Submitted Date 05/27/2020

The moment she realized the Spirit Guide was contacting her, Aurora changed into the warmest clothes and boots she had. She then threw on her favorite scarf, grabbed a bag that had her phone as well as some necessities in it, and took off. Without a second thought, Aurora hurried to the mountain, hoping no one would catch her before she got there.


Now morning, Aurora made it to the Northern Mountain and all was much quieter than expected. She continued to walk until she came across the border where the signs told trespassers to stay out. The fence was tall and appeared as though it wrapped around the mountain. There was even a sign that stated the fence was electrical. The town council was that determined to keep everyone out in order to keep them safe. It would take a miracle for someone to be able to get to the other side. Aurora was one to take a hint when it was thrown at her. Not thinking of any way around the problem at first, she began to turn back…until…she heard the voice again. She turned around and looked up. It was dim due to the sunlight, but Aurora could see the same blue glow from the previous night. The Spirit Guide was calling her again. You're right, she started thinking. I made it this far, I won't turn back now. But how do I get to the other side? Since the fence was electrical, climbing was not possible. Due to it wrapping around the mountain, one couldn't just walk around. Considering how deep the snow was, digging at the bottom was also not an option.

"Too bad I just can't hop the fence," Aurora said, thinking out loud. She then spotted in the distance a pile of long metal poles; assuming they were extras from the bunch used to make the fence. She did find it odd that they were just left out and not taken back to town, but figured whoever was in charge might be coming back for them later. Next to them was a pine tree much taller than that of the fence. The distance from the tree to the fence was too far, so she couldn't use the tree to simply leap over. Aurora then used her head and put the pieces together, "Or can I?" She rushed over to the poles and with all of the strength she had, she angled one up against the tree. Aurora then climbed up the tall pine tree until she reached the tip of the pole. After building up the courage and prepping herself, she pushed herself from the tree and swung her body up until her foot was on top of the pole. From there, she quickly jumped and flew over the fence. It was a hard landing, but she successfully made it to the other side. There was definitely no turning back now. Of course, Aurora was thrilled at her triumph. She then hurried along to find the cave that would show her what she needed to know.


It felt like hours of searching had gone by and there was no trace of the cave. Aurora sat down to catch her breath and wondered how much further she would have to wonder before she found her destination. She then remembered how she just took off and didn't tell anyone. She pulled out her phone to see if anyone called her. There was only one missed call and a voicemail from early that morning.


She listened to the voicemail:


Hey Aurora, it's me, Liam. Listen, about last night…I hope…I hope I didn't hurt your feelings or scared you in any way. If I did, I'm sorry. But I want you to know that I meant every word I said. And I get it, it's not easy to accept the things that make you, well, you. It'll take some time and that's okay. You really are the best person I've ever met and I hope one day you'll see that. Please don't give up on yourself…or us. Please call me back…I love you.


His voice, it sounded as if his heart was breaking. Aurora put her phone away after seeing she couldn't get a signal in the mountains; no way for her to call him back.

"He hasn't said 'I love you' in a really long time," she started saying. "It's me who should be apologizing. I'm so sorry I hurt you, Liam. The Spirit Guide will show me the way to the cave and I'll see if I really am worth it. Please wait for me. I love you too." She knew her boyfriend wouldn't hear any of that, but wanted to say it all anyway. Just then, she heard crying close by. Aurora got up and followed the sound until she saw a small child with dark hair crying by himself. What?! A kid?? I thought no one was supposed to be up here! What is a kid doing here?! she thought at first. Now that I think about it, judging from his clothes, I think he lives up here. She approached the little boy dressed in traditional Inuit clothing who was cradling himself. "Hey there. Are you okay?" she asked. The little boy got scared and backed up. "Oh no, no! It's okay! I'm not gonna hurt you." The little boy saw how kind Aurora looked and even how tender her hand reaching out to him was. He slowly inched closer and closer until his small hand finally met hers. "See, it's okay." The little boy began to smile, he knew he was safe. "What's your name?"

The little boy answered, "I'm Noah."

"Well Noah, it's very nice to meet you. I'm Aurora. Why were you crying? Are you lost?" Aurora asked.

"I saw-I saw a big blue light!" he said with his arms out.

Aurora's eyes became enlarged. "A big blue light?? You saw it too??"

"Uh-huh," he continued, "And I ran to it, but got lost when it went away."

Aurora saw he was starting to get scared again. "Hey, it's alright. Look, how about you and I walk around until we find your home, okay?" She knew this put a delay in her journey, but right now, the little boy needed her help getting home. Noah took a hold of Aurora's hand as the began walking.

As they walked around, searching high and low for his home, the little boy began sneezing. Aurora saw he was cold, she could even feel it in his hand that was holding hers. There wasn't much she could offer to warm him up without her freezing as well. She then remembered the scarlet red scarf she had around her neck. It was a scarf from her childhood, the time when all was well. She wore it whenever she and her friends went to play out in the snow, made her first successful snow angel, she and her family won the Snowman Building Contest, and even when she and Liam shared their first kiss. Throughout the years, she had given away many articles of clothing, but that was the one she held on to. It was her most prized possession because it reminded her of when she was truly happy. Noah sneezed again and Aurora knew what she had to do.

She got down to his eye level. "You're cold, aren't you Noah?" He nodded. "This scarf I'm wearing," she continued, "it's very special to me. It was a present from my family. They gave it to me when I was about as tall as you. It's been with me through a lot in my life. I think the reason why it kept me warm all of these years was because it was a gift of love." Although it was hard, Aurora removed her scarf and put it around Noah's neck. "And now, I'm giving it to you. Maybe the magic of this scarf will keep you warm too and see you through many happy moments in your life."

Noah's face lit up as he realized just how special the scarf was. He could feel it warming him up and believed this was because it was once again a gift of love. The little boy jumped onto Aurora and gave her a big hug. "Thank you!"

"Your welcome," Aurora said, happy that she was able to put a smile on his little face. "Alright, Noah. Let's keep moving." After he took her hand again, Aurora and Noah left once more.


The sun was setting when Noah started to get tired from walking. Aurora then picked up the child and carried him the rest of the way.

Noah spotted something and shouted, "Look! Look Rora! It's the blue light!"

Aurora looked to where Noah was pointing and indeed saw the blue glow; the exact same one she saw the night before. I see the light…but where's the voice? she thought to herself. Though a bit concerned, she was more focused on getting Noah home safe and sound. "I think that blue light is telling us where to go. Hold on to me, okay?" she told Noah who happily nodded and held on.

After a little more walking, the two located Noah's small village. The people saw Aurora carrying Noah and all ran ecstatic towards them. His parents even came by and took him, happy their son was home. They were giving him hugs and his mother showered him with her kisses. The people then welcomed Aurora and asked her to stay for supper.


Much time had gone by when Aurora began thinking about why it was she saw the light, but didn't hear the Spirit Guide calling her. She was sitting by the firepit with Noah's parents and some of the villagers. All were enjoying conversations with one another while one noticed how Aurora currently appeared.

"Aurora, are you alright?" Noah's mother asked concerned.

Aurora snapped out of her thought. "Huh? Oh, yes. Sorry! I was…lost in thought," she replied.

"I know a thing or two about that," Noah's mother continued to say, "especially when I thought my poor son was lost. We looked for him all day. It's too dangerous to venture through the mountain at night. We all just returned for the evening when you showed up."

"I'm glad I was able to help," Aurora said.

Noah's mother then asked, "May I ask you something?"

To which Aurora answered, "Of course."

"Why are you up here in the Northern Mountain?" she continued, "I thought it was outlawed back in Winter Nome to be out here."

Aurora didn't know what to reply. She wasn't sure if the people of this village would believe her story about the Spirit Guide, especially since she was currently the only one who could hear the voice. "It's…ummm…it's a long and complicated story."

"Can't be that complicated if you try!" a woman's voice yelled. All turned to see a young woman- about Aurora's age- with large round eyes, black hair that was tied back in a long braid, and wearing attire that was somewhere in the middle of modern and cultural.

"Lilia! Don't just sneak up on us like that!" Noah's father exclaimed.

The woman called Lilia approached the group at the firepit, "How is it sneaking if I yelled to everyone just now?" She then turned to Aurora. "So you're the hero of the hour, huh? Nice to meet you Aurora! I'm Lilia!"

"How did you know my name?" Aurora asked.

Lilia replied, "Uh, because after you introduced yourself when you got here, everyone has been echoing your name."

Aurora was a little surprised by that. "Oh. Well, nice to meet you Lilia."

"So," Lilia continued, "where exactly are you headed? I doubt you got Noah's S.O.S. and came here just for the rescue."

The young woman with brown hair and dark eyes did everything she could to think of an excuse without revealing anything. "Ummm…I…heard…of this…nice…little…spot. Yes! I heard of a nice view and I wanted to come and check it out."

The villagers were perplexed at hearing Aurora deliver her explanation. Lilia, on the other hand, had a different reaction. "Yeah, come with me, please." Without questioning her motives, Aurora followed Lilia to a sleigh that was just behind a little shack. The area was dark, but it was close enough to where they had some lighting.

"So…what is it?" Aurora finally asked.

With a smirk on her face, Lilia answered, "You're looking for the cave that will show you your heart's desire. You know? The one from that stupid legend."

"Hey! It's not stupid!" Aurora exclaimed. "And how did you know that?"

"Why else would you be here?" Lilia pressed on, "Like I said, I doubt it was because you heard Noah's cry for help and came to help him out. So, it must be because something heavy is weighing on your heart and you want answers." Aurora didn't say anything. What else could she say that would have Lilia think otherwise? "I knew it. So what's been eating you? Boyfriend trouble?"

"No! At least, I don't think so," Aurora said. Lilia watched as Aurora looked sad then determined. "I need to find that cave. There's something I've lost…or rather…something I want to find. The cave is the answer."

"You sure about that?" Lilia asked.

"Absolutely," Aurora answered seriously.

"No hesitation there. I like it." Lilia bent over in her sleigh and brought forth a bag. "Alright! Say your goodbyes to everyone. We leave immediately."

Aurora was very confused. "What??"

"Look, there's no way you'll survive on this trip by yourself. You don't know this mountain like I do. I'm sure if we put our heads together, we'll find the cave. So if you want to get there ASAP then say bye to the villagers. While you do that, I'm gonna go find our friend that will pull my little sleigh there."

"Why are you so willing to help me?" Aurora asked.

Lilia responded with, "You seem like a decent person. And look at it this way, you helped Noah get home, so your good deed should be rewarded. But above either of those things… it's the right thing to do. And I'm compelled to do the right thing."

Aurora was very pleased by this. "Lilia, I don't know what to say."

"Uh, how about 'Goodbye?' Cause that's what you're supposed to be saying to the villagers right now!" Lilia said sarcastically.

"Oh, right! Sorry! Be right back!" Aurora then took off to say her goodbyes while Lilia went on about her business.

As the villagers bid farewell to their new hero, Aurora turned to climb into the sled. She stopped when she heard Noah's mother call out, "Aurora, are you sure about this? As I said, it's dangerous to be out there at night."

"Lilia said she knows her way around and can help me get to where I need to go. I don't know why, but I feel I can trust her. So I'm taking this chance. It's too important not too," Aurora stated. Noah's mother nodded, completely understanding.

"Wait Rora!" All turned to see little Noah, still wearing the scarlet red scarf, running to Aurora with something cupped in his hands. "Here!" He dropped into her hand a necklace made within the village. It had blue and tan beads, some animal teeth, and a small carving of an eagle hanging right in the middle for all to see. "It was mine. It helped me a lot. I want you to have it. A gift of love to help you," he said.

Aurora was touched by the boy's kindness. She gave him a hug. "Thank you so much, Noah."

"Don't forget me," he said as they let go.

Aurora smiled and put the necklace on. She then said, "Never." Noah was overjoyed.

Lilia spoke up, "Hate to break this up, but we gotta go!"

"Bye everyone! Thank you!" Aurora hopped into Lilia's sleigh. Lilia then whipped the reigns and her large reindeer began running. The villagers all waved goodbye as Aurora and Lilia were off.


They were far enough in the journey where Lilia felt it would be a good idea to rest for the remainder of the night. They set up their camp and had a small fire going.

Aurora started a new conversation, "So…have you lived in the village your whole life?"

"Oh no, I'm not from there," Lilia answered. "They've been around for ages, but I'm just a good friend who stops by every once in a while. I also work as their escort whenever they need to get somewhere in, out, or around the mountain to get supplies."

"But how is that possible? There's an electrical fence that surrounds the mountain," Aurora pointed out.

Lilia responded, "There's a way around the fence. It makes one's journey a little more difficult, but still possible. And who are you to tell me it's impossible to make it through? After all, you made it here."

Aurora was about to dispute, but stopped after realizing Lilia was correct. "Okay, you have a point. Well, where are you from then? How do you know so much about this mountain? And where did you find that abnormally large reindeer??" she asked.

Lilia lightly chuckled at Aurora's persistence to get to know her. "You're a curious one. Ever thought to just go with the flow, don't overthink it?"

"You say that like it's a bad thing," Aurora said.

"It's not, I'll be the first to admit, but…if you always overthink things, you just might miss what's right in front of you," Lilia pointed out. Aurora didn't say anything, in fact, she no longer made eye contact with her companion. Lilia then said, "Hey, don't be so glum about it."

"I'm not glum, it's just…" Aurora sighed in annoyance, for she didn't even know how to finish her sentence.

"You look frustrated. Which reminds me, because you got frustrated the last time I brought it up, why are we on this perilous journey anyway?" Lilia asked.

Aurora replied while sounding like a smart alec, "What happened to don't overthink, just go with the flow?"

"First off, no need for the sarcasm," Lilia said. "Second, there's a difference between overthinking and deserving an answer. Especially since I'm risking my neck to help you."

"Okay, you're right…but…you're going to think it's stupid," Aurora stated.

Lilia sat up straight, facing Aurora. "Try me."

Aurora took a deep breath then explained, "So, you were right about me being on this quest to find the cave. The legend, it's true. Yesterday and even this morning, I heard the Spirit Guide calling me. They've been leading me to the cave. And every time I heard the call, there was this blue light that would appear, almost as if they're signaling me what direction to go. I think I'm frustrated right now because, while I carried Noah back to the village, we both saw the blue light…but I didn't hear the Spirit Guide. Either they forgot the part they were supposed to call…"

Lilia was waiting for her to finish. "Or??" she said impatiently.

"I don't think I want to know…But I have to find that cave and the Spirit Guide will lead me there," Aurora stated.

Thoughts were running through Lilia's head as she continued to study Aurora. "Why do you want to find the cave so badly, if you don't mind my prying?" she eventually asked.

With everything in her, Aurora responded with, "Throughout my life, more recently than ever, I've been hurt a lot by people leaving me and ignoring me. I always find out the hard way it's because they found something better or that my opinions aren't worth the time of day. It's to the point that I wonder if I'm…if it's because I'm not of any kind of worth. That's why I have to find this cave. It'll show me whether or not I have a real purpose, that I am of value." Lilia didn't say anything and looked concerned. Aurora gave up and positioned herself to sleep for the night with her back turned to her companion. "I knew you wouldn't understand. See you in the morning Lilia." Unbeknownst to Aurora, Lilia knew exactly what she was talking about and she became saddened by the story.


Just before the sun of the next day rose, Aurora heard a familiar sound. The voice was singing to her once more and it was louder than ever. She quickly got up and looked around. She didn't see anything unusual at first, just that the campfire was out and Lilia, as well as her reindeer, were both fast asleep. Aurora began to breathe heavily as she hoped that the voice was real and not part of some dream. As she turned towards the deeper part of the mountain, the blue glow again appeared.

As dawn broke behind her, Aurora ecstatically said, "It's you!"




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