Again the dream replayed itself in Charlotte’s sleep. Again she awoke to the sound of her own lungs gasping for air. Again her alarm clock was showing seven forty three on its face. But there was something different this time, not a new jewel, but a new word.
“Mizu?” she wondered allowed. The dream had been exactly the same but for that single word, now imprinted on her mind. It had come to her the second she had switched from the dream back to the reality. What did it mean? What word did the other three glowing-doll-girls have?
She quickly got ready for school, not pausing to finger at the jewels or to stare in puzzlement at them. She had almost grown used to the twinkling blue gems, and could almost hear the water inside them forever in motion.
On the bus on her way to school, she kept contemplating the word that had come at the end of her dream, the second she had drowned.
“Mizu,” she whispered again, feeling the way the word played on her lips. It was familiar, but unusual at the same time. It felt like déjà-vu, like she should know the word, but she couldn’t for the life of her guess when she had heard it.
Knowing Elly wouldn’t be at school yet and guessing the same for Michelle and Natasha, Charlotte took a seat at one of the computers in the study room and searched up the word ‘Mizu’, hoping she would come up with something useful.
Most of the pages she came up with were in Japanese, which a, the browser wouldn’t support, and b, she wouldn’t be able to understand even if it did. Eventually though she came across one that looked like it was written by a Japanese person who knew enough English to get by.
She discovered that there was a river in Japan named the Mizu River, situated on the Hokkaido island in the north of the country, where not so many people lived. A picture of the river was shown on the page, showing the cool, clear water reflecting the bright blue sky, snaking its way through the mountains. It didn’t look like a particularly large river, but it was definitely a very beautiful.
The dark green of the surrounding trees contrasted beautifully with the bright blue. The background of the photo showed several snow-capped mountains, the white almost glowing against the trees. A fine mist hovered around the mountains, wisping between the trees.
This must be where the doll is, Charlotte thought, not thinking about the implications of this idea. The page had some information about the river as well as a map of Japan showing its location. The Mizu River ended not at the ocean, but rather at a massive lake, a kilometre in diameter. Charlotte’s heart almost stopped when she read part of the text.
“The lake where River Mizu finish has many cave at the borders. They have not been exploring because of dangers with collapse.”
Charlotte hastily printed the page out, knowing that this was where the doll dwelled. As she ran to the other room to collect the printout, she managed to collide with Michelle.
“Sorry,” she apologised.
“‘Sokay. What’s the rush?” Michelle asked.
“I’ll show you,” Charlotte replied, excitement in her voice. She grabbed the piece of paper from the printer and thrust them into Michelle’s hands.
“I give you, the River Mizu,” she said proudly.
“What about it?” Michelle said, skimming her eyes over the lines of very bad English.
“Well, when I woke up this morning, the first word that came to my mind was ‘Mizu’, and given that it came when I’d just woken up from the dream, I figured it meant something, so I searched up Mizu on the ‘net just then and that’s what I came up with.”
“Cool,” Michelle said simply, nodding. She grinned. “Let’s try it with ‘Tsuchi’, shall we?”
“Sushi? You came up with sushi?”
“No, Tsuchi, T-S-U-C-H-I. Why I know it’s spelt like that I have no idea, but there you go.” She handed the page back to Charlotte and walked casually into the study room, Charlotte in tow.
Charlotte took command of the computer and keyed ‘Tsuchi’ into the search engine. Once again, the pages were majority Japanese characters, but after surfing through several pages, one promising site turned up, mentioning the Tsuchi Caves.
Again the site was written by a Japanese person, but this time the English was better. The caves had two main sections. One part had many stalactites and stalagmites decorating the cave’s interior, but the other, less explored area was pretty much bare, just dirt and boulders. It wasn’t known how these caves were formed, mainly because they were too dangerous to go inside them because of frequent cave-ins.
“You said boulders fell down a lot while you were in there, didn’t you?” Charlotte asked, reading through the text.
Michelle nodded, speechless. Charlotte figured she was feeling the same way as she had when she first laid eyes on the words that told her that the glowing blue doll lived in the Mizu River caves.
Several photos decorated the page, but because of the danger and lack of interesting sights the second part of the caves held, these were all of the amazing limestone formations in the first part. A map showed that the catacombs of the Tsuchi caves were located along the Mizu River, a location that didn’t surprise either of the two girls in the slightest. Charlotte printed the page off and Michelle silently left the room to retrieve it. Charlotte could see she was making an effort not to run.
Natasha and Elly came into the room just after Michelle had left.
“So what word did you get?” Elly asked.
“Mizu,” Charlotte replied, “You?”
“Kasai. Tash says it’s Japanese for fire.”
“Yeah,” Natasha backed up, “I got Kuuki, that’s air, and Mizu means water. Any idea what Michelle got?”
“Tsuchi,” Charlotte answered, handing her prized possession to Elly, “And this is the Mizu River, in Japan. Michelle’s just getting her copy of the Tsuchi Caves, also in Japan.”
The two girls were silent for a few seconds, staring at the sheet of paper. “Woah,” Elly blinked.
Michelle returned just as the bell rang. Natasha explained the alternate meanings for their words and the four friends made their way to Roll Call.
The morning plodded along incredibly slowly, the two hours before recess seeming more like four. Every time one of the girls looked up at the clock it seemed as though each minute consisted of at least 120 seconds, as opposed to the standard 60. The fact that the morning was comprised of Maths and Physics didn’t improve the matter.
But eventually, the recess bell sounded its glorious ring, and the class was released from the evil clutches of the Physics teacher.
“Remind me again,” Elly asked Charlotte as they made their way back to the locker room, “why I chose Physics as a year eleven subject.”
“That I can’t tell you,” Charlotte replied, “There’d better be a free computer.”
Because they were so anxious to find out more about the locations of the glowing dolls, the four girls reached the study room before anyone else had even taken recess out of their bag. Munching on apples and biscuits, Natasha and Elly each searched their word up on the Internet, hoping something useful would come up.
Since Natasha was learning Japanese at school, she had a fair idea as to what the sites written in Japanese were saying.
“Here we go,” she said suddenly, “Mount Kuuki, situated along the Mizu River.” She pointed to the Japanese characters as she translated the major points for the other three. “Dangerous, 1032 meters above sea level, 674 above the river below, snows in winter, strong winds, ooh, and it’s got a vertical cliff too. I bet that’s where the doll is. Fun. Finding anything Elly?”
“Not really,” Elly’s voice was filled with disappointment. “I’ve found Kasai Mountain along the Mizu River, but it’s only a dormant volcano. The one in my dream was definitely not dormant. This one hasn’t erupted in 80 years.”
“Never know,” Michelle encouraged her, “It might erupt sooner or later just for you.”
Elly sighed, “Guess so.”
“Print it off anyway,” Charlotte told her, “Unless there’s another Kasai volcano, that must be the one.”
Copies of Mount Kuuki and Kasai Mountain rolled out from the printer, the photos of the pine covered mountains rendered in the greys of the toner. The crater of Kasai Mountain was as thickly forested as Mount Kuuki, and didn’t look like it was going to erupt any time soon.
“Was there any sky in your dream?” Charlotte asked, “Or were you in an underground cave?”
“No, there was sky,” Elly replied, the disappointment showing clearly in her voice, “Really thick red clouds except for a patch where the sun got in.”
Suddenly the bell rang, forcing them all back into the reality of school life and calling them off for English.
At lunch they met again behind the hall, away from the view of everyone. Natasha had brought her atlas for Geography so they could mark the locations of their dolls on a larger map.
“Okay,” Michelle started, “So this is the Mizu River,” she said, highlighting the blue squiggle on the map with a darker blue squiggle, “And you reckon the doll’s at the end, right?”
“Yeah,” Charlotte confirmed, “In the caves around the lake at the end.” She marked the spot with a small blue cross.
“This is where the Tsuchi Caves are,” Michelle continued, checking her printout and drawing on a corresponding black cross.
“There’s Mount Kuuki,” Natasha added, taking out her special silver pen and adding another cross to the map.
“And unless Kasai Mountain doesn’t blow,” Elly said regretfully, “That’s where my doll would be.”
The addition of the red cross formed a perfect square, the sides each two kilometres in length. At the northern point lay Mount Kuuki, the Tsuchi Caves marked the southern point, and east and west were each marked by the lake of the Mizu River and Kasai Mountain respectively. At the centre of the square lay a small town that went by the name of Youso.
“Element,” Natasha translated. She pointed to each of the four places from their dreams. “Air, water, earth and fire. Heard of those before?”
The three girls nodded. The four original elements.
so what happened next? they went to respective places and got their dolls. now you know as much as me, hence why i didn't finish. 'ray