My clothes are heavy with water. I struggle against the wind and rain as the storm rages on above and around me. It seems to get worse as time carries on. And although it feels like this storm has been going on forever, I still jump at every thunderclap. I stumble across the wet grass, bouncing from post to post as the earth continues to attack this tiny little island. The earth trembles with each strike of lightning. Somehow, I manage to defy the odds and find myself at the other shack.
“Alright,” I shout, lifting the bolt cutters to the lock. “I’m here.” I pull the remains of the lock from its position and the door swings open.
“Another battery bank?” Bruno asks.
“No.” I gaze in at what is quite possibly the most underwhelming sight possible. “There’s a desk with a computer on it. Looks ancient, like from the 80s or something.”
“Hmm,” Bruno muses.
“What do I do?”
“Is the computer powered on?”
“It looks like it, yeah,” I answer.
“You’re telling me.”
“Does it say anything on the screen?”
“Dude, it says a whole bunch of things on the screen, and the numbers and stuff keep changing by the second.”
“You think I should shut it off?”
“You know how to do that?”
“I’m guessing this black switch on the top of it which says power might do the trick.”
“Couldn’t hurt to try it, I guess.”
“Fine, I’m going to try it anyways.” I flick the switch. The screen goes dark, as well as the rest of the few lights flickering on the box on the desk. The lightning continues to rage outside. “I guess that was a waste of time. Should I turn it back on?”
“No!” Bruno yells. “If the computer is what I hope it is, it’s not controlling the lightning, it’s controlling the event which brings the lightning about. It could take a few minutes for everything to stop.”
“Okay.” I shrug and sit down on the black chair situated in front of the desk. I drum my fingertips against the desktop as the storm rages on outside. Until, finally, like a bag of microwaved popcorn, the thunder and lightning slows before completely stopping altogether.
“Good work, kid,” Bruno cheers in my headphones.
“Great.” I step out of the building. “So, you wanna come around here to pick me up?”
“No can do, Cy. We’ve already brought enough attention to ourselves. You’re going to have to run to me. I’ll ferry you across when you get back over here. Hopefully we can do this fast enough and they won’t have even managed to figure out what’s going on yet before we make it onto the other island.”
“Yeah,” I agree. “Hopefully.” I sprint across the island, slipping on the wet grass as I make my way toward the seaplane.
A loud crack of thunder sounds from behind me, causing me to jump as I near the grass.
“What was that?” I ask.
“If I had to guess, I’d say they’re trying to use a remote starter from Grand Island. We’ll have to move fast.”
“I’m running as fast as I can,” I say, entering the water and splashing toward the seaplane.
Bruno opens the door to the back of the plane and beckons me toward him. I groan at the act. Does he really think I don’t already know where I’m going?
The water gets deep quickly and I swim the few extra feet to the buoys at the bottom of the plane, Bruno offers me a hand and pulls me up.
“Stay out here, you’ll have to jump off again in a second.”
“Okay,” I say through ragged breaths. He disappears back inside of the vehicle and we pull away loudly from one island and make our way toward the imposing land mass I’m guessing is where Eve is being held. It’s pitch black out, but I can see flashlights shining about on the island. Then I hear gunfire.
Instinctively, I cover my head and huddle close to the side of the vehicle, hoping we won’t get hit.
“Sounds like there’s a lot of action going on in there,” I hear Bruno yell over my headphones.
“They spotted us!”
“I don’t think so, kid. I’m guessing they’re more concerned about folks escaping their prison right now than they are about people trying to break in.”
“Eve!” I yell. “You okay?”
“Yeah,” her voice answers breathlessly through my headphones. Gun fire echoes through them as she speaks. “Did you do this?”
“Who else could pull something like this off?” I say proudly.
“Great,” she says, not sounding so amused. “I don’t suppose you had any plans on getting me off the island, did you?”
The looming complex nears as I realize I have no clue where she is within the mass of buildings and lights and tall fences.
“Ummm,” I stammer.
“Tell her we’re off on the west side of the island. If she can spot the number 5 guard tower, we’re directly south of it. She’ll need to run quick, but we’ll make sure to have an exit ready for her.”
I repeat Bruno’s directions.
“Who are you talking to?” Eve asks.
“I’ll tell you later, just do as he says.”
“Already halfway there,” she says brightly.
“Alright, kid,” Bruno says, appearing at the doorway again. “Looks like it’s time for you to swim again. Still got those bolt cutters I see, good.”
I look down and notice that yes, somehow I have managed to keep my grip on these things.
“What are you waiting for, kid?”
I look up at him in confusion.
“Really? Swim out to shore, cut a hole in the fence so your girlfriend can get through and bring her out here. If we’re lucky we can get back up in the air and camouflaged before they even think to look outside their own walls.”
I nod stupidly, jump into the water, and swim poorly toward the shore. Now that I’m aware of it, these bolt cutters are impossible to swim with. They’re heavy and awkward, and making this short swim take a lot longer than I know it should.
I manage to make it to shore and sprint to the fence. Plastered all along it are notices about how people should use caution when approaching the fence due to its electrified nature. I know I was the one who turned off the power, I know I caused the battery bank to explode, but something about that sign still causes me a great deal of hesitation regarding touching it with a heavy piece of metal.
I look around for some method with which to test my fears and prove them to be stupid, but find nothing except grass and rocks.
Closing my eyes, I reach forward with my bare hand and force myself to touch the metal wires.
As soon as I make contact, I pull my hand back in fear. Realizing I haven’t been shocked to death, I hazard another touch, and another, followed by several quick pats with the palm of my hand before finally resting my palm against it.
Feeling confident I can continue my work, I lift the cutters to make the hole.
“Cyrus!” I hear Eve yelling in the distance.
“Over here!” I answer.
I work maniacally to cut the multitude of wires between me and her, noticing a figure nearing.
“Eve!” I shout excitedly. She’s near. I can barely make out a shadow moving in my direction from about ten feet away.
“Hurry up and cut the fence!”
“I’m working as fast as I can!” I answer. “Come on over, I’ll get you out soon.”
“But—“ she says slowly, as though working through something in her mind.
“There’s not another fence, is there?” I ask no one in particular. With how slowly I’m managing to make my way through this fence, I hate to think of how much time it might add for any additional fencing.
“I’ll see if I can climb it,” she whispers. I hear her through my headphones.
“Okay, I’m almost through over here,” I reply in kind.
“Ouch!” she screams.
“What?” I yell, dropping the bolt cutters as I do.
“Don’t worry about it. I nicked myself on the barbed wire. Nothing that won’t heal. Hurry up and get the fence opened so I don’t have to climb another one of these.”
“Okay,” I answer, picking up the bolt cutters and getting back to work. This tool definitely wasn’t made for the task. There’s just enough room in the gaps in the fence to put the head of the tool in, and that’s if I enter at just the right angle. Each cut takes at least 30 seconds and I have countless cuts to make for the hole to be complete.
Just as I’m feeling as though I’m getting somewhere, Eve appears on the other side of the fence.
“Still not done?” she asks. She has a big smirk on her face, which manages to keep me from immediately noticing the bruises covering the rest of it. Her eye is swollen shut and there’s a hole in her cheek. She’s still wearing the same clothes she was in the last time I saw her, which look far worse than they did then. Tears and rips show bloody cuts all across her frame.
I don’t know what all she’s been through since the last time I saw her, but I guarantee it wasn’t a spa day.
“What are you doing?” Eve bounces impatiently.
“Oh, sorry,” I apologize, realizing I had stopped working while sizing up her injuries. “You don’t look so hot,” I say as I return to work.
“You always knew how to make a girl feel special.” She scowls. “Why are you making the hole so big?” she asks. “You know I can crawl, right?”
“Oh.” I come to the realization I had been making an opening big enough for her to walk through. “Yeah.” I begin snipping wires at a much lower level, feeling the urgency in every muscle.
“Don’t change it now, dummy,” she growls. “Hold on.” She grabs onto the fence. “Back up a second, will ya?”
I do as she asks and she pushes in on the fence in the corner of where I had been snipping. The fence folds in on itself and she falls through, causing me to tumble backward as she lands at my side. She jumps to her feet and looks me over quickly before pulling me into her arms.
“Thanks!” She presses her face into mine. Her dry, cracked lips seem to smother me for an entire year before she pulls away and looks toward the water. “Okay, now how do we get off this rock?”
Go to Chapter Nine