Status: Completed on October 4th, 2013

Breaking Their Hold

Chapter Ten: A Fork In The Road

With Melissa And Jimmy

Melissa and Jimmy were still in the small crevice, not sure whether they should move on or stay hidden. Matt and Pierre hadn’t come down their tunnel; or, at least, they hadn’t come behind the waterfall. They had been in the crevice for what Jimmy assumed was about a full day; they had no real way of telling how many hours they’d spent in the cramped space.

Jimmy watched Melissa as she slept with her head on his lap, his arm protectively laying across her side. Unlike when she was awake, she looked as though she’d found peace in her sleep; she looked content. It almost made Jimmy forget the predicament they were in. It almost made him forget that they were runaways from who could possibly be classified as the world’s most evil man since Adolf Hitler.

Her breathing was slow and paced, her chest rising and falling evenly. His pushed a few strands of stray hair out of her eyes, and let his hand touch her cheek gently. He wished she didn’t have to go through this kind of life. Jimmy blamed himself every day for her imprisonment at Haverly Hospital; it had been because of him that she had allowed herself to be arrested. She had done it for him, no matter if he’d asked her to or not. Because whatever God existed knew that he hadn’t wanted her to. He’d have chosen to die if it would have saved her from being taken to Haverly. He’d heard the stories long before he’d gone there, and from what he’d heard, fewer than two percent of the teenagers who walked through the front iron-wrought gates ever made it out alive. And if they did make it out alive, it wasn’t legally. Schlagger never acquitted anyone; if he arrested someone, it was a life sentence.

“Jimmy? Mel?” Matt’s voice called out quietly from behind the water tower. “Guys, it’s safe.”

Jimmy directed his gaze towards the large rock that was in front of the entrance. Something seemed to be off about Matt’s voice; it sounded recorded, almost. He listened again, not saying a word. As Mel’s eyes opened, he held his hand over her mouth and shook his head ‘no,’ his eyes warning her to keep her mouth shut.

“Guys, they’re gone. We’ve been trying to find you since we lost you on the trail yesterday. C’mon, stop jokin’ around.”

Mel’s eyes grew wide, and she was thankful that Jimmy’s hand was over her mouth. If it hadn’t been, she surely would have cried out in terror as she realized that ‘Matt’s’ voice was nothing more than a recording; a phony.

It wasn’t Matt and Pierre. It was the Security again, trying to rat them out. Jimmy looked down the other end of the crevice, where he and Melissa hadn’t dared to travel down yet. Neither of them knew what lay in the dark depths of the cavern, but they knew they had no choice now. They had to move, and do it quietly and efficiently. They couldn’t stay here waiting for Matt and Pierre to find them any longer. Odds were that they too had moved on ahead on the presumption that they’d meet up somewhere along the trail.

“You go first,” Jimmy whispered to her, his voice almost too quiet for her to hear. He didn’t want his voice to carry. “Go as quietly as you can. Don’t look back. Take this flashlight to light the way. Whatever you do, do not say a word. Okay? Can you do that?”

Melissa only nodded, her body stiff with fear. Jimmy smiled down at her and leaned his lips to hers, pecking them lightly. She got onto her hands and knees, wincing as the sharp, tiny rocks bit into her palms and through the material of her pants as she began crawling deathly quietly through the cavern, not making a sound. Jimmy waited until she was about fifteen feet away from him before he began to move; though he didn’t start moving until he had destroyed any evidence that they’d been there, should the Security decide to move the rock.

As he and Melissa crawled down the tiny tunnel, the recorded and manipulated voice that sounded like Matt began to fade, and instead they heard only the sounds of their knees occasionally brushing along the ground. They crawled for at least an hour before Melissa stopped, turning her face back to see Jimmy.

“I can’t do this, Jimmy.” She said, her voice quiet even as it sounded as though she was having a breakdown. He nodded reassuringly at her, an encouraging smile on his face as he whispered his response.

“Yes you can, Mel. You’re the strongest girl I know, okay? You can do this; I know you can.”

She shook her head, tears filling her eyes. “I can’t, Jimmy. I’m s-sorry. I’m just t-to—“

He cut her off by crawling up closer to her, his face now close to her own. He positioned himself so that he was now only using his knees and bent legs for support, and he put his hands on Melisa’s face.

“Look at me, Melissa.” He told her. She did, and he saw tears wetting her eyes. He brushed them away with his thumbs, and smiled at her again. “I know you can do this…I know you can. Don’t let your fear of them stop you, Mel. Don’t you want to break their hold on you? We’re doing that now; we’re going to get out of here, and we’re going to get to Canada. And when we get to Canada, we’re going to go to their Prime Minister and you’re going to testify against Schlagger and tell the Minister everything that he’s done to you; to your brother, to your sister. And he’s going to finally wage war on Schlagger, and Zacky and Johnny and Brian are all going to be freed. And then we can go home. Look at me Mel…Believe it. It’s going to happen. But we need to keep moving to get there.”

As Melissa heard Jimmy’s words, more tears formed in her eyes. Jimmy brushed them away as he had her other tears, and then leaned down to kiss her lightly on the lips. It reminded her of their last kiss together; before they’d been arrested.

Jimmy broke the kiss before she could, and nodded at her.

“If we keep crawling for another three hours, we can stop. But we need to get as far away from the opening as we can, Mel. It’s too risky, and the further away we get the less they’ll be suspicious that we came down here. I’ve been covering our tracks, so we won’t lead them to us. All you have to do is keep crawling.”

Melissa nodded, and turned her head away from him as they continued crawling.

All she could think of was if Matt and Pierre were okay, or if they’d gotten caught. Thoughts of Zacky flashed across her mind; was he still alive, or had the Security been telling the truth? Obviously Sophia was dead…The Security wouldn’t be calling her name out if she wasn’t. But did that mean that her other friends—Brian, Johnny, and her brother—were dead, too? Had Schlagger been notified? What would happen to them? Would they ever be free? Would she ever be able to love Jimmy without fear of being arrested again?

So many questions crossed her mind, but she pushed them all aside so that she could concentrate on crawling as far away as she could from the entrance they’d entered this cavern from.

With Matt and Pierre

Matt and Pierre had no idea where they were, even with the GPS system that Pierre had managed to get ahold of. They had managed to hide successfully from the Security that had come down the tunnel looking for them, and could only hope that Jimmy and Melissa had also been able to evade them.

It had been two days since either of them had seen Jimmy or Melissa, and they were beginning to worry. Matt was afraid that they had been captured, and Pierre was more concerned that they had been injured and were unable to protect themselves. They continued working their way down the gigantic tunnel, making sure to stay hidden as they moved in case there were still Security or Government Agents still in the cave. Pierre was sure there was a point at the end of the huge cave that both tunnels connected to before there was another exit at the end of it; they just needed to find it. It was taking longer than Pierre had anticipated, and it was frustrating him.

They suddenly froze when they heard a sharp bark come from behind them somewhere, and they looked at each other.

It was a Sniffer Dog. It had to be. The Government was known to use them to track runaways from Hospitals, and they almost always caught their chase. Matt and Pierre knew their only chance was to run; to run as fast and as far as they could, and hope to hell that they found a good place to hide before the dog and whoever was with it found them.

They burst into a sprint, not caring how loud they were anymore. The dog already had their scent; it wouldn’t have barked otherwise. They kept running, and running, the sound of the dog never extremely far from them. Finally, Pierre saw their saving grace; a large spring of water that looked to be fairly deep. They stepped into the water, taking large breaths of air as they submerged themselves into the cold water. Their scent couldn’t be traced into the water, and the dog wouldn’t know where they had gone.

As they got underwater, Pierre swung his arm towards a large, underwater tunnel that led to what was going to be unfamiliar territory to both of them. The tunnel was long and narrow, and Matt almost breathed in water, though he stopped himself just in time. Finally, just as they thought they were going to suffocate from lack of air, their heads came above water, and they gasped for oxygen.

When they’d finally caught their breath, they looked around and saw that they were still in the cave somewhere. They waded through the spring until they reached the edge of it. Matt watched as Pierre removed the backpack off of his back to check the damage to their equipment.

“Shit.” He muttered under his breath. “The GPS is a goner. There’s no salvaging it after all that. Looks like all our food is ruined, too.”

Matt sighed. Without a GPS, it was going to be significantly more difficult to reach Canada undetected by Schlagger and his cronies.

“What do we do now?” Matt asked. Pierre sighed, shaking his dark hair dry and looking around the cave with frustration.

“I don’t know.” He said. “I think if we go that way, we’ll end up back over in the vague direction where we came from. Maybe there was an underwater pass as well as an overwater pass.”

Matt nodded, agreeing with Pierre. He had no experience with this kind of thing, and Pierre had done it several times before. They had nothing to lose by going the way Pierre was suggesting anyway, except for time, which they’d already lost plenty of. They began walking, leaving their packs behind them since they would only weigh them down.

As they walked, they were both thinking different things. Pierre was worried about being tracked; Matt was more concerned for Melissa and Jimmy. He’d promised Zacky that nothing would happen to his little sister; both he and Jimmy had. And Zacky had trusted them, and told his sister to go with them. They’d all known the only way Melissa would go for it was if Zacky told her to. He just hoped he wouldn’t be a letdown to them. He couldn’t live with himself if something happened to her or Jimmy.