"Uhhhh....man." The young blond man moaned, trying to sit up.
Taylor was unable to focus his eyes on anything when he opened them. The lone exception being the big orange blur in front of him that he assumed was a fire. His thoughts were interrupted by some man's voice.
"....think he's wakin up. Is he okay?" It said worriedly.
A second voice came in, "Shut up, he's fine. Ya just walloped him one too hard is all."
Taylor moaned and sunk back away from the men, knowing it was he they were talking about, and cringed when he felt somebody's hands on him, pulling him back towards the flame. He tried to fling his arms out to protect himself when he realized with a start that his arms were tied together in front of him as were his feet.
"Come on, don't fight now. Ya gotta stay by the fire so you keep warm. You caught your blanket on fire this morning smart one." The man lightly cuffed him upside the head.
"Ahhhh! Don't! Please!" Taylor screamed in agony, pulling away once again, the man having made contact with a previous blow from the evening before.
His whole body was trembling as he cowered away from the confused looks of the men. His head felt like it was going to split in two, his right shoulder was starting to kill him because he was laying on it, and he was terribly confused.
"Where am I and who in God's name are they?" He directed his thoughts at the two blurry forms before him.
"Come on kid, quit backing away, we won't hit you anymore. Plus you need to eat! You've not touched a thing since we gotcha." The larger man blurted out.
Confusion filled him as he became annoyed with the sensation of it so he finally got the guts to speak.
"Where-" His voice cracked, so he cleared his throat and started again, "Where am I?" Tears filled his eyes at the stinging feeling in his throat, he needed a drink.
"We kicked your camp's ass and we took ya back to play servant boy for our leader, Jonathon." The smaller man smiled smugly.
"Wha....Oh my god....where're my brothers!?" He screeched loudly, trying to jump up. He was lost without them.
"Ahhh, so he has a memory. Don't worry, we'll take care of ya. No wait, isn't it more like-you'll be taking care of us?" The two man gave each other loose high fives and curled up on their sleeping pallets to pass the night away in slumber.
Taylor lay on the ground, a shattered image of what he once was, trying to figure out how his near perfect life at Camp H had suddenly shifted into this hell. With a painful jolt, he now knew how Zac felt for those long months he spent away from him and Isaac. He could feel the pain and the longing to see familiar faces and he moaned, pulling back away from the two slumbering men.
His voice wavered out of his control but he didn't notice as he gave off a keening wail, "I wanna go home!!! Iiiike.!" He drug out his brother's name in despair.
"What's the body count up to now?" Will asked dejectedly.
The enemy camp had slaughtered the population of Raggenii and Cadeska in the very short time they were there.
"Who knows boss? We were just gonna bury em all and count the graves." Jason McKarther told him.
"Then how the hell do you know which species was killed!?" Will nearly screamed.
Jason backed away slightly, unafraid, and said, "Where we put em sir."
"Carry on." Will motioned limply, slumping against the wall in defeat.
Taylor Hanson was gone. Wiped off the face of the planet most likely. He'd seen the look on the young man's face as he was being drug away like a struggling beast before he'd been struck on the head. Isaac was worthless right now, he couldn't and wouldn't stop blaming himself for Taylor's abduction. Will frowned. They didn't know if Taylor was just abducted or not. He could be dead for all they know, however improbable that may be. And they'd discussed that too, him and Isaac; Zac just listening:
"Will, he's alive! You know he is! They carried him away when they could have just stabbed him or something!" Isaac said.
"Yeah, but maybe they just wanted something from him and he needed to be alive for them to get it." Will said lamely.
"Yeah like what?" Isaac mocked him.
"Clothes.knife, rations....who knows?"
"Clothes? Why in the hell would they take clothes?"
"Did you see theirs? It wasn't the best looking get up out there."
"Will, he's alive. Ike and I would know if he was dead." Zac's voice butted in calmly.
Will could only hope and pray that Zac was right, he missed Taylor terribly and he felt ten times more responsible for it then the oldest Hanson did, but he could only imagine so.
Halfway across Camp H
"Zac, we gotta go after him! We can't just let em take Tay away like that!" Isaac shouted through the empty mess hall.
"Ike, shhhh!" Zac demanded in a hissy whisper.
"But....this is so stupid! What was the point of them even coming through here? They only killed the Rags and Cadeskas." Isaac started snuffling.
"And took some Terrans with em too." Zac stated.
Isaac nodded slowly, already knowing what his little brother said was true. Will had said that from the look of things, the other camp was trying to take the Terrans away with them and kill the other aliens. But the whole camp was in an uproar about just why they'd take only Terrans, they were much weaker then Raggenii and Cadeska.
Isaac took full responsibility for what happened to Taylor. Will had told him to watch out for his little brothers. Will had told him that it was his job to keep an eye on them, to keep them out of danger. And it was he who let them down; Zac, Will, and most importantly Taylor. He could only wonder where and what his brother was doing at this moment.
"Ike, we can't just track em down! Their camp's bigger then ours now! The headcount said we only have two hundred twenty people left, no Raggenii and no Cadeska, only us Terrans! They've got at least twenty five more people and they're stronger!" Zac wailed.
"Why can't we just 'track them down?" Isaac mocked, "We have to! How can you even not want to do this? It's Tay they got!" He growled.
"Ike, I wanna go more then anything, but it's not smart! They'll just get us too and make the freaking camp that much smaller." Zac slumped in his seat, far too depressed to do much else.
Isaac closed his eyes and dropped his head to his chest out of anger.
"How can he not wanna go after Tay? He's our own blood!" His mind seethed.
"Zac....you know Tay and I would have gone after you if we were fully able to. You know that right? Right?" He raised his voice.
"YES!" Zac yelled in response angrily.
"Why don't you wanna do the same for Tay? We have what it takes to find him and Angie. We can't just leave him there." Isaac's voice cracked out of control as tears rolled down his cheeks.
Zac's defenses were crumbling fast, he didn't want to go after Taylor because he might just be dead and finding his brother's body was the last thing he wanted. What he wanted was Taylor and Angie; safe and uninjured sitting here with him and Ike eating a nice warm porridge on a sunny day at Camp H. Speaking of Camp H.....Zac took a look around the investigate the damage caused by the invading camp and frowned when he saw a dead Terran laying in the sun, nobody taking care of it yet. He focused on something else.
Ah, the ruins left by the intruders. Before the evil camp had come in and disrupted their lives, the opposite side of the mess hall had large clay ovens that were used to cook tola meat and bread. Some egg head had found sodium bicarbonate so now they were able to combine primitive rock salt and this substance to create salt they'd all been craving. And the massive amounts of the stuff had been stored in giant fire hardened clay pots along the inside of the mess hall, which wasn't exactly small, and it went undisturbed until Camp E's arrival. And now, after the camp left, not one pot stood unbroken, the giant planter shaped pieces were now strewn carelessly across the room and they were on table tops before being swept onto the floor. And lets not forget the clay ovens; most of them were unharmed because their massive thickness had saved them from certain destruction, only a few were damaged and none were destroyed. Had the commandos brought heavier weapons, like a sludge hammer, the ovens would be clay powder by now.
"Zac...Zac!?" Isaac poked him in the arm, frustration evident on his face.
"Wha....yeah, what?" Zac sputtered, embarrassed.
"Where'd you go?" His older brother asked.
"Uhm....huh?" Zac still wasn't catching on.
"Why were you NOT listening to me?"
"Oh, yeah. I was thinking about how crappy the camp looks now." Zac said, basically to sum it all up.
Isaac gave him a weird look, "Riiiiiiiight. Now, are you gonna help me track down Tay?"
Zac sighed and stood up, "Lets go talk to Will. But if we find him dead, you're gonna be sorry you had to drag me along with you." Zac threatened, tears spilling over the edge of his eyelids. And he wasn't alone.
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