The burning smell grew stronger and a strong suffocating smell of brimstone seemed to joining it. They felt themselves being pushed by what seemed like arms. It was still pitch dark and they could not see anything nor hear anything except their own breathing. But whatever was pushing them did not seem entirely solid. The children felt an eerie feeling of making physical contact with a ghost. They found themselves lead in a particular direction. Though the arms pushing them were not solid, they were firm like a thick column of gas and they could not push past them. Then, suddenly without a warning, the pressure ceased and they found the smell also slowly receding away. Ramya summoned courage and flicked on her flashlight. She looked around. They were in what seemed like a small room. Her three friends were standing close to her. The gnomes were not far off. Bashful was huddled close to Bracken, who was also sharing their prison.
“Why does it have to be me? It could have been you. Is our Miss Goody Two shoe so conscientious that she is even above breaking wind? Anything goes wrong, put the blame on Ajay. Why else do you people drag me along for?”
He was clearly fighting a losing battle. The loudness of his voice was not matched by conviction. Naveneeta spoke up gently. “Please do not fight. I am feeling scared. I want to go home.”
“We are gnomes, not genies. We can’t grant you your wishes just because you want them. Whether you want to go home or stay here, you are stuck here. And so are we, thanks to you! “
Grumpy’s tirade was interrupted by a scraping sound. Braken seemed to be putting his paws into the ground and making some strange gestures as if he was digging. Bashful was looking at him intently. It seemed as if Bracken was communicating with Bashful. After sometime Bashful turned towards the others and spoke up. “Bracken says he can help us get out of here.”
“And how may that be, my friend? I know he has a strong sense of smell. But that does not break the bars of our cell. So how does he propose to get us out?”