The world was silent, like it was suddenly holding its breath. I could see Felicity screaming beside me, but no sounds reached my ears. Even my own screams were silent.
Like there was nobody willing to listen to them.
I launched myself at the guard. His face looked shocked, but he pulled up the gun and held it level with my chest. It fired and everything slowed down. Something punctured my skin and sharp pain spread throughout my body. My vision began to black and my limbs grew heavy. I crashed into the guard and we both tumbled to the ground.
Then I closed my eyes and everything left.
Everything was humming. A constant orchestra that seemed to taunt me as I questioned my sanity.
Was I dead?
Something was touching my arm and warm air caressed my ear. Out of the humming came a soft sound that was vaguely familiar. I groaned and tried to open my eyes. They opened to black and I began to fret.
Was the afterlife just blackness spreading in every direction? I blinked rapidly but nothing changed except the humming. It was beginning to fade, slowly morphing into murmurs. I strained to listen to what they were saying but nothing made sense.
Something touched my face and began fiddling with something. Scratchy material rubbed over my eyes and suddenly everything was coated with a bright light. I winced and closed my eyes again.
“Erik.” Felicity was talking right into my ear. “Are you okay?”
“Ugh.” I opened my eyes again and looked at her. She was smiling, her eyes sparkling in the sunlight.
“I’m alive.” I thought back to the bullet hitting my chest. “How?”
“That was a dart, they wouldn’t actually kill you.” Her face darkened. “We’re too ‘valuable’.” She mimicked the guard’s voice, her hands flying around her head with a gesturing flair.
I smiled, the bones around my mouth aching. “At least that’s a reassurance.”
“Yeah…” A shadow fell upon us and I looked up.” Morgan was slowly walking around, leaning on Jack’s shoulder.
“Hey, I’m sorry.” She apologized. ’It’s my fault you got shot.”
“No problem.” I slowly sat up, my head swimming from the sudden movement.
“Take it easy.” Morgan cautioned. “It takes a few minutes to feel good enough to sit.”
“Thanks, where’s Jasmine.”
“Here.” She walked over from a group of guards. “I was just discussing our ‘job’.”
I grabbed her arm and pulled myself up. She grimaced as my nails dug into her skin but didn’t protest.
“You owe me after saving you twice.” I said, inspecting the dents.
“Shut up.” She wrapped my arm around her shoulder and helped me walk across the camp. The sun was in the middle of the sky and it was beating down on the exposed clearing.
“They have to be in the middle of the light?” I complained.
“It’s safest.” She led me to a small tent sitting on the ground. “You need shade and rest. I’ll check in on you later.”
“Okay.” I slowly crouched down and then lay on a sleeping bag spread out on the ground.
Squee! I sat up in the darkness and looked around frantically. Something was wrong. Nobody was there. The tents were all gone and the walls had disappeared. My legs were dipped half into the stream that lay outside where the camp was supposed to be.
“Run!” Jasmine disappeared into the trees.
“I need help!” I called, attempting to get to my feet. My legs collapsed beneath me and I fell back down.
“Everyone for themselves.” The guards appeared out of nowhere.
“We should just shoot him.” Felicity said. “That way he’s gone.”
“No, he’s a sacrifice to the pig.” The guards leader stepped forwards. “While he’s being eaten we can run!”
The noise was coming closer. I looked at the other side of the camp and saw the warthog step out into the light. It sniffed the ground and then looked right at me. With its tusks to the ground it charged.
“Ahh!” I screamed. The others were now running away, but the warthogs focus was on me. It stopped beside me and reared back to dig its tusk into my flesh. I braced myself as the tusk came down and-
“Get up!” Jasmine shook me awake.
I screamed and sat up. There was chaos going on around us as the guards hurried around. Jack and Felicity stood in the middle of the clearing, back to back.