Herbert’s HAT (World of Imagination Series, Book 1 of 6) Chapter 2, Section 5

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As soon as their nausea passed from the spinning in the grass Timmy’s parents looked around at where they were and at the forest itself.
“We’re seriously not going in there, are we? A dark, scary massive forest why would you want us to go in there?” Victoria asked in a fearful tone.
Standing still, they stared wide-eyed at the forbidding place. They were challenged each time they took a step and found neither of them had any strength left. Now, they were supposed to walk decisively into a frightening never ending forest?
Herbert only smiled at them. “The only one we should be worried about is Timmy. Inside this forest is the only place here, where you’ll see him without having to use any part of your imaginations.”
“Brilliant!” Donald said as he smiled widely.
“At least we’ll finally see him—right?” Victoria asked, “Well, what are we waiting for then?” She now appeared to look as enthusiastic as Donald did.
“Yes, you’ll see him. The only problem is while inside there, he’ll be glowing like a very sharp strong shining light. If he glows too brightly, they’ll come after us and capture all of us. You do need to know it would be really bad—no one escapes from this forest once you’ve been captured. Even if the Elders wanted to help, if we’re trapped inside there, we’ll not come out no matter what. Seeing him would be the only thing as well, because you couldn’t touch or hold onto him either,” Herbert told them, suspecting the question might come up.
“I have no idea why you’re taking us through here then. There must be another way in. if you’d only try to find it!” Timmy yelled at him, “What other way is there to get around this forest?”
Standing at the edge of the deep, murky expanding forest, they heard the roaring of something inside of it. They were terrified even more now than before. The four stood back as everyone wanted to use the other as a shield.
“If any of you make a sound inside, we might as well go in directly to their nest because there’s no way we’ll sneak past them if you lose your cool,” Herbert scolded Timmy, “You need to relax and you need to follow your own way through here. You’re the one who is invisible and you’re the one who’ll have to lead us through there. You’ll be shining just enough for us to see and nothing more.”
“Isn’t there another way?” Victoria asked.
“I asked that myself, so why don’t you answer me Herbert?” Timmy asked, “What are you not telling us?”
“The only way would be over the forest using those very fast birds. The ones we couldn’t even see or catch even if we wanted to. Not one of them has ever been captured!” he told Donald and Victoria while looking at the still invisible Timmy. “I’ve not told you because you just might scream or worse…lose your temper again.”
“Scream or lose my temper? Why in the world would you care—?”
The next roar they heard was close to them now. They dropped to the ground, just waiting. Lying like the dead.
“Whatever you do? Do. Not. Move,” Herbert warned them in a hushed tone while still lying there, not moving a muscle.
Within the darkness of the forest, they couldn’t even see past the second tree. But then suddenly, they saw the creature’s eye while it looked for any kind of movement outside the forest itself. It had only one eye. The whiteness of the lone eye almost shone like a light. With the eye moving, did they hear the sounds from the creature. They heard some trees being pushed over. Then the sound of tree limbs cracking under the pressure from the creature. Immediately, they heard where more branches broke in another place. There was a second creature searching through the darkness. They were sneaking up on the four—double-teaming their prey.
One of them moved away and the group could hear the sound of metal rubbing over metal. The screeching sound echoed the loudest from the back. Everyone lay like statues. Not one of them even swallowed too loudly or too often. They kept an eye on the spots in the forest where they heard both creatures. They once more, heard the roaring sounds ripping through the forest. Their roaring generated an actual wind and blew parts of the dead forest over.
Herbert only now breathed normally while looking over at Timmy. “If you really want to catch any of those birds, I think you should climb one of the trees over there. Then you can struggle getting up the waterfall. Flying might be the hardest to do from there, but with your willpower, you just might get there. But then getting up there and catching one of those isn’t impossible after you’ve been there a year or so.” He stood up while still shaking. “The big problem comes when you take a hold of one of them, because the rest will come and attack you…Forcing you to get off the other and thus fall to your death.”
Timmy himself still stood looking shaken by what he’d seen. “What—were those things—Why the one eye—What sort of monstrous creatures live in that forest?” he asked the questions rapidly.
Herbert almost didn’t hear what he’d actually asked as the questions were all muddled into one garbled sentence.
Neither Donald nor Victoria could seem to get up. Their legs were shaking pretty badly.
Herbert took a bright pink fruit from a nearby tree, giving it to them to get some energy back into their bodies and he turned to Timmy. “If you cannot control your fear or emotions, then all of us will die in here. If you don’t want to grow-up and you just want to stay here forever, it means you’ll never know more than this place and here isn’t as real as where you come from. You need to relax because we do not have any other choice in the matter.”
“Okay…okay. But do we really have to go in there? Just how far would we have to go before we’re out on the other side?” Timmy asked while staring at his weakened parents who were getting up slowly. “They wouldn’t last here for one day on their own would they?” He realized that just like at the start of this, Herbert was the only one who could help them.
“We have to go inside the forest now,” Herbert told them, walking over to the exact spot where the creatures looked through the trees trying to see them.
“Just let the record show—this is a very-very bad idea—we’re all going to die inside of this really-really weird scary place,” Timmy warned as he now stood next to Herbert.
Donald and Victoria slowly made their way to where Herbert stood.
“I really don’t want to go in there,” Victoria whispered while holding Donald’s hand tightly.
“We can at least see Timmy while we’re in there.” Donald squeezed her hand with his. “We have to continue to try and get out of this place and get back to our normal lives. If we survive this, we’ll need a very nice normal vacation.” He tried to give her a shaky smile.
“Don’t worry too much, we’re just following Timmy. He’s the one we’re going to have to worry about.” Herbert put his hand on Timmy’s shoulder. “One very careful step at a time…buddy.”

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