I awoke to the screams of the huge crows on the tree outside my cottage in the countryside. At that time I thought today was going to be a normal day. I quickly washed, ate and dressed, ready to go rock climbing. I go rock climbing every day. Once I got there, I changed my shoes into my trainers and got started.
I didn't notice that I had company until I climbed the first cliff. I looked around to admire the view and I saw a boy about my age watching me.
"Hi" I shouted down the cliff.
"Um.. Hi..." He replied, shyly.
I climbed down so we were standing face to face at the bottom of the cliff.
This morning I woke to the bleep of my alarm. I live in a village near the cliffs and the coastline, even though it is half a mile away. I washed, dressed, ate and packed lunch before I went to spend the day at the cliffs.
Once I got there, I saw that there was a few smallish stones that I could use as a makeshift table and chair. I was sitting there sucking a strawberry from my salad and I see a girl about my age running over to a cliff and climbing it. I couldn't help but stare at the ease she showed while hoisting herself up higher and higher using only her strength and the little handholds on the cliff.
The girl didn't seem to notice me staring until she was at the top of her cliff. She shouted a greeting and I nervously replied. She climbed down and we were face to face.
"Who are you?" I found myself asking.
"My name is Azure, who are you?" She answered calmly
"Caleb," I replied simply
It had been a while since I had spoken to someone my age. Nobody younger than 30 lived in my village except me.
"How old?" Azure asked "I'm sixteen."
"Same." I said "You're a good climber."
"Thanks, I've climbed since I was four." she modestly replied.
"Can you teach me to climb like you?" I grinned
"It's not a matter of teaching, it's a matter of not being afraid and not falling, really, but I can try."
She returned a grin and we walked to the smallest of the cliffs and got started. She patiently-ish taught me, hardly grumbling at all when I failed or climbed up and couldnt get a grip of the handholds and fell. I grasped the technique after a while (even though I was purple with bruises from falling off) and I found that she was right about the 'not falling or being afraid thing'.
After our first conversation, we got to work climbing the cliffs. Caleb picked up rock climbing extremely quickly. Once we climbed all of the cliffs, we decided to explore a bit. It didn't take long for us to find a good spot to continue our cliff adventure. We hadn't climbed for half an hour until I had to climb down to help.
I was sitting at the top of the tallest cliff, waiting for Caleb to catch up when I heard a shout and my instincts took over
"Azure! I'm going to fall!"
I climb down as fast as I can and see him dangling over a ledge on the cliff. He looked terrified, his eyes huge and sweat pouring down his face.
"Help... Please... Can't... Hold... On." He gasped
I took his wrist and helped him up to a large enough ledge for us both to sit on.
"Thanks!" He said shakily, after catching his breath
"No problem. You okay?"
We climbed down and walked back to the first cliffs we climbed together. We sat on the small group of stones I used as seats. I still had a rucksack with a flask of soup with cups and a fruit salad that I had started eating when I watched Azure climb. I unpacked the food and cups and poured out some soup for us both.
"It's about time we ate, I'm starving"
"True, can you pass the soup?"
We ate until the food ran out and we sat and relaxed, just casually chatting.
Once we had finished, we walked to another cliff-filled area. We set down our things, I wasn't carrying more than I absolutely had to, following the nearly-fatal accident I experienced. I know this seems dumb, but after Azure saved me from falling, it seems we have known each other for years, even though we met only a few hours ago.
I couldn't help noticing that Caleb was climbing a lot more shakily than he had been before, understandable considering that he almost fell from such a height not that long ago. Even so, I insisted that I climbed behind him because I was slightly stronger and much more experienced in climbing than him. That was a stupid idea.
We had barely climbed the third cliff when I fell. And I don't mean a little bump in the knee, I mean falling 20 ft or more, hitting off a solid cliff every so often. Once I got to the bottom I let out a scream and fell unconscious.
When I awoke, I was in a makeshift bed made from palm leaves and driftwood with Caleb by my side.
"How long was I out?"
"About an hour, not long."
I sat up and realised I couldn't feel my legs. I panicked and looked at them and put my hands on them and squeezed them until I could feel them again. From the knee down, both legs were coated in palm leaf makeshift bandages with soft moss inside.
"How long did it take you to build this?"
I tried to stand up but I couldn't bear the pain. I gasped, if I couldn't walk, how do I get home? I asked Caleb this question, not to get a good answer, but to make me feel better. He didn't answer, but his brow furrowed the way that men in my village did when they were thinking.
Azure's query worried me. A lot. I knew that we both lived alone so there was nobody to worry about us which was good but I couldn't carry Azure to her house alone. This leaves one option; camping out by the cliffs until Azure can walk. I'm not leaving her, that's for sure.
She wakes me from my state of deep thought by throwing a stone at the sand beside me.
"Hey, I could use some fresh moss in my cast, this stuff is getting dry."
"I'm on it. Anything else, Boss?" I grinned.
"Very funny. But I'm really thirsty come to think of it." She replies with a smile.
We laugh together for a while and I go and fetch some moss and her water bottle, which is still relatively full. Once I refill her cast and give her the bottle, I feel really tired, then I realise that it's late. I didn't notice the sky darkening until now.
I go to my rucksack and remove my emergency sleeping bag and blanket, then gently place the blanket over Azure's thin body and I place my sleeping bag down on the ground beside Azure's bed and climb in. Tonight is not going to be comfortable in any way at all, but some things I have to endure.
In the morning, I wake and realise that I had enjoyed a longer sleep than I expected, in a sleeping bag on the sand. My thoughts then avert to Azure with her leg. I unceremoniously stuff my sleeping bag in my rucksack.
"Hey, Azure, you awake?"
"If you want you can use my sleeping bag."
"No thanks Caleb, I'm not tired."
"You can't stay awake for ever."
I give up on arguing, if she wanted to sleep, arguing wouldn't help at all. If she doesn't, then who am I to tell her how much rest she needs.
"OK, can you stand up?"
She tries to stand, and I can see her struggling to stay upright so I rush over and hold her steady. After a few hours of gentle guidance, she is strong enough to climb. Now I am the one below, I can catch her if she falls. This time nobody is injured and Azure is pretty much healed. She now removes her cast and gently places it at the top of the cliff.
I could hardly bear standing at first this morning, but with a pair of steady hands to hold, I managed to get my strength up enough to last the day.
After climbing and playing around with Caleb, I go about picking edible plants to make a salad for breakfast. I also come across a bramble bush and pick some blackberries for later on.
"Do you mind eating salad for breakfast?"
"As long as its not poisonous!" He smiled.
I set my findings down and realise how much I actually found in the nearby woods with my limited knowledge of edible plants. This could be food paradise if we had more knowledge.
We ate about half of the leaves. The rest we can eat at lunch. I am sort of worried about how I will fare with the mile walk home. It isn't too far, but I could barely stand this morning. I think Caleb knew what i was thinking because he placed his hands on my shoulders and told me I would make it.
He seemed like a different person when he was serious.
"If you can't make it home, I'm not leaving your side until you get there."
"You don't need to look out for me like this, I'm fine." I said very gently, so as not to seem ungrateful.
"I do. Not just for you, but because I couldn't live with myself if you didn't make it back and I had as good as abandoned you." He replied coolly
We set off on the short journey to my house. I was fine, but i could see Caleb was cold. He was shivering all over, although he denied being cold in the slightest.
"I'm not blind Caleb, I can see that you're shivering. Take my coat."
"No, I'm fine."
"Just take it, I'm too warm anyway."
He finally agreed after ten minutes of coaxing to get him to accept my thick winter coat. We were getting near my house, I could see the trees that were at the official entrance of my village in the horizon.
It was barely fifteen minutes before we reached my house. It looked tiny as always, although it is quite large on the inside. We entered the door and made plans to meet up every day at ten o'clock in the morning.
All was well and normal for about two years, but on a warm summer's day this all changed.
As always, I went round to Azure's door and saw a note taped to the door. It had one symbol on it; a red lizard. I gasped, this was terrible. The Red Lizards is a group of criminals who are at large.
I sprinted to the old bridge where they sometimes hang out, going by the graffiti of the logo all over it. I was hoping for some kind of clue to her whereabouts. All I know about these people is that they usually forget major components of their plan. Then an idea hit me.
I called Azure's mobile phone. She answered with an incredibly calm voice for someone who was kidnapped.
"Yeah, someone kidnapped me and put me in a cage!"
"Where are you?!"
"I'm not sure, somewhere in the eastern forest"
"I'm coming, don't worry."
I end the call and run out of the village and on the long journey to the eastern forest. It takes about three hours, running for the first mile.
Millions of thoughts run through my head.
"How do I find Azure in the forest?"
"The forest is huge, I will get lost."
"How do I get past the Red Lizards when I do get there"
Once I am on the outskirts of the forest I then get hit square in the chest with the blow of all of this. I don't know how to get there, let alone get by the gang and release Azure.
On the ground I spot a hair grip. I could pick any locks between me and Azure.
I try it out on a padlock in my pocket. It worked perfectly.
I don't even know what happened. I woke up in a cage. Luckily i sleep with my phone in my pyjama top pocket. My head was fuzzy and I cant remember this morning at all. I look at my phone gps and I recognised the eastern forest.
This was the first time I noticed the group that were sniggering at me. The Red Lizards. Caleb phoned me and I told him my whereabouts and he reassured me. I needed to hear a familiar voice or I swear I could scream.
"You won't get a signal, stupid" one woman sneered
"Okay" I sarcastically smiled
Now i have to wait until Caleb comes.
I fall into a disturbed sleep. I had multiple nightmares. I was trapped in a cube with a spreading flame climbing up my legs, torso, arms, then i am fully submerged by the fire. Then i was in a city. It all seemed calm until i entered a derelict building. Snakes started slithering out of every crevice and crack and tying themselves around my limbs and detaining me in a cage of snake.
I awoke again with a start. All I could hear was shouting and arguing. I looked around and I got the biggest surprise.
I managed to get in by throwing a stone at a short teen. They all began to argue about who threw it. I then sneaked around in the shadows until I was behind Azure's cage.
"Hey Caleb, can you get me out of here."
We were careful to be as quiet as we can while i set Azure free. Once she is out, I grab her hand and run, pulling her with me. Once we are out of the forest, we hug briefly and i whisper in her ear,
"Be careful next time!"
We walk away from the forest together, hardly talking but silently enjoying the company.
"Thanks for getting me out back there." Azure smiled
"Forget it." I replied with a grin.