The next few days were some of the longest in my life. The last thing that Rita had mentioned of the escape was for me to just be ready. I’ve never been more ready for anything in my whole life. My motivation? Charlie’s freedom and Everett.
We haven’t touched the food that Charlie brought down, unless it was to flush what we could down the toilet, just to give the illusion we were eating it. I could already feel my energy and strength returning. Not eating does have its disadvantages, if I stand too quickly I can almost make out stars shooting across my vision.
Rita says to conserve the energy I do have for when the time comes, so here I am sitting on the cot, after Charlie brought us lunch, with my head on the cool concrete wall with my eyes closed. Chris hasn’t come down since he brought his mother down here and I punched him in the face. I must say that I’m nervous for what he is planning next.
While resting with Rita beside me, I can’t help but daydream about what life is going to be like when Charlie and I do finally escape this hell. Will we be happy? Where will we go? Shallow Lake or Red River?
I was so caught up in my day dream I didn’t even hear Chris and Charlie make their way down to the cell door. When I heard the key in the lock, I shot up and looked at them entering the small room. Chris had a wicked grin, one hand behind his back and the other was gripping the back of Charlie’s neck with more force than necessary.
“Hello, mate, mother. How’s life?” He asked in the most casual of ways.
When we just stared at him and didn’t answer, he responded, “Do either of you want to tell me why my baby brother was going through my things? Looking for something.”
I heard Rita speak next from behind me, “Chris, what are you talking about? He’s a curious 6 year old, who looks up to his brother, of course he’s going to snoop through your stuff.”
“Am I stupid?” He scoffed and rolled his eyes.
If he wasn’t hold Charlie in a way that he could easily break his neck, i would have answered. Yes.
He slowly brought the hand that wasn’t on Charlie’s neck to the front of his body. He held a large silver hunting knife. I gasped in horror and brought my hands to my mouth as he inspected the blade with a serious expression.
I glanced to Rita who had moved forward beside me, she had the same horror-struck look on her face that I did. What is he going to do?
He brought the knife toward Charlie’s bare arm, Charlie’s eyes widened and he tried his best to struggle away from his brother, but Chris’ grip was like a vice. No escape. Chris laid the flat side of the blade on Charlie’s skin and the smell of burning flesh filled the cell.
Charlie screamed in agony and tears filled his eyes, the sight completely broke my heart. Chris will pay for this. While Chris continued his assault of Charlie’s skin, Rita locked eyes with Charlie and started trying to comfort him through the pain.
“It’s okay, Charlie, it’s okay. You’re going to be fine. You’re strong, baby.”
“Strong?” Chris spat. “This is not strong, he is and always will be weak. Just like our mother.”
Chris smiles at his declaration and pulls the knife from his brothers arm. He pointed it towards his mother and looks at her tear stained face, rolls his eyes dramatically, and then locks eyes with me, he can see the tears threatening to spill.
“Weak like all of you.” He stated as he pointed the knife at each of us slowly.
Rita chose this moment to speak up, her words would stay with me for the rest of my life, I never knew the true meaning of the words until she said them to Chris with her eyes narrowed.
“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
With that she lunges at Chris, the move took him by surprise and he let go of Charlie’s neck in a failed attempt to deflect her attack. The surprise of the swift attack made him to slow to react in time.
I ran to Charlie’s side, hovering my hands over his body to silently assess the damage his older brother had inflicted upon him. He seemed fine, all things considered. With tears in his eyes, he watched his mother and brother struggle against each other. This is the moment. This our chance at escaping.
During the squabble, Rita had been cut by the knife Chris was still holding, but she didn’t show any fear or pain as she quickly reached for it. Chris’ knuckles were white as he held the hilt of the blade and Rita’s hand was covering his using a lot of her preserved strength to try and over power him.
They continued to fight for control of the blade and I saw an opening. One that could bring any man to his knees in an instant. I took the chance without an ounce of hesitation and kicked Chris right in his groin. He crumpled to the floor groaning in pain, he let his grip on the knife loosen for a split second. Luckily, it was long enough for Rita to snatch it away.
She crouched on top of Chris and held the blade to his throat, Chris showed no fear, only rage. Evil, evil man.
He looked at his mothers determined face and allowed a sinister smile to spread all the way up to his eyes. Mischief in his eyes, he said, “Oh mother, we both know you aren’t strong enough to do what needs to be done. After all, I’m your son.”
“Wanna bet?” She said as she pushed the blade closer and touched it to his throat. The action made him flinch as his skin burned under the pressure of the silver.
Rita looked up to me and jutted her chin towards Chris, “Key. Now.”
I hurried over to Chris, leaned over and patted his jeans with both hands as he sat perfectly still. Inside his pocket, I plucked out the brass key. I stood back up and looked at Rita. Her face looked to be made of stone, but she had tears gently falling down her face.
“Go now, take Charlie and go. When you get out, lock the door back and keep the key with you.”
I grabbed Charlie’s hand and we made our way to the door. As I slid my hand through the bars, and fumbled with putting the key in the lock, Chris laughed manically. “I’ll come for you, mate. I’ll come for you and the boy.”
Rita shut him up quickly as she pressed the blade further into his neck, drawing a bit of blood. Rita looked to Charlie as we pushed open the door and walked through.
“Love you, baby. Be a good boy for Amelia, okay?”
“I love you, too. I will be good, mama, but how are you going to leave?”
“Don’t worry about that now, Charlie. Just be good.”
With fresh tears brimming at his eyes daring to pour as he nodded at his mother, I looked down at him and said, “Everything will be fine now, Charlie. Everything will be fine.” I locked the door behind us as fast as I could and clutched the key in my hand.
With a final wave and a sad smile from Rita, we bounded up the stairs, out of the basement door. As I slammed the door shut, I heard the distinct sound of a wolf shifting in the basement. The cracking and popping of bones rang in the air as we ran to the front door of the lodge. Moon Goddess, Luna, please protect Rita. Please protect us all.
Lucky for us, Charlie knew where to go to lead us out of the Carmichael territory. We ran as fast as we could, hand-in-hand, never once looking back, in fear that we may have wolves on our trail. If it was Chris who shifted in the basement, he would have warned all of the pack members of our escape through his mind-link. Only time will tell.
After hours of running through the forest, we finally made it out of their territory just as the sun began to set. As exhaustion and fatigue began settling in our muscles, we decided to take a break. I found a few clustered bushes and threw the brass key in them, hopefully lost forever.