Guys!! It’s back!!! After SUCH a long break, you can finally huggle Sawyer again!! And, I must say, as I was pre-reading this, it was SO nice being back into the story. I really missed it. ❤
Anyways. Enjoy, and please comment, like always!
Part one, part two, part three, part four, part five, part six, part seven, part eight, part nine, part ten, part eleven, part twelve, part thirteen, part fourteen, part fifteen, part sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen.
“So you’ve done this before?” I questioned incredulously.
The three nodded.
I shrugged. “Well, whatever.”
We all headed into the woods, the already strong smell of pine growing stronger with each step.
I felt good. I was breaking the rules on only my second day – something that I normally would’ve been against – but I was doing it with kids my age, and they had asked me to join them. I felt something that I hadn’t felt before … belonging.
“Sawyer, care-” Alla started to cry, but it was to late. I walked straight into a pine tree that had its branches cut off all the way to just above my head.
“Ouch,” I muttered, rubbing a growing knot on my forehead.
I heard laughing, not ridiculing, but happy.
I managed a smile. “I guess I should, uh, watch where I’m going.”
“Come on,” Alla said, grabbing my forearm and tugging me gently. “There’s something that we want to show you.”
I was about to ask what, but I figured that the answer would be the same as all the other times that I’d asked that question: you’ll see.
We weaved in and out of big and small pine trees alike, this time I kept my eyes on where I was going. Alla’s steering wasn’t great, but it had kept me from tripping over a nearly invisible rock.
We finally slowed to a stop; Alla’s hand dropping.
“Ta-da!” Alla said proudly.
I just nodded and smiled, my eyes furiously searching for what Alla could have been meaning.
“No, silly,” Alla said. She pointed up, and my gaze followed her finger.
Half-way up one of the taller pine trees was a platform. A camouflaged rope ladder led up the tree. Colleen Ada was already climbing up, James not far behind.
Colleen Ada yelled down, “You’re not scared of heights, are you?”
I shook myself out of my daze. “Nah.”
“Well then, allons-y!” James said, finishing the whole David Tennant image.
I smiled at the reference and followed Alla to the tree. She climbed up expertly, while it took me awhile. I had never climbed a tree, or a rope later, I had always been a city boy, except when I went to Grandma’s house in the country.
“Hurry up, slow pokes!” James called from the platform.
Yep, they were definitely one big family.
When I finally made it to the top of the seemingly endless rope ladder, I scrambled onto the platform, slightly out of breath but trying not to show it. The platform wasn’t actually that big and it was crudely made, making me nervous despite not having a fear of heights.
“Isn’t it amazing?” Colleen Ada breathed.
I looked out. We weren’t over the treetops like I would’ve though, but still the view was amazing. As long as I didn’t look down. The pine needles were all a dark shade of green, complementing the light blue of the sky and the bright yellow of the morning sun.
“It is,” I agreed.
We all sat there in silence. No one talked; no one moved. It was all perfect. Too perfect.
Birds screeched in the distance. I didn’t pay any attention to the noise, until it began to grow, and grow.
Colleen Ada cursed under her breath. “We have to get down. Now.”
“Why?” I asked, but everyone except for me was already on their way down.
I leaned over the edge slightly so I could see my companions. I repeated my now familiar question. That was a mistake. Though we weren’t at the top of the tree, we were at a dizzying height. I nearly toppled off, but I flung myself against the trunk.
“Hurry up!” James called.
By the time I worked up the nerve to climb down the ladder, everyone else was already off and scrambling into the surrounding woods.
The descent was harder then the way up. I frantically scrambled down, making the rope ladder sway. Why were we hiding from a bunch of birds?
“Sawyer!” Colleen Ada hissed from behind a nearby tree.
When I only had a few feet left, I leaped off the ladder, and hurried over to Colleen Ada.
“Why are we hiding?”
I lowered my voice. “Why are we hiding?”
“Because those aren’t birds.”
“What do you mean they’re not birds? They sounded like them to me.”
“Tell you later.”
“No, actually, you won’t,” I argued.
Colleen Ada scanned the sky, then grabbed my arm and pulled me deeper into the woods.
I stole a glance at her, and saw a smile that reached from ear to ear.
I jerked my arm away, and stopped.
Colleen Ada’s smile faded as she came to a halt as well. “What?”
“So it’s okay for you to ask ‘what’?” I demanded. “Is this all some kind of joke to you?”
“What? No.” Now a frown crossed her face. “It’s not. This is serious.”
“Then why were you smiling?” I crossed my arms across my chest. I was not going to move until she gave me some explanations.
Colleen Ada let out a sigh, I wasn’t sure whether it was in annoyance or frustration. “As I said, those aren’t birds.” She scanned the sky nervously. “It’s only a single bird – a gift given to Dr. Eugene.A machine. It sounds like a bunch of them, to scare animals away. He likes to watch them run. He also likes to keep people in and out of these forests.”
“What? What kind of person does that?”
“He’s just trying to protect us,” Colleen Ada defended.
“And why were you smiling?”
“Because this was the most fun I’ve had for a long time. Usually we’re all holed up in our houses, not able to go anywhere. Is that enough explanation for you?”
I didn’t say anything, but nodded in response.
“Can we go now?”
I nodded again, and Colleen Ada and I set off once more, though this time at a slower pace.
We got to the clearing again, thanks to some expert steering from Colleen Ada, and waited for James and Alla, which didn’t take too much waiting. Not long after that, everyone’s cellphones went off, except mine which had yet to be set with an alarm.
We hurried to the dining room to find that Paige, Andy, and Eugene were all waiting for us. Alla, James, and Colleen Ada claimed the extra seats, leaving me once again with the folding chair.
The delicious smell of vegetable soup wafted into the air. I was last again to get my food, letting the others get some before me. I used the ladle to spoon the vegetables, beef, and broth into my bowl, then my watering mouth. Someone was a seriously good cook.
Unlike breakfast, lunch went by quietly, and I missed the sound of joy and laughter. But there was nothing I could do to bring back the merriment; I was still but a stranger to this place and these people.
After lunch Eugene sent us to our rooms. I sat on my bed, awaiting a knock or call saying that we’d break another of Eugene’s rules. But after half an hour of just waiting, I decided that no one was coming, so I closed my eyes and fell asleep faster then I was anticipating.
I awoke to loud music. My alarm. I opened my eyes. No, I was at an insane asylum for people who had ‘abilities’ – as if – so then what was the music?
I got up and smoothed my crumpled clothes. I walked out into the hallway and saw Andy’s door ajar. I stepped closer and the music got slightly louder. It was some kind of instrumental music, but not classical.
I knocked on the door, and when Andy didn’t answer, I pushed it open. Inside was just as the rest of the house, neat and organized. The navy blue bed was neatly made, the pictures and trinkets on the dresser all straight, the TV was spotless. Wait. The TV?
I looked for Andy, and saw him tucked in a corner at a writing desk where he was on a laptop, a smattering of papers and notebooks scattered around him. The mess was seemingly out of place in the spotless room – no, house.
“Andy?” I called. When I got no response, I repeated his name louder.
Andy hit pause on whatever he was doing, and silence reigned. I stared at Andy, and he stared at me. It was a little awkward, but I was glad to see that Andy’s eyes weren’t burning with hatred for me.
“So … what were you listening to?” I asked finally.
Andy took a moment before he answered. “The Piano Guys.”
“Ah.” The name lightly rang a bell.
Back to the silent staring.
“What do you like to watch?” I gestured to the flat screen.
He shrugged. “Heroes, Lost, The X-Files. That kind of stuff.”
I nodded, knowing those names. Slightly.
Before there could be another silent pause, I asked, “What time is it? I fell asleep, so, yeah.”
Andy glanced at his computer, then back at me. “Didn’t you get a cellphone?”
“Yeah,” I admitted, “but it wasn’t charged.”
“Oh. It’s nearly five fifteen.”
I thanked him and went back to my room, sitting down hard on the bed.
As I sat there I thought of Clara. I still felt bad about leaving it off the way we did, but I couldn’t really trust her, could I? I mean, she was the one who started this whole mess, right? I wasn’t so sure. She had seemed to be reporting to some guy named Zeus. Could he be the evil mastermind behind all of this?
I shook my head. No use bringing the past to the present.
I reached into the gym bag that was still laying beside my bed. I took out the cellphone and turned it on. It really wasn’t dead, but I had just needed an excuse to get out of Andy’s room.
When it turned on, it showed that there was an unread text. Was it from Eugene? I opened it and looked for the sender’s number, but it was blocked. If it was Eugene it would’ve said it was him, right?
Then I looked down at the message. I’m coming to get you, tonight. Creepy. Be ready. Pack warm, it’s suppose to be a cold night and it’s a long journey. Stay safe until then.
What was that? I thought about asking Andy what he thought it meant, but I didn’t want to anger him after it seemed we were getting along a little better.
I looked at the sent date, September 27 – two months ago. Weird.
Shaking my head, I exited out of the text and and scrolled through the apps. Thank goodness there was a game. Solitaire – but it was a game, no matter how boring. I opened the app and found myself sucked into the “boring game”. After I had finally won a game, I looked at the time and was surprised to see that it was already six fifteen.
I decided that today I wasn’t going to be that last to the meal, so I shoved the phone into my pocket and headed off for the dining room.
When I got to the house, I walked the now familiar path through the main room, and to the kitchen. Though this time it was different.
Paige was standing at the stove, measuring something and pouring it into a pot.
“Paige? What are you doing here?” I asked.
Paige turned around, obviously startled. But she quickly covered her surprise by putting up her guarded face. “Cooking. What does it look like?” She turned back to measure her spices.
“Oh. I didn’t realize it was you who cooked.”
“You’re a really good cook. It’s almost like it’s your ability,” I said carefully.
“Yeah right.” But her voice didn’t sound normal.
Why was I asking a stranger what was wrong? I’d been acting almost the opposite from my normal self since Eugene had brought me here.
“Nothing. Now you might as well sit down.”
“You don’t want we to stay and talk your ears off?” I asked, a smile tugging at my lips.
“Not in the slightest.” She waved her measuring spoon at me. “Now, go.”
I rolled my eyes. Just like a family. I went into the dining room and sat in the folding chair. I hoped that Eugene would get me a new chair soon, this plastic one was getting rather uncomfortable. And cold.
Before long, I had my new phone out and was playing solitaire and losing. After about twenty games, people started filing in, surprise evident on their faces at seeing me early.
So nothing much happened, but isn’t it nice seeing Sawyer just … interacting with folks? I know that it was nice for me. 🙂 Onto speculations! Who do you think the text was from and who it could’ve been to? What’s your favorite tv show? Favorite character so far?? Let me know all in the comments below! Bye!