The Twenty-eighth day of September My eighteenth day in the cabin The year is unknown. Much has happened since my last entry yet little progress has been made with respect to the mysterious archway positioned on the perpendicular wall to my fireplace and looking completely out of place where it sits. Akil has not returned. The two birds, although I daresay they are less like birds with each passing day (they can be better described as very intelligent dogs when recounting their behavior), have become very affectionate toward me and are quite amenable to training. While visibly identical, they are easily differentiated by their behaviors. Bronchio, the more aggressive of the two –named after the coughing noise he makes when pouncing on his sister, Swat –named after her defensive technique when being accosted by her brother. In all honesty, I haven’t the slightest idea if Bronchio is indeed male and similarly his sister female but have simply based my inferences on typical malefemale behavior. To my amazement, the glowing dust that fell from the under-feathers on that first day they were woken has neither lessened nor faded. Each time they spread their wings or take flight, they leave a lovely trail of glowing green dust in their wake. Despite regular attempts to coax them outside, neither has mustered the courage to follow me through the round doorway. On precisely every other day, the pair ventures into the tunnel beyond the archway (a place I have not mustered the courage to enter) lighting the way with their glowing wings. Long after they fly from view, the green dust still dances on the air currents revealing the narrow passage beyond the archway. I can only assume they’ve gone in search of food. While they are with me in the cabin, they take neither food nor water. At night, both curl up beside me providing warmth as I sleep. From their bellies comes a soft clicking that can only be compared to the purr of a cat. Distracting at first, I now find the sound calming. Determined to discover the origination of the firefly, the day after Bronchio and Swat woke; I inspected the glass jars seated on the
shelving mounted to the trunk lid. To my dismay, the collection of insects included neither fireflies nor any insect similar in appearance. As a bystander, I am certain one would venture to ask why I have not dared to cross under the archway and explore the beyond. The answer, I’m embarrassed to report, is simply fear of the unknown. What if I cross through and cannot return? What if Akil comes looking for me and finds the cabin empty? Strange sounds continue to echo from within the darkness causing both Bronchio and Swat to flinch with each rapport. This only emboldens my fear –if a word such as that can even be used to describe an increase in cowardice. The very idea is laughable if it were not describing my own behavior. I’ve decided to set a deadline. If, on my twentieth day, there remains no sign of Akil, I shall travel through this archway and into the beyond. To pass the time I’ve been reading the instructions left by Akil and have become quite proficient in handling many of the various contents within the phials. On the morrow, I will decide which of these will be most useful on my journey. I’ve had to ration my food –what little remains due to Akil’s Absence.
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