“Loudest voices?” Nikyla squeaked, “he means you, Nitza.” Nitza scowled back at her, but before she could speak, Connell removed his hands from their shoulders and patted them both on their heads. “Children, I refer to both of you, Adara has the fallen one under control, may we go call to our friends now?” Nitza grumbled something and stood, moving slowly towards the door while glancing back at Ezekai. Connell removed his hand from Nikyla’s shoulder and extended it to her, “Come along now, won’t you?” Nikyla glanced nervously at Adara, she was crawling back to the pool again, “I think they would hear Adara better..” She avoided his eyes and continued to watch Adara, who had soaked a strip of cloth and was bringing it back to the fallen Ezekai. Connell stood with one hand on his hip and the other extended in front of Nikyla’s face, unmoving. Reluctantly, she took his hand and stood. He smiled, “If I had thought they would hear Adara better, I would have asked her.” He led the two girls to the opening, a gaping mouth at the entrance of the cave, Nikyla shuddered and looked down at her feet. Connell had released her hand and was peering into the darkness, into the mouth of the monster. Nikyla scrunched her nose and strained her eyes to see out as well. The stone she had left just outside the mouth of the cave was giving off a light, but only a small one, she couldn’t see anything clearly. She imagined Nyla and Maeko out there in the smog and heat, unable to breathe, practically dying..
Nikyla went from silently staring out into the dark to screaming for Maeko and Nyla to hear her so quickly that Nitza jumped and lost her footing, slipping to the floor. “Nyla! Maeko!” Nikyla’s voice split through the darkness, her light sitting just outside the door flickered slightly. Nitza shook her head, she must be imagining things. “Please!” Nikyla’s shouts sounded like a desperate plea laced with hope. Surely enough, the light remaining outside of the cave’s entrance surged with her powerful voice, one look at her face told Nitza that Nikyla was oblivious to the change. Her arms were thrust behind her as she fell to her knees, her eyes were closed and her mouth was wide open. Nitza glanced back, Connell was leaning against the cave wall beside the opening with a sly grin dancing across his face, arms folded. “I asked you both to call them, why aren’t you?” Nitza grinned sheepishly and rocked back on her heels. “They don’t need me..” A cold, damp object slapped against her face. Connell stifled a laugh, but his arms were still folded. She whipped her head around, Adara was no longer bent over Ezekai, instead she was giggling into her hands. Ezekai was no longer conked out on the floor, he was giggling along with her. Nitza peeled the strip of cloth from her face and threw it back at Ezekai. Adara smiled weakly and motioned Ezekai to lay back down, after growling he followed orders. “Here,” Adara gently tossed something towards Nitza, “I think you may need this. Nitza unfolded her hands and marveled at the stone in her palms. Her memory spiked slightly as she recalled finding it in a pool not unlike the one in this very cave. The Light shone brightly and danced across the room along with the other lights. The warmth of the stone shot through her with a newness of energy.
Still clutching the stone in her hand, Nitza joined Nikyla in shouting for their friends. As they called for Nyla and Maeko, something from the stone, a sort of energy that could not be described in words so simple filled the room with a beautiful sound that left them all breathless, yet their lungs felt as if they would burst from the clean breath of air.
Nyla awakened enough to slap Maeko when he found her. Her lungs tightened with each strain for air as she let out a soft moan. The very air seemed to wish death upon her. It would almost be better if the ground would turn on me as well and swallow me up. Maeko’s coughing grew into a violent hacking and sounded more like a wild animal dying than a man trying to breathe. Though she could not see him, there seemed to be some sort of glow in the distance. Her eyelids had begun pulling themselves down like miniature shades when a shout broke the ever-present buzzing of the silence. Nyla shook her head, she was imagining things again- but there it was again. Two voices, calling out, but from where? Nyla sighed and choked on the air again. Perhaps there is more relief in just letting go once and for all. Nyla let the thought stir for a moment, but no longer than that, for a light pierced the darkness and cleared the air with a beautiful sound. For a moment, Nyla could not only see, but breathe. Maeko looked at her like a puzzled puppy who had been kicked outside only to find a marvelous surprise. As if in one fluid movement, they picked themselves up and moved slowly towards the cave wall without looking back, even once.
Adara jumped up and shouted with joy as Maeko entered the cave and Nyla followed behind him. She rushed up and held him in a tight embrace, his skin was cold to the touch. Any longer out there and- She cut the thought off, he hadn’t been out there any longer. Ezekai and Maeko exchanged cold stares before Connell clasped his hands together and pretended to clear his throat. “We’ve all made it this far at last, into the reaches of these astoundingly beautiful caves. However, we have quite the journey ahead of us and if we are to make it together, I suggest we move along before the smoke returns.” Adara nodded and looked to the paths in the back of the cave and whispered, “Left, Right, Straight down, left again and follow the sound.”
Thus, we journey on and on..
To be continued..