The Beach With Silver Sand
Updated: Jun 28, 2020
Levi, Zoe, Hazel and Ruby each took a tiny bite of one glowing mushroom in the rainforest darkness. They heard monkeys and birds chattering overhead. A jaguar growled off in the distance. Hazel still had Finn's Invisibility Cloak in one hand when they suddenly began to swirl upward, around and around, following the path of the Blue Butterflies in the night forest. When they landed, the group found themselves sitting on a silver beach with silver sand near an iron gray sea. Where was Finn? Where were they?
Levi powered on his Interstellar Positioning System and determined that they had landed on the shores of Varna, the ancient and present-day maritime capital of Bulgaria, along the Black Sea. Zoe was holding Ruby's hand and Hazel was polishing the lettering on the ship's bow with her sleeve. When Hazel finished wiping away the thick coating of dust and grime, everyone could read the word Demeter underneath.
"Is Demeter a Bulgarian name?" Zoe asked Levi who typed it into his Interstellar Travel Guide.
"Hmmm," Levi scratched his chin thoughtfully. "This says that the Demeter is a Russian ship."
"What is a Russian ship doing in a Bulgarian port?" Zoe was puzzled.
"What does the ship have to do with Finn?" Hazel seemed confused as well.
Ruby was still holding onto Zoe's hand staring idly at the silver sand. Suddenly, the group was distracted by the clatter of a horse carriage on the road above them. A team of black horses pulled a black carriage and their driver held a long, black whip above the horses big heads to keep them in line. Levi whistled loud and long until the driver turned his head in their direction. The driver's eyes burned red, and he pulled on the reins until the horses and the carriage came to a stop near the iron gray sea.
With Levi in the lead, the four time-travelers slowly made their way up a narrow path from the silver sand beach to the road above. The driver held a brightly lit lantern in one hand and the horses' reins in the other.
"Where are you headed?" Levi asked the carriage driver as the wind picked up in the night around them. The carriage driver motioned off in the distance and shouted something in Russian until he realized that Levi spoke only English.
"I am transporting an urn-carrying passenger to a place where he hopes to sell its silver sand." Then the driver said in English, "Have you ever heard of a walled city called Constantinople?"
"No, I have not," Levi replied. "How much do you charge? Take me there!"
Levi handed the coach's driver a few silver coins while the other passengers boarded the carriage. Ruby sat next to a tall, thin man with a thin, black mustache who was wearing a black top hat and holding a silver cloisonne urn on his lap. Zoe and Hazel sat across from Ruby and the man with the black hat. Levi sat up front with the carriage driver. With a crack of the driver's whip, they were off.