Chapter 3: Battling With the Wolves
7 September 2012, 01:44pm
The Cradle of Human Kind…
Hitting the water felt like falling into pure darkness for Blake. There was light, coming from the openings in the ceiling, but it might as well have been pitch black with the panic that seeped into Blake's mind. His body went numb but he struggled, pulling himself to the surface. The water, he was in the water, his head went underwater. He couldn't believe he wasn't screaming like a little girl yet. But then again, he had other things to worry about now. He searched the water for a little, as much as he could stand, and just as he couldn't stand it any longer he finally found what he had been searching for. Blake dragged Eric out of the river, onto dry ground, sweet dry ground. They were soaking, but at least they were safe.
Eric still held his shoulder in absolute agony, but he tried his best not to show his pain even though tears were running down his face. He wasn't crying, oh no. It was just the water from the river dripping off him. But even if he was, even in the brave Eric was crying over the pain of a burning shoulder, Blake would not have notice. Because he was too busy staring at the cliff from where they fell. The wolves were still there, growling, showing there razor teeth, staring down at the human dripping with water. They soon left after realizing that they were never going to jump.
Blake breathed a sigh of relief and looked down at the water, the water that seemed very calm now that Blake was out of it. It almost made him want to just sit down and stare at it as he relaxed. But then he had a thought. Blake looked around, realizing that the girls weren't anywhere near them.
"Jen!" He shouted fearfully. "Jen! Monique! Can you hear me?"
"We're here!" Jen's voice came back. Blake looked forward, noticing that the water went down a bend.
"Are you okay?"
"We've been better." It was Monique's voice this time. "But we're fine. How's Ethan?"
"Um... It's Eric."
"Whatever. How is he? He got hit badly."
"Ethan's fine!" Eric screamed. "And he doesn't want your sympathy."
"Well you weren't really going to get it," she retorted
"Okay, okay," Jen interrupted. "You two can have your heart to heart later. Right now, my clothes are soaking, we're trapped in a cave and I'm freaking the hell out! We need to get out of this place. Now!"
"Stay there," Blake replied. "I'm coming to get you." He turned to Eric. "Can you stand?"
"I was hit in the shoulder, idiot," Eric climbed to his feet. "Of course I can stand."
"Fine. I was just trying to be supportive."
"Well don't," Eric turned, walking into the cave. "I can take care of myself."
"Tell that to your shoulder," Blake muttered as he followed.
"Come on," Monique stood up as she stared at the water. This was so not on. She was not going to be some damsel in distress. If Blake could get up and walk, so could they. "Let's go."
Jen stood and then collapsed immediately. Monique turned to see the girl clutching her ankle, grinding her teeth.
"I think I twisted my ankle getting out of the water," Jen replied.
Monique moved towards her and without saying a word, took Jen's arm and put it over her shoulder. She started lifting the girl and Jen moved to, pulling herself to her feet. She looked at Monique, the genius of the class, the girl who always seemed calm, so in control. Even now, Monique showed no fear. She looked totally different from before, with her light brown hair untied, going down just passed her shoulders and her glasses gone. Her eyes were green. Jen never noticed that before. But despite how different she looked, Monique still had that composed expression, her eyes still held their determination.
"We should get moving," Monique said.
Jen looked at her ankle. "Maybe we should wait for Blake?"
"You know we can't do that, Jen," Monique replied calmly. "The chances he'll find us here are slim to none. This place is a maze and we'll have a better chance of running into him if we move."
"I don't know. I think he can find us here."
"What if the wolves find us first? Then we're cornered."
Jen thought about this for a moment. Monique was right. If the wolves did appear, the only way out would be the water. And Jen had had enough time in it.
"Okay. Lead the way."
And so she did. They walked down the corridor making a turn and then another and then another. They climbed up whatever they could find, Jen pulling herself while Monique pushed, and they continued moving, Jen hopping along with Monique's support just to try and get to higher ground. They figured if they just keep going up, they'd find a way out. And then Jen had an idea. She reached into her pocket and revealed a cell phone.
A wet, busted cellphone.
"Don't bother," Monique said, not even looking at the dead device. "Even if by some miracle it did work, we lose signal going through a tunnel in the city. Here, we're below ground in the middle of nowhere. Trust me, you're not calling anyone."
Jen looked at the phone. Monique was right. It wasn't even turning on. Jen sighed as they continued walking. Monique, on the other hand, began to think of what they could do if they didn't find a way out. How would they survive? What would they eat? And would they consist of all four of them, or will the boys be stuck on the other side of the cave forever? Monique closed her eyes, trying to think and when she opened them again, she stopped, tumbling backwards with a shriek. She swung her hands around, pushing Jen against the wall as she screamed louder. Monique moved back, until she herself hit a wall and sank to the floor, hugging her legs, crying, mumbling to herself. Jen hopped towards Monique and moved to the floor, barely touching Monique before the girl started screaming again, clawing at Jen.
"Stop attacking me," Jen shouted as she held onto Monique, who was screaming bloody murder at the top of her lungs. "Calm down. Calm down!"
Jen didn't even realize she had slap Monique until the girl had stopped screaming. Monique sat there for a minute, staring straight, right at Jen but not fixating on her, as though Monique was staring straight through her. She had stopped crying, she had stopped screaming, but she had not stopped quivering.
"Why is it so dark?" Monique whispered as she breathed deep, trying to calm herself.
"What?" Jen asked, confused. "It's not dark, Monique."
"Yes it is, yes it is!" Monique replied harshly. "I could see clearly, I could see, but now it's dark. I can't see. I can't see anything and I… I can't do it, I can't do the dark." She put her hands on her head, and leaned forward, as though trying to curl up into a ball before she lifted her head, screaming, "Somebody help me! Help us! Blake, get your ass here now!"
"Calm down," Jen said, grabbing her tightly. "Calm down. I'll get us out of here, I'll lead us out. But I need you to calm down, okay?"
Monique nodded. Jen looked around. She began to wonder why Monique's sight just gave way. There was nothing wrong, nothing had happened to them, nothing had changed and... And then Jen realized something. Something that made her think that maybe Monique's eye-sight wasn't damaged at all. Maybe by seeing the darkness, it was fixed. Jen stood, looking down the direction they just came from. Nothing. And then the direction they were going. Nothing. Along the walls. Nothing. The ceiling. Nothing.
"There's nothing," she whispered.
"I got that!" Monique screamed. "What do you think I'm freaking out about here?"
"No, I mean there's nothing to help us see," Jen replied louder. "I can see, but there is no light source. No openings, no lamps or electrical lights. Nothing, no source of light, but I can see perfectly."
"Tell that to my eyes. Was there anything weird about the cave when you could see?"
"No," Monique answered quickly. And then she thought for a second. "Well, it did seem like a black and white movie."
Jen raised an eyebrow. "And that didn't seem weird to you?"
"Hey, I was just grateful it wasn't pitch black."
Jen looked around. "Mine's not like that at all."
"What is wrong with this cave?"
"Well it has killer wolves and plays tricks on our eyes, so that's two things."
"Sarcasm doesn't look pretty on you."
"I thought you couldn't see anything."
Monique's expression turned to one that rivaled a serial killer in a bad mood. "Jen… get me out of here."
"Come on." Jen helped her up. "Let's go."
They walked, Monique helping Jen hop, Jen calming Monique with never-ending chatter. They continued walking, twisting and turning every now and again. At one point, Jen managed to put her foot on the ground. It hurt like hell, but she was determined to be as independent as possible in case Monique lost her mind. Thankfully, that was not the case. It wasn't long before they got to a wall with an opening above it. Rocks stuck out, making it easier to climb. Still, the wall was high, and Jen's ankle was throbbing. Normally, they would have thought to go back than risk climbing a dangerous wall, but two reasons made them decide to do it anyway.
One was that Jen couldn't remember seeing any other way out through the corridor. And the second reason? There was a faint light. But Monique could see, and for that, she would have climbed ten walls.
"Watch where you're going?" Eric moaned as Blake bumped into him again.
"Sorry, am I hurting your perfectly fine shoulder?" Blake replied sarcastically. "Tell you what, next time I plan to get stuck in a cave looking for you, I'll remember to bring a flash light."
"You make it sound like this was my fault." Eric replied.
"It was your fault. If you would just realize that you aren't the centre of the universe then everyone else's lives would be so much simpler."
"Then why not just leave me here?"
"Don't tempt me," Blake seemed deadly serious. Eric decided not to push him any further.
They continued walking through the dark, Blake debating how he would kill Eric if given the chance, Eric debating if this cave happened to have a restaurant of some kind. He was starving. Finally, they came to a light source and a stair case leading upwards. They moved for it quickly, almost dying of a heart attack as a hand came from an opening in the side of the wall, hitting the ground.
"Come on, Mon," Jen said. "We're almost there."
"I'm not one to do physical work," Monique replied. "So bear with me here."
Blake smirked as he moved for the opening in the wall. Finally, they were together again. He looked down the opening and saw Monique and Jen trying to climb. And it was quite a distance. He was impressed. He extended his hand as his girlfriend turned to face him.
"Need a hand?" He grinned.
"Maybe," she replied as he grabbed her hand and pulled her up. While Jen went to hug her reluctant brother and check his wound, Blake helped Monique to her feet.
"You okay?" He asked.
Monique dusted herself off. "Yeah. Had a little freak out down there, but Jen pulled me through."
"Glad to help," Jen smiled, while examining Eric's wound. "Anyone know what those things were that attacked us?"
"Shadow wolves," Monique answered, surprising herself. But then she continued as though she couldn't help it. "They are usually used to guard something. They are vicious little creatures and getting cornered by one is basically like committing suicide. They have two special abilities. The first is known as Shadow Flame; that blue fire that we witnessed. The second is known as Shadow Merge, which..."
"Hold the phone," Blake interrupted. "How could you possibly know that?"
"Known what?" Monique asked, a curious look on her face.
Blake turned to Jen, wondering what happened down in the corridor, but his girlfriend had a just go with it look on her face, so he didn't question anything. Eric on the other hand…
"What's Shadow Merge?" Eric asked.
Monique was at a loss. "I have no clue. A game? Why is everyone looking at me so weirdly?"
Jen stared at Monique, remembering the darkness. "Divination?"
"What?" The others said in unison.
"Divination," Jen looked at Monique. "It's the ability to know things through supernatural means. Reading minds, seeing visions or signs, feeling emotions, seeing through things. Knowing things you shouldn't. I think you might have it."
"What are you saying," Eric said. "That Bishop over here is psychic?"
"I can't be," Monique replied. "There's no such thing."
"Same way that there are no such things as fire breathing dogs," Blake responded, shrugging.
"Point taken. But if I was psychic, don't you think I would know?"
"Same way you could know about these wolves and not remember telling us about it like thirty seconds ago," Jen countered. "And when you saw darkness. Before that, you said your vision was black and white. Maybe you were seeing a vision of the place and just didn't know it. You were seeing it through the eyes of someone who was there before. Maybe you just assumed that that was the colour because the alternative was darkness."
"Listen guys," Eric said quickly. "As much as I'd love to figure this out, you know, while we're soaked, lost in a cave and have crazy dark dogs after us, this pain is getting worse. Can we get out of here?"
"I agree," Blake said. "Let's move. These stairs look like they lead out of this place."
They moved up the solid rock steps, about fifty of them, praying to anyone who was listening that there was a way out. They had finally made it to the opening where the light was coming from, entering a giant room. Openings in the ceiling made the room brighter. The room was round, stalactites hanging from the ceiling. Columns of rock were spread unevenly around. On both sides were openings, but it was the hole in front of them, the hole with the flowstone that almost seemed like an inviting ramp leading to freedom, that caught there eye.
Daylight. It was right through the hole, and they could crawl through it. They were free. They could escape. They moved for the opening, but their happiness was short lived as the growling returned, and with it, the shadow wolves, appearing from the side doors and moving swiftly, blocking their way out. They growled loudly as the teens watched, looking at the teeth that could go through flesh like a knife through butter. And as they took a step back, the wolves took a step forward, ready to attack.
"Not again," Blake said as the one wolf jumped for him.
Blake wanted turn and run, Blake wanted to grab everyone else and make sure they ran too. But something happened, something crawled into his mind, a voice, a voice with only one word. Fight. And in an instant, Blake twisted around, lifting his leg into the air. His foot connected with the wolf's head, causing it to squeal as it went down. As his foot hit the ground, Blake stood ready for the next one.
"Where'd you learn to do that?" Monique asked.
"My mom is like a master at martial arts," Blake answered. "She started training me when I was five. Ten years of training does you good. Even if you weren't planning to use it."
"Well, use it," Monique replied. "Use it a lot."
The wolf got to its feet and moved back to its partner, growling louder now. As it moved, it began to catch alight.
"Oh, good," Eric began, "Your kick sets things on fire. As if we didn't have enough weird for the day."
Soon, it was engulfed with blue flames that, in a way, looked sort of beautiful. Blake thought that he had beaten it until he noticed that the second one was also alight. And then they moved, one for the teens. Blake shouted for them to dodge, and they all complied, jumping out of the way as it pounced for them. The wolf continued to run as it hit the ground, and as it ran, as its partner ran, the fires that engulfed them burnt brighter. And then, in a surprising move, they ran into each other, causing a glorious flash of blue flames to burst, lighting the room, blinding the teens. When they finally could see, they saw a ball of blue fire and watched with shock and slight intrigue as the ball of flame began to take a form, shaping itself into a body. And then the fire dispersed, revealing a dark furred, muscular, red eyed, wolf-like animal standing on two legs.
"It turned it a Shadow Werewolf?" Eric shouted in shock.
"At least we know what Shadow Merge is now," Jen said.
"Yeah," Monique replied sarcastically. "Because that was on my Christmas wish list."
"You didn't happen to bring that wish list with you, right?" Eric responded as the wolf leaped for them.
With a swing of its arm, Blake was smashed out of the way. He moved for the rest of the teens, knocking Eric and Jen with his other arm. They flew straight into a wall, getting the breath knocked out of them as they hit the ground. It moved to grab Monique next, who just dodged. She ducked as he swung his claws for her head and rolled out of the way as its fist came down for her. It struck the ground, cracking the stone like a biscuit. Blake used this to jump on top of the creature, trying to strangle it, only to be grabbed, the creature's claws scraping into his skin, and thrown across the room, into Monique. They hit the wall and fell on top of one another. Blake quickly got to his feet as the wolf made its way for Jen and Eric. Jen looked to the left, at her brother, who was watching the wolf. Within seconds, it was in front of Jen, blue fire seeping from its mouth. In an instant, its jaw dropped and a wave of flames escaped, covering Jen.
Eric screamed, his hand held out for his sister as she burnt. But there was no screaming, no smell of burning flesh, and Eric felt something. He felt something pushing him back and so he pushed forward. The wolf stepped forward, more fire pouring from its mouth and Eric was being forced back slowing, his hand heating up. He lifted his other hand and push forward and he saw the fire begin to die down. The wolf forced more flames but Eric pushed forward some more, the fire dying out more, revealing a ball of energy, see through, with a hint of pink, no, dark pink, magenta, a ball of energy with a glow of magenta surrounding Jen, protecting her.
That's when Eric realized it. The fire was going into the ball, not dispersing, but instead being absorbed. Eric looked at the wolf. He wasn't sure if wolves could display expressions, but the boy was very sure that this wolf was confused. So the boy pushed forward again, and the fire died out more, the ball of energy absorbing it. The wolf stopped attacking, taking a step back and as though a voice crept into his mind, giving him instructions, Eric knew exactly what to do. He got to his feet, hands still out and slowing began making fists, as though he was struggling to do so. And the ball of energy started to disappear, starting to move into one point, the point between the wolf and Jen. And when it was done, when a ball of magenta energy was floating there, Eric knew what he could do with it.
"Get away from my sister," he said, closing his fists, the ball exploding, but the force of it only shooting one way, knocking the creature all the way across the room.
"That was entertaining," a voice said, a voice that only Eric heard. But this was not the voice from before. This was a male's voice, he was sure the previous was a female, a kind voice. This one felt dark. "But can you do it again?"
Before Eric could say anything, Blake and Monique were in front of them, helping Jen to her feet, telling Eric they needed to move. The wolf was getting up, clearly injured by whatever Eric had hit it with. But it was not down for the count, the teens were running out of luck. They moved for the exit but it was too late. The wolf moved, jumping on a column, before pushing itself off to the wall above the escape and down onto the floor, blocking the way.
"What now?" Eric asked.
"Yes, what now indeed," the voice replied, though only Eric seemed to hear it.
"Are you speaking to us?" Monique asked as she noticed the wolf's fur was beginning to change. "Or are you speaking to him?"
The fur of the wolf became darker and less physical. In fact, its fur now looked like a shadow, blowing in the wind like a flag, growing bigger, stretching out in all directions. With a deep breath, the shadows retreated back into the wolf and with a loud howl, they shot out, in all directions, covering everything. And it seemed like in the matter of a second, the teens were in utter darkness.
And then everything was silent.
Dark and silent.
"Monique, where are you?" Jen asked. Jen could still see in the dark but she wasn't looking at Monique, but rather at the wolf. Or the lack thereof. She couldn't see the creature anywhere. Had it disappeared? Or had it died making the darkness?
"Right here," Monique replied, sounding close to tears. She was about to cry, in fact, until she felt a hand grab hers.
"I'm right next to you then," Jen replied, smiling, even though no one could tell.
Monique smiled too, and was ready to thank the girl when all of a sudden, an image flashed in front of her, an image of Blake being decapitated.
"Is everyone okay?" Blake asked.
"Blake, duck!" Monique screamed.
Blake didn't even think, and in utter darkness, he ducked, feeling the wind made by the werewolf's claws that would have sliced his head into pieces. Jen's jaw nearly dropped to the floor, because while everyone else was in darkness, she saw half of the beast physically materialize out of the shadows like some kind of dark portal, its claws grown to the lengths of small machetes. And just like that, I had disappeared again, not to be traced. But someone was tracing it, someone could see its moves. They came to her in visions. And Monique had another one, pushing Jen away and moving the opposite direction as the wolf formed again, slicing downward, just missing the girls.
Another vision came. "Eric, jump back!"
Eric wasn't as fast as Blake, and was looking around in confusion. The wolf came behind him, slicing upwards and would have killed the boy if Jen hadn't tackled him out of the way.
"Blake, duck again!"
The boy did so, dodging the attack.
"Move to the left!"
And he did so too.
He did that too, rolling forward as the area behind him lit up with blue flames.
"He's coming from the front!"
"That's enough!" Blake shouted, the area lighting up as swirls of fire came around him. The wolf backed away, covering its eyes with one arm, blinded by the sudden light. "That's enough…"
The wolf's eyes adjusted and he moved forward, ready to slash straight through Blake's skin. But Blake just stood his ground. He didn't flinch, he didn't budge. The wolf brought its claws down, and Blake let out a roar, a loud roar not heard from any creature they knew of, nevertheless a human. And as he roared, the fire around him flared, consuming Blake and bursting out, burning the wolf, flinging the creature away as the shadows receded back into the creature's fur, which was now singeing.
"Blake?" Monique tried to sound brave, but it came out as more of a squeal.
"Stay back!" Blake said, his entire body surrounded by flames. He turned to the wolf. "We are done with you!"
The flames grew, taking shape, great wings of fire emerging from Blake's back. The roar was heard again, but not from Blake. It seemed to come from the fire itself as it danced around, changing shape and form into what Monique could only describe as a dragon. And just like that, it was gone, swirling and shrinking into a ball of fire between Blake's hands.
"Let's see how you like the fire," Blake said, shooting the ball of flames out of his hands, a ray of fire engulfing the creature.
The wolf seemed to deteriorate in front of the teens, covered in flames as it tried to howl aloud in pain. Within seconds, the wolf was nothing but ashes and the flames had died down along with the glow and fire around Blake's person. The others all stared as he fell to his knees, tired out by whatever just took place. They moved towards the boy, who looked up at them, sweating and breathless.
"What the hell was that?" Eric screamed.
"I don't know," Monique replied, touching her amulet. "But none of that was normal, by any stretch of the word. And these have something to do with it."
"Thanks for the obvious," Eric said, staring at his amulet. "These things are amazing. They saved our lives."
"I was possessed by something," Blake said. "It felt… it felt like something was leading me, telling me what to do."
"I got that feeling too," Eric replied.
"I didn't," Jen replied. "I could see in the dark, but that's about it."
"I got nothing like that either," Monique replied.
"Whatever," Blake said, ripping his amulet off, throwing it away. "These things are trouble. We should leave them down here."
"Are you crazy?" Eric shouted, moving to catch it. "These things are amazing!"
"Finding them almost got us killed," Blake countered.
"And without them, we would have been killed," Monique replied. "I'm with Eric here. We should keep them, at least until we can figure out what actually happened down here."
"Thank you," Eric said gratefully, holding his hand out to Blake along with the amulet. "Take it."
Blake thought for a minute. Why? Why should he take something he knew nothing about? But he couldn't help thinking it was the right thing. Why? What was drawing him to this amulet? And what had it done to him?
He sighed. "Fine. Let's just get out of here."
Blake grabbed the amulet and moved for the exit. Once through, they were be found by a chopper circling the area, brought back to their school group and scolded from dizzying heights for going off alone. After that, they would go back to the hotel to pack up and finally head to the airport to catch a plane back to home.
Away from that place.
Away from the danger.