Chapter 5

Chapter 5

A Chapter by Cheshire

     Kat wandered in the darkness for what seemed like days, even though her stomach told her that it had only been a few hours. Spots danced in her vision, and sweat poured off of her, making her feel highly uncomfortable. Stopping for a minute, Kat shed her coat and let it fall to the ground, not even realizing what she was doing in her feverish state. Stepping away from it, she could feel the cold air biting at her skin, but it felt good to get rid of some of the heat. The fever only seemed to get worse, and she couldn't seem to stop the chattering of her teeth even though her body felt like it was on fire. Eventually she came to a what seemed like a large room, as the feeling of being confined loosened on her. The rock curved away from her but she blindly continued stumbling straight ahead, various shapes in the darkness standing out to her.

     She kept stumbling over rusted pieces of metal as she made her way across the room, in weird shapes. Some of them seemed to be box-like, and in various sizes. Some were attached to poles, with something snake-like coming out of them, disappearing into more metal plates in the walls. All of it felt cold and lifeless, and Kat wasn't sure what it was, but she soon found the other end of the room, the rock feeling warmer on this side. Another tunnel gaped ahead of her, and something urged her steps onward, giving her a little more strength. The air wasn't quite so musty here, but felt more metallic in her mouth than it did at home. Disregarding the warning bells in her head, she shambled forward into the new tunnel, hoping that she was close to leaving. She couldn't wait to see Maddie again, even her parents and brothers. Anyone to drive away this fear that gripped her heart, any sign of life to banish the darkness she had been wandering in. She could almost hear Maddie's voice now, and smell the scent of the food from the bakery near her house. Kat wondered if her parents would let her get something to eat before she was banished to her room for being gone so long. She was so terribly hungry right now.

     In the midst of Kat's delusions, she nearly slammed her face into a rock wall as the tunnel ended abruptly, throwing her thoughts into disarray. Looking around, she saw only darkness still, and a tiny giggle escaped her mouth before she clamped her hand over it, wondering why she was laughing when the situation was so dire. A dead end. The tunnel had no branches in it that she could tell, which meant that she would have to retrace her steps, perhaps to that large room she had been in hours before, to find another tunnel. A sob escaped her throat, but her body had little water left to produce any tears, and she fell to her knees on the stony ground. Pain shot up her legs, but she ignored it, wondering if she would die here in the darkness. Looking down into the darkness at the tiny box in her hand, she figured that she may as well open it here, even if she couldn't really see it. Something told her she wouldn't get a chance to later, as the thought of being able to leave this darkness drifted away from her.

      Feeling along the edges of the box, she could feel writing on the paper, spelling out her name. A smile drifted on her face as she thought of the amount of money her sister must have spent on just the paper alone. Finding the edges carefully, she peeled the paper off and folded it neatly, tucking it into the pocket of her pants before feeling the edges of the box. It had a simple clasp on the wood, and the top felt smaller than the bottom, but she still opened it carefully, hoping nothing would fall out. When nothing did, she reached in and felt inside the box, feeling something cool and metal inside. Sliding it out carefully, she felt along its edges in the darkness, feeling some kind of filigree engraved into the long metal strip, and some kind of clasp on either end. With surprise, she noted that it felt like some kind of necklace, or choker, and her mind flashed back to something she had seen a few days before at the blacksmith's.

     Her sister had been hunched over a table, a necklace in her hands that wouldn't be much more than a choker on an adult, the metal looking silvery and shiny as it sat on the table. Maddie was painstakingly driving a tiny chisel into a strip of metal, sweat pouring down her forehead, a small smile on her face. She was so focused, she hadn't even noticed Kat come in until Jonathan walked in the back door, calling her name and looking nervously over at Maddie. Maddie had jerked upright and pulled a small cloth over what she was doing, and Kat hadn't thought twice about it until now. Kat felt another giggle escape her throat as she reached up and clasped the thing around her neck. The clasp made an ominous click in the darkness, and when Kat felt it again, she couldn't find the edges of the clasp anymore, merely smooth metal as it circled her neck. She tried jerking it and pulling it over her head, but it wouldn't come off, and seemed welded together. It seemed that there was no way to conveniently remove the necklace, not that Kat ever would anyway. That was one good thing at least, she wouldn't be forced to take it off when her parents found her wearing it like they had the last gift Maddie had given her. She didn't think she could love her sister any more than she already did, but her heart proved her wrong as it usually did.

     Kat felt something cool against her cheek and realized she was laying on the ground of the tunnel. She wasn't sure how she wound up there, but she couldn't seem to find the strength to stand back up again. Something brushed her hair lightly, and with a startling moment of clarity, her mind realized that it was air. Moving air, as in a breeze, as in an exit. Managing to crawl forward, she found that the end of the tunnel was only a collection of rocks that had tumbled down from above, but a small gap at the bottom was the source of the breeze. It seemed just large enough for her tiny body to squeeze through, albeit barely, but she could see nothing on the other side. Hoping it wouldn't just taper down to a small hole farther in, Kat managed to squeeze herself into the hole with her arms in front of her, her feet dragging lifelessly behind her. Luckily she didn't have claustrophobia as the rock pressed in on her on all sides, her thin shirt and leather pants scraping against the rock walls as she pulled herself into the hole with only her hands. She quickly found that her injured hand was nearly useless, as the strength seemed to fall out of it quickly. With only one hand pulling her body forward, the thought of escape powered her failing, childish muscles through the tiny gap. There was no way she could turn around or back out of the tiny enclosure now, her body wedged into the rock in such a way that forward was her only option. Just as she felt the adrenaline spiked strength failing, her arm grasped nothing but air ahead of her, and she nearly cried out in relief.

     Grabbing the edges of the rock with her elbows, she managed to yank her body out of the tiny hole, popping out like a cork from a wine bottle. Around her, everything was still dark, but it was a different kind of dark from that of the tunnels. The air seemed alive, albeit still metallic, and she could feel grass beneath her face as she lay their panting. The cool rush of wind across her feverish body felt good, and it had lost its wintery bite. The ground actually felt warm beneath her gasping body, but all she could think of was that it felt great, rather than the impossibility of it. Wind swayed the tall grasses around her, carrying a metallic scent with the taste. The ground beneath her rumbled lightly, kind of like how Maddie's chest rumbled when she slept, although more continuously. Maddie smiled and stretched her aching body out on the ground before curling up to go to sleep, wondering if she was in heaven. The rumbling of the ground became stronger, and louder. Blinking her eyes in the darkness lightly illuminated by the moon overhead, she could hazily see some kind of large four legged beasts, with men sitting on top of them as they rode near her. The beasts looked like large, skinny pigs with long legs, and bushy hair coming out of their rear ends. Kat had never seen such large animals before, and never heard of anyone actually riding animals before. She giggled deliriously again, wondering why she wasn't scared of the dark figures, and wondering why she couldn't seem to see straight.



© 2013 Cheshire


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Added on January 17, 2013
Last Updated on January 18, 2013


Author

Cheshire
Cheshire

Merritt Island, FL



About
Feel free to review my stories as harshly as you like. I'll be working on it more as I go, thanks for visiting. After a bit of a break, I'm back! My current focus has shifted from The Forbidden Mel.. more..

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Chapter 1 Chapter 1

A Chapter by Cheshire