Adara gazed around the old cave clearly for the first time. Each intricate detail brought back fond memories. The others had fallen asleep, but she simply couldn’t. Who could even know if it were night? She sighed and ran her fingers against the cold stone walls. Two forked paths wound into the mountain, one set on each side. If she remembered correctly, there was a water passage within the pool. I couldn’t make it through there again without breathing. Dismissing the idea, she looked down the pathway to her left. She recited a distant memory. “Left, Right, Straight down, left again and follow the sound.” “Sounds like a code to me.” The voice from behind almost startled her, though she recalled hearing soft footprints. She chided herself for ignoring them and turned. Nikyla’s sweet smile broke through the grim look on her face within a half second. “What are you doing up?” Adara regretted the dumb question instantly. “You aren’t the only insomniac. What’s up with the code?” Nikyla’s eyes shifted to the tunnel. Adara sighed and reached for the ladle again, the sweet water refreshed her. “Ah, you’ll know soon enough, but not until Nyla comes.” Nikyla crossed her arms and scrunched her nose. “Please?” Adara shook her head and grinned. “Forget it. Let’s get some rest, maybe we’ll have an idea in the morning.” Nikyla’s face darkened a shade. “But how can we know when morning is? We might as well be doing something now!”
“You might try sleeping!” Nitza mumbled in annoyance. There was no sense in worrying over Nyla, she would come around eventually. She noticed the hurt look on the other girls’ faces and sighed. I’m just trying to help… The cave was seeming more like a home than a refuge, Nitza looked around at all her other friends softly dozing. She wanted to think how great it was that everyone was safe, but seeing her friends smiling in their sleep only reminded her that she’d been rudely awoken. Nikyla and Adara walked away from the pool and towards the small bag of food. The thought of food only worsened Nitza’s mood since they were on strict rations inside the cave. If Nyla would just quit messing around we could get out of here… Nitza dozed off, silently hoping Nyla was alright, she had to be.
A soft buzz rolled through the air without ceasing. Maeko pushed himself up to his knees and a blanket fell off his back. Another blanket lay spread out where he had been sleeping, it was soft to him now, though he was almost certain he would’ve hated this kind of blanket a week ago, or had it been a month? He shook his hair out of his face and stopped thinking about time. Nyla. His eyes snapped to attention as he scanned the underground room. Adara and Nikyla were surveying some bread like it was a great mystery, Connell was also surveying the food, probably pulling out whatever he deems as a worthy breakfast. “Dogs eat more than we do.” he mumbled. Nitza had one of the blankets over her head, he thought it would be funny to rip it off but decided against it. He noticed Ezekai standing at the door again and walked towards him.
The haze was steady but Ezekai was beginning to make out shapes such as the drop off, a couple blades of grass and some blankets in a strangely shaped pile. Nyla. He strained his eyes to focus on the large pile. Looking back at the others, he decided he could make it. The smog would likely knock him out upon returning, maybe even before. He pounded his fist against the wall, some idiot had to set this fire, but where were they now? He decided he best get to Nyla before whoever set the fire did. A hand rested on his shoulder and without taking a second to think he sent a kick flying into their gut. By the time he turned, Maeko was crumpled in the floor with a dejected look on his face. “What’d ya do that for?” the boy grumbled. Ezekai had just returned his gaze to the gap when he was shoved weakly to the side. Maeko was seething slightly and Ezekai decided he didn’t feel like upsetting the others by fighting him yet. “Can you see her, moron?” Maeko stood again and squinted to see through the haze, Ezekai noted the pain on his face and pointed to where he had seen her. Maeko lunged for the door and Ezekai’s instincts kicked in and the younger boy was on the floor rubbing his head in an instant. “Stop doing that.” Maeko grumbled, his cold eyes fixed on Ezekai’s own. Funny, he remembered hearing that he had warm, soft and young eyes, filled with pain, but still warm looking. Adara wasn’t one to describe eyes badly, but she surely messed up here or something. “You can’t endanger the rest of us like that.” Ezekai stated firmly. Maeko sized up to Ezekai with a new sort of rage that made Ezekai wish he was still crumpled on the floor. “I WILL save her.” “You can’t save her.” Ezekai was getting frustrated, so he stepped towards the door and hooked himself to the rope. “We both know you’re not strong enough to carry her back.” Maeko tilted his head down and walked away. Ezekai shrugged and pulled himself through the crack. He could barely make out the slumped form when something pounded into the back of his head and he blacked out.
Nikyla was stuffing a piece of the soft bread into her mouth when she saw Ezekai slump to the ground. “Ezekai!” She shouted. It sounded more like “Ebaezz” through the bread. “Ebaezz?? Adara giggled, tearing off a bite of her own bread. Nikyla was choking on the bread, so instead of attempting to speak again she pointed to the fallen figure. Adara was caught mid laugh when her eyes met the lump of boy by the awful window to death. She swiftly made her way to him, using the walls to her advantage.
Where do we go from here?
To be continued here…