"We've got to hurry, we don't want to be late." Crystal said happily, glad that Jules wasn't hitting her anymore. She led her towards the stairs to the basement. Nearly everyone else had already gone. This was a well-practiced drill in the Garden, and everyone but Jules could be ready in under a minute.
"We've got to wait while the older kids check the caves." Crystal said matter-of-factly. "Just to make sure nothing has moved in while we're away. Then we'll go in." She pointed to a spot on the wall. "There's a secret door right there that leads to the caves."
Just then the door opened and a teenaged boy popped his head in. "Clear." The other kids all started to go through into the dark tunnel, walking neatly in single file as they had been drilled.
"Of course." Crystal assured her. There were several safety precautions. Though most of was a maze of natural caves and tunnels, the Gardener had put of concrete supports in places, just in case. Scattered throughout the tunnels were packages of food and water, just in case anyone ever got lost. "Just stick with someone the whole time and you'll be fine." She could hear voices upstairs now, people she didn't know. It sounded like grownups.
"This happened once before that I remember." Crystal explained. For the first time, fear entered her eyes. "Bad people are trying to find us. The Gardener says that they want to take us away because we're special. They might hurt us. So we have to hide if they come." She stepped carefully on the dark, cold stone steps of the stairs. They were a bit steep, and she didn't want to fall in the dark. She clutched Jules' hand tightly to make sure she didn't fall, either.
((That's okay. I probably won't be on a lot for the next week or so, by the way. I've finally got the supplies to make my sister's Steampunk costume, and I have 5 school assignments to catch up on, and a book I need to finish before tomorrow or I'll never hear the end of it. DX))
Crystal shook her head. "I don't know, but the Gardener says it's bad. He says the people out there try to force us to do things we don't want to. And he says it's dangerous. He says there are things out there that go so fast they can kill you just by touching you if you get in their way." She shuddered. "And other bad things.
((Also, my internet is being very lame right now. >.<))
"Not here," Crys assured her. "Just out there. Here it's safe. Though...I remember one time a girl went missing. Mercy. The Gardener said that she went outside alone and got caught."
"Until the bad people are gone." Crystal said with a little shrug, then started to lead Jules over to where the other kids were scattered around the cave. The older kids had lanterns, and several others had flashlights. Some had already chosen sleeping spots and curled up with blankets, still tired from being woken up early. Others were eating breakfast from cans. "Sometimes it's only a few hours, but once it was two whole days."
"Sure," Crystal agreed, then wandered off to explore the caves. She knew this section well already but it gave her something to do.
Curiosity finally got the better and, though she wasn't supposed to, she climbed the long stairs and listened at the door. There were people arguing, though she couldn't tell what they were saying through the door. She recognized the Gardener's voice though, and he sounded mad. Then there was a shout, a crash, and more yelling.
"Nope," Crystal answered, voice breathy from fear. She grabbed Jules' hand and started to tug her back down the stairs. "We should get to the others." There was another shout and a bang, making her flinch and pick up the pace.
Wanting to get as far away from the frightening sounds as quickly as possible, Crystal scooped Jules' up in her arms and ran down the rest of the steep stone steps faster than was reccomended. The little girl was light and easy to carry.
"I don't know." Crys answered, voice shaking just a tiny bit. She was just a little girl herself, and was terrified.
"It's okay. He'll make them go away. It's okay." Crys said quickly, wanting to calm herself as much as she wanted to calm Jules. She was also afraid of a tantrum; if Jules started screaming, would the bad people hear?
"He always makes them go, you'll see." Crystal assured her, trying not to cry herself as she rocked Jules. "Sometimes they make a mess up there; that's probably what the noise was." Though usually there wasn't that much noise.
"They're probably looking for us in the cupboards or something," Crys said, hurredly trying to think of things to calm Jules. "Those are just pots and pans."
For a moment, there was silence. Relieved, Crys relaxed her embrace on Jules, smiling. "See? They-" She cut off as there was a tremendous crashing noise, the loudest yet.
Then the door up the stairs - the one Crys had been so sure was secret, safe - flew open with a splintering crack. Light beams swept down the stairs and men yelled, but Crys couldn't tell what they were saying because the words were drowned out by the other children screaming.
"Run!" Someone yelled, but Crys was already doing so, still holding Jules tightly as she ran deeper into the caves.
((My internet is broken. >.<))
Crys held Jules tightly - probably too tightly, but she was afraid of dropping her and having to slow down - as she ran down the hall. She was already tired, and her arms ached with the smaller girl's weight.
"Maybe there where too many!" She suggested, breathing heavily. The darkness of the deeper caves swallowed them up, and she forced herself to slow down a little so they wouldn't hit a wall. "He'll get them out. He'll save us." She repeated, hoping with all her heart that it was true. The people behind them were calling to the kids, trying to convince them that they wouldn't hurt them, that they were friends. Crystal knew they were lying, though, and kept going.
Crys loosened her grip on Jules a little, but was too afraid too pause and set her down. So, tired or not, she kept running. After a couple minutes she stopped, finding a dark niche in the wall and squeezing herself into it, breathing hard. "I think we lost them." She whispered.
((You got post #111. :) ))
It seemed like forever, sitting there in the dark, trying not to breath too loud, but finally there was silence. Crys waited a few more minutes before slowly standing up and peering down the tunnel. The dark felt heavy, like it was pushing against her eyelids, and she couldn't see anything. She couldn't hear anything, either, which she hoped was a good thing.
"I think they're gone." She said, relieved.
"Maybe..." Crys said, uncertain. Just then a light bobbed down the tunnel towards them, and she heard the familiar sound of boots thudding softly on the stone. The kids all wore the same kind of shoes here, so she could tell it wasn't one of the bad people.
A boy ran over to them, a headlamp strapped to his head. "Elijah! Are they gone?" Crys asked him, relieved that someone older than her was there. Elijah was fourteen, almost a grownup.
He nodded. "The Garden's a mess, but they're gone."
"Everything can be fixed." Crystal assured her. "Besides, why would they touch your spot? There's nothing there but dirt yet."
"Us older kids are cleaning everything up right now." Elijah informed them as he lead them through the tunnels. "The Gardener says you should all stay near the bedrooms for now, though, because it's dangerous past that. There's some broken glass and he doesn't want you getting cut." The words sounded recited, like he had been told what to say.