I’m sleeping, quite peacefully too, when someone shakes my shoulder.
“Eliza, wake up.”
“Go away,” I mumble and roll onto my stomach. “Trying to...”
I’m about to go back under when I’m shaken again.
Preparing to murder the unsuspecting victim, I roll onto my side and open my eyes.
“It isn’t morning yet,” I glare suspiciously at Amelia.
“No,” she whispers, “it’s not, but it’s really early.”
“You don’t say. Thanks for the observation.”
“Don’t you get it?” her eyes are bright. “Alice isn’t back yet!”
Sleep forgotten, I bolt upright and peer over to her bed. She’s right. It hasn’t been slept in at all.
Amelia and I, tired from work, fell asleep about ten. We just assumed she’d wander back home. Apparently not...
“That son of a-“
Before I can finish, Amelia clamps her hand over my mouth.
“My dad’s still asleep and he absolutely hates being woken up.”
Shaking her hand off, I try to think of what I can do.
“I knew he would try something,” I mumble as I lowly untangle myself from my bedding. “I knew it.”
“What? You think they’re sleeping together?”
“Damn straight I do.”
“I dunno. Toby isn’t like that.”
“Why else isn’t she here?” It comes out louder than expected and I quickly lower my voice. “When I get my hands on him, he’s a goner.”
After some convincing, Amelia decides to lead me to Toby’s tent. We stumble around in the dim light provided by the electric light source, yawning as we go.
“I doubt it was rape,” Amelia declares to try and comfort me. That only makes me angrier.
“Me too. He probably like, came onto her and she’s a sucker for guys like that.”
She lets me mutter the whole way to his tent.
There are no lights on so we lean our ears close to the tent and listen intently. What I would have done if I heard… you know, I don’t know. Instead, we only hear deathly silence.
The next thing that goes through my head is murder. He probably bagged her up or something. Without thinking, I quickly reach out and unzip the tent.
“What are you doing?” Amelia hisses to me and I make gestures so she’ll shut up.
Stepping back a little to let the dim light filter in, I peer inside and let my eyes rove around the room.
“Aww,” Amelia giggles quietly. “That’s so cute!”
I take my gaze off the piles of dirty laundry and follow her line of sight to the bed.
Both are lying on their sides, facing away from one another. Since it’s only a single bed, it’s a miracle they fit together. Their breathing is quiet and peaceful and Amelia and I spend a few moments watching them.
Since both their clothes are on, I zip the tent back up again and step away.
“So you’re not going to kill him?” Amelia asks as we back away.
“Nah. They weren’t naked so it’s fine. They probably just fell asleep watching the movie or something.”
“Talking about sleep,” she yawns, “I’m tired. Let’s go home.”
Part of my job includes handing out the boxes once I fill them with supplies to the sick and wounded so the next afternoon, I find myself going from tent to tent in my allocated section.
The area I’m given today is far off in the west, right at the end where the tunnel’s still being expanded.
Part of the area is roped off to stop people from getting to close and I wander from one tent to the other. This part is given to the workers so they don’t have far to walk each morning and afternoon so the level of wounded is quite high.
Between tents, I watch the men hitting at the brick with pick axes. Again, I’m filled with awe that the tunnel hasn’t collapsed. I make a reminder to ask Toby or Collin more about it.
Alice came home early in the morning and Amelia and I pretended to be asleep so when she woke up, she’d think we wouldn’t know anything about it.
“How was your night?” I asked her pleasantly as we all pulled on our clothes. Her eyes dropped to the floor.”
“It was okay.”
“Did anything special happen?” Amelia asked teasingly and then Alice blurted the whole thing out.
“I don’t even know what happened. We were talking about the rebel camp and then he kissed me and I kissed him back and then we talked again before kissing and falling asleep.”
I had to bite my cheek to stop from laughing.
“We know,” Amelia told her and punched her on the arm.
“Your friend totally freaked out and had me lead her to his tent after waking up to find you missing. We found you two asleep.”
“How did you know about the kiss?”
“We didn’t,” I laughed and Amelia snorted before covering her mouth with her hand. “But now we do and can hold it against you.”
We won’t of course. I love Alice to much for that. Toby, however, I’ll eagerly tease.
I’m passing a tent when I’m stopped in my tracks by the discussion going on inside.
“We all know Shane’s spilt information.”
“No, we don’t know that. He’s a strong man.”
“Why else were they going through the tunnels? You and I both know that doesn’t happen when people go missing.”
“So what’s your theory?”
Feeling sick, I lean closer to the tent to hear clearer.
“So they capture Shane who’s the leader of one of the rebel camps and they’re thinking they’ve hit the jackpot. That means they would have tortured him much worse than any of us to get every secret they could out of him.”
“How would they know he’s the leader?”
“They’re smart. Plus, they probably heard us calling him sir.”
“That doesn’t make him the...”
The other voice interrupts.
“Okay, okay that idea’s flawed, but listen anyway. So they get information about Liliana and the rebel camp, meaning position and everything. Then, they put two and two together when that person told them about the two girls disappearing down a tunnel. Since tunnels aren’t meant to exist anymore, that entrance would be the first one they went to. Two girls disappear without a sight and there’s a rebel camp underground? They’d be stupid not to follow it up.”
“So what you’re saying is they know we’re here?”
“Yeah. I tried telling Carmen, tried to get her to listen, but she wouldn’t and still sends people out that entrance. They’ll have people watching it, gathering information on the people going in and out.”
The other man swears and I feel like doing the same. It’s stupid I didn’t think of this. Those officials weren’t looking for us; they were looking for the camp. We’re just the reason for doing so.
“What do you think they’ll do?” the guy stops swearing.
“Wait until they have enough information before coming down on us. They’ll take away our water source first, than make it harder to get food. They’ll start picking us off in the streets and eventually, we’ll be forced to move above ground where they wait. It’s like the smoking out tactic. They’d throw smoke bombs into hiding places and that caused them to come out. It’s a very smart idea.”
“What the flip do we do?”
Only, he doesn’t say flip of course.
“I don’t know, man,” the other says grimly and I hear moving around in the tent. I panic and prepare to run for it, but the tent doesn’t unzip. “I have a family I need to take care of and if that means deserting this place, I’m going to do it.”
“I wouldn’t blame you for it. I might even come with you.”
“You’d be stupid not to. I just wish Carmen would tell others so they have a choice.”
“Carmen’s a bitch. She wouldn’t give people the choice. Maybe we should do it.”
“I considered it, but then there would be an uproar and she’d have every locked down. We’re going to have to go quietly.”
“Okay we better prepare. So you think they’ll use the smoking out tactic?”
“Yes. They’d want us alive.”
Stumbling away, boxes forgotten, I try not to be sick.
How wrong they turned out to be, though. How very very wrong they were.