“NO!” The twisted outcry of pure pain and horror that ripped through my throat was
as loud as the blast. I knew what the sound was, my yell of anguish proved it, I just didn’t know if I was ready to accept it.
10 seconds, I thought, that was all I asked for, did you really fail us, Dylan?
Dylan wouldn’t, right? I was about to find out.
I burst into the cavern, eyes wild and searching, “DYLAN?” I heard a whimper and my eyes flashed to it; a maroon colored figure, limp and curled on the ground, with a monster looming over it.
I was so close.
“DID YOU PRESS IT?” My eyes glazed right over Dylan and locked on the figure towering over him. My mind was drowning in a sea of thoughts, I couldn’t think about what I was doing, I was just doing it, “DID YOU PRESS IT, EZRA?”
The figure twitched in recognition to its own name, and then it just didn’t stop. Shivers ran up and down it’s spine, and then it’s mouth burst open and a hideous growl-like sound escaped it, “Yes! I DID!”
An alarm blared, a light flashed. “You sick bastard,” I spat. The monster's eyes glistened in the red light as he stared me down, no readable emotion in its face.
There was so much I wanted to do to it, so much I wanted to say to it, there simply wasn’t time. All of my instincts screamed to do one thing.
There was one small voice in my head that contradicted that statement, the one moral part of me. It whispered one word, then dissolved into silence.
Dylan. I cast a glance at him, he hadn’t moved, he was still curled on the floor. He was dead anyways. The ground began to rumble, I was aware of how little time I had, Dylan seemed to be as well. Dylan’s amber eyes fluttered open, they were unfocused and watery but they found mine. I nodded in his direction, Dylan’s head raised a fraction of an inch then lowered back down, a nod, and a message.
I decided to listen. I didn’t risk one last look at Ezra, I wasn’t sure if I had enough control to keep me from throwing myself at him in a blind rage. Instead, I turned and ran.
The amount of focus I had to put into each step doubled as I had to try not to fall with the constant moan of the ground. Racing out of the cavern, I had no designated destination, only away. It was too late to save Dylan, it was too late to save my people, it was too late to save Nancy…
I stopped mid-stride, then another jolt surged through the ground, trembling beneath my feet. My arms swung wildly to attempt to regain my balance and I was untimely pushed forward again.
The realization was like a shock to my scrambled brain, I had to save Nancy. Adrenaline poured into my veins, and I pushed forward even harder than before. The musky scent of the forest around me washed over my tongue as I ran reminding me that I still had no set destination, and no plan.
There was one place…
“I like sitting here and looking at the city,” her whisper sliced through the still night air, her back still towards me, she cocked her head. “What do you come here for?”
How had she seen me?
I shifted uncomfortably in the shadows of the forest, watching the darkness curl around my fingers. Just ahead of me, the forest stopped, rather abruptly, and panned out into a cliff, bare except for the figure sitting on its edge. I wanted a closer look. I shuffled forward, emerging from the forest. The cover of darkness I was used to having evaporated as I stepped into the starlight. A shiver creeped up my spine for a reason other than cold.
“You never answered my question, why do you come here?” I was surprised to hear her voice again, but not upset about it. Her voice was soft yet firm, a pleasure to listen to. Staying silent, I rocked back and forward on my heels for a moment, then I took a risk.
“I like looking at the lights,” I replied.
“Really?” She turned towards me, and I choked on my breath. Her face was pale, oval-shaped, and framed with thin chestnut hair that reached past her lips, twisted into light curls and danced in the breeze. Her brown eyes were lit with curiosity and wonder, “What’s your name?”
“Skylar,” I answered immediately, not even thinking about what I was saying.
“Well, Skylar, I’m Nancy. Care to watch the city lights with me?”
I had a destination, and I had a plan.
I knew these forests like I knew the back of my hand. I tore through the underbrush, ignoring the steady groan of the Earth.
And then, the forest stopped, rather abruptly.
It panned out, bare except for a figure sitting on the edge of it.
She turned towards me and I choked on my breath.
I breathed in her scent tangled with sweat and the breath of night air as we collided. Her hands lodged in my hair, ripping strands of it out; her legs wrapped around my waist, causing me to buckle under her weight, her gasping sobs stained my shirt. The relief that flushed through my body felt like a drug, I had never been happier. It was ironic, this was also the worst day of my life.
We fell to the floor, the wind ripping at our skin, the ground resonating beneath our feet.
It was far from silent. I wasn’t concerned about the screaming, the resonating, the wind...the only sound that registered was the sound of her sobs.
I opened my mouth, and I took a risk, “Nancy,” I whispered into her ear so she would be able to hear, “Care to watch the city light with me?”
And then they were gone.