Soren couldn’t believe his eyes. What happened? How did it happen? A quick glance round told him that it wasn’t humans or mice. [Did… they leave?] The mortifying thought started to seep into his mind. [Brady… he made them move after I got caught. Of course he would. He wanted to leave the moment we arrived after all.]
He summoned what voice he could and called out. “Dorian! Rey! Where are you?!” He stepped forward past their camp and raised his hands to his mouth in a cone. He knew it was dangerous to shout in the walls, but some part of him disregarded safety to do this. He called out again.
“Dorian! Rey!” There was nothing but the stagnant air of the space between the walls. Soren went to call again, but his voice choked in his throat.
Soren had managed to suppress everything that happened up until that point. His injury, the human, relocating. His mind grew numb as he finally allowed what happened to fully sink into his mind. He stumbled forward onto the remaining cloth of his bedroll which laid on the ground.
Soren often took moments to reflect, but more often than not it was to think about his next move or how to best look after his younger brothers. There were comparatively fewer moments when he would think about himself and things that happened to him. Now was one of those times.
Soren’s body took over, shivering uncontrollably. He wrapped his arms around his torso and curled into a ball. His left leg, still confined within its restrictive bandaging, throbbed and ached with each convulsion. He couldn’t believe what had just happened, and the stress of it all was keeping him from processing it clearly.
He was seen and caught by a human. He had been handled – held of all things – by the human at some point or another. He had talked in her presence, though he didn’t remember it, and now she knew the names of his brothers. The alternative was too frightening to consider. Then, of all things, the human watched him go without lifting so much as a finger to stop him. Soren had never been one to cry, but now that his situation had deescalated fresh, hot tears clung to his cheeks.
He knew he had to stop and get back to his brothers, but he couldn’t will his body to stand; not yet at least. He laid there for he didn’t know how long. He let his body ache and his mind become numb. It wasn’t until what felt like hours later that Soren opened his eyes once more and, as he did, he noticed something.
There was a thin, almost imperceptible layer of dust was on the cloth he was laying on. Soren rubbed his hand against the cloth to be sure. When he lifted his hand, he saw that there was indeed a thin layer. [What is this? Dust? It can’t be. This is too much for just one day…] A thought struck him. [How long was I unconscious?]
Another wave of nausea hit him; a clenching in his gut. He coughed a few times as his insides seized. This wasn’t just a reaction from stress. No. This felt like something else. This was a different kind of shaking. He remembered this feeling, though it had been a while – it was hunger.
Soren’s mind reeled again as the realizations hit him like a baseball bat. Based on what he was feeling and combined with the evidence of the dust, he realized that he had been unconscious for longer than he thought; but how long was that span of time?
Soren shook his thoughts away. He couldn’t worry about that now. There were a thousand things he needed to worry about; and the first thing was obtaining food. Standing on shaking legs, he hobbled over to their food storage. As expected, there was nothing left. The extra hooks and spools of thread were also gone.
Soren clenched his fist and pounded it against the wooden beams. [How am I supposed to start from scratch with a broken leg? How can I get away? How can I borrow like this?] He pressed his back against the wall. In his weakened state, could he even survive on his own?
[I have… to try…] Numbly, Soren pushed himself off of the wall and began walking. He wasn’t sure where he was going, and wasn’t sure if he cared where he went. Regardless of where he went, it was going to be nearly impossible to borrow anything without being seen. Each step filled him with a subtle dread. Was this it?
It wasn’t until he nearly ran into it that he realized where he was. He was back at the fighting couple’s apartment – the apartment of the human who found him. There was as thin line attached to a beam high above leading to the electrical cover by the bread box. His heart fluttered with a spark of something that felt like hope. [Maybe I can do this.]
Weak but determined, Soren attached his walking stick to the bottom of the line and began to climb. His grip shook as he place weight on it and he managed to use the wrapping on his left leg to help sustain his position on the line, but he was completely exhausted by the time he reached the top. He barely had the concentration to bring his walking stick up the line; and even as he rolled onto his back and stared beams above his head, his vision blurred.
[Something. I just have to borrow one thing to eat. I just have to get up. I have to…] His head swirled again as his insides clenched. He rolled over onto his front and pushed forward to the electrical cover. It took a moment, but he succeeded in removing the cover. He listened as hard as he could, but the light ringing in his ears made it nearly impossible.
He would have to risk it. Soren pushed the cover open and glanced around. No immediate sign of her. One step. Then another. He had almost made it when a terrible, lightheaded sensation overcame him. The next step faltered, and Soren suddenly made contact with the countertop. His vision began to darken around the edges.
[No! No! Not when I’m so close! Did the climb really take that much out of me?] Soren didn’t remember feeling so lightheaded and so tired; but the coolness of the counter felt so good against his cheek. Unable to persuade his body to act under his will, he slipped again into darkness.