Three hours ago, we crawled through the hole in the wall. Three hours ago, we crawled right into a trap. I sit in the corner of the cage, the cold iron bars against my head. The cage slammed closed right before Maddie could crawl in behind us. Now, Jay and I are alone. I can still hear Maddie's scream as the cage door shut and the man grabbed her from behind. We didn't even hear him coming.
The room is dark besides the flashlight that was left in the cage with us. The cage is about six feet tall and three feet wide. Jay and I sit against the cage wall, our eyes on the keys in front of us. About two and a half feet outside the bars, just out of reach, are the set of keys that will let us out of here.
"How are we supposed to get those?" says Jay. I don't answer, my lips stuck together. I don't even hear him correctly, my mind wandering to other things. How do we get Maddie back? How do we find the person in another cage? How are we going to survive this? "Did you even hear me?" he asks.
"What?" I ask.
"How are we supposed to get those?"
"I have no idea." We sit quietly for a few seconds, trying to think up a plan. I grab the flashlight from his hands an start searching the cage. "There."
At the top of the cage, a hole in the bars about a foot and a half wide. "You give me a boost and I will climb out," I say.
He stands, linking his hands together, and I put my foot in them. "One, two, three!" he says, pushing up with his hands. I grab the bars and pull myself up, my sides burning. I sit myself up on top of the cage and scoot to the edge. I jump, my feet hitting the floor with a loud thud. "Now grab the keys," he says.
`"I know," I say. The metal keys are cold in my hands. I walk to the edge of the cage, looking for the latch. I see it in the corner, and put the keys into the hole, attempting to turn it a few times. It won't open. I try the other keys, but they don't work either.
"What is taking so long?" asks Jay.
"None of the keys are opening the latch."
"So I am just stuck in here?"
"I guess so," I say. "Try to pull yourself out of the hole that I went out of."
"I am not tall enough, the opening is out of my reach."
"It shouldn't be, you are almost as tall as the stupid cage dude!"
"Yeah, but I can't climb out."
"How come?" I say. I am getting kind of annoyed.
"I just can't okay! Can you find another way out of here?" he asks. I look around the room, searching for another set of keys. The walls are bare.
"I don't see anything. I still don't understand why you can't just climb out," I say, rolling my eyes.
"Well, I think I could understand."
"No, you couldn't."
He pauses, his eyes focused on a spot on the floor. "I have leukemia."
I freeze, my brain refusing to process what he just said. One of my best friends just told me he had leukemia.
I fall to my knees, sinking down to the cold floor, my legs going numb. How could this be happening?
"When did you find out?" I ask. I pull myself to the edge of the cage, resting my face against the iron bars.
"A few weeks ago. I can't climb out of the cage because I am too weak." He scoots over to the cage across from me and leans his forehead against mine through the bars.
"I'm so sorry."
"It's okay. I still have a while. Unless we can't find a way out of here." I stand and grab the top of the cage with both hands. This man put us in here, and I am going to get Jay out of here, no matter how long it takes.
"What are you doing?" he asks. I pull with all of my strength, using the rage and anger that courses through me to full my energy. I lift my leg to the top of the cage, hoisting myself up. Once on top of the cage, I go over to the hole and put my hands inside.
"Grab on," I say. He takes my hands hesitantly, his eyes filled with concern.
"Can you even get me out of here? I might be to heavy," he says.
"Push your feet against the bars and try to give yourself a small boost. I will pull you out."
He pushes his feet against the bars, and I pull, my ribs screaming with effort and pain. He slowly lifts out of the cage, and finally, he is out. We jump to the floor, our feet making a thud on the floor. I groan, the impact hurting my sides. I don't know how long I am going to be able to deal with this stupid injury. I fall to my knees, my palms resting against the cold wall. Jay kneels next to me. "Thank you for getting my a** out of there," he says. I smile through my pain, taking in his look of appreciation.
"Now, we have to find Maddie."
"Where should we look?" he asks. He stands, offering me his hand. I take it, letting him help me from the floor.
"I have no idea."
"There has to be a door or something in here." At that, the wall starts to shake, the ground vibrating beneath our feet. A small section of the wall opens, revealing a tunnel.
"Did we set that off somehow?" asks Jay.
"I don't think so," I reply, my eyes trained on the corner of the ceiling. A small, black circle hangs from the wall, like half of a magic eight ball. "Someone is watching our every move. He made the door open."
"Maybe that tunnel leads to Maddie."
"Maybe, but don't get your hopes up. Expect the unexpected."
I start walking, and the darkness swallows us whole.
I hear the scream and start running. It is a girl's voice, but not Maddie's. I know Maddie's voice like it is my own. Jay is right behind me. I see a light around the corner, and run faster, the light motivating my limbs to move quicker than ever. Jay can hardly keep up. "Please help! Someone?" she says.
"We are coming!" I yell. She quiets down a little, probably from relief. I turn the corner, and stop cold, my brain trying to process what I was seeing.
A girl, probably about 15 or 16 sits against the wall. Her feet are bare, her shirt ripped so much it's like she isn't wearing one at all. Her shorts are in good condition, despite being covered with dirt and blood. "Are you okay?" I ask her.
Her eyes are bright blue, and wide with terror. "Help me! Get me out of here!" she says, pulling here hands from out behind her. Chains wrap around her wrists and up her arms. Another closer look lets me know that her chains are made of barbed wire. Blood ran down her arms, dripping onto her legs. Her ankles are bound by barbed wire as well.
"Oh my god," says Jay. He is frozen.
"Please," she says. Fresh tears run down her dirty face. I walk over to her, my feet like lead. I kneel down, moving as fast as I can to undo the wire. She winces, trying not to cry out. Jay comes to help with her other ankle and wrist.
"It's okay. You are okay," I say, trying to reassure her. She looks at me with a piercing gaze. I can't look into her eyes anymore, so I look back down at my work. We finish, and help her off the floor. As soon as she stands, she falls again. We sit her back down. "What is your name?" I ask.
"Alicia," she says. Her throat sounds scratchy from screaming so much. Jay is so busy examining her wounds that he doesn't even hear us.
"I'm Kayla and this is Jay."
"He looks a little busy," she says, watching him closely.
"He just wants to make sure you are okay. Jay, say something."
He looks up, a look of surprise on his face. "Oh, hi."
"Is it bad?" I ask.
"It isn't too bad. She bled enough to look like she murdered someone, but she hasn't lost too much. We just need something to stop the bleeding," he says.
"Just use my shirt. It is too torn up to wear anyway," she says. She pulls it off and starts tearing it into little scraps.
"Alicia, who did this to you?" asks Jay. On her stomach, scars and fresh cuts covers her entire torso. Her sports bra probably covers some as well. She adjusts her bra, trying to cover up some of the damage.
"Don't worry about it," she says, dismissing the subject. I could tell she didn't want to talk about it.
"We need to get out of here," says Jay, changing the subject.
"I couldn't agree more."