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to have a human conversation with something that clearly did not have any idea as to
how humans operated was like trying to punch under water.
He moved with permission back to the group and saw that a low level green glow was
emanating from the base of the trees and the grass around them. None of the group
seemed to notice what would have been an out of the ordinary experience for them.
They were calmer and more at ease. John again sent out a very strong ping of gratitude
and felt, more than heard, a chorus of acknowledgement. He rallied the group and
moved out again. They would be at their first destination within two hours.
The two hours went by pretty quick and without incident, the light and the fact that it
led to the calmness of the group was a huge help. Just how strong it was would be
tested right through the next clearing John thought. It was approaching one in the
morning and it was cold when he stepped outside the glow. He brought the group to a
halt and called up a few of the older kids to join him. They walked through a dense part
of the wood and stopped at the edge of a ravine. It was about one hundred meters
across, John knew this but the others didn't, they couldn't even see the other side. John
reached into his back pack
and pulled out a flare. He punched it against his leg, let it
ignite properly and then threw it as far as he could into the ravine. The flare tumbled
through the air and lit up the sky to show the area they needed to traverse. The others
just stared in horror. The flare eventually hit the bottom of the ravine about two
hundred meters below them.
One of them asked how long it would take to get down and across. John remained silent
for a while as he considered his options. He looked around and he knew what they had
to do. He looked at them and said, "We will be going across, not down, that
will take too
long and right now we don't have enough time. Also we don't know if the bridge over
the water down at the bottom survived the quake," he looked at their faces. They were
horrified. One girl was mumbling “no way, not in a million years”, John knew he would
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