The Purple Plum Pool by Jasmine McCallum

8-year-old Azariah bound up to the blackened cave, her eyes wide and filled with excitement. Almost 9-year-old Thaev strode in front of her, a slight smile playing at his lips. The sun shone brightly, emitting a light glow and perfectly showing how Azariah was feeling at that very moment. The cave also seemed to have a radiant glow about it, seeming lighter than it usually is in Thaev’s eyes. Azariah’s mood seemed to rub off on everything around her, including Thaev. 

“It’s so gorgeous,” Azariah breathed in wonder, taking in her surroundings as they both got closer and closer to the cave towering in front of their very eyes.
“Yeah it is. I never get sick of living here,” Thaev smiled at Azariah. 
“You want to go in first or should I?” he asked and Azariah thought for a moment, biting her lower lip. 
“Um…you can lead,” she said, a hint of uncertainty in her voice. 
“Do you want to hold my hand?” Thaev asked in a slightly teasing tone. 
“No! I’m a big kid…” she said defiantly. 
“Suit yourself,” Thaev smirks, and they both step into the cave.

Their shadows dance along the cave walls and a distant pool glows a bright purple, drawing Azariah in. She stopped for a moment, mesmerised by its bright colour. Suddenly, a strong smell of iron and something sweet filled her nose and she inhaled deeply. 
“What is that smell?” her nose wrinkled. 
“No one knows. Not even me,” Thaev reached for Azariah’s arm and she let him pull her closer to the pool, unable to move, still mesmerised by the pool and the potent smell which made her nose tingle. 
As they got closer to the mysterious pool, Thaev let go of her hand and she peered down but could not see any further than a few metres. 
“The water is so clear but you can’t even see the bottom,” Azariah mumbled under her breath, almost to herself, but Thaev heard her. 
“The water gets darker as it goes further down,” he pointed out. 
“Let’s get out of here. It’s getting creepy,” Azariah said, a little rattled. 
Thaev laughed lightly and they both made their way out of the cave. The sweet smell of fresh air filled their lungs. A sense of relief rushed over Azariah, happy to be out of there, even if it was a sight to be seen.