By: Kiera K.
I sat up groggily and looked around. I was in. . .a forest? No, that didn’t make sense. Yet. . . it was true: I was in a tiny clearing.
“Why am I in this clearing?” I wondered.
I tried to remember the last place I had been, but despite my struggles, I couldn’t even remember my own name. Wow. . .
My stomach painfully ached for food, and I wondered how long I’d been passed out in a forest without food or water. My throat was dry and swallowing hurt.
The girl next to me stirred. She had wavy, jet black hair and tan skin. She was incredibly thin, probably from spending days without food like I had.
“Where-where are we?”She croaked in a scratchy voice. “And who are you?”
“I can’t even remember my own name. I don’t know why we’re in this clearing,” I answered in a gravelly voice.
Suddenly, the girl gasped and pointed. I followed her gaze, and I had an equally surprised reaction.
An unconscious, pale, dark-haired boy lay on the opposite side of the clearing. He had four red scars and a deep, bloody gash along his arm.
The girl stood up slowly and stared up at the sky with a smile. I looked up to see thick clouds and smiled as well. The clouds meant rain!
The girl grabbed some blueberries off of a few nearby bushes, and we devoured them in five minutes. Then, we collected a pile for the boy.
“Yes, rain!” She cried.
I guess a drop had hit her.
“Why can’t I remember anything? What is my name and where do I come from? NO, I can remember!”I thought, determined.
The girl weakly leaned back against a tree.
“D.. D.. Dest… Destiny?”
“What?”She stared at me. I had simply said it out loud without thinking.
“Destiny,”I repeated. “That’s my name. I don’t know how I remember that, but I do.”
“Okay, then,”she nodded slowly. “Well, we’ve been here for three days at most, since most humans can only go three days without water. Wow. . . I remember that, but I can’t even remember my own name.”
She appeared to be in deep thought. She was mumbling something, so I barely heard anything. “L. . .Lyla. . .Luise. . .”
“Lua!” She exclaimed. “I managed to remember my name,”
As it began to rain harder, Lua and I happily gulped down the water..
Then, I looked down into a puddle. I saw a girl staring up at me; she looked as if she hadn’t seen food in weeks. Then, I realized that girl was me. I had ratty, mouse brown hair and a scar on my cheek.
“There are secret tunnels that run through this forest!” Lua blurted.
“How do you know that?” I questioned, intrigued.
“I… I don’t know,” She admitted with a helpless shrug. “I. . . I just do.”
“Well, hopefully we can find them because I heard a growl and I don’t wanna wait to see what made it,” I told Lua.
Lua examined all of the trees around us. We were silent; the only sounds were the boy’s faint breathing. Even together, Lua and I were so weak that we had trouble holding the thin boy.
“We’ve probably been in this clearing for longer than three days,” Lua broke the silence. “Someone must’ve given us water during that time, ‘cause we all look far skinnier than three days without food.”
I nodded slowly; I could see that both Lua’s and the boy’s clothes hung off of them loosely. I found it unlikely that we’d all been this thin before now.
Lua stumbled from the weight of the boy, but I managed to lay him down gently.
I jumped at the sound of thunder booming. Lua pulled the boy away from the trees, and he finally woke up. He looked at both of us in surprise.
“We’re the first people to ever escape,” He breathed. “Destiny, Lua, we have to make the world know our story.”
Lua and I shared a confused ‘What is he talking about?’ look.
“What did we escape from?” I wondered
The strange boy glanced at his arm and scowled. “These stupid cuts won’t do anything. . . why doesn’t he get that?!”
“We don’t know, but what did we escape from?” Lua said.
The boy visibly shuddered. “You two are lucky that they erased your memory. I’m stuck with the horrors of it, haunting my dreams,”
An arc of lightning flashed in the sky, and I gasped. I bolted towards the tree, but the boy grabbed my arm.
“We’re in the middle of a storm, and your first idea is to run into trees?!” The boy scowled.
“Do you have a better idea?” I glared at him before remembering that he’d been passed out when we’d discussed the tunnels.
“How about NOT run into trees!? You know, something logical?” He suggested sarcastically.
“I know it sounds crazy but just trust me on this one, we think one of these trees has a secret tunnel.” Lua said quickly.
“How can I trust you? You just tried to charge into trees during a thunderstorm! Honestly, if that’s not illogical thinking, then I don’t know what is!”
Lua drifted to the tree and pressed her hand on it. I stared at the tree while wondering how she could tell. The tree split, leaving a small opening. As thunder rumbled in the sky again, Lua climbed in. And, promptly disappeared.
“LUA!” The boy and I shrieked in unison as we bolted to the tree.
Lightning struck again, and I heard a tree crash to the ground, fairly close to us.
“We’re safer if we don’t go into a tree. We should just back up and—” The boy started.
“NO!” I screamed, somehow gaining the confidence—or stupidity—to shout and attract whatever creatures were near us. “Lua is our friend and she just fell into a tree! I don’t know about you, but I’m cold, scared, and angry! And I’m gonna do something about it!”
The boy stared at me before nodding.
“I’m just saying, this is a really dumb idea. If we get sent back to that place—” The boy scowled as he said ‘place’—“I’m blaming you two,” He climbed in, and I followed.
I was immediately engulfed in darkness. The thin sliver of light let in from the opening only revealed the metal chute the boy was already sliding down.
I heard a clang, then Lua called up to us. “Prepare for a hard landing. . . I think I sprained my ankle.”
“Are you hurt?” The boy asked.
“Oh, yeah, I’m fine. I sprained my ankle, but I’m not hurt at all,” She answered sarcastically
“Hey, what’s your name?” I asked.
“I already told you! It’s Lua!” Lua answered.
“Not you!” I snapped.
I hit something padded, and the chute changed direction. The dim light of wherever we were going allowed me to barely see the boy’s silhouette.
“Mylo” the scrawny boy answered. “My name is Mylo.”
I heard the clang of Mylo hitting the ground.
When I landed, I twisted my ankle.
“Aww, my shoulder,” Mylo groaned while clutching his shoulder.
Lua balanced on one foot a few feet away from us and stared at a blinking light. I looked at the light, but I didn’t see what was so interesting about it. Mylo frowned at the light, then gasped.
“It’s an S.O.S. message!” He cried.
I glanced between the two of them, then at the blinking light.
“How is that light an S.O.S message. . .?” I wondered aloud.
“Morse code,” Lua answered. “Someone needs help!”
Mylo pushed himself up with one arm and walked to Lua. He supported her so she could walk, but they both looked back at me.
“Aren’t you coming?” Lua said.
“I twisted my ankle,”
“Really?” Lua arched an eyebrow (and, no, she did not say ‘really’ in a caring way. She said it as if she really meant ‘seriously? Your excuse for not walking is that?!’). “Suck it up; you can walk.”
As they turned their heads away from me, I glared at Mylo’s wavy, dark hair. Neither of them even helped me up. They hobbled to the flashing, red light while I pushed myself up.
“Well, thanks anyways!” I added as I caught up with them.
“You’re welcome!” They responded sarcastically.
They inspected wall around the lights. Lua tapped something on the wall in what I assumed was morse code while Mylo felt the wall for something.
“What are you guys doing?” I asked, hoping I could help.
“Feeling the wall for a crack or hidden switch or something else that could lead us to whoever needs help,” Mylo answered.
Lua had stopped tapping and was feeling the wall like Mylo.
“Maybe you have to touch the light. . .?” I suggested.
To show them what I meant, I walked to them and stood on my toes (the majority of my balance was on the toes of the foot that hadn’t been injured). I could just barely reach the light with my fingertips. Lua showed me how to tap S.O.S. in morse code, and I tapped it on the light. To my surprise, a doorway opened up in front of us.
All three of us glanced at each other. I was the first to enter, and Mylo and Lua followed. I heard them quietly whisper to each other and laugh. I could barely hear any of it, but I got the feeling they were talking about me.
“. . . a wimp. . .”
“. . . annoying. . .”
“. . .ankle. . .acted like. . .broke her leg,”
I grit my teeth and glared at the ground.
“Aah!” I shouted as I tried to take a step and the ground wasn’t there.
I felt myself start to fall, but someone grabbed the back of my shirt.
“Don’t worry,” Mylo told me reassuringly.
He pulled me back, and I stated,”Whoever wants help is making us go to a lot of trouble.”
“Yeah,” Mylo muttered.
“So. . .do we stay in here or go back?” I asked.
Instead of an answer, I found some kind of cloth in my hands.
“Don’t let go of this, no matter what,” Lua instructed.
“Lua? What are you doing?” Mylo questioned.
“Don’t worry,” She responded.
I squinted and could just barely see Lua hobble to the edge and drop down. I felt her weight and held onto the cloth like my life depended on it. After a few seconds, I no longer felt her weight on the cloth. At the end of those seconds, I heard the clang of Lua hitting metal.
“Guys! Drop down! There’s a metal platform!” Lua explained.
I helped Mylo get down in a way that didn’t require the use of his injured shoulder. I dropped down and stumbled.
I could see a faint blue light in the distance. It was flashing the S.O.S. message from before.
Without a single word, all three of us were charging towards the light. We found that it was at the entrance to a room. We all entered the room only to be grabbed immediately. I screamed as cold hands grabbed me.
I found myself against a wall with Mylo and Lua in the same situation on my right as blinding lights went on in the room. I heard cold laughter.
“What does it feel like to go all this way, just to realize that you walked into a trap?” A steely voice chuckled from somewhere behind us.
I heard Mylo mumbling. “No, not this. Anything but this. We’ll disappear, just like everyone else who tried to escape,”
“We left you each with specific memories to lead you here.” The voice explained.
So. . . whoever owned that heartless voice was responsible for my memory loss.
“No! I refuse to be forced to do your evil work again!” Mylo shouted.
The memories slowly returned. Mylo, Lua, and I used to be lonely orphans. Luckily, we’d found each other. We never really knew where we were going, but we traveled together and became inseparable. One fatefully horrible day, we met Dr. S. He’d offered us a job to get money and a home. All three of us were absolutely ecstatic.
The home? It was a large cell. The job? It forced us to steal from people. We unwillingly took almost everything from people. Except for their lives.
After years of horribly harsh treatment, the three of us had to escape. We ran away about 4 months ago. We attempted to make our horrible past known, but no one believed us because Dr. S is supposedly the head of a largely popular technology company. And Dr. S.—the hateful, heartless man I knew was somewhere in the room—was nothing but an evil, lying creep who probably had someone else running “his” company.
“That project is done,” Dr. S. told Mylo. “For running away, and telling people about this place, you three will be punished. You didn’t really think we didn’t know about your escape, did you? We caught you, erased some of your memories, and put you in the forest. We fed you three so you would live and suffer in our little maze, but your deaths awaited you.”Dr. S. nodded to the men holding the three of us against the wall. “Take them to the execution room. They have no use to us.”