Hello dear readers! Welcome to another installment of Cherry Hill.
When we last left our not so sleepy little hamlet, we learned that town matriarch, Mrs. Wilson, has far more up her sleeve than party planning! Mrs Wilson knows more about the secrets of Cherry Hill than anyone, and as a Secret Keeper has kept her silence well.
But with the disappearance of Jack and Amanda, Marjorie Wilson knows better than anyone that the days of peace and tranquility for Cherry Hill would be coming to an end if Jack was unable to keep Amanda safe.
We resume our story with Jack, Amanda, and her two children, Sally and Bobby as they prepare for another night time trek through Twin Lakes Forest. At the next drop off point, Jack has promised to tell Amanda everything.
Missed an episode? Click here to get caught up! Cherry Hill Index
With Jack in the lead and the children between them, the four travelers made their way quietly over the rocky trails using nothing but the moonlight to guide them. Although Jack knew the woods well, he was on alert for sounds of bear or wolves, and as if to reassure himself, patted the shotgun he had slung over his shoulder.
As much as he had prepared for this moment, Jack had never really believed it would all come to this. In his deepest heart he had hoped never to hear the word Zanzibar but now that it was happening, there was no turning back and he knew he had to make good on his promise at the end of tonight's journey to tell Amanda the truth about who she was.
As Jack led the way, Amanda marveled at her children; at their stamina and bravery to take such an arduous trek with no complaint. In many ways she wasn't sure how they were doing it because she was so exhausted herself she could barely put one foot in front of the other.
But they all managed to keep the pace with Jack as he led the way under the light of a full moon, and with every step closer to the lakes, the draw toward them Amanda had experienced earlier grew stronger. Without knowing why, Amanda had a deep sense of understanding that she and the children needed to get to the lakes.
There were other thoughts swirling in her mind as well. Thoughts she didn't understand that kept repeating themselves over and over again: "For the good and for the light, we embrace the night. In the purity of water the earth returns her daughter."
Amanda chalked it up to a lack of sleep and the shere craziness of the situation, but deep down she knew there was more to it. With every step closer to the lakes, the voices got louder and more of more of her being began to feel as if it was opening up.
As the first rays of sunlight began to push back the darkness, Amanda could have sworn she heard the faint sound of drums but before she could ask if the others heard anything Jack stopped short. He turned around, a look of alarm on his handsome face, put a finger to his lips to indicate they were to be silent, and motioned for them to follow him uphill into a stand of trees. In a voice that was almost imperceptible he said "Don't make a sound. Move as quickly and quietly up this hill as possible, come on move now!"
As quietly as possible, they made haste up a large steep hill through the thick forest until they came to a large stand of boulders.
"Come, quick, everyone," whispered Jack, we should be able to hide here.
"Hide?" said Amanda in alarm but before Jack could tell them who they were hiding from they heard voices coming from way down hill.
"Did you call in the other specialists?" asked a voice from down below.
"Yes," said Walt Fischer, another team is on its way. I've let them know the four are still alive." He grinned slightly as he clutched the tiny toy soldier in his palm. Finding it last night had been a boon because it told them they were looking in the right direction.
Jack swore under his breath. They were closing in on them and as Walt Fischer and his men continued through the woods below, Jack motioned for the three to follow him.
He continued to lead them uphill until they reached a long, rocky, overgrown path going straight down. From somewhere below, Amanda could hear water and she looked at Jack with a question in her eyes.
"It's going to be a tough trek," he said, "We need to make our way straight down, grab branches for support if you need to. There's a waterfall at the bottom of this hill. That's going to take us to an alternate drop off that will hopefully be enough to throw them off."
With her heart pounding and legs aching, Amanda followed Jack and the children down the long steep hill and she had never felt more relieved in her life than the moment she set foot in front of the waterfall. It was majestic and large and booming and as the water rushed and crashed against the rocks, she began to hear the drums.
"Do you hear that?" she asked Jack.
He turned around and looked deep into her eyes with a tenderness that made her catch her breath, "No Amanda, I don't. Only you and the children can hear the drums. That is why I'm protecting you."
Amanda looked at her two children in wonder. They were both standing wide eyed, staring at the waterfall, entranced by the sounds of ancient drums.
"Come," said Jack holding out his hand, "This is a good sign," and leading the way, he stepped into the back of the waterfall into a large cave that sat behind it. "This cave goes on for about 2 miles and will take us almost to the far edge of one of the twin lakes. We'll walk to the end and set up camp there."
The group continued walking until they reached the final drop off. At the end of the cave was a large open cliff that looked down on a large lake below.
"We're here sighed Amanda."
"Almost," said Jack, "When we set up camp it will be time to tell you about your parents."
Amanda looked at Jack in alarm, "My parents! Oh no!! Jack, please tell me they're okay."
Jack looked at her sadly. "Amanda, this is very hard for me to tell you, but the people you know as your parents adopted you. Your real parents are dead."
Stay tuned next week for another exciting installment of Cherry Hill!
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