“Matthew?” Simon gasped, amazed at the warrior who had suddenly appeared in front of him.
“I take it you’re not happy to see me?” Matthew smiled wryly as he looked at Simon’s bemused face.
“Well, you were the last person I thought it would be,” Simon admitted.
“Matthew!” Alison shouted in excitement, as she ran to the opened armed warrior.
“See, that’s all I want every now and then,” He smiled as Alison hugged him tightly.
She looked up and smiled even more when she saw Amir. Amir smiled shyly, he was not used to all this happiness around.
“I’m so glad to see you,” Alison sighed, as she put her arms around Amir’s back and Amir responded affectionately, he had not felt a hug so tender for so many years.
“I thought you kids were supposed to be taken to the woods?” Matthew asked.
“Oh, is that where they went?” Sarah replied, as she came towards the small group.
“Miss sickie-pants here, and in fact, the rest of us, stayed in a room on our own. Have to admit I’m glad we never went,” Alison said to Matthew, who looked at her strangely “You see, we think Lidah’s in trouble, she’s trapped. Robert and I were walking through the hall, and we passed out after the doors hypnotised us, and saw her in the palace — all alone, and in a right mess. But she kept saying gem, so were looking for a gem, it’s the only thing we could think of. A secret doorway in the library took us here, but to be honest, we have no idea what this room is, were scared to light it up more, in case there are things lurking in the darkness,” Alison stated as she looked around the room, hoping no red eyes appeared.
Amir laughed at Alison’s expression.
“This room was my Maters. It was my favourite room and a safe haven from Zantha when I was a child. Mater would allow me to hide in here, as Zantha was not permitted into this room.”
Amir began to walk towards a small array of candles standing on a table and lit them. The dimness was slowly melting away, and the room began to show its face to the newcomers. Amir looked around half smiling, as he looked at the trinkets and pictures that stood on the tables and walls.
He walked towards an oak table and with a slight smile picked a picture up from the dusty table, and began to stare at it. It was obvious to Alison that it was a sentimental moment that no one should have seen, as he wiped a single tear from his eye, and placed the picture down, as though it was suddenly not of importance to him.
Alison walked over and took the picture off the oak table, the dust clinging to her finger as she held the gold metal frame in her hand. She wiped the dust away and looked at Amir who had now walked on, scouring each object he passed as though it was unknown to him.
Four children looked back at Alison, happy young faces, caked in mud, but they did not seem to mind as they laughed and hugged each other as the artist drew them.
“That was before Zantha became—” Amir began. “The person she is today. The boy is your father, Alison. We’d been riding. It...