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Death at Every sound (continued)
I slammed hard into the wooden floor below, but continued to fall. I crashed to the cement floor hard in a heap of dust, splintered wood and broken rock bits. The dust settled. I didn't move, making sure I wasn't dead. I was still living.
I looked up to see that I had actually fallen through the floor below, and was now in the dark basement. I stood up immediately, looking around desperately for a door. Or anywhere for me to go. The colt wouldn’t be far behind me. I knew that already. I freed myself from the wreckage, and looked around into the darkness. The only light came from the hole I had fallen through. I listened for any noise the colt could make. I heard nothing. It was still there.
Not knowing what else I would find down there, I ran. I stumbled through the darkness, arms outstretched, ready to run into anything. My foot caught on something and I went sprawling. My hands flew out in front of me instinctively, and I felt a shudder run up both of my arms at the impact. My left hand hit cold water, maybe an inch deep. I collapsed onto my elbows, my wrists stinging. I listened for the colt, not even wondering if it had heard me. I scrambled to my feet and began to run again.
My eyes were very slowly adjusting to the little light there was. Everything was black or dark gray. It didn’t help much, but I didn’t fall again. I ducked around a corner and looked around cautiously. An ominous, black patch was in the corner. Anything could be there. I felt my heart pounding in my chest and my fingers start to shake. I wiped my sweaty palms on my jeans and tried to slow my rapid breathing. I looked over at the dark patch again, and then I knew I was dead.
A large, dark shadow was creeping out of it, crouched low to the ground and moving silently closer. I couldn’t feel my heart beating. I could see the darkness moving toward me from all directions. I watched the colt as it moved toward me, preparing to strike. There wasn’t anywhere for me to go. My back was to the wall. I felt around it, and felt the corner I had just come around. Not a few inches from my right shoulder. I didn’t move. The huge cat coiled, preparing to spring. It was taking its time. It knew I was trapped. Then it leapt.
I felt the razor claws slash through my back and shoulders as I whipped around the corner. I stumbled with the pain, feeling the hot liquid quickly spreading down my back and soaking my shirt. I ran for it, terrified. I couldn’t see where I was going. Anywhere was good, as long as it was farther away from that creature. I wondered why there was only one. They usually hunted in packs. I wasn’t about to stop and figure it out.
I ran blindly forward, stumbling over my own feet as the pain grew. That’s when I ran into the wall. With a sickening crunch, I ran smack into a wall. Needless to say, it didn’t move. I felt my heart pounding with fear. I pushed away from the wall and tried to move. I didn’t have the time.
Something clawed at my arm, and jerked me away. I felt something wrap around my middle, and a hand clamp over my mouth. Pain ripped up my back as whoever had me pressed the open wound against them. It wasn’t the surprise that made me cry out. It was the pain.
A vicious snarl tore through the air and made me shudder hard. The hand around my chest grabbed my arm and pulled me mercilessly away from the sound. Whoever it was seemed to know their way around. They led me forcefully through the dark. It was all I could do to keep running. I saw the blackness closing in on me, then fading away as I fought for consciousness over and over again.
Then we broke free of the dark building. Bright light hit me almost with a physical force. The darkness pulling at my clothes melted away as the stranger tugged me in a winding path through the smoky streets. We ran for half an our straight. Actually, they ran, and half carried me. I leaned heavily on their shoulders as I went light-headed, but still we ran. I didn’t think either of us had a chance of escaping a colt, even if it was just one. But after forty-five minutes, I collapsed to the ground, and we still weren’t dead.
“C’mon! Get up!” A male voice hissed to me. I tried to move, but my limbs wouldn’t work. It took all my energy to roll onto my side. My uninjured side. I was losing a lot of blood. I wasn’t going to make it. I vaguely felt someone heave me over their shoulders in a fireman’s carry, then I was out.
I woke to a painful, throbbing headache and a felt like my whole body was so heavy, it wouldn’t function right. I ached all over. I felt like I had been hit by a truck. But for the first time in a very long time, I didn’t feel scared. I didn’t fear for my life. It wasn’t a peaceful, safe feeling. It was just . . . not what I was used to.
I forced my eyes open and stared at the charred rafters of a building. I moved my head to one side and saw the small room I was in was empty. It took me almost ten minutes, but I gathered enough strength to stand. Then I made my way toward the doorway. The door was lying cracked and splintered on the floor about two yards away. I looked down the long dark hallway.
“Hello?” I called. My voice was scratchy and parched. I coughed feebly. I was aware of the pain in my shoulder slowly building. I winced as I walked farther down the dark hallway, and then came to the end. Then I saw the people.
People. I hadn’t seen another person in over a month. And here were six of them. Six! More than I had ever heard of being together at once before. There were six. I felt an instant feeling I didn’t recognize at the sight of them. It took me a moment before I realized it was hope. Maybe, just maybe, there was a chance . . .
“But it’s not like we have an army, here. We can’t fight against them.” a voice piped up. I saw a girl standing, looking younger than even I was. She couldn’t have been more than fourteen. I couldn’t help but notice she was the only female there.
“Yes, but what do you want us to do? Sit here and let them pick us off, one by one?” A strong, tough looking guy said. I vaguely recognized his voice. Had he been the one to save me?
“If it hadn’t been for Seegan-“ someone started.
“Don’t you dare, ever say that name again.” A dangerous voice said. All the heads turned toward a roguish man with thick black hair and five days of stubble on his hands. He looked dangerous, even from a distance.
“We know what happened, and we can’t change anything.” The familiar man said. “So the only thing left to do is find something we can do about it.”
“What can six people do about an entire army?” The girl said. “I’m not sure you guys remember the colts out there either. We need something more than what we’ve got. Maybe if we found a car that still worked-“ The dark man laughed.
“A car! Wouldn’t that be nice. If we actually found one, do you suppose it would still work?” he shook his head with amusement that didn’t reach his eyes.
“What about the kid you just found? He was alone, and he’s still alive. He must be good at something, to have lived this long.” the girl said. I noticed how very pretty she was. She had dark brown hair just longer than shoulder-length. She had pale skin and shining green eyes. They flashed even from over here.
“He was about finished when I found him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was dead when I go up to check on him. Got this big ugly cut across his back and left shoulder.” the familiar man said, confirming my suspicions about him. More curious than ever, I moved forward into the room.
“You think he’s not going to make it? I’m sure he’s stronger than that. And let’s hope he is. We’ll need him.” a different man said. He was sitting in a chair a little farther back with cracked glasses on.
“Yeah, either way. If he dies, we can use him as bait to keep the colts out of our way.”
“Those creatures are smarter than that.” The girl said. I shivered as a chill shot up my spine. “They’ll know. They’ll pretend.” That’s when she finally looked toward the door, and saw me. She gasped loudly, drawing everyone else’s attention to me. The familiar man started to walk toward me.
“So he is still living. I stand corrected.” he stopped in front of me, looking me up and down. “What’s your name?” he asked.
“Adam.” I answered. My voice cracked with the word, and I winced with the sharp jab of pain in my back. I felt myself swaying. The man grabbed me roughly by my good shoulder and held me up.
“You shouldn’t have gotten up. You’re going to kill yourself.” He said.
“What are you guys talking about?” I asked. “You can’t possibly rebel against Seegan with only seven of us.”
“Us?” the girl asked, coming toward me. She got prettier with ever step nearer. “So you’re on our side?”
“As long as you’re against Seegan.” She smiled. She had a nice smile.
“Then you’re one of us.”
Nobody had time to say anything else. No one even had time to react. There was a loud explosion, and the ground shook so hard we were all thrown off our feet. I hit the floor hard on my cuts, which split open and began to bleed freely. I cried out in agony with the pain. Strong hands grabbed me behind my arms and pulled me roughly to my feet. I looked up, expecting to see the man who had saved me before. It wasn’t. It was the dark man with the black hair.
“Jax! Get over here!” He shouted. The girl came running toward us, with a cut over one eye and on her opposite cheek.
“Get him out of here. I’ll get everyone. We’re under attack.” he said gruffly.
“No really? I thought it was the flowers!” She said frustrated with a sarcastic tone. She grabbed my hand and started to pull me.