Well, well, well! Welcome back to part 2 of chapter 9, where things are starting to get messy, what with Abbida sneaking out at night only to find everyone else gone AWOL…
Doesn’t anybody cherish a good night’s sleep anymore?
Anywho… let’s jump right into the action, I’d say!
By the way, if you are new to my story, please consider starting with Chapter 1 🙂
Worlds Rising: Rebellion
Chapter 9, Part 2
Suddenly, Abbida felt exposed out in the open. She slunk back into the shadow of the tent and cowered to the ground. Dare she call out to Cole again? What if their camp had been discovered? Had the guard been overwhelmed? But did that make any sense? How would anyone know they were here?
Same way Lian did.
The Conquerors must have known the wreck’s location all along. A ship this size couldn’t have been built in secrecy. Surely, somebody would have noticed it went missing and sent out a search and rescue party. Could anybody have survived that tragedy? Though Lian claimed the ship had once been airworthy–spaceworthy even, whatever that meant–that crash had reduced it to a monstrous piece of scrap. Valuable scrap, nonetheless. Someone must have tried to salvage any equipment and materials that might still prove useful.
A shame, the villagers hadn’t found out about this sooner. Then again, they wouldn’t even go near. They avoided the riverland since one of their hunting groups had been attacked by crocodiles way back when. Old Mandras had lost his youngest son that day–the father of Rona’s child. Neither of them ever spoke about it, but the riverland had been off limits ever since. Just another of many, many taboos. Which made it that much more odd that Mandras had given permission to this expedition. Sending Rona, of all people, to lead the group! How did that add up?
A bad feeling crept over Abbida. She huddled even lower and tried to blend in with the shadows. Behind her a twig snapped. She spun around and fell on her butt. Her heart thumped.
It was Lian, her features barely visible in the deep shadows of an almost full moon. Once again, she aimed that cursed weapon at Abbida, “What are you doing out here?”
“Nothing! I am looking for Cole.”
“That makes two of us.” Lian eyed her, stony-faced and lowered the gun. Her eyes were scanning the camp restlessly. For the first time she seemed nervous. “He was supposed to stay put and keep an eye on the camp. But when I finished my round he was gone.”
Biting her lower lip, Abbida tried to make sense of it. What in the world was going on? Cole didn’t stand a chance against Lian’s weapons. Not out in the open, anyway. His best shot might have been in the gloom of the jungle, when she had been doing her rounds. A thought struck her, “What about Tarek?”
“The silent, grumpy one?”
Despite herself, Abbida smirked inwardly. Lian had figured him out all right. “Shouldn’t he be out here now?”
“… You mean, he’s not in the tent?” Lian edged closer.
Abbida’s thoughts jumbled. This was getting better by the minute! Had the others been scheming behind her back? Was Rona even still in the tent or had she snuck off while Abbida and Lian were distracted? She reached for the flap, but Lian beat her to it. Empty! Spinning on her heels, Lian yanked up her gun, and Abbida felt a burning sensation where the muzzle grazed her temple. Her heart missed a beat.
“What is going on?” Lian hissed between clenched teeth.
“I dont know! I swear!”
From the corner of her eye Abbida caught something moving and jolted. Rona’s backlit silhouette peeled from out of the shadows. “Let her go. She doesn’t know anything.”
Lian didn’t move, nor did her gun. Abbida’s hands felt icy, though her shirt clung to her back from an outburst of cold sweat.
A familiar cracking sound reached her ears: another safety lever being switched! “I said–let her go!”
“How did you get hold of that gun?” Lian said with an icy tone.
“None of your business.”
“Do you even know how to shoot it?”
Rona stepped out into the moonlight. With an air of confidence she aimed the gun at Lian with both hands. For a couple of heartbeats nobody moved, and the little hairs on Abbida’s neck stood on end. Rona was bluffing, wasn’t she? Even if she did know how to shoot this gun, she was no match for Lian. If they got caught up in a fight she might hit Abbida instead!
“Easy now,” Lian said. “I am not going to harm your friend, so stay calm. Surely, you must realize I can’t put away my gun, though. Now, let me turn just a bit, so I can see you better. I’ll do it really slowly, so don’t be alarmed. All right?”
Rona hesitated, and Abbida squinched her eyes shut. Please, don’t let her loose her head! She sensed Lian shift weight from one leg to the other. With a nerve-wrecking slowness she turned sideways, keeping one hand on Abbida’s shoulder, lest anyone forget who held the hostage.
A realization struck Abbida and her eyes flew open: By now, Rona might well consider her expendable!
~ to be continued! ~
Thank you for reading!
Again, this was a rather short episode, I apologize. With the next episode we will begin chapter 10, and episodes will be a bit longer again. I post updates around the 10th, 20th and 30th of the month. So, don’t forget to check back!
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Keep your head up!