, but were trapped in the shaman’s force field. We could feel movement behind us, the breath of the lava wall. Hesitantly, simultaneously, we turned our heads. The wall was indeed breathing. With every passing second the breathing became more intense.
“What’s going on?” Kit yelled over the growling sounds of the rumbling earth.
“You have to stop.”
“There is no stopping. The wall is popping. Into the flow you will go. Trust your ki and you’ll be free.”
Suddenly the storm cloud turned into a powerful tornado wind, which jerked us in towards the breathing lava wall. We were pulled off our feet and began spinning around in the spiraling tornado. The wall divided into hundreds of pieces of geometric puzzle, all dancing in place in the agitated air.
“Please, ChiZato, you don’t have to do this,” I yelled as we hovered for a moment in the eye of the wind. Somehow in the timeless moments of our tornado spinning, the entire Tiangou village assembled safely behind their shaman.
“Go with the flow,” he repeated as the wind increased its nasty howl, and all the villagers started to jump and fly and bark and squawk and ka-kaa to their hearts content. They were all cheering us on: with a cockamamie chorus of wild whooping glees. The shaman removed a gold bracelet from his wrist and flung it toward us, over our heads, through the tornado and into the jumble of rocks. “Be bold. Grab the gold!” he shouted.
The Tiangou villagers behind him clapped their hands, paws, feathers and feet. “Go for the gold,” they screeched in fifty impossible to comprehend ways. It was a party and everyone was in on the fun, except us, who were back to spinning in the tornado, inches away from colliding with chunks of jagged lava, which suddenly spilled into the mountain revealing a tunnel.
The Rabbit Hole
Chapter 1 –
Just seconds before, we were spinning out of control, sucked by a powerful vacuum into the long dark tunnel, and now all was still.
“What just happened?” I whispered.
Standing in total blackness, we blindly reached out to touch each other. Only one sound, the clink of the golden bracelet hitting a stone floor, interrupted the rapid beating of their hearts.
Kat exhaled, shaking off the shock of being unceremoniously flung behind lava rocks into the unknown. “Don’t know,” she softly answered. “I was ready to do an Aikido roll . . . or hit a back wall . . . or . . .” Silent for a minute, we centered with long inhales and exhales, then quickly calmed our breaths, listening for sounds other than the thump of our hearts.
“Do you remember going from flying to standing?” I whispered.
“No,” she whispered back. “That was too weird.”
“Good thing you brought the flashlights.” I paused a few seconds. “You brought the flashlights, didn’t you?”
“Of course,” she answered, rummaging through her pack, handing one to me. She turned hers on, lighting the ground in search of the heirloom bracelet.
“Here it is.” I bent over and picked it up.
“Give it to me!” Kat said with great excitement as she plucked it out of my hand. “I knew it! It really is Mother’s gold heirloom bracelet. See here. It says PUALANI. Hey, look! Our names are engraved on the inside. Can you believe it? That shaman was wearing Mother’s gold bracelet! He knew her! That old geezer is up to something. I think he put us in here. To find her?”
“Get a grip. Find her is a cave? That’s pretty far fetched. What do you think, she’s been living in a cave for eleven years?” I answered as I stretched my body and pointed my light at the surrounding walls.
“I don’t know,” Kat said as she slipped on the bracelet, and then with a second thought took it off and zipped it into a small pocket in her backpack. “There’s no way I’m going to lose this,” she mumbled. “One thing is for sure,” she continued, glancing at the solid wall, “going back isn’t an option.”
I carefully stepped forward. “Come on. Maybe this cave will lead us to the ocean. Remember what ChiZato said, ‘Under the sea is where to be. The clue is blue?’ All I see is black. Let’s see if we can find some blue.”
“Kit. We’re up somewhere on Mt. Kunlun. Remember? The ocean is like fifty miles away . . .”
“Yeah, and some mythological tengu shaman just created a tornado out of the clear sky and sent us flying through a cave.”
“You’re right, it doesn’t make sense, so let’s go with what does. He said . . . ‘trust your ki.’” Kat was ready to follow any of the riddles she could remember, especially if we would lead to our mother, a possible, but logically unrealistic hope. “My ki tells me to go forward . . . like you said . . . to find the blue.” Quietly and carefully we followed our flashlights through the dark, damp tunnel.
Soon we were standing atop a wet stone stairwell. We cautiously stepped down, one foot in front of the other until we reached a landing. Unlike the cave at the waterfalls, no streaks of light came through the natural ceiling holes. We were sealed in and down deeper than we had imagined. Kat expected the cave to be dazzled with geodes and clusters as we scanned the thirty-foot diameter by twenty-foot high cavern. Unlike the waterfall cave, this one was all dirt and wet rock. A faint blue glow from the middle of the cave caught their attention.
“Blue! He said the clue is blue. There it is.” I headed toward the light.
We dropped to our knees on a landing in front of a hottub-sized baby-blue/topaz pool. Kat gently sank her fingertips into the cool phosphorescent-diamond sparkling water, which was illuminated by an underwater light from deep below, a light that grew brighter with each passing second.
“Strange. Wonder where the light is coming from,” I said as I turned off my flashlight. We could now see the entire interior of the cave. The perimeter of the landing we were on was lined in a square and engraved with the same symbols as the lava rock wall at the beginning of this journey into the unknown. The pool was lined with cut stones, set in a perfect hexagon. I noticed a small ledge under the landing in front of the pool, from which I found a small ceramic bowl. “We’re obviously not the only ones who’ve been here.” I bent down and scooped water into the cup, ready to unknowingly drink from one of seven sacred Wells of Immortality, a well with the same water our grandfather Khong drank from in the cave behind our home in Kauai, a cave we had no idea existed. “I’m thirsty.”
“No!” Kat warned. “It may be poisoned. No way I’m going to drag your lame body out of here . . . if there is a way out of here. Leave it alone.” Looking around some more she concluded, “There’s really nothing here other than this pool. There has to be a way out we’re not seeing.”
“But I’m thirsty.”
“I know. Me too. Let’s get going while the cave is lit up.”
Walking to the back of the cave we noticed a thin slice in the wall and headed toward it. “I think we can get through here,” I said as I nervously inched through the fault. I reached out to help my sister into the next wet rock corridor, which was the beginning of another tunnel.
“I don’t know, Kit.” Kat thought about the gold bracelet. “Maybe we’re going to end up with Mother after-all, buried in the middle of Mt. Kunlun.”
I felt the reality of the situation begin to set in. “This is nuts. First Mother disappears on this mountain and now us. I’m too young to die in
some stupid cave. Why did ChiZato seal us in anyway? And what about all the stones that flew in ahead of us? Did he put up another wall right behind us? When? We must have lost a whole lot of time . . .” I paused in order to collect my thoughts. “And if there is no way in or out, what about that pool, and the cup, and the light? It doesn’t add up . . . and somehow it does . . . like we’re on the trail to something.”
“You’re right brother. We can’t panic. We need to use our common sense and figure this puzzle out.” Kat crouched down and took several long deep breaths. In the remote corner of her consciousness was the awareness that she is a Twin of Kashal, and with that might come some perks: like ways out of caves. “Remember what Heijo said about overcoming reckless fear and emotions? I think it’s all going to be OK. Were you listening to ChiZato’s riddles? ‘Follow the wave to the sea, trust your ki and you’ll be free?’ He knows that there is a way out of here. He sealed the wall so we’d follow our ki, so we’d find the way to the wave to the sea, whatever that means.”
“But he didn’t give us a choice. He forced us into fear for survival. That’s not cool.”
“Maybe we needed a bit of a push to get over our fear and into our destiny.”
Kat saw something farther up the long straight wet tunnel. “Hey look! There’s light. Do you see it?“
“Barely. This reminds me of the mile-long tunnel through Mt. Wai’aliali in Kaua’i. A little pin-point of light there led to the way out on the other side.”
We kept going in spite of our soaked Nike’s sloshing and slipping in the ankle-deep water. We fixed on the dim light ahead of us. Breathing in the mossy smells, old, rich and fermented, we listened to the forever sound that no one was ever there to hear: Drip. Drip, drops of water falling from the low ceiling onto our heads and shoulders, further dampening our clothes, soaked a few hours before in another cave.
I pointed my light on the water. “Are there poisonous water snakes in Chinese caves?”
“There are,” Kat answered in mock seriousness as she shook her foot noisily. I instinctively pulled her into a hug. “Just kidding, brother. What you fear you draw near. Forget about snakes. It’s the blood sucking bats we have to worry about.”
“Yeah, right . . . Hey, look! Is that a wave? It looks like a wave . . . a wave in a cave.” I pointed ahead with excitement.
We chuckled with excitement as we hurried through the shallow trench, stopping abruptly in front of a massive curled projectile of water, frozen in mid-air, filling the entire eight-foot diameter of the tunnel. The wave appeared as if someone had hit the pause button, stopping it from rushing forward. An eerie whitish glow pulsated from behind it.
“Masks!” Kat whispered. “Dolphin masks.” She pointed at two dolphin-like faces, floating motionless in front of the watery wall, surrounded by star-like water droplets. The masks appeared to have been thrust forward by the force of the wave behind them, and like the water suspended in flight. She reached to touch one, but hesitated.
“It’s like one of those displays at the mall . . . you know, where you stand on a surfboard and get your picture taken under a wave. But this isn’t plastic. This is real water,” I said as I moved my hand over the wave’s slick frozen surface. “It’s frozen, but it’s not cold in here. How can that be?”
“I don’t have a clue. ChiZato said to follow the wave to the sea and we’ll be free . . . except it sure doesn’t look like this wave is going anywhere.” Still in front of the masks, Kat inched closer and stared into the eyes of one of icy blue-clear glass masks hovering in front of the watery wall. “He didn’t mention masks, did he? Maybe masks are how we get from place to place. Are you ready for another wild trip through a mask, brother?”
“Being sucked into dragon mouths was pretty darn scary. These look peaceful. They’re dolphins, not dragons. Dolphins don’t eat people. Hey, there’s some writing on the side of this one.” I turned my head sideways and read the kanji: “’The Ki.’ The Ki? ‘Trust your ki and you’ll be free.’ Are these masks the ki?”
“Maybe,” Kat shrugged. “I say we just grab these suckers and get the heck out of here. What do you think?”
“Sounds like a plan to me. Except I hope we’re not the suckers.”
Kat looked me in my eyes for a moment, took a deep breath and moved her hand toward the mask. Last time we were spit out 600 years into the past. I wonder . . . She reached out and touched it with her index finger. Nothing happened. No problem so far. Just do it, Kat. She grabbed her mask. I watched, and then picked the other mask out of the air.
The masks were frozen but not cold, and had a magnifying glass quality. You can see through them, Kat mu-mu’d, putting the mask up to her face, moving it around, searching for the right angle to bring things into focus. It was blurry at first, but soon the aperture adjusted itself. Wow! Kat was amazed. Do you see what I see, Kit: Suspended snowflakes, magnified a hundred times, each one a different hexagonal crystal? These are like the water crystal pictures in Dr. Emoto’s book. We’re so beautiful.
And we’re all so different, six-pointed snowflake stars, I added. Amazing. For a precious moment, the beauty of this crystal wonderland provided a welcome relief to the overall stress of our time in the cave.
Kat lowered her mask, letting her feelings come forward. Kit, I feel Mother’s presence. It’s like she’s telling us that everything will be okay, in spite of our being lost in this cave. I see her in all of this beauty. I know we will find her. She sank down to the cave floor, looking into the sweet frozen smile of the dolphin face.
I shifted my view through the masks from one droplet to another until the crystal patterns began to dissolve. I sat back-to-back to my sister. I feel her too. Crazy as it seems, we are right where we’re meant to be. I feel we are being protected. I feel Nani and Grandfather and even Father’s love all around us. Did you feel that? The floor is vibrating. I raised the mask back to my face as I stood up to get another look. The magnifying mask zoomed out to reveal the suspended wall of water moving in very slow motion. “It’s moving!” I whispered as I helped my sister to her feet. Our first instinct was to turn and run, but we knew there was nowhere to go.
This is the wave! ‘Follow the wave,’ he said. Don’t move. Kat mu-mu’d, not having a clue what would happen next.
We hardly breathed and didn’t move a muscle. Water droplets dripped down on my forehead. Intuitively, I turned my mask over and held it like a vessel waiting to be filled. Kat turned hers over too. We stood patiently catching the drips until the masks were both full. The masks then began rippling in a wavy motion and soon we too began to dissolve, drip by drip, until the last bits of the masks dribbled from our fingers to a watery pool that quickly coagulated into a gel-like substance. Yuck, Kat groaned in silence. The self-propelled oozing gel thickened as it spiraled around our ankles and then up to our knees.
“I’m getting jello’d!” I yelled as I tried to move my feet. “The goo’s got me!” I tugged my legs up to no avail, while holding my panic in check.
“This has got to be it. It’s the flow! Go with the flow, little brother,” Kat said taking a deep breath, suspending her rising urge to either scream or laugh.
The front of the wave hit the cave floor as a solid wall. In the passing seconds we experienced the same sensation as if surfing in the middle of a perfect curl, a curl of water that again froze in action, trapping us in a custom fitted bubble for two. The gel released its hold on our legs, allowing us the freedom to move our feet. We looked around our cell as we breathed in a fresh clean air, free of the cave’s mossy, fermented smell.
This is no good, Kat, I thought as I punched the gel wall. My fist just slurped into it, making a swoosh-pop sound when I pulled it out. We’re sealed in a cave. Sealed in a slurpee bubble in a cave: so much for going with the flow. Got any ideas?
I should be panicking, but I hear ChiZato’s words in my head, ‘The way out of the cave is under the wave.’ We are surely under the wave right now.
So if this is “the way,” I continued Kat’s thought, I suppose the answer is to just let the way be.
Yeah, like stop thinking about being stuck. Instead focus on our outcome. I learned my lesson about trying in the other cave. When was that: yesterday? Anyway, remember when the shaman said ‘Follow the wave to the sea. Trust your ki and you’ll be free?’ Trust our ki, our life force energy, to naturally take us out of here, Kit. Let’s close our eyes. Breathe. Relax and extend our ki all the way to the sea, wherever that is. Let’s extend together.
As we did, the bubble began to move, spinning clockwise in slow motion, like the dry center of a washing machine spin cycle, gaining more rpm’s with each revolution. We centered, extending our ki to the sea. Around we went, slowly at first, then faster with each revolution, spinning and reeling, spiraling and whirl-pooling. When all the spinning and whirl-pooling reached high velocity, we began bouncing off the jello walls and each other, wowing as we continued to visualize the ocean, until swoosh . . . We were released, flying at breakneck speed in a DNA tube once more.
This tube was filled with strings and cords of undulating light flowing into and through them, pulsating and dancing to the beat of our now synchronized hearts. Like we had done coming out of the 15th Century, we slowed ourselves down to take in the experience. Ahhh. We let go – surrendering and merging into the light.
Drifting down the DNA tube, cords moving with us, our eyes opened wide, we were now aware of the scene outside the transparent tubular walls. Galaxies of organic matter came into overview zooming toward us, and then disappearing, flying past the tube at tremendous speed, some coming so close we experienced the sensation of being bowled over by a whole eco-system. Matter flew through us, safe inside our space tube.
Hey look, Kit, Kat pointed at the manifestation of a thought she barely remembered having. I think I see land.
Before I could respond, an ideal earth scene came into view.
It looks like a paradise, I thought, feeling like I was in an Avatar movie.
The next instant we were above this land. We slowed down to get a good view of the surface. Where there was land, now all we could see was water. Then we come upon what looked like a suspended island or floating city. As we leaned for a closer view, we were plunged deeply into the water. We then glided by sea life that we had never seen before. Mermaids waved at us as we passed, as if they were old friends. I smiled and waved back.
We were mesmerized by the beauty in front of us: sea life, coral reefs, glistening stones and shells filled with colors we had never seen before. Ornately carved crystal columns jutted from the seabed, up and through the surface of the water. We came closer to one of the columns and saw a reflection of ourselves. Look! Yiiii! Kat exclaimed as we were suddenly sucked backwards, vacuumed away at incomprehensible whiplash speed.
Then all was calm as our DNA tube filled with water.
We took a deep breath . . .