Zac and Isaac looked horrified when Taylor's screams pierced the night air from Camp E. They'd assumed new positions to scout out the camp one last time before making their attempt to get in when the screaming began. Two words hit them square in the gut and it took all the will power Zac had to hold himself back and it took all of Will's power to hold Isaac back.
"Oh god, what're they doin to him!?" Zac gasped, watching Will wrestle with Isaac.
"Zac, talk to him! Do something, he's gonna give us away!" Will indicated their position.
Zac crawled over to Isaac's ear and began a trick he learned to use on the youngsters at home.
He whispered into his ear, "Ike, please buddy. He's not dead... just calm down and we'll get him back. Calm down, come on. Don't worry, just calm down."
Isaac had stopped struggling to hear the low sound of his brother's voice, just like the little kids at home did. Finally, the twenty-year-old sat on his butt and crossed his arms over his knees, shielding his face from view, and began crying softly.
"I was supposed to be there for him. I'm supposed to watch out for him and Zac. If mom and dad saw this....they'd be so mad." Isaac whispered through his tears.
Will sat back on his haunches and took a deep breath to restore his energy while Isaac tried to control his emotions.
"We can't break down now guys. You both know that, your brother is counting on us with his life." Will let that sink in for a bit before going on, "Now, shall we gentlemen?" He pointed towards the camp.
"Ok, we meet back at the old spot we were hiding right? Ike and me with Tay and you with Angie. If nobody's there for an hour, move on to the last campsite we were at. Let's say....five, six hours there you leave for H. Sound like a plan?" Zac finished.
"Sounds like a plan." Will agreed, Ike nodded along.
"Alright, hands in fellas, lots of luck to us all!" Isaac stated, putting both of his hands between the three of them to perform the Hanson Cheer.
Zac and Will easily joined in and they set out to assume their positions.
"Ok Zac, no goofing off. We get caught, we're dead. No second chances this time. Now, where's Tay gonna be?" Isaac thought out loud.
"I dunno man, but ducking might hide your fat head better." Zac told him.
"Uh, sorry." Isaac said, ducking his head down.
The youngest Hanson brother could only shake his head and crawl after him through the refuse the sloppy, lazy camp left on the outskirts of the civilization. Zac grimaced when his hand sank into, as far as he could tell, a rotting tola carcass.
"What freaking pigs! They need to burn crap like this!"
He glanced around during his stealth mode and made note of where certain things lie incase they needed to make a quick get away.
To the left, he spied a large tree that seemed wider then it was tall but he knew it must be an illusion.
"That'd be a good spot to hide Tay if we had to." Zac allowed himself to think. He knew if he had the choice between running away with Taylor or staying here with his two older brother's he'd take Camp H any day. The sight of this camp was grossing him out, or maybe it was that pile of something his knee just squished through, he couldn't be sure.
To his right he saw, well he saw nothing as his elbow gave out and he ate a face full of dirt before recovering, "Oof! God flipping dang it." He muttered. He grinned at what he must have looked like and also because Isaac missed his little mishap.
Or so he thought, "Go genius, just don't make noise."
Zac grit his teeth in embarrassment but returned to his previous task of scoping the place out. He noticed many crevices and cracks among the massive amounts of boulders piled up against the base of the slanted rock hill. If the Terran's hadn't ruined it already, the area might have been worthy a place to make a home out of, the view was much better then Camp H had, it even had a larger stream with...
"Zac, watch it!" Isaac hissed quietly after a zoned out Zac head butted his rear.
"Sorry!" Zac whispered back hissily.
"Shh, somebody's coming up behind us, we gotta wait." Isaac indicated the trail they were crawling near.
"Then hide stupid!" Zac whispered tensely.
Isaac slid on his hands, knees, and stomach Rambo style with Zac close behind, this time paying close attention to where he was going. Just in time, they came to a halt behind one of the many boulders Zac had noted earlier and pressed against them in fear and waited to be discovered or waited to be left alone. Two heavy footed men came trudging past, each carrying a limp body between them and cursing about the job.
"How'd we get stuck with the job of washin the damn kid?" The first voice asked.
"Uhm, no see I washed him while you were being a pansy ass in the background thank you very much." The second voice complained.
Zac squinted in an attempt to see who they had between them, but failed as he noticed the person's face was bathed in darkness, but he had a good idea. The form easily suggested Taylor was the person and Zac knew Ike was thinking the same thing. Now they needed to figure out how they could jump the men and get him back or if they shouldn't jump them but just follow instead.
"What do we do?" Zac questioned Isaac.
"Lemme think for a bit. Lets just follow em for now, come on they're far enough ahead." Isaac let him know.
"As you say." And Zac followed Isaac's lead.
Zac decided to use a low, knuckle scraping posture as he tracked through the chest high grass, his eyes and ears trained on the men carrying the unconscious body and not the terrain he was traversing. Zac felt the butterflies in his stomach mount ten fold when his foot connected with an unseen twig.
"Oh crap!" Zac stated simply and dove for cover.
"What was that!?"
Staring into the massive cave entrance, Will knew he found the girl by the name of Angela, also known as the rainbow girl. She looked far better then Taylor did at the moment, though she was in a similar get up as the former teen star. She had tola hide wrapped around her ankles but they weren't infected or cut up either. As far as he could tell, her back was fine but he couldn't be sure because her shirt was covering her up.
He tensed when he heard the slave's name being called, "Angela, get in here now!"
He watched the girl limp up to her master, "Yes?"
"I need damp wood from the stream for my bed, go get me some from the stream." Her master stated.
Will was on the other side of the camp and had to hurry along to catch up with the young woman who'd had her tola hide removed as she strode to the not so near-by stream.
"How do I do this without scaring the crap out of her? Who cares? Just do it!" And he made his was quickly to Angela and spoke.
"Angie, come on! We gotta go!" He whispered tensely, grabbing her arm and pulling her along without warning.
The young woman's eyes popped open and she tried to scream as she was slammed against Will's buff body and his strong hand clamped over her mouth.
"It's Will! From the Camp, calm down! I'm breaking you out!" He stated loudly.
Immediately the struggles ceased as Angela did a 360 and latched onto Will in a bone-crunching hug.
"Thank you for finding me!" She cried into his chest.
"Come on, we don't have a lotta time to sit here and cry. Ike and Zac are goin after Tay right now. Move it!" He exclaimed.
"But....but I can't. They'll look for me! They'll follow our tracks!" She protested.
"Then what do you think we should do huh?" Will asked.
"Wait until it's dark. Gimme your knife before I head back so I can cut the tola leather on my legs, and make a break for it. They trust me for some reason." Angie let him know.
"This is your only chance. It's now or never because Ike and Zac could have Tay now. We leave ASAP or you don't leave at all."
"Why?" She asked, confused.
"Because the guys'll have Tay and they'll know he's missing and they'll keep a closer watch on you." Will stated as if he were talking to a rock.
She closed her eyes in defeat and reached up and gave him another hug.
"They told me nobody was alive. That's why there were only five of us. Tay didn't believe em."
"Well, none of the Raggenii or Cadeska made it. A few Terrans died too, but everything else seems pretty good. The camp's trashed. Ok, we gotta go. Coming?"
"You even need to ask?"
With that, they both started a quick, hustled march to the secluded hiding spot, zigging and zagging their way across the grasslands to confuse a tracker and crossing the stream then doubling back the way they came before they immersed themselves in the cool water again and swam downstream a ways until they were a few minutes away from the spot they intended to hide out in. The whole process had taken them more then three hours, but Will didn't see any new tracks around the little over hanging cliff as he and Angela sat down, exhausted.
"What now?" She asked in a child-like voice.
"Now? We wait for the guys." Will answered softly.
"What if they don't show?"
"Then we go on to one of the camps we found and wait for awhile there. After that we head back to the camp without them."
"WHAT? Why? You can't just leave em!" Angie said a little too loud.
"Shhh!!!! I don't like it anymore then you, but it was Zac and Ike's idea. So keep quiet!" He ordered.
"Sorry." She snapped, laying her head on her knees.
Suddenly the wild life noises stopped around them. Will's ears strained to hear anything; a clue to what might have caused all sound to shut off. Angela opened her mouth to speak but Will shook his head 'no' and held his hands up for silence. Slowly, he pushed his head past he edge of the outcropping and started to peek around. Abruptly, a heavy leather boot smashed into the unsuspecting man's head.
Angela screamed and tried to run as her master's love interest grabbed her around the waist and held her arms down, "Nope, sorry hun. Your master's not gonna like you running off like this."
Angela's eyes bulged at Will. A knife was being held to his throat as he stared the frightened girl straight in the eye, and then looked passed her. Angela trained her eyes on what he saw as she jerked her head around. A red faced Zac stood with his arms tied behind his back and a gag in his mouth. His nose and thick lips were trailing blood down his chin. Isaac was nowhere in sight.
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