Chapter 21

Taylor made his way out of the woods and ran towards the camp. Amanda was starting the fire and Ike and Zac were sitting on the log talking. Ike looked up and saw Taylor holding Phyllis’ lifeless body and was crying. Ike ran to his brother and stopped in front of him.
“What happened?” Ike asked, looking in Taylor’s eyes. Taylor couldn’t say anything. He was choking up and he couldn’t speak. Finally, he shrank to the ground, cradling Phyllis in his arms. Ike looked over at Amanda and Zac. They got up immediately and ran over.
“Taylor! What happened?” Ike demanded.
“A snake.” Taylor said with a raspy voice and looked back down at Phyllis. Her eyes were closed tightly.
“Taylor, let her go. We have to help her.” Ike said, trying to pry Taylor’s arms from Phyllis.
“NO! I’m not letting her go! HELP HER!” Taylor said and violently grabbed Ike’s arm. Amanda didn’t even say anything; she was off in the woods with Zac close behind.
“What the hell are we doing….! Shouldn’t we help your friend!?” Said Zac
“We are helping her dumb ass!”
“How?” said Zac
“I recognize the symptoms… and if I’m right then she doesn’t have very long.” Amanda said, looking at Zac. Zac grabbed her by the hand and dragged her through the woods.
“STOP ZAC!” Amanda yelled.
“WE HAVE TO FIND A CURE!” Zac yelled back.
“I just saw it.” Amanda said. Zac stopped abruptly and Amanda walked over to pick the plant.
“That’s it?” Zac asked, looking over her shoulder.
“Yes.” Amanda replied.

“Taylor, would you just lay her down over there.” Ike instructed. Taylor was just staring down at Phyllis, still holding her in his arms. He wasn’t paying any attention at all.
“TAYLOR!” Ike yelled. Taylor looked up and glared at him. He looked back down and proceeded to rock her back and forth.
“I hope they get back soon.” Ike said, pacing and watching Taylor to make sure he didn’t fall apart. He was totally out of it. He didn’t seem to care what was going on for the exception of Phyllis.

Amanda and Zac ran through the woods as fast as they could to get back to camp. They finally reached the opening to camp and stopped.
“We got it.” Amanda said panting. Ike ran over and took the plant from Amanda.
“What do I do with it?” He asked, and looked back around.
“I’ll take care of it.” She answered. Zac collapsed on the ground in exhaustion. Amanda walked over to where Taylor was, holding Phyllis. She broke a leaf in her hand.
“Tip her head back.” She instructed Taylor. Taylor did as she said and tipped Phyllis’ head back gently. Amanda bent down and drizzled the liquid into Phyllis’ mouth. Taylor waited as she swallowed as best as she could. He looked back up at Amanda. Amanda looked back down at him and then walked away. She sat down on the log and Zac and Ike joined her. They watched Taylor cautiously.
“I’m really worried.” Zac spoke up.
“I am too. I hope she comes out of it.” Ike said.
“I’m actually not as worried about Phyllis as I am about Taylor. He Just seems in another world.” Said Amanda.
“He’s been sitting there, holding her the whole time.” Ike said.
“We know.” Amanda answered and rested her head in her hands.

“Phyl.” Taylor whispered. Phyllis just made a noise.
“Can you talk at all?” he asked.
“What?” She asked, almost inaudible.
“Can you talk at all?” Taylor repeated himself.
“Tired…” She said, and started to close her eyes.
“Don’t go to sleep. Listen…I want to tell you something.” He said.
“Yes…” She asked.
“Don’t leave us. We’ll really miss you.” He laughed a little. She just smiled a little.
“Are you sure about that?” She asked.
“I WILL miss you.” He said. He stared into her eyes. He leaned in and kissed her on the forehead.
“Thanks.” He said.
“For * cough * for what?” She asked.
“For being here.” He smiled. Phyllis smiled back.
“I want to know…why are you staying here with me?” She asked, still staring in his eyes.
“Why wouldn’t I?” Taylor said plainly.
“I don’t know.” She said, and looked away.
“I really care about you.” Taylor answered.
“Huh?” She asked, looking back at him.
“And NOT like a brother.” He smiled. Phyllis just stared at him. Then she smiled. She coughed a little. Taylor quickly checked to see if she was all right. Taylor looked in her eyes again. He leaned in and kissed her gently on the lips.

Amanda looked over and watched. She hit Ike in the arm.
“What?” He asked. She pointed at Taylor and Phyllis.
“Oh.” Ike said.

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