When the Sky Caught Fire

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Chapter 3

Dr. Xander watched their scribbled exchange in amusement, he could learn to respect Moisés, he was a very upbeat person. Then Moisés turned to the Dr. Xander and signed, you have a terrible bedside manner, you might want to work on that. Then Moisés grinned, showing that he was only slightly teasing.

Dr. Xander smiled sheepishly and then nodded once, he always knew he had to work on it, but to be honest, he had been being nice. If he had wanted to be rude he certainly would have; but he was not above being scolded by a teenager, he knew he deserved it.

He turned when he heard a startled yelp from Abe, he turned to see Storm pinning the younger guy and tickling him. Abe was laughing and squirming, trying to get away, Dr. Xander felt very amused, once again happy for this strange little group.

Ramona was dozing off as she watched Ross and Willy banter, Ross had acted like he didn’t want to be a guardian but he was warming right up to the kid. She yawned a little causing Willy looked over at her, his child eyes laced with concern. “Are you sleepy? You can sleep on my nest,” Willy pointed to the pile of arranged blankets on the floor, “Sleep is good.”

“What if we have to run?” Ramona asked sleepily, she hadn’t let her guard down in a long time. It was time for her to sleep. Her protest was very weak and she knew that it wouldn’t take much longer to be convinced to lay down.

“Then I’ll jump on you and scream at the top of my lungs. That’ll wake you up pretty darn quick,” Willy smiled so hugely that the corners of his eyes crinkled. He was very amused by the idea of having to wake the teenager up.

Ramona smiled a little then took up his offer, curling up on the blankets. Willy took one and tucked it over the girl, “Sleep good, okay?” Willy gave her a grin, the smile reaching his eyes, “You need good sleep if you want to annihilate the bad guys.”

“I’ll try,” Ramona yawned and started blinking slowly, trying to stay awake and failing. Willy patted her on the head then went back to Ross, showing him more of his brilliant creation and how it would work.

“I’m assuming you know how a printing press works?” Willy asked drily as he raised his eyebrows, the hint of sarcasm in his voice was very evident.

“Yes, you know I do,” Ross looked amused, this kid was very sarcastic. The two looked at the tiny printing press and discussed more options for it.

Dr. Xander smiled as he watched these teenagers interact with the child, it was amazing to see this strange little group together. Under any other circumstance, they probably wouldn’t be friends; but this circumstance drove them together, such an interesting group.

Willy’s eye was twitching as he looked out the window, it was still snowing after three days and the entire cabin was going stir crazy. Moisés and Susan had been doing enough sign that they could now argue in ASL and writing. So sometimes Ross would nearly jump out of his chair when a sudden clap like noise would boom through the cabin; contrary to popular belief, nothing about ASL is silent.

Willy was now a living testament to that fact, he considered learning ASL so he could be sarcastic with those two. They needed to learn to shut up, either that or he would have to break a commandment; the one that has to do with murder. Storm came in with a bag and dropped it next to the doctor, “Open this and tell me what type of remains these are.” As strange a question as that may seem, it was becoming rather common in their cabin; Willy was almost curious enough to go look and see for myself.

The doctor gave her a dirty look and opened the bag, “Rabbit and deer. How did you find a deer at this time in winter?” He wanted to know why she felt the need to bug him with these types of questions, he knew that she had an idea of what the remains were.

“I actually deprived a wolf of it. That was a nasty way to earn enough meat for us, by the way. Poor wolf has to go hunting again,” Storm held up her arm and she was bleeding once again. She gave a cheeky smile when the doctor gave a groan of irritation.

“Stop fighting wolves. If you’re going to fight it at least kill it. Then we can eat it,” Xander made Storm sit down as he bandaged her arm for the second time in two days, “I don’t see a point in cleaning your arm if you’ll just heal in twelve hours.”

Storm replied dryly, “It makes me feel warm that you care Doc.” She rolled her eyes expressively causing Abe stifle a laugh. He was going through the meat, figuring out how long they could ration it.

Ramona said in a very tense voice to Ross, “If there were more books to read I wouldn’t feel like throttling you every second of every day.” She had been reading the same book every day, it was an older book that had wizardry in it. It wasn’t that it was uninteresting, it was just that she had read it eight times in the past few days.

Ross made a high-pitched mimicry of her voice, “It’s not that I hate you Ross, it’s just that I like books more. So, leave me alone before I kill you dead.” He smirked when she gave him the hairy eyeball, he knew how to grate on her nerves.

Ramona looked at Willy and commanded, “Don’t laugh.” It was already too late for that, he was practically rolling on the floor in contained laughter, she huffed and flopped over unto the ‘nest’.

Willy whispered to Ross, “If we’re not careful she will kill us in her sleep.” Ross grinned and caught the pillow that Ramona tossed at Willy, who crossed his eyes at her, “Missed.” Ross laughed then bonked Willy on the head with it lightly.

“What? You can’t even walk straight, how did you manage to catch that?” Ramona looked completely shocked by the fact that Ross had been able to catch that.

“Catlike reflexes,” Ross answered cheekily, a big grin on his face. Ramona gave him a very unimpressed look as Ross laughed.

“Shut up,” Ramona rolled over and put her back to him, “You are such a dork.” She had spent almost a week with this guy and she wanted to kill him more than keep him safe, “You’re an idiot.” Ramona gave a long-suffering sigh.

“A handsome one,” Ross shot back, containing laughter. He had decided that tormenting everyone in the cabin was much more profitable and entertaining than being useful.

“You’re full of yourself,” Ramona looked over her shoulder at him and raised her eyebrows in challenge, “I’m serious though, if we’re stuck in here much longer I’m going to have to kill you.”

Storm muttered darkly to herself, “If you keep arguing I’ll have to destroy you all.” She happened to glance out the cabin window and saw that the snow was falling less and less. Storm didn’t tell them, it was getting late, they would have to wait and go outside the next day.

Willy grew worried for a moment, he actually believed Storm might kill them, she was a little batty. Storm must have seen his worried look because she winked at him, his worries flew away for a few minutes then returned. What did that wink mean? Did that mean he’d die last? The mystery deepened. Xander finished up with Storm’s arm and gave her one painkiller, “I doubt you can actually feel it, but just in case.”

Storm rolled her eyes and swallowed her medicine, “Fine.” She could feel it, but the pain would be greater later when her cells would start to stitch up, that was always painful. Storm could already feel the stitching but didn’t let on that it was painful.

Dr. Xander felt his phone vibrate and he got it out, looking at the caller ID. Everyone in the room froze and Abraham said tensely, “Doctor, you do know they can track us through the phones?”

Willy thought drily and sarcastically, Stupid man, stupid man, does whatever stupid can. He crossed his arms over his chest as he raised an eyebrow.

Dr. Xander paled a little at that prospect and then said, “I’ll answer this, but when I’m finished with this person I’ll throw out the phone.” He answered the phone and left the cabin. As he walked out he heard brief discussion about himself being a traitor, which stung a little.

Willy looked at Storm who seemed only mildly concerned, he wrapped his arms around his legs, worry filling his mind. Because of it he sent up his prayers to God, there was no use worrying when he had a heavenly father to talk to that was bigger than his worries.

“Doctor? I was wondering why your house is up in flames, also, the genetic children and I were worried. I caught a soldier outside your burning house, I interrogated than killed him, I have his friend in my custody,” The male voice said in a quiet voice.

Dr. Xander didn’t need to know who was calling to recognize the voice, “Hello Shadow. How are Froggy and Molly doing?” He had met the experiments a while ago and knew that Shadow had been taking care of them.

Shadow chuckled, saying, “They’re doing fine. They made a huge circle around the building looking for you, so other than the panic attack the two are doing fine.” His voice had relaxed into a vaguely easy going tone.

“Are they growing?” Dr. Xander asked curiously, he wanted to know how the two were doing developmentally, they were unusual children and they needed to keep a close eye on them.

“Yeah, at a pretty unusual pace. Why?” Shadow asked with concern, he didn’t want the children to get hurt; he had too much invested in them, as a guardian anyways. He couldn’t have them die or become…giants.

“How tall?” Dr. Xander asked, wanting specifics. He hated that people attempted to tell him stuff without really telling him, Shadow and Storm had a lot of similarities which entertained Dr. Xander.

“Molly is five feet five inches and Froggy is six feet even. Which is kinda unusual considering their age...” Shadow sounded like he was musing, “What exactly were they injected with?”

“I honestly don’t know,” Dr. Xander felt worried and then he glanced back towards the cabin, “I’m going to rally the troops tomorrow and we’ll come see you. Storm is with me by the way.” He looked back at the ground and into the snow.

“Really? Well, we’ll wait here then. I’d like to see Storm again and I’m sure you’d like to see the children,” Shadow replied, a smile in his voice, “Storm probably won’t be happy to see me though.”

“Of course, Thank you, Shadow,” Dr. Xander hung up and then threw the phone as far away as he could. Then he realized how stupid that was and trudged after it, he caught up to his phone and took out the memory chip, broke the phone, and threw the pieces in different directions. If it snowed again the device would be buried. Dr. Xander huffed, muttering to himself, “Well, I could have saved myself a walk if I had thought of that beforehand.”

Dr. Xander walked back in and reported to Storm, “That was Shadow. He wondered where I was, we’ll be going to my burnt cabin tomorrow. He is there with the genetic children.”

Storm nodded once and Ramona knew she had been overthrown for the time being. That was fine, she didn’t always have to be leader and she needed a break anyways. To be more truthful, she liked to think she was okay with it but she was really not. This was pride getting in the way and she had to ignore it.

Moisés signed to Dr. Xander after he signed what had been said, you say he is on our side, correct? When Dr. Xander nodded, the boy continued, how do we know he’s not leading us into a trap because we believe he is our ally?

Dr. Xander paused for a moment; he never really considered this, out of all the experiments Shadow had been the least aggressive, which was why the doctor trusted him. But would Shadow try to get out of being killed by helping the Queen? It was unlikely but a possibility, Dr. Xander signed back to the boy after his thoughts, what I’m thinking of doing is sending Storm first. We’ll know for sure if Storm’s there if he can be trusted or not.

Moisés nodded once, satisfied by this answer; Storm could take care of herself, of that much he was sure. Dr. Xander couldn’t be sure; but Shadow was probably thinking along the same lines. Shadow’s name came from the way his advanced abilities worked, he acted like a person’s shadow and had been altered to be an assassin. He could be a powerful ally or the greatest enemy.

Shadow looked at the ten-year-old and fourteen-year-old kids that were with him, was he willing to risk their lives if the Doctor was no longer on their side? He decided to ask the kids what they thought, “Do you think the doctor is still on our side?”

The two experiments looked at each other than back at him, Froggy answered for the both of them, “I think he is, he was really horrified by the experiments going on. I don’t think he would go back to the Queen, although that is a possibility.”

Molly shook her head adamantly until both of them were looking at her, “He would never do that. Mr. Xander is so nice, besides, isn’t Storm with him right now?” She tilted her head and raised her eyebrows in question.

“Yes, but we don’t know that Xander isn’t lying or that Storm hasn’t turned either,” Shadow rubbed the bridge of his nose as his head started to pound from stress. He felt a little dizzy from it than scolded himself for allowing himself to get that stressed.

Molly said dryly to Shadow, “How about we give Storm and Xander the benefit of the doubt.” She was tired of all this suspicion and would like to trust someone for once, the ten-year-old sat down and wrapped her arms around her legs, “Trusting people is nice.”

Froggy and Shadow both looked at the girl with curiosity, not because of anything she said, but they were both wondering how in the heck she managed to keep her knees so close to her body with her arms wrapped around them. Neither of them could do it, so this amazed them to no end.

Molly, very patiently, spoke to them, “This isn’t hard, you don’t need to look so amazed about this.” She unwrapped herself so the two of them would look somewhere else, “See? This is just something normal I’ve seen other non-genetics do.”

Shadow shook his head then walked back into the forest, “We should hide, just in case someone comes to check it out.” He continued to walk as he talked to them, his form melding with the shadows than flickering back into view.

“Just in case? I’d be shocked if no one checked in on it,” Froggy followed him as Molly situated herself so she could get up without tripping over her own feet. Molly walked after them, trying to maintain a natural pace; she was still struggling to control her newfound, fast paced, movement. It wasn’t really newfound, but she would trip if she ran now, she was growing too fast.

Froggy entered the woods and turned around, watching his young friend choose her steps carefully so she wouldn’t fall. He smiled, “Hurry up, Molly,” he suddenly stiffened as his eyes zoomed in on something past her in the trees. Froggy gestured for Molly to move faster and she blazed by him, hiding behind Shadow. Froggy started reciting almost like a computer, “Sniper, Twenty miles off, exposed areas are neck, groin, and chest. He moved, now it’s just neck and groin. Do we want him to live?”

“Yes,” Shadow replied as he stayed in front of Molly, the fact the man had been aiming at the girl was very telling, get rid of the fast one and everything would be harder for them. Especially since she was a child, but it wasn’t like that guy would know that.

Froggy pulled out the gun he had been given and he pointed it at the sensitive area, “Odds of him surviving is slim, even with this shot.” He didn’t want to do it if Shadow wanted him to live, the odds were very slim.

“Take it, if he lives we can question him. If not, we leave him. It’s of no consequence to us,” Shadow replied firmly. He knew they couldn’t let the man live, he had seen them. If anyone discovered they had been here the Queen would send in the Calvary.

“Storm won’t be happy,” Froggy reasoned, he knew Storm well enough that if they were to kill someone when there was a chance to allow them to live…she wouldn’t be happy at all. She was a huge advocate for war but also an advocate for peace, it always depended on the situation.

“Since when have I cared what Storm thinks?” Shadow asked drily, immediately regretting the question. The kid would mentally calculate how many times he cared what that woman thought, Froggy was a math whiz and enjoyed showing off.

Froggy mentally counted the times and smiled, “One hundred fifteen times.” Shadow snorted and the young man took the shot, Shadow knew it connected when he heard a very loud howl of pain that sent birds flying, “Molly, grab him and bring him back.”

Molly dashed away, the only proof that she had been there being the footprints in the snow, Froggy saw her for a moment as she stopped and picked the man up. Then she came back in a blaze of speed and dropped him at their feet, “He’s alive but unconscious because of the pain.”

“He’ll never reproduce again,” Shadow snickered and Froggy, once again, wondered if he was insane or not.

Molly gave Shadow the hairy eyeball, “You need to have a little compassion.” She could get very irritated, especially when Shadow acted like a moron.

“I did. He isn’t dead; thus, I’ve had compassion,” Shadow knew it probably wasn’t wise to tick off the overpowered, over-mutated, ten-year-old, but he couldn’t help himself.

Molly rolled her eyes in the way only a ten-year-old can and sat down next to the bleeding man, “He’s going to freeze.” She knew that they didn’t have anything to cover him with, “He’s losing a lot of blood.”

Froggy shrugged, “Crap happens. I’m not a perfect shot, I can only tell where the vital points are and where he is opened. I found it, took a wild shot, and hit him. If he dies, he dies. It’s no skin off my teeth.” He had grown fairly cynical within the past few months, that tended to happen the more one dealt with wicked people.

Molly screeched and caused both of them to cover their ears, “You are both awful!” She threw a snowball at Froggy who easily dodged it then chucked one at Shadow. Shadow held up his arm but otherwise looked unconcerned; Molly huffed as she fished a blanket out of her backpack, “I’m covering him up.”

The guy that was in their custody had been left out in the opened-on accident, they had forgotten that they had tied him up. Froggy walked back out and dragged the guy back with them, “If someone comes how are we going to hold out?”

“Very carefully,” Shadow answered as he tried to figure out where they should stay, “It’s cold, we should go back to the cave. If we start early enough we can meet Storm and her new pals here.” He was starting to feel worn out, his ability was sapping his strength. There were too many shadows that his form was trying to merge with, fighting from merging was difficult because he enjoyed being in the shadows.

Shadow led the way back to the cave they had been staying in, he also carried the prisoner so that way the man wouldn’t be dragged by Froggy. Shadow put down the healthy man and then bandaged the bleeding man that Molly had brought, between herself and Froggy they could both carry the guy. After Shadow sat down he sat his chin on his fist as he watched the child and teenager talk about the clinics.

“I was so afraid that I would die,” Molly was saying to Froggy, “I knew I was safe with you, but I was afraid that one day an injection would cause me to die.” That was a normal fear for all the experiments, because sometimes it would happen.

“I think that’s something everyone feared, even those who were willing experiments,” Froggy observed quietly, “I was afraid of never seeing the sun, I had always wanted to see the sun, the outdoors, not the fake stuff they had to appease us. The mountains are even more glorious and terrifying then I had originally thought.”

“Do you know what I like? Flowers, they are so much prettier than the pictures.” Molly smiled at the thought of the beautiful flowers, she had liked the way the petals felt in her fingers, “I even like the grass.”

“I like living every day without the fear that tomorrow I will wake up in a government training facility for the sole purpose of preparing for war. What I don’t like is that I’m not normal, I see like a computer would see and my shooting keeps getting better each time I shoot as if my brain is a computer,” Froggy was suddenly serious, knowing that he had to get Molly to talk it out. She had been holding it in and not thinking about it.

“I like sleeping throughout the night and not in a cage, I like being seen as human and not an animal, I don’t like that whenever I move it’s uncontrolled. No matter what I do it always ends up being fast, I don’t like the fact that I can jump vertically eight feet. I also don’t like that you learned to control your speed, how did you do that?” Molly joked at the end, Froggy was only a little slower than her.

Froggy grinned at the younger girl, “I had more time to practice speed then you did.” He looked over at the man that was watching them, the healthy one. He seemed curious now and not as hostile as he had been when they captured him. The man had a friendlier disposition then his friend whom they killed. He was about five foot eight inches, African American, Black hair and brown eyes. He looked to be between twenty and twenty-five.

Froggy decided to engage the man in conversation, “My name is Fredrick but I’m called Froggy. What’s your name?” The man looked surprised that Froggy was trying to initiate a conversation, most rebels would have attempted to kill him outright.

“My name is Luke,” The man sounded young, so now Froggy’s brain analyzed him to be about twenty-three years old. The man spoke again, “When did the government sanction experiments?” He obviously had no idea what was going on.

Froggy thought about that for a moment then said, “From what I overheard, approximately twenty-two years ago,” He forgot to ask Shadow, but he agreed; Storm was one of the first experiments and she was around twenty five years old.

Luke nodded slowly, “I had never heard about the experiments until now,” He looked deeply concerned, “Why were we sent out to kill you and your friends?” He was disturbed by this, he did not want to kill children, that’s not what he signed up for.

“We are a threat to the system, if anyone were to find out that we were being made for war it would bring the entire nation to its feet. Why would you need an army of genetically mutated people if you weren’t planning on being a tyrant? Which she already is, but you know,” Froggy was laying blankets on the cave floor so none of them would have to lay on the cold ground, “People will believe what they think is the truth, no matter how wrong it is.”

“The Queen is not a tyrant, I’ve met her, she’s a nice woman,” Luke sounded uncertain as he tried to defend his queen, however, he couldn’t help but wonder how she could sanction such a horrible crime against humanity.

“How did you meet the queen?” Shadow asked carefully, anyone could get a good impression from a passing ‘hello’, which is what he suspected happened with Luke. Shadow was also not sure how loyal this man was to the queen, he didn’t seem overly loyal but you could never really tell.

“I used to guard her children in the royal palace when I was eighteen. I was relocated after the King died,” Luke wrinkled his eyebrows, “I don’t think she would have relocated me if I hadn’t been asking about where the King went, she told me he died and that I had to be relocated. She didn’t say why I needed to be moved though.”

“You asked too many questions,” Molly informed Luke, “She didn’t want a guard in the castle who would ask questions about the family, it would pose a danger to her.” Molly could guess how the women worked based on how she ran the research facility. Anyone that asked questions were either eliminated or relocated, there wasn’t usually a middle ground.

“A lot of Caucasian guards asked the same questions and were never moved,” Luke commented firmly, he was starting to figure this out. People were more likely to listen to him and that made him dangerous.

“Our nation’s media is more sensitive to listening to our African American population because of events that happened a couple hundred years ago, because of it whenever they question things they get moved, I’ve seen it before,” Shadow piped up, he had seen it in his breeding program, he was Asian, so whenever he asked questions people got nervous but when the African Americans asked questions they got moved. Luke nodded once, not mentioning it again. He didn’t like to think that, maybe, racism still existed. They had come so far, surly that couldn’t be the case.

Molly put a blanket down next to Luke and helped him move over onto it, “I’m sorry the Queen moved you. Are her kids nice?” She liked to believe in the best of people, so if her kids were nice they would be the redeemable quality.

“Yes, her children are amazing. She has a lot of kids, the oldest is Hank. He is around eighteen or nineteen years old. The youngest is Kelsea, she is around three or four. They are good kids, they always treated me kindly. They would ask me how I was doing, sometimes Kelsea would bring me cookies, she was a sweet child,” Luke spoke wistfully of the children, he really seemed like he had been attached to them, “I was there when Kelsea was born, I think I miss her the most.” Luke gave Molly a smile, trying to keep a positive outlook.

Molly nodded once and said gently, “I’m sorry you were moved. Shadow promises to be nice, don’t you Shadow?” The girl gave the man in question the evil eye and Shadow raised his eyebrows. Molly raised her eyebrows in reply, giving him a staring contest.

“I am not prepared to agree to such a promise,” Shadow stated, starting to get a little bit of the dried deer meat they had, “I will feed him, does that count as being nice?” If he wanted the man to die he wouldn’t feed him or he would shoot him in the nether regions.

“It’ll have to do,” Molly replied as she situated herself on her own blanket, “Do you think Sir Bleed-A-Lot will wake up soon?” She looked over at the bleeding man with an expression of unconcern, Molly wasn’t overly concerned by the fact he was bleeding too much. He was trying to kill her after all.

Froggy choked a little on the food he was eating and Shadow whacked him on the back; neither of them expected her to say that, especially after her annoyance at them earlier. “And you say we’re terrible,” Froggy laughed then answered her question, “He’ll wake up when he’s ready. Don’t expect us to be nice to him.”

“I don’t. I generally don’t advocate being nice to snipers,” Molly took a piece of food and ate it quietly as she watched Luke. Luke was eating his food without complaining, watching them as Shadow watched him; Luke wasn’t going to attack anyone, but Shadow didn’t know that yet.

Luke was seriously thinking about his loyalties, maybe he shouldn’t be loyal to a Queen who would subject her people to torture and death. He looked over at Shadow and asked, “Why are you looking at me like that?”

“I don’t know if I can trust you,” Shadow answered as he bit into his food again; he rubbed his hand over his face after he swallowed, “I’m sorry, but as much as I’d like to trust you I have these two kids to think about.”

Luke nodded once, understanding completely; he looked at the two kids and asked, “How old are you both?” He loved children and had a few of his own, he understood where Shadow was coming from completely.

“I am fourteen,” Froggy answered then took a bite into his food, not adding anymore. He wanted to ask how old Luke was, but he wasn’t sure if that was considered rude or not. So, to be safe he didn’t say anything.

“I am ten,” Molly smiled at the older man, knowing he would probably be shocked. She was very tall for a female ten-year-old, Molly broke off a piece of her meat and handed it to the man, he took it to be polite.

Luke stared at the abnormally tall kids and said, “I assumed you were in your mid to late teens.” He shook his head, how did they grow this fast? That was unusual, “Is this because of...” He didn’t finish his sentence because Froggy interrupted him.

“The experiments? Yeah. We don’t know if we stop growing or if we just...never stop.” He had a look of slight fear as he admitted the last part, “We don’t know what will happen to us.” What would happen if they never stopped growing? That was something none of them knew, not even the doctor. Shadow reached over with a knife and cut the ropes off of Luke, freeing the man. He figured that if the guy tried anything they could kill him faster than he could react to them.

Luke rubbed his wrists, happy that Shadow had taken them off, “Not knowing is the worst part.” He hated not knowing what was happening but it had to be even worse for them. Going through your entire life in a cage, never seeing daylight, and never knowing what your future held.

“It’s not even that, it’s torture. Sometimes I feel the worst pain yet and find the next day I grew five inches. I don’t know if this will kill us,” Froggy’s voice was tense, “I got out just to find out the torture wasn’t over.”

“I’m sorry,” That was all Luke could say, he couldn’t fix what had happened to them; he wished he had known, he would have demanded to be relocated. He had never questioned anything that happened in the palace and now it was eating him alive.

“It’s not your fault,” Molly said gently, Luke had nothing to do with their pain and suffering. He was a soldier, he obeyed orders, he did his job very well. Molly felt like he couldn’t be held responsible for what happened to them.

“Then who’s fault, is it? I stood by in blissful ignorance, I never questioned it until the King died. The day he died he came to me, he looked terrified, that day he told me, I remember...” Luke squeezed his eyes shut, “He told me things were happening that he hadn’t known about. His seal had been stolen, he looked scared.” Luke rubbed the bridge of his nose, “The King was not a good person, but he had the decency to be consistent.”

Shadow watched as Luke thought this through, maybe he could trust this man guards did not talk like this, they usually had undying loyalty to the crown. But this man was different, he had an inquisitive mind, they could keep him alive, but Sir Bleed-A-Lot would probably have to die if he wasn’t dead already. Snipers were almost always loyal to the crown and would never deviate from it, they were trained in institutions for the soul purpose of indoctrinating them.

Storm paced outside the cabin as she waited for everyone to be read, she had made warm clothes for Willy so he wouldn’t freeze to death. Storm was nervous, the last time she had seen Shadow they had been paired at the breeding camp. They never did anything, they both avoided that, but they had been friends. Plus, if rumors were to be believed, he was a bit of a psychopath; which made her a little uncomfortable; if he was crazy they might have to run for it.

Dr. Xander walked out of the cabin and led the way back to his own; he knew that they would all be seen now, he forgot that there was no point in trying to remain hidden from Shadow. He had the children with him, nothing would be hidden now or could be hidden.

Moisés was apparently in a good mood, he ran out of the cabin and tackled Storm by the head. She yelped in surprised and escaped the happy teenager, she signed, No touching. She went into a defensive position, Storm was fully prepared to flip him. The doc had fixed his leg before they left so she wasn’t afraid of hurting him. Moisés rolled his eyes before picking Susan up so she wouldn’t have to struggle through the snow. He crossed his eyes at the youngling, causing her to laugh. Susan and Moisés had become pretty good friends over the last couple of days.

Ross had a snowball in one hand, threatening Abe, “If you fart one more time I will shove this down your throat.” He was tired of hearing and smelling Abe’s gas bubbles, “I’m serious, I need a break from your terrible smells.”

“You couldn’t catch me running downhill off a mountain how do you expect to catch me in the snow?” Abe teased the redhead, knowing that Ross would probably trip. Ross was about as graceful as a rabid swan.

Both guys tensed when Willy screeched, “Why is it so cold?! Why?” The boy’s arms were flailing in the air in rage, he hated the cold. He hated it when he made the trek up the mountain and he hated it even more now.

“Because it’s winter,” Ross smirked as the kid gave him the evil eye, “Winter tends to be cold.” He could be sassy as well, but he also knew that Willy would probably throw that one back at his face. Storm snickered, knowing that Willy would have a pretty good comeback for that one, she loved listening to his comebacks.

“Not everywhere,” Willy muttered as he trudged next to the doctor. Xander attempted not to laugh as the child muttered, “It isn’t cold in Texas, it doesn’t snow often there. Why couldn’t you be based in the free state? That would be much more convenient.”

“I don’t know, but if we lived where it was free we wouldn’t need to rebel,” Ramona said to the kid with a smile. She knew that even there it wasn’t totally free, but it was better than the Sisterland. She wondered how else was on their side in the world…The Irish were part of the World Family and they had rebellions all over the place.

As they grew close Storm slowed down, something was wrong. She couldn’t see Shadow, “Doctor, are you sure they were going to meet us here?” Just as Storm finished asking she saw Shadow step out with a wary expression.

Storm walked calmly towards the young man, “Hey dude, what’s up?” She noticed that he had stopped and was staring, “Don’t be disturbed by the scars, I promise that the other guy looked worse.” Storm knew what was up, they were supposed to be married, Shadow felt a duty to protect her. Not that she actually needed protecting.

Shadow walked forward and wrapped Storm in a hug, she stiffened but returned the hug, “It’s good to see you.” Hugs are good; hugs mean love, right? She hoped that it wasn’t a ploy to get her comfortable enough to kill her.

“Good to see me? I thought you were dead,” Shadow sounded shaken, it occurred to Storm that he might have thought that Xander lied. Storm smiled, which was pretty rare, and then gave him a genuine hug. She had missed him quite a bit, his companionship had been wonderful to have in the breeding farm.

“Meet the group I joined,” Storm turned towards the others, “Meet Ross, Abe, Moisés, Ramona, Willy, and Susan.” Shadow nodded to them then looked over his shoulder, flicking his fingers as if calling someone.

A breeze blew by them and a girl stopped next to Shadow as a guy walked up next to them, “Meet Froggy and Molly. They are the experiments that Dr. Xander told you about.” He knew the doctor wouldn’t keep it a secret if Storm asked.

“Holy crap, I thought they weren’t real,” Storm gaped at the children then pulled herself together, “How old are you?” She asked the children this question as she saw their abnormal height, she thought they were younger than they looked.

Froggy answered for the both of them, “I’m fourteen and Molly is ten.” He glanced over Storm’s head at the others behind her, not commenting about them. He wondered who they were but wasn’t about to bring it up at the moment.

Shadow looked Xander in the eye, “Glad to know you didn’t go back to the Queen.” There was something cold and scary in Shadow’s eyes, something Storm had never seen. She was going to take care of this now.

“We need to talk,” Storm grabbed Shadow’s arm and dragged him off, “I’ll be back, okay doctor?” She gave the man a look, hoping that he’d behave himself. He was smirking as if he was about to play the biggest prank in the history of pranks.

“Name it after me!” The doctor shouted after her with a laugh, he knew that’s irk her beyond all belief, he loved tormenting her. Dr. Xander snickered when she sent him back an evil glare and he saw Shadow smile a little, that was good.

“Silence!” Storm shouted back at the doctor as she took Shadow away. Once they were far enough away Storm stopped and stood in front of Shadow, “What’s wrong?” She could see that he was very worried about something and he was taking it out on the doctor.

Shadow looked away from Storm, “I thought you were dead.” He swallowed hard then looked back at her, “Seeing you like this is killing me.” He studied the scars on her face, “If you tell me who did it I can make their lives miserable.”

Storm rolled her eyes, “I don’t need you to fight my battles.” Storm crossed her arms over her chest, “I just need to know why you’ve gotten so angry. You were never like this before.” She remembered a very sweet guy, not the angry man he was now.

“After you escaped they thought I helped you, they tortured me for information that I didn’t know. I thought you had died and kept telling them that, I believed it for a long time. I though they just couldn’t find your body and needed someone to blame,” Shadow turned away from her, “I found the kids, they had escaped from another experiment place. I hate her, I hate the Queen. What she’s done...” Shadow’s fists clenched, “It is unforgivable.”

Storm’s eyes grew a little wider as she listened to him, “So you’re being eaten by your hatred for the Queen? That’s a ridiculous reason to be like this; the doctor saved your sorry rear end and you repay him by being a jerk? I heard rumors that you went insane.” She had believed them on a smaller level but now she was starting to play with the idea that maybe he really did lose his mind.

“I did,” Shadow put the heels of his hands over his eyes, “I killed them all, I got back to my breeding group and killed all the guards, staff, everyone. But it didn’t stop there, I can’t remember how many people died because of me. I either killed them myself or was the cause of the deaths.”

“Okay, so you went a little crazy. You aren’t the cause of people’s deaths, if they died they died. It isn’t your fault and will never be your fault,” Storm set her hand on his arm, “Don’t allow it to destroy you.”

Shadow looked back over his shoulder at where the kids were with Storm’s group, “What do the Anomalies believe in?” He didn’t want to help Storm if it turned out that these guys were a bunch of flakes.

“A free America. An America that is free to have religion, books, truth, justice, and equality,” Storm looked at her little group again, “We just want to rule ourselves.” She was tired of government, tired of corruption, it was time to allow the people to rule the people. Just like it was intended.

Shadow glanced at Storm, “I’m sure they want more than that.” He sincerely doubted that they only wanted to rule themselves. Usually rebellions wanted more than that, power, money, land, something.

“They want hope and a better future for generations to come,” Storm smiled up at her friend, “But that’s for wimps, right?” She smirked, knowing full well that she was quoting him.

“I only said that once,” Shadow’s eyes laughed at her even though he wasn’t smiling. He nudged Storm with his shoulder then walked back towards the kids, knowing she would follow. Storm rolled her eyes at him then followed quietly. Molly turned back to Shadow, an unspoken question as she glanced at the man. Shadow shook his head, returning to the group, he would tell the kids about it later.

Moisés seemed to be uneasy about Shadow; by the time Storm caught up the Deaf boy was watching Shadow with suspicion. Moisés had been given a quick overview, but he wasn’t willing to trust this angry looking man. Storm signed to Moisés, Please, trust Shadow. He’s not dangerous. Storm glanced at the kids and realized that Froggy was following the conversation. He could understand, hopefully he wouldn’t tell Shadow what they were talking about, Storm would hate to have to kill the witnesses.

Moisés glanced at Shadow then adjusted Susan in his arms before looking back at Storm, she realized he couldn’t properly answer while he was holding the girl. Moisés handed the girl over to Ross so he could give his arms a break. He quickly replied to Storm, He hasn’t given me a reason to trust him yet.

Storm nodded once then looked over at Froggy, offering her hand to shake, “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you. Sorry, I had to steal Mr. Angry Dude for a minute.” She figured she should talk to Froggy, make friends, play nice.

Froggy grinned, “It’s no problem,” He shook my hand, “The pleasure is mine.” Froggy was happy to have been raised with an unnatural etiquette. The doctor always assumed he was being trained as an overpowered guard in the castle, probably for the Queen and as a result his etiquette was beautiful.

“My, aren’t you polite,” Storm patted the boy on the back then greeted Molly, hitting it off with the ten-year-old, “Your guy friend is very polite, if a snake tried to bite him it would acquire diabetes.” She grinned cheekily at the girl.

Molly laughed and then shook Storm’s hand, “He is very polite.” She decided she liked Storm right away, she had even made friends with Moisés. Moisés was partial to trusting children over angry looking adults.

While they were not paying attention, Luke had gotten himself out of the ropes and was making his way towards the conversation noise. Like heck was he going to wait and freeze to death. When Luke came through the woods a woman snapped up her pistol, probably seeing his uniform and assuming he was the enemy. For all purposes, he was the enemy, they didn’t know anything about him and he looked like the enemy.

Shadow smacked her wrist, causing the woman to drop the gun. Which, of course, caused everyone else to level their guns at him. Shadow held up his hands and stepped away from the woman, “Easy, Luke is on our side. We haven’t had the chance to get him different clothes yet.”

Luke guessed he should be glad that the giant Asian man was willing to stand up for him, that didn’t happen very often and Luke wasn’t very willing to die. The lady shook her wrist out, “Owww, I was not expecting that.” She wrinkled her nose and then eyed Luke nervously, “So, your name is Luke.”

“Yes,” Luke answered in a soft-spoken voice, “Shadow asked me questions and left me tied up in the cave. It was getting cold and I couldn’t renew the fire.” He said it so calmly that the group who had him originally seemed wonder if he had been humoring them and could have gotten out the entire time. Which he could have; but he never had enough energy to fight the ropes.

The lady cleared her throat, “Sorry for almost killing you.” She didn’t look very sorry, but Luke didn’t comment. She offered her hand to him, “My name is Storm, by the way.”

Luke rubbed the back of his neck, “I know you’re not sorry, but thank you for apologizing anyways.” He gave a sheepish smile, he hoped these people would believe him. Luke shook her hand politely, “It’s nice to meet you. I think.”

Moisés walked up and started signing with a happy expression, it is good to see you again, how are your children? He had been jumping up and down, waving his arms at them. He didn’t want Storm to shoot his friend.

I haven’t seen them in a while, Luke signed back to Moisés, he had met Moisés once when the young man came to the castle. At the time Moisés had been twelve years old and was being considered as a spokesperson for the Deaf in the castle. Luke had always thought he would make a great spokesperson, he had such great enthusiasm.

Neither of them noticed the bewildered expressions the group had, none of them figured on the two of them knowing each other. Luke patted Moisés on the back, a huge smile splitting across my face, you have grown, my friend.

Moisés smiled, nodding once then he looked at the rest of them, his smile faltered when he saw that some of the group seemed really uneasy. He forgot that sometimes people felt threatened by the fact he could talk without any of them understanding. He and Luke knew they weren’t plotting anything, but they didn’t know that. Luke looked down at my young friend and patted him on the back again, he knew it had to be hard to see some of them uneasy.

Abe spoke up before any of them could distrust his brother, “They were exchanging formalities and catching up.” He gave Ramona a dark look as she had been one of the ones to look uneasy, “After you’ve known us all this time you’d doubt us?” He felt anger swelling in his body at the girl, she had to start trusting people.

“I knew Walter my whole life and he turned against me. I’m sorry...” Ramona shook her head and crossed her arms over her chest, “We can’t stay here. We have to move.” Ramona changed the subject quickly and established herself as the leader again. This new group had to know who was in charge and who they should listen to. Although she guessed that if Storm said something different they’d follow her over a cliff.

“We have a possible dead body in the cave, maybe we want to question him before he’s completely dead?” Shadow said to Ramona, pegging her as the leader, he knew Storm wasn’t the leader; she wasn’t nearly organized enough for that. Luke watched their interaction with a disturbed expression, they did not have a good team dynamic. It was more like; everyone does their own thing and sometimes there is a leader.

Ramona nodded once and followed Shadow back to the cave with the children, the others exchanged a look then also followed. Moisés appeared hurt by the fact that Ramona didn’t trust them, he kept his eyes glued to the ground as he followed his brother, trusting him completely to tell him if someone was coming. Abe saw his brother’s movement and allowed his brother to hand over the reins for a moment, Moisés was tired of being strong for the moment.

Luke felt annoyed that they didn’t trust Moisés. He was trustworthy in a castle...or maybe that was the reason. The Queen trusted him and therefore he was untrustworthy? Luke decided that people could be very strange, if that were the case than he would never be trusted. Luke didn’t like that idea at all and hoped that Ramona would get her crap together.

Susan had been passed to Luke, which showed a certain amount of trust; he was happy they trusted him with the child. It took Luke a few minutes to realize she was Hard of Hearing when he attempted to talk to her.

Ross and Willy were both worried about Moisés as well; the two were trying to plot a way to bring back the upbeat boy. Susan reached out for Moisés and Luke passed her to the boy. Moisés cradled the girl as she rested her head on his shoulder; giving the older boy a big smile. Moisés gave the young girl a tentative smile then crossed his eyes at her. Susan laughed heartily, which Moisés could feel, causing him to smile.

Luke started to wonder what happened with Storm and Shadow, they had talked for a little while and they had both seemed calm afterwards. Before the air had been so thick you could have cut it with a knife. Willy looked at Ross, saying out of the blue, “My mom would like all of you. A bunch of weirdos.” His eyes crinkled, smiling, “My mommy loved weird people, the broken people, the unloved people. Daddy always told me that sometimes he felt like Mom accepted people faster than he did.”

Ross squatted so Willy could climb on his back, “Your mom sounds like a nice person. You said they were Christians right? Are you a Christian?” He felt Willy lay his head down on his back, resting. Ross was still having trouble with the bullets, but it was faster to carry the kid and ignore the pain. Dr. Xander had been helping by giving him pain killers.

“Yes, they were Christians and so am I,” Willy chased away the thought that his parents were dead, “I love Jesus, he died for me. I can live for Him and not be afraid of dying, that helped me keep trying to find you.”

Luke listened to the two talk; he had never had theological conversations with a kid as young as him. Of course, those types of conversations were banned so Luke never would’ve had the opportunity, listening to Ross and Willy was interesting, to say in the least. “What about the people who hate Christians? What if they want you to say you were never a Christian?” Ross asked, he knew this child wasn’t delicate, he could ask the hard questions. He knew of people who abandoned whatever “faith” they had just so they would live.

“Jesus died for me, right? I would never pretend like I don’t love him. If I did it would be a lie,” Willy said quietly, “Even if they wanted to kill me I could never betray Jesus.” Ross nodded after the child finished, he marveled at his faith. The faith of a child was simple and straight forward, no hate or malice was in his voice. If the child was any indication, his parents were amazing.

Storm stopped at the entrance of the cave and saw where the bandages were, causing her to laugh, “Okay, so I have to wonder, who did this?” She pointed in the vague direction of the bleeding man while glancing back at Froggy, Molly, and Shadow. All three of them shifted sheepishly, but Storm could tell Molly didn’t do it because of the dirty looks she was giving the two guys.

Froggy raised his hand, “Guilty.” He smiled when Storm patted his back. She walked over and poked the guy, “Wake up, it’s time for your final epic battle.” She smiled when she heard Froggy and Shadow laugh, she hoped that this guy would be agreeable. If he wasn’t she’d have to kill him and she was tired of killing people for today.

Bleeding Man opened one eye, studying Storm, “I am in a great deal of pain. Can you go away?” he winced when Storm gripped his wrist, “Ow, let go.”

A dark voice caused a chill to go down his spine, “When the kid asked what was visible one of the questions was if I wanted you to live. If you still want to live you’ll answer any questions we have.” Shadow’s voice had gone very dark and it caused some of the Anomalies to look at him oddly.

Mosies, of course, didn’t notice the tone of voice but Shadow’s body language was pretty aggressive. Abe almost forgot to interpret for his brother because of his own sudden fear of Shadow but then he jumped right back into signing.

Bleeding Man gritted his teeth, “I’m going to die anyways, why prolong my pain?” He laid his head back down, looking at the larger group, those people hadn’t been there before and he was suddenly curious about them. Not enough to keep alive and answer whatever inane questions they might have.

“We need to know why you were watching the Doctor,” Storm said firmly but not unkindly, she was willing to let him live. She pushed her hand into her black hair as she studied him, wanting him to want to live.

The man’s eyes flashed and he clamped his mouth shut and refused to tell them anything except for one thing, “The Queen does not negotiate with terrorists.” These people were nothing less than terrorists, attacking buildings, people, businesses. They were the downfall of the Sisterland and he wasn’t going to help them at all.

Shadow pulled out his gun and held it to the man’s temple, “And we don’t negotiate with the Queen’s goons.” He cocked the gun as he waited for an answer, Shadow was very willing to kill the man right there and without further questioning.

Bleed A Lot knew without a doubt that Shadow would do it, but he refused to give in, “Go ahead,” He looked Shadow in the eye with a steel that wasn’t usually seen. Shadow knew because people told him he had an amazing loyalty to the Queen, it was something he was very proud of.

Ramona stepped forward before Shadow took the shot, “Why are you so obedient to the Queen?” She wasn’t willing to see him die yet, “What makes you obey her without question?” She knew that if his loyalties ran too deep there would be no changing his mind.

“I signed up to defend my country and that’s what I plan to do. If I die for this then so be it,” The man glanced at Ramona, “She is my Queen which demands undying loyalty.” When this was translated for Moisés the boy nearly went ballistic, he signed aggressively while Abe translated.

“And I’m not her subject, she’s not my Queen? I was one of the few taken to the castle to become a representative for the Deaf. What did she do? She was at my house the day my parents were murdered, she ruined my life. She watched as they were murdered, she looked right at me. She let me and my brother escape and I’ve spent every day dreaming of her death. You are loyal to a murderer and a tyrant. Her position does not demand loyalty or respect when she hasn’t done anything to deserve either. Look at me and tell me we’re different. Look me in the eye and tell me that she’s not my Queen,” Moisés had started to approach the man with malicious intent, but Abe held out his arm. Moisés could have pushed past his brother, but he showed restraint and didn’t.

The man felt shocked at the onslaught of signs and words, he hadn’t expected anyone but the black-haired lady and Shadow to talk to him. He certainly hadn’t expected the Deaf kid to go off on his head, he was used to complete silence from them, he could see why the Queen would use him as an ambassador.

Ramona said quietly, “I’m giving you a chance at life. You come with us and help us or we kill you here and now.” She held up a hand when Storm protested, not understanding that this was a dangerous offer. If he accepted, he could hide in their ranks and eat it away from the inside.

The man gathered spit and shot it at her, “Bite me,” he looked Shadow in the eye, “Kill me, it would be a mercy.” Shadow without any hesitation pulled the trigger then his world went black, the last thing he saw was down the barrel of a pistol. Shadow was no stranger to killing people so, he forgot that some of the people in the group were.

Susan covered her mouth, her eyes growing wide, Luke turned around so that way she wouldn’t have to see, “Move the body.” Luke’s voice sounded commanding, demanding obedience. Shadow knew he was right so he went ahead and moved the body, the kids didn’t need to see this.

“I think I saw his brains,” Willy said with a curious expression which caused Ross to suddenly remember the kid was there and cover his eyes. Ross had been disturbed by the sudden violence of the shot and his own bullet wounds ached a little after seeing it.

When Ramona turned around to address Moisés about his loss of temper she saw he was gone. She spun in a circle, her voice going to a high pitch, “Has anyone seen Moisés?” Her eyes appeared panicked that the boy was gone, he shouldn’t be alone. Susan felt her heart nearly stop, she wondered where her friend could have gone.

Abe had stopped paying attention and he shook his head, “No, oh crap.” He turned around once, “Oh no...” Before he could say a word, Ross was out of the cave’s entrance and running through the woods calling for Moisés, forgetting momentarily that he was Deaf.

Willy stood there, looking misplaced, “I think Ross is worried.” The little boy smiled slightly causing the group to smile a little. Susan knew he was attempting at humor so she smiled a little. It was a little funny; the way Ross worried about people.

Abraham dropped into a sitting position suddenly, dropping his head into his hands. Ramona stood by the boy, her hand hovering over his head, unsure of what to do. Abe sobbed suddenly, “It’s been two years, shouldn’t it stop hurting?” He didn’t specify what he meant but the entire group knew what he meant. They had all lost someone and they all felt this way at one time or another. Willy walked over and hugged Abe, not saying a word. Ramona watched as Abe allowed the child to comfort him. She sat down next to Abe and also hugged him, seeing he needed it.

“If this is how you feel, how much worse is it for Moisés who’s expected to be strong?” Susan spoke for the first time in a while, causing all eyes to be on her. She couldn’t hear what they said but she could read the emotions, “I hope Ross finds him.”

Moisés had sneaked away from the group; he felt like he had to be alone. He needed to be away from them so he could ugly cry, he hadn’t cried in so long. If his hands could scream he would let them, he couldn’t hear the noises he was making but he could feel the reverberation in his body. Moisés plopped down on a huge rock and gripped his hair, squeezing his eyes shut. Moisés felt his body lurch and tears came out of his eyes.

He felt like tears made you weak; his friends couldn’t see him weak, Ramona couldn’t see him weak. Moisés felt someone touch his shoulder and he went on the defensive. He threw the heel of his hand up into the perpetrators nose, punched his knee, then stood in a defensive position. Moisés saw a very surprised Ross sitting on the ground, staring up at him in astonishment.

Moisés felt bad, he couldn’t believe he hit him, Ross really shouldn’t have sneaked up on him though. Moisés shook his head at him then helped him up. Ross touched his nose tenderly so Moisés reached out and reset it. He jumped away from him with such a hilarious expression that Moisés couldn’t help but laugh.

Moisés signed at him, you shouldn’t have done that. I wasn’t expecting anybody to follow me. Moisés knew he probably picked up about 20% of what he had said. Moisés was trying to be upbeat again; he couldn’t let his new friend see him weak. Moisés thought he was fooling him anyways; but apparently not. The look he gave Moisés was equal parts hilarious and saddening, he was not buying it at all.

Ross simply took a couple steps forward and gave Moisés a man hug. In other words, he gave him a side hug to make it less awkward. Which was pretty much impossible since they were both standing in the freezing cold of winter, Moisés accepted the hug then whacked him on the back of the head, laughed, and bolted back towards the cave. I had knocked him right over; he was so stinking clumsy.

When Moisés ran and Ross didn’t seem to be following he slowed down, maybe he was just being slow again? Moisés started to backtrack to find his bizarre printer friend, when he arrived Ross grabbed him and signed Danger over and over until Moisés looked in the direction he pointed in. There were several royal guards coming in their direction, again.

Moisés put his finger to his lips to indicate the need for silence and stealth, that would be hard enough with Ross, the last part. But they had to move quietly because if they so much as turned their heads they would see them. This scared Moisés to no end, he was terrified of the thought of him and Ross being captured by the royal guards.

Moisés bent to the ground and moved as quietly as he could in the snow, they should never have left the cave; it was a stupid decision based on emotional problems, he felt like his issues could get them all killed.

Suddenly the men looked at them and his head whipped around at Ross. He winced with embarrassment and rubbed his nose. Moisés stared at him incredulously, he couldn’t believe it! He had emphasized stealth and the guy still managed to make some type of noise.

Ross tackled Moisés just as a bullet narrowly missed him, Moisés pushed the redhead off and then helped him up as they both ran as fast as they could in the snow, without snowshoes…which could have helped or hindered.

Moisés glanced out of the corner of his eye and saw Storm and her friend attack the people without anyone else. He saw glimpses of the little girl, she was moving at a speed that he had never seen. She would be a blur and then he’d see her briefly before she became a blur again.

They were like a hurricane wreaking the soldiers and it was as if nothing could stop them, Moisés almost ran into a tree while in his thoughts but Ross dodged in front of him, forcing him to stop. Moisés was very thankful that he did this because he would have run straight into the object.

Ross looked over his shoulder, alarmed, and Moisés spun, ducking when the man swung at him with a knife. This man didn’t have a gun on him, he was used to hand-to-hand combat. Moisés’s head reared back when he swung at his face, barely missing him. Moisés had to focus on this or he’d die and if he died than Ross would end up being the next victim. Heaven knows that Ross can’t defend himself very well at all.

Moisés grabbed the guy’s wrist the next time he came after him and twisted it until he felt it crack. The man’s mouth opened in a scream of pain. Moisés couldn’t hear it, to him it looked like the man was screaming but there was no sound.

Moisés kicked him in the knee, feeling that dislocate, then knocked his head in such a way that he passed out. He was surprised that the two pain things were not enough to render him unconscious, Moisés felt a pain in his shoulder that felt terrible, he wouldn’t have even been able to describe what it felt like but he could identify the cool metal of a knife. Moisés felt it rip through his skin then come out, his knees buckled a little but he pulled himself back together. Moisés tried to ignore the burning pain, pivoting and kicking the man in the chest. Seconds later Ross kicked the man in the groin, which sent him to his knees, then kneed him in the jaw which knocked him out.

Moisés felt the pain come back full force and saw black dots in front of his eyes, he would not allow himself to pass out; Moisés gripped Ross’s shoulder as he blinked rapidly, trying to regain his focus. Ross held perfectly still while Moisés regained his focus and will power.

Moisés saw a man coming for them and Ross still wasn’t moving. he couldn’t do anything about the impending attack and thought for sure they were about to die. Then the little girl was there, the fast one, and was beating the snot out of the man. She moved fast enough to stay out of his way when he swung at where she had been, Moisés saw that she wasn’t going to kill him, just trying to be a distraction, but he wasn’t sure what for. A few seconds later his question was answered, Luke came charging over and cut the man across the throat swiftly, dispatching him.

Moisés knew he was about to pass out when his brother came up to him and started signing. Moisés vision was blurring and he wasn’t able to focus on his hands. Moments later the world went black as he succumbed to the pain.

Abraham’s brother passed out before he could ask how much it hurt, which seemed like a really stupid question anyways; if your eyes are unfocused as much as his were you wouldn’t have been able to tell what he was signing either. They had been relaxing in the cave when Molly had to use the bathroom, the little girl left but had suddenly returned; she urgently told them that Ross and Moisés were in danger.

Which, of course, had them all in a panic, keeping in mind he’d never known his brother to be brutal. Moisés usually tried to dispatch people with very little violence. Abe examined the other body to make sure it was dead, “Luke, did you break this man’s wrist?”

“No... Why?” Luke walked over with a puzzled expression, Abraham held up the dead man’s wrist that was twisted at an impossible angle. Luke recoiled, repulsed, “Oh my. Who did...” he glanced at Moisés, “Oh.”

Abe looked at his unconscious brother then asked, “Where is Dr. Xander?” The doctor came over and instantly started to check his brother. The doctor rolled the boy over unto his back and checked that wound, wincing because of how deep it was.

“He has a pretty deep wound in his back; we need to get him to a better doctor. Judging by the amount of blood on the ground he’ll need a transfusion before the day is out,” Dr. Xander looked disturbed, “Place pressure on the wound; if we can slow it down his chances of surviving will increase. I do know a doctor but she’s a little unstable.”

“I am starting to believe that everyone Storm knows is unstable,” Abe heard a snicker come from the woman in question. He knew he wasn’t wrong; everyone that he met that Storm knew was crazy. He looked over at Storm and the girl looked towards the base of the mountain, “What’s up?” He could see the concerned expression that she had.

“I’m not sure if Yael is still alive or not. Last I saw her was years ago, and she was in the middle of committing treason,” Storm crossed her arms over her chest and looked at Shadow, “Do you know where she might be?”

“Last I heard she was in the Queen’s dungeons. We’ll need to find a different doctor, but I think I know one who’s not far from here…Providing she didn’t move,” Shadow replied, the one he knew about moved around a lot out of fear of being found and executed, “If we expect to find her we need to move now.”

“Who’s going to carry Moisés?” Abe asked with a concerned expression, glancing back at his bleeding brother, “I don’t think any of us are strong enough right now.” He looked to Ramona for help and then back at Shadow, “We can’t leave him here.”

Ross jumped into the conversation quickly, “What if we don’t leave him here? We can make something to carry him with,” He wasn’t ready to leave his friend behind either, “I can find the branches if someone else can find some cloth. Dr. Xander, would snow on the wound help at all?”

Dr. Xander was taken aback by the onslaught of words, “Yes, snow could help. To be honest though, cauterizing the wound would be better. That would close the wound and disinfect it at the same time,” The doctor saw the expression on Ramona’s face and added, “It’s either that or he dies. He might wake up when I start the process.”

Ross ran off to find sturdy branches for the bed that they would carry him on, he also didn’t want to be there when they cauterized the wound. He saw Molly run up to him and the child smiled brightly at him, “I’m making sure that perimeter is safe while Moisés gets his wound sealed up.” Ross nodded once and the child bolted away, making her rounds while Froggy attempted to keep up.

Dr. Xander had started a fire and was starting to heat a knife, “This will not feel good,” The doctor said to the unconscious boy. He couldn’t wake him up with words and they had already tried to wake him up several times. Dr. Xander had Shadow and Storm holding unto his arms while Abe stood ready to cover the boy’s mouth. Dr. Xander pulled out the hot iron and then rolled the boy unto his stomach while Abe put his hand over his brother’s mouth, “Everybody ready?” When the group nodded, he placed the hot iron on the skin, causing it to redden, cauterize, and the boy woke up with a start. Moisés started to fight them and let out a horrible scream that was barely muffled by Abe.

Ross walked back with the pieces of wood while Ramona found some fabric to tie to it. Ramona met Ross halfway so that way neither of them would have to see Moisés’s agony. Ramona helped arrange the limbs while Ross found some rope in the pack that he had, then they put together the gurney, which, in the end looked very crude. Ramona looked at Ross, “When Moisés started to squirm and scream I left. I couldn’t watch that.” Ross gave her a weak smile in response, not saying anything in reply.

The doctor finished with Moisés and the boy gave him the evil eye than used a rude sign. Abe tried not to smile at his brother’s annoyance. Ross and Ramona came back with the gurney and Shadow placed Moisés on it while Dr. Xander signed, I am sorry, but it was the only way I could think of to heal your wound. Moisés simply bestowed Dr. Xander with the same sign again, not wanting to talk about it. The doctor hid a smile, signing again, we are taking you to a doctor.

Moisés signed back aggressively, Good, you’re a quack. I demand to see a real doctor. The boy was very obviously peeved, normally he wouldn’t be that aggressive to someone in medical care, I would also like pain killer, if you don’t mind. Dr. Xander nodded in reply and shifted through his bag, finding some pain killers for the boy. Dr. Xander found the medicine and gave it to Moisés before getting help from Luke to place the boy on the gurney that Ramona and Ross provided. And thus they were on their way to find the doctor that Shadow knew about.

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