“I promise… we’ll escape somehow,” I vowed, placing my hand against my feeble beating heart.
“Tony… I’m worried about Abby,” I managed a weak smile, ruffling Diana’s brown hair.
“Don’t worry D, she’s a smart girl… she’ll manage.”
“If you say so,” She mustered her courage to sleep against me, I felt her shiver from the cold, her hands trembling as her body vibrated.
I watched Abby’s precious little sister close her eyes, her breathing evening out as she mumbled in her sleep, something I couldn’t understand… girl things.
I looked across the cave to see Lily inspecting something, her eyes narrowed upward as if she was present but her mind was wavering into another dimension.
“Hm?” Her warm blue eyes were red from crying, her nose was runny, her cheeks were stained with unshed tears. She wasn’t behaving like the little sister I’d known.
“What’s bothering you?” I asked. She broke off from my glance, looking back at the ceiling where I couldn’t seem to find an ending, an endless wormhole.
“I… I miss home.”
“We all do,” I agreed, staring up at the ceiling with her, seeing what interested her.
“Hm,” She went back in her thoughts.
I settled beside the rock where Abby had once sat, I forgot the look her curious coffee eyes produced, her steady emotions, she was a tough cookie to crack, never let anyone get the upper hand. I also choked a smile thinking of the moments we’d had… before we were stuck.
I had reassured Diana that her sister will be fine… but will she? I was beginning to worry something went wrong, something always does. Our fate doesn’t seem to work in our favor.
I breathed. In. Out. Repeat. Calm down Tony Kennels.
It had only been 12 hours, last I checked since Abby had left. I didn’t know what to do without her presence always trying to find a way. I guess… I miss her.
Those memories helped me relax as I closed my eyes, seeing Lily walk up to me but I couldn’t hear or see anything else but darkness.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Tony wake up,” I felt someone shove me back and forth like a rag doll. Only my sister would do that.
She pointed at something at a distance. I had to cramp my eyes closer to glimpse at what she saw that intrigued her.
“Aha,” I crawled backwards, gripping the sand with my fists as I grabbed Lily’s hand and pulling her away.
“Tony, what’s wrong?” She asked, a brow going up.
“Bat,” I whispered, “That's a bat.”
She laughed, no wheezed is more like it. I almost gasped, patting her back as she coughed.
“Don’t do that again,” I warned, she leaned over and sat next to me. Keeping her hands glued to her sides.
“Relax Tony… I think Mr. Bat has something to tell us.”
I gave her a puzzled look, wanting her to explain.
“It talked,” She finally admitted guiltlessly.
“WHAT!?” I pressed my palm against her cold skin, she wasn’t sick… then what?
Diana had stirred awake due to me, rubbing her eyes as she walked over to us.
“The bat talked.”
“Huh?” Diana looked just as confused as me, searching around our surroundings.
“Where’s the bat?” I asked.
Lily pointed behind me.
I turned around, meeting the golden brown eyes of the Chiroptera; the scientific name of bats. I almost patted my back in regards to remembering last month’s lessons.
Diana froze, I felt her heart beat twice as fast. Usually Lily would run away screaming when it came to these flying specimen’s. How is she grinning at it like it’s her friend?
“Mr. Bat, this is my brother Tony and my best friend Diana,” Diana and I exchanged baffled looks as Lily introduced us to ‘Mr. Bat’.
Lily moved forward, her sneakers squeaking as she advanced ahead.
“Don’t be scared,” She cooed, “We’re friends.”
“Speak for yourself,” I mumbled, Diana faked a cough, only I knew she giggled.
Lily rolled her eyes at me but reached out into the darkness. Bits of sunlight that had leaked from the cracks spilled over her hand, creating weird illuminated lights on her skin.
I could hear the beating of wings, I held my breath when Lily held the bat in her hand, cradling it like a child. If we weren’t stuck in a cave now I’d be congratulating her about breaking her phobia against bats.
“Tony, meet Mr. Bat,” I could feel Diana step back, her eyes held a worried expression.
“Lil’s, that's a wild bat, it could bite,” I gotta admit, I was a bit scared of it too.
“No, no… he’s a friendly bat, aren’t you?” I almost felt nausea when she placed a rapid kiss on the creature.
“Lily? Eww… bats are contagious,” Diana replied.
“Speak Mr. Bat,” She totally ignored our warnings, “He spoke to me, I know he did,” I sighed, placing a tentative hand on her shoulder, careful not to touch the bat.
“Lily… I don’t think…”
The bat shifted from her grasp, flying low enough that I could see its keen, gleaming fangs and its blood-thirsty eyes. I shivered from the chills, goosebumps appeared all over my skin.
“Lily…?” I trailed off, seeing tears light her eyes.
“Tony, we’re going to live!,” She exclaimed, hugging me tightly. I gagged from the tightness.
“How…?” Was all the words I could muster out.
“Mr. Bat, he’ll help us,” She blew an air-kiss at the creature who I thought almost smiled.
Diana remained silent, not the usual behavior.
I gave her an optimistic smile, she grinned back shyly. Her coffee brown eyes reminded me of Abbys, the feeling of loneliness erupted from my mind like a steaming volcano. Is she ok? Alive? Will we get out?
Diana faked a cough, snapping me back to reality.
“Trust me big brother.”
I saw Diana give me a slow, yet upbeat nod.
“Fine… we’re in.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“So… how’d my little sister get over her fear of bats,” I joked as we strolled after Mr. Bat in hopes of it- correction- him leading us to freedom.
“Oh… I’m not over it yet… Mr. Bats cute,” She gushed, her cheeks turning red.
“Say… how come I can’t understand the bat?” I saw Lily flash a disappointed look, “Mr. Bat,” I corrected.
“Well… I’m not sure, I was sitting and the next second I could hear a faint voice talking, I was scared out of my mind but Mr. Bat helped calm me down.”
“He sang me a song.”
I looked surprised, a singing bat?
“The midnight moon,” She whispered, a lump appeared in my throat.
Faint music played into my ears, only I could hear. The mellow piano notes flying in the background, the violin taking the lead, soft tapping of feet.
I felt like a little boy again. Memories flashed in my mind. Grandma was in everyone of them, her blue eyes were like the ocean on a breezy, summer day. Her hair was like the silk that came from the moon, her trembling hands always warm and welcoming. How’s she’ll sing that song when I was scared of the roaring thunderstorms outside, when I heard that mom lost her job, when my dog died. Grandma was always there… singing the same tune that echoed in my mind nonstop.
I could feel the power of her words, the way she carved each word out with precision.
Never give up hope
It will keep you alive
Take my words into your heart and chant
Don't let your fears misguide you
Never let them lead you astray
Be like the moon that illuminates the dark, midnight sky
Be the light that shines bright
“Tony, look!” I saw my sister’s face light up with joy as I followed her glance. We were at the beginning of our journey, the place where it started, I could feel the warmth of the sun and the fresh air just ahead.
“Wow, Mr. Bat really did help us!” Diana exclaimed, jumping with jittery excitement.
I chuckled, leaning down to hug the girls.
“I’m so proud of you, Lily.”
She flushed pink, kissing my cheek.
“I am too,” Diana joined in.
“Aww guys, thank Mr. Bat not me.”
Diana and I gave each other a stunned look but we walked towards Mr. Bat who had perched himself on top of a rock, his golden brown eyes never leaving us.
“Thank you… Mr. Bat, how shall we ever repay you?”
The bat flew over the perch on Lily’s shoulder, it’s rough tongue licked my sister's pale face.
“What’s he saying?”
“Um… he said he’s happy to help, also he said he saw Abby on the campsite last night.”
The reminder of Abby let tears stream down my face… she was alive… and so were we.
“Shall we?” Diana asked, looking hopeful.
I looked behind to see Lily sorrowfully say goodbye to her little friend.
“Bye Mr. Bat, thank you a bunch.”
I placed my hand on her shoulder, leading her away from the dingy cave, into the light again.
Diana was already outside, kissing the ground like I’ve seen people on TV doing but she spat out the dirt and wiped her mouth with her sleeve.
My eyes burned from the radiated light, my eyes had been adjusted to the darkness and sudden light had almost blinded it. Lily rubbed her eyes, I copied her and it worked!
I grinned at the girls.
“We have to find Abby and get home, mom and dad must be so worried about us,” Diana explained, it had been almost nightfall but our aching legs didn’t want to give up.
We agreed, knowing that another adventure awaits us.
I just hope Abby would be alright.
“Abby, we’re coming for you,” I whispered into the midnight sky, “I promise.”