Chapter 4: Sanctuary
By the time Kidd had helped her off the beach and into the forest, the pirates were too busy with their boat. They had crouched down low against the foliage, watching the men, before Kidd finally pulled her away and into the forest.
They found a cave amidst a rock face, and Alex was grateful to nature for providing them with shelter. She was wet and cold, her hands shaking a bit, as the sun was slowly coming down from the horizon. Kidd had braved the outdoors again, bringing tinder and wood, and something that he had stuffed into his small bag.
"See if you can start up a fire, Alex." Kidd said, his voice a little gentle, but still on alert. She nodded numbly as he gave her the wood and tinder, as well his lighter. He had kept it as dry as possible, along with his cigarettes, so it was easy for her to make a fire. Once she got a good fire starting, she plopped down beside it and held out her hands to make them warm, as Kidd settled in front of her and opened a bag.
She looked up just as Kidd pulled out a small boa constrictor out of the small bag, and her eyes widened at the sight of it. "Kidd? What are you doing?"
Kidd looked up at her, "What? Aren't you hungry? I don't know about you, but when I saw those pirates, I got the urge to eat. Gets rid of the stress, you know?" The older man laughed, but at Alex's raised eyebrow, he sighed heavily and leaned over to her. "Listen here, Alex… and you better listen good, because I am not going to say this again."
Alex looked at her friend. She rarely saw him this serious. Kidd was laid back, and lazy, and he never took stuff seriously. The only time she had ever seen him so serious was when he…
No… I shouldn't think about that.
She shook herself mentally and looked up at Kidd, "Okay… I'm listening, Kidd."
"These men, sweetheart… these men are dangerous." Kidd said seriously, and Alex gulped a little, "I don't know what's the business of these men are, but it's bad. Could be drugs. Could be humans. No one in their right mind would stay in a God-forsaken place unless the shit they do is against the law. You got to be brave. You got to show these bastards that you're not afraid. They can sense the fear in you. And they'll kill you when they see it." He leaned back a little and pointed a thumb outside of their cave. "That little display outside is just a teaser, you know? I bet whatever these bastards are, they can do a much worse."
Alex nodded a little, and hugged her knees, "Is that… speaking from experience, Kidd?"
The older man smiled gently, "A little. The shit I've seen, sweetheart… could curl your toes and give you nightmares." His smile faded a little, "So I'm going' to tell you this now, Alex. If you want to survive… if you want to live… you have to live like them. Act like them. Fight like them. Even…" At this Kidd sighed again, "Even kill like them."
A shiver passed down Alex's back, and she looked up at the man fearfully. "Kidd… I can't-"
"Shh… shh, I know kiddo." Kidd said, moving away from his seat to come nearer to her, and he placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. "But you have to do it. If they get you… and I can't get to you… you have to fight to live. You understand?"
"And what if they kill me, even if I try to be brave?" Alex said, her voice barely a whisper, "What then?"
Kidd shrugged, "Then you're dead. As simple as that. You lived a good life. If it's your time, it's your time. You know?" The elder man grinned down at her, ruffling her hair, making her smile a little. He dragged the big bag he had, and took out their contents. "Here, stand up so I can strap these on you."
She nodded and stood up, and when Kidd looked up, he frowned, "A long skirt? Woman, are you crazy?!"
Alex rolled her eyes, "I was trying to be unattractive. I had a gut feeling that Nigel and Gunther are not quite the gentlemen I thought they were… and they weren't."
Kidd chuckled, "True enough. Here…" He took a pair of cargo pants in his bag and looked at it. It was rather big, since it had belonged to him, but he merely took a knife and cut it, before giving it her. She put them on under her skirt, making the pants reach her calves, but the pockets could hold various items. She tied up a leather belt around it so it wouldn't slip down her waist, threw the skirt into his bag, and looked at him, and he nodded approvingly at her boots and shirt.
"Okay… I'm going to arm you up, kid." He said, pulling out his items from his bag, which included a couple of handguns, an UZI, a hunting knife in a sheath, a switch blade and a medicine kit. Kidd strapped the gun's holsters to her hips, and he put some magazines for her guns and the medi-kit into her pockets. He looked at the two blades and gave it to her, "Here… you pick a place to put them in."
Alex nodded and tucked the hunting knife into her boot, and the switch blade in her bra between her breasts. She looked up and saw Kidd blinking… before laughing hard at her. "Nice hiding place, woman."
She grinned before shrugging, "Yeah well, I put a lot of stuff in there. Might as well be something as useful as a knife."
Kidd laughed again, "Hahaha. Good thinking, kid. Anyway, about the snake." At this he stood up and went back to the small bag that contained the snake carcass, lifting it up and taking his hunting knife. Alex cringed a little as he cut off its head and started gutting it.
"I'm actually pretty amazed you could do that, Kidd." She said as the man pulled on the snake, stripping off its scaly skin clean off his body.
"You know my story more than anyone, Alex." Kidd said as he threw the snake's guts into the fire, before giving her a thin stick, "Carve the end into a point. We're going to barbeque this fucker."
Alex huffed as she unsheathed the knife in her boot, before whittling away at the end of the stick, "Brings back memories to you, huh?"
Kidd chuckled, "Hell, yeah! Eating snakes… it isn't half bad." He grinned at her as he pointed at the now cleanly gutted snake, "I'm telling you, girl. This fucker right here? Taste like chicken."
She blinked before laughing, "Just without the salt and spices, I think."
"You got to eat to survive, Alex." Kidd said as he laid out the snake on his bag to keep it clean, "I remember this one time… we passed by this really nice farm field…"
Alex and Kidd laughed throughout the night, roasting the snake as the man told stories about the weird stuff he ate during his lifetime, which included fried locusts, barbequed snakes, and something called a balut egg. She had to admit, during their dinner, that the snake he cooked really did taste like chicken. She ate a few bites… only one fourth of the snake, as Kidd devoured the rest of it.
"See I told you, didn't I?" Kidd said, chuckling, before throwing the stick and the snake bones into the fire.
She chuckled, "Yeah. Sure it was. Remind me cook it with curry next time." Kidd laughed as she grinned, before a yawn escaped from her.
Kidd looked at her kindly, "Well, that's a sign, kid. Get some rest. I'll stay and do the first watch." And he stood up, taking the AK with him, before looking out to the mouth of the cave.
She nodded and grabbed her old skirt, before tearing it up and making a make-shift blanket. She lied down on the ground, facing away from the fire and into the darkness inside of the cave. She stared at nothing for a while, before sighing, "Kidd?"
"Do you think we can ever get back home?"
"I don't know, kid." She heard Kidd sigh, "I never really had much of a life back home, you know? Nothing stirs me up… everything bores me to death… you know what I mean?"
"Hmm…" She hummed, "Sometimes… I feel that way, too." She sighed heavily before closing her eyes half-way. She was tired and sleepy, and very thirsty. As her consciousness faded, she thought she saw a pair of bright green eyes in the darkness, before sleep finally took her.