MENTAL ESSENCE
PAGE 39
    That night had a good feeling about it, and there were periodic laughing bursts.
    "Trent, did you know what the deal was about this place?" Cree asked Trent when the guide was out of hearing range.
    "Yes.  I thought you saw the neon signs." said Trent.
    "I missed those." said Cree.
    "Gambling is not much different from one culture to another.  These primitives beings however, have an interesting genus." Trent said.
    "Right." said Cree with an expression indicating skepticism.
    With day light gaining strength, they had breakfast, packed up, and were on their way to the Coral Sea.
    "Do you hear that?" asked Emmer.
    "What?" Semma replied.
    "That!  Music." Emmer added.
    They stopped to listen.
    "Sounds like a, like a, something.  Hard to say.  I don't know." Cree said.
    "I hear chimes, bells, maybe a stringed instrument of some sort." said MB.
    "Guide!  What is that sound?" asked Hiret.
    "Coral Sea.  Makes music.  Makes feel good.  Once said to be spirits of dead." the guide replied.
    "Ah.  Haunted oceans." said Semma.
    "Yap, we are treading on sacred ground." Emmer said.
    "Look at that.  It is magnificent." said Cree.
    Sprawling before them stood mounds of ancient coral formations.  Some of the formations were hundreds of feet high.  They were in every shape imaginable, and in a multitude of colors.
     "It's the wind." said Hiret holding his hand to his ear.
    Another wow.  Imagine what you would have if the red swamp and this place where next to each other." MB said.
    They walked around for hours listening to the coral sing.
    "Why would anyone want to be inside gambling when you could be in a fantasy like this?" Semma asked in wonderment.
    "I can understand why there is military protection for this planet.  Can you imagine how many beings would give their first born to live around here?  Think of waking up to this every morning." Hiret said.
    It took several more hours to work their way through the coral.
    "Speaking of water, when did the sea dry up?" MB asked the guide.
    "Long time." He said shrugging his shoulders.
    "Sensors indicate more than a million years." Trent whispered.
    "Soosh." Cree snapped at Trent.
    "The other night, Trent was sitting on the window seal, and he ask one of them to take him to a party.  What difference does it make if this guide hears him speak?" asked Emmer.
    "I did not ask, I played music." Trent replied.
    "Of course." Emmer said.
    That night was spent on the shore line entertained by a sea of musical coral.
    "I can't remember sleeping so peacefully." said Hiret.
    "Nor I.  Put this place in a bottle, and you could buy your own planet." stated MB.
    "What's next on the agenda?" Cree asked the guide.
    "Blue White Mountains." the guide replied.
    "Don't say anything about them.  I'd like it to be a surprise.  They got to be special.  Everything else has been." Semma said.
    Leaving the Coral Sea was like not finishing a great book, or theatrical performance.  They stopped on top of a small hill and looked back for one last intake of the sights and sounds of the Coral Sea before plunging into the jungle once again.
    After a few hours of slashing through the flora, they came to small village.
"We get ride." said and guide.
    Looking around, Hiret noticed these villagers seemed less healthy than the others encountered.
    "Why are these beings so sickly looking?" Hiret asked the guide.
    "Not like others.  They stay in jungle to be free." the guide replied.
    "Free?" MB added.
    "They not like big places.  They like small village." the guide said looking around.  " We pay for Comkas.  We ride them to mountains."
    They stood looking in corral holding some very odd looking creatures.  They had long necks, short bodies, big eyes, and ears that twitched up and down as if they were trying to fly.
    "Do they bite?" asked Hiret, in a humorous fashion.
    "Yes." replied the guide in a non humorous fashion.
    Cree took dozens of photos of Semma and Emmer on their Comkas.
    "Remember, do not make loud noises while your Comka is moving." the guide reminded everyone as they headed into the jungle.
    "Why does this thing keep looking at me?" asked Emmer.
    "It's near sighted." proclaimed Semma.
    Ordinarily a quip like that would have brought a few chuckles, but the warning from the guide brought on silent expressions instead.
    After a few hours of bobbing up and down on their Comkas, they came upon a herd of wild Comkas grazing close to the trail.
    "Look at the baby." said MB pointing to a fuzzy wobbly baby Comka.
     About then, Emmers Comka began wandering toward the herd picking up speed as it went.
    "Woe.  Stop.  Woe." yelled Emmer.
    That was when they found out what the guide had meant when he said, do not make loud noised.
    "Aaaa ya ya " as something like what Emmer was trying to say, and loudly.
    This yelling by Emmer made his comka buck and jump in an effort to separate the two.
The guide prodded his Comka into a run, and he snatched Emmerr off his Comka without slowing down.
    "Again.  Again.  That was fun." Emmer said as he tried to catch his breath.
    The guide caught Emmers Comka, and they were on their way.
    "Emmer, would you mind doing that again?  I didn't have time to get imager out." said Cree grinning from ear to ear.
    "You try it.  I'll take the images." Emmer said in a whisper.