Planet Earth Protectors, The River's End

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Did he just hear my phone ring? Teplan opened one eye. The hulking figure before them was busy examining the property’s perimeter while the roar of the trucks dominated the air. Teplan gingerly moved his hand into his pocket and held a button that turned off the phone as it began to squeeze out the next ring.

Terah shut her eyes very tightly and realized not only was she holding her breath, but she was also flexing every muscle in her body. We’re dead for sure! For sure, for sure! She freaked out. He’s going to step on me! And, then he’s going to know I’m here! And then, he’ll pull me out of this mud and I’ll never see my family again! She took a short quick breath through her pursed, mud-covered lips.

The security trucks raced along the forest’s edge, shining their bright spotlights and scanning the trees as they drove past.

The guard’s walkie-talkie crackled again and a deep and heavy voice commanded, “Red Team, verify.”

The guard waited a moment, then tapped a button on his upper chest area of his jumpsuit, “Red Six, verified — positioned in south, south section.”

“Bring it back boys,” the voice said. “False alarm. Over and out.”

The guard tapped the button again and began walking back through the heavy mud towards the building.

Teplan and Terah lay as still as their old teacher’s frown.

Roaring trucks and voices disappeared, as silence returned. As soon as the last guard was in the building, the floodlights went out and blanketed the field with darkness.

“Teplan? You there?”

“Yeah,” he said, wiping mud from his face. “The clouds are still there in front of the moon — I can’t see anything.”

Terah realized she still had her eyes clenched shut. “Is it safe for us to leave?”

“I don’t know, but it’s super dark. We need to get out of here. I’m going to slowly get up and check things out. Don’t move.” He rolled onto his stomach and peeked his head above the mud. “Alright. Let’s get up and stay low. Head for the forest,” Teplan said. “Okay?”

“Good. I’m so ready to get out of here,” Terah answered as she worked to free herself from the heavy mud.

They squished and slipped their way back to the forest, and once in the safety of the trees, they wiped gobs of stinky, soggy mud from their faces and tried to un-suctioned their stinky, soggy clothes from their bodies.

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