Here’s the next part of the story:
Noelle opened her eyes. They were on a grassy hill. Water rushed somewhere close by, though she hadn’t heard anything while her eyes had been closed. No other plants were in sight, not even a pesky dandelion.
“Where are we?” Noelle asked.
“Siforia,” Phoenix answered. “Let’s go over the hill, I want to show you something.”
“Let’s go.” Being in this place made Noelle feel happy, yet somehow almost hollow. All of her negative energy towards Phoenix was now non existent.
The two climbed to the top. Noelle looked out and saw a waterfall that led to a river, slow running, but big and it had no visible top. Trees started on the other side of the river leading to a dense forest. Again, no flowers in sight.
“It’s beautiful,” Noelle breathed.
“Indeed. Now let’s go down to the waterfall,” Phoenix said.
Noelle followed Phoenix down to the waterfall. Even this close she couldn’t see the top. The river appeared to be around five feet wide and maybe a foot deep.
“You see these stones? This is what I need your help with,” Phoenix said pointing down towards the river bed.
Noelle looked where he was pointing. The river bed was lined with palm sized smooth stones that had strange symbols on them. “What are they?” Noelle asked. She reached down to pick one up. Phoenix grasped her wrist before she could touch the water.
“They are not to be touched.”
Noelle turned pink and pulled her hand away. “Sorry. What am I suppose to do?”
“You’re suppose to free them,” Phoenix answered gazing at the riverbed.
“Well, not exactly. Each rock is a soul. The souls all have been captured.”
“But the rocks are right here, I can see them.”
“You can see them, yes.” Phoenix sighed. “Look. There are almost people, their bodies are killed but their souls are trapped here.”
“But if they’re here how can they be captured?” Noelle asked.
Phoenix put his face in his hands for a moment. “If anyone were to touch the stones, even the water, they would kill a soul and your soul would replace the one that had died. Someone evil put a curse on them.”
“So they just sit there?” Noelle asked, confused. “Do they have a consciousness?”
“I don’t know! Do I look like a stone to you?” Phoenix asked.
“Do I have to answer that?” Noelle asked smiling.
“Atticus? Who is she?” a voice called.
Noelle and Phoenix spun around. A man stood at the top of the hill. The light was shining behind him so Noelle couldn’t make out any features of him.
“She’s, uh,” Phoenix stammered.
“I’m Noelle Adler,” Noelle said.
“Well Noelle Adler, you aren’t suppose to be here,” the man said, now walking towards her.