"Eli? Eli, are you sleeping?" Tanner's scared voice whispered through the darkness as shaking hands reached out to shake his brother.
"What?" Eli responded grumpily as he rolled over to glare at his brother through slited eyelids. He had just gotten to sleep, Chacha's words echoing in his mind- mocking him. Him and his brother are convicts now- wanted for a crime Eli hadn't committed.
"I think I heard something. Outside the cave," Tanner responded, voice shaking.
Eli froze, listening. When he heard nothing he rolled back over mumbling, "It's just the wind or something. Go back to sleep."
"No. I know I heard something," Tanner replied 100% convinced something was outside the cave waiting to pounce.
"You're just paranoid."
"No. Eli." He was whining now.
"Alright, fine," Eli finally submitted climbing from his spot on the floor and picking their machete off the ground before hissing, "Stay here." Don't want to take any chances.
Naturally, Tanner was crawling outside the safety of the cave behind Eli. It made the older boy's eye twitch. First the kid was frightened to death and now he's ready to face whatever he thinks is lurking out in the forest.
"Tanner. Cave," he ground out between his teeth when he hears it.
He turns to face the sound, the command for his brother to get back in the cave on his tongue, when strange figures leap out of the bushes. These guys were different though. They weren't part of Chacha's men but looked like lost pirates or something.
"Tanner! Run!" he shout swinging the machete.
Tanner didn't think twice before he was sprinting out in the forest. He half expected for a body to collide with his and to be dragged into the forest. When it never happened he stopped, remembering the vines. He looked uneasily at the trees.
"Tanner!" Eli's voice cried somewhere to his left.
He opened his mouth to call out when a large hand clamped over his mouth. A muffled scream escaped his throat as he was crushed to a broad chest that didn't belong to Eli. Tears gathered in his eyes but Tanner refused to let them fall. He wasn't going to show any weaknesses.
Then he was being shoved in the opposite direction his brother had called from. Realization sank in and he kicked backwards, effictively hitting something solid. A yelp and the hand disappeared.
"Eli!" he shouted as soon as he free already running, "Eli! Help me!"
His captor tackled him pulling a thin piece of cloth around Tanner's mouth, gagging him. Another piece of cloth went around his wrists before he was lifted over a shoulder. Tanner punched and kicked but he might as well be kicking a brick wall. He did happen to catch a glimpse of his brother watching in the shadows, an unreadable expression on his face. Relief swam in Tanner's vision at the knowledge Eli had escaped.
Time escaped Tanner but soon they arrived at a small cabin. He was set down to his feet and the bounds and gag was ripped off. Tanner let in a large gulp of fresh air before taking in his surroundings. Maps and charts cluttered the small room.
"Like what you see?" the deep voice of his captor asked and he turned back to face the tall blond man that carried him halfway across the forest.
Okay, not one of Tanner's brightest moments but right now fear and adrenaline was pumping through his veins as his eyes looked for an escape.
"Don't bother trying to escape," the kidnapper purred looking at him with cold blue eyes as his hand unconsciously traced a map on a table. Tanner gulped because he was right. There is no escape- and not just out of this room.
"You're wrong," he finally found his voice, back pressed against a table.
"No. You're just confused..." he trailed off before sighing, "I'm sorry. I didn't get a name."
Tanner remained silent causing the man to sigh again.
"My name's George if that makes you feel any better."
"No? Alright, I could just go back and kill that hardheaded brother of yours."
"No," Tanner gasped horrified before he was across the room punching and kicking George as hard and violent as he could. George just backhanded him into a table before pressing his cheek against the wooden surface.
"I would not advice you to do that again," George growled in his ear before letting him up, "Now let's try this again. What's your name."
"Tanner," he finally admitted staring at the floor shamefully.
"See. Now was that so hard? Next question, why are you here Tanner? You're just a kid?" he asked sounding intrested but Tanner didn't remove his stare from the hole in the floor. He heard George approach him before his head was yanked violently upwards and he was staring in those blue eyes again.
"I'll ask again Tanner but you'll soon learn I'm not a patient man," he ground out very softly, "Why are you here?"
"It's none of your buisness," Tanner snapped glaring, "Why are you here? Huh?"
Fury clouded the eyes before being replaced by sympathy as he took in Tanner's split lip. He touched it gently but Tanner jerked away. George latched out, gripping the boy's small wrists as hard as he could.
"You want to know. Alright, I'll tell you. I killed a man. An innocent man who didn't deserve to die and I took his life. I was on my way to prison when I managed to escape and ended up stranded here and you know what. I'm stuck here because no one's going to miss a murderer. And I'm not the only one. No one here has someone who cares about them on the mainland so we're stuck here. Every single one of us."
Tanner swallowed thickly before whispering, "You see, a couple days ago I believed the same thing but I realize the truth now. No matter where you're at or how dire the circumstances are there's no little sentence you have to remember."
"Oh yeah," George snorted turning to stare at the small boy, "And what's that?"
"There's always an escape."
And then several things happened at once. The sound of wood cracking echoed in the small room as Tanner ducked underneath a table. George spun around in time to see the older boy charge in swinging the machete in a low careful arc towards his head. Instinct kicked in and he grabbed the boy's arm and spun him to where Tanner was hiding.
"Eli," Tanner gasped as if surprised to see his brother there to rescue him.
Eli grinned before he saw the split lip and slight brusing from where George had hit Tanner. Then he saw red.
George never even stood a chance but Eli hadn't killed him. He wanted to but Tanner managed to stop him in time.
"Eli, don't!" he shouted grabbing his brother's arm and dragging him away, "Don't do it! You're not a murderer!"
"This guy kidnapped you Tanner and hurt you. I'm not just going to let that slide," Eli ground out panting with frustration and hate towards the man who dared laid hands on his little brother.
Tanner just smiled an innocent little brother smile before promising, "I think he got what was coming to him."
Eli's eyes slid to the motionless form on the ground before letting out a shaky breath and embracing his kid brother. Tanner melted into the comfort before Eli broke away, all buisness again.
"Alright, I think it's time we take our leave before Mr. Crazy regains consciousness," he took charge before there was a click and menacing voice behind them.
"I don't think so boys. Now be good and turn around very slowly."
They turned staring straight down the barrel of a gun.
And there you have it. Remember to review.