I'm back! And there is more now! Please read! xx
Never underestimate the power of fire, it can destroy anything………………
The whip hits my back with such force I almost topple over. The pain is unbearable; it takes all my energy for me not to scream. I grit my teeth and try to push the pain out of my body. “Please no more!!” My voice cracks but Aristo takes no notice of my obvious pain. The whip hits my back again and I let out a little whimper. Blood freely flows from my wounds along my back and through my hair. The colour hardly noticeable in my hair, a deep ruby red colour. “That’ll teach you to disobey me Taya,” Aristo booms. He leans forward so his eyes are burning into mine. I make a feeble attempt to hit him but he catches my wrist in his gnarled hands then he fiercely drops it onto the ground in a pool of my blood.
I scream in pain, concentrating on not crying. Well at least not until he leaves. I fix him with a stare my eyes burning into his. Aristo grunts and leaves the room chuckling to him self. “God I hate him” I think, as I collapse onto my stomach, half groaning half weeping, my whole body quakes with pain and fatigue. The sobs stick in my throat as Sal slithers in. She gives a snort at my pathetic state, her body looks like it is about to snap but at least she’s not starving and writhing in pain, lucky her. But she doesn’t come and help me; she grabs a drink, gives me a sharp kick and slithers off. I shiver, not because I am scared, of course not! But because the windows in this horrible place are all broken, yeah that’s why. Its takes up the last of my energy for me to stand up, I haul myself up, cursing and swearing.
I limp out of the torture room groaning and bleeding heavily. I leave a thick trail of blood behind me, the drops thick and as close as you can get to being a solid; although it almost immediately evaporates leaving just a red stain. The sun beats down onto my aching bare back, my scars and new fresh wounds crackle under the heat and I have to stop because I am violently sick all over the floor. Shock waves over me when I realise my vomit is bright red the same colour as my blood. “God I’m so messed up.” I think and I drag myself on. On my way to my room as I pass Makain, he gives me a hard punch in the stomach causing me to cry out again “Your soo pathetic!” He snorts he’s right though, I mean look at me!
When I have almost reached my room I pass Krakae who gives me an almost sympathetic look then carries on walking. My hearts skips a beat and my cheeks begin to flush but I slap myself hard. As I wheel backwards from the shock of the pain, Krakae turns around and looks shocked. His mouth opens slowly then quickly snaps shut, as if he wants to say something but he has forbidden himself from saying it. I just keep on walking, my hand over my stinging cheek, my cheeks flushed with embarrassment. When I eventually get to my room, my tears are thick and heavy and to my horror bright red.
As I enter the room my heart sinks further, 6 kids sleep in this room and all there is, is 6 pathetic mattresses, and a bare bulb swinging on the patchy ceiling. The paint on the walls is peeling off and the light doesn’t even work so the sudden dinginess makes me cry harder. I ignore all my friends coming to comfort me, which makes me cry even harder and they turn into hysterical sobs. “Taya?” Elliot, my kind of boyfriend’s, voice registers in my brain but I do nothing.
He comes to my aid cradling telling me that it will be ok, but even he can’t understand how much pain I am in. Too much pain to care that nothing will ever be ok again, “He doesn’t understand!” I tell myself. I fall onto my mattress the old worn springs creak under my weight. Elliot slows goes back to his mattress. I curl up surveying my empty, dirty prison 5 pairs of eyes watch me registering my every move. As I fall asleep I vow to escape this place one day, “One day, I promise I will get us out of here” I whisper to quiet for anyone else to hear.
Chapter 1: Aristo and his menEdit
The sound of pounding follows me, never once hesitating, never faltering. I look behind me, they’re gaining! I push myself harder, which sucks all of my breath from my body. My chest feels like it’s about to burst and pain is surging through all the muscles in my body, I am on the verge of collapse. Unexpectedly I feel a flash of adrenalin rush through me, pushing me forward and sweeping over me like a tidal wave. I send a quick but silent prayer to whoever is helping me up there. The tall palm trees soar high above me, their leaves heavy with fatigue. The feel of the rainforest is free and refreshing but I can’t stop, I mustn’t and I cannot go back there.
I dart through the rainforest, my ruby hair streaming out behind me like a red blaze of fire. The scars on my back scream in pain as the black waters of the Rio Negro rapidly flow beside me, chasing me. Like Aristo and his hefty men coming, coming to drag me back to the boot camp. Their heavy feet clomp behind me; I daren’t look behind me, lest they catch up. They shout at me, cursing and swearing. This doesn’t put me off though, as I run faster, focusing all my energy on the horrible place I am running from - I promise myself that I will never go back…
My throat is raw, my legs are heavily bleeding bright red blood, more blood, and I hate it. The bites of those retched fire ants covering my ankles sting like a blazing fire. I pant and stop for a second, big mistake. BANG!!!!! A clean tranquiliser bullet shoots over my head and heads straight for a palm tree, causing a mini explosion of bark. I hear shouts and cursing behind me; “You will pay for this Taya!!!!” They ring through my ears.My heart skips a beat, what are they going to do to me? I push myself harder, my feet hardly touching the wet, ant infested ground. My arms pumping by my side, driving me forward. I keep running and running pushing away the pain and the pure fear lurking inside of me. By this time I am pushing myself to my very limit and they still haven’t given up, I have no choice I begin to think about the boot camp…………..
Memories of the boot camp hidden in the depths of Santa Maria de la Luvia swirl through my head, as I thought, they push me on, giving me energy. The most over powering memory of them all is the memory of Aristo, just the thought of him causes me to shiver. His enormous arms and hefty legs give him the figure of a boxer. His face, which was always purple with anger, looks like the nose was given to the wrong man, its all twisted and brown and it hangs down like it has the weight of the world rested on it. His limp brown hair (which resembles a mop) which he never washes hangs round his face like a dirty dish cloth hiding his ghastly right ear. It was ripped off by a dog when he was only 2 years old leaving just a horrible hole. His eyes are the worst part; one is a dark, dark blue and the other, a fierce red. He has been the cause of my nightmares for many years.
One night I woke up panting and covered in sweat, he had been in my dream. Beating me endlessly, painfully, his laughter echoing all around me. My empty lifeless scream, makes no affect on him, crack, crack. He had kept hitting me, harder and harder each time, never stopping. The worse bit about it was I could feel the pain, experience the dry throat, beating heart and worse of all, his laugh. I just sat there breathing heavily and rubbing my back. I had gently tried to lie down, but as soon as my back touched the mattress I was screaming again. The cracked, horrible sounds had woken Elliot and he had looked shocked. “Taya?” He had whispered “Shhhhhh its ok don’t worry it was just a dream.” I had let him comfort me; hold me and I even let him lie me down. But all the time in knew it wasn’t a dream, it was the ugly, horrible, terrifying truth. I slink into a bush and crouch down trying to control my heavy breathing. Though I cannot as I am panicking through and through. My pale face is flushed bright pink, my usually sturdy legs are dripping with even more bright red blood and my bare ankles are covered in fire ant bites, I reach down to inspect them but the pain is too much. I feel as if I could not get any more injures, my fatigue ways me down causing to flop onto the floor. The gentle sounds of the rainforest should calm me but they don’t, I am freaking out. I switch back and forth from to panting to not breathing at all. As Aristo and his men search around, looking in bushes and up trees. Makain, as stupid as ever, even looks under a rock.
At one point I think Krakae spots me but he says nothing, this confuses me but I don’t have the energy to care. Unearthly creatures slither and crawl around me hissing and god knows what else. A fire ant comes and decides to bite me again, I resist the urge to yell out and clutch my blazing cheek. I have to clench my fists to resist the urge to scream at the sheer pain and fear I am in. I slowly look down at my swollen ankles, this doesn’t help, and I give a little yelp of helplessness. Then I clamp my mouth shut hoping they didn’t hear me.
After that I dare not breathe or move a muscle as I am pretty sure they know where I am so I just lie there. Now Aristo and his men are standing right beside my bush, I can see the pointed toe of Sal’s boots and the rounded muddy toe of Aristo’s. They are so close I can hear their heavy breathing: “Come out little Taya, you can’t have gone far” Krakae calls. Although I thought he had already seen me. His voice has a hint of sweetness and pity to it but still causes me to shiver.Krakae is a tall thin boy of a man, who looks like he has absolutely no flesh at all. But is only one year older than me. He has the strange ability to slink into the vegetation leaving no trace whatsoever; his golden hair is almost too bright in the glare of the sun. And his eyes are almost as blue as the sky on a summer’s day. Almost cute but not quite.
Thinking about Krakae, leads me to think about Elliot. The first time I met Elliot was when I was brung to the boot camp, kicking and screaming. My heart felt like it was about to burst, I had lost everything, my family, my life, my freedom. I had cried and cried but they threw me into the cell of a room and locked the door firmly. I had lay there on the floor crying and throwing up. Elliot was the only other person in our room at that time, and he came to my aid almost immediately.
He cleared up my tears, rocked me and held me, till I cried myself to sleep. When I woke up in the morning, he was still there holding me and I grew instantly fond of him. Through the next few years, me and Elliot had stuck by each other and watched many come and go. We only grew close to a few, knowing that there was I very high chance of them dying of starvation or pain. A few months ago, in the middle of the night, I had woken up screaming. He was instantly at my side, as always, but this time as I was drifting back to sleep, he had whispered “I love you, you know.” Now I don’t know if it was a dream or not but I hold on to the memory with all my heart.
In Aristo’s little gang there is also Makain and Sal, Makain is the spitting image of a rat and his shape resembles a fat cow and Sal well lets just say you would not, I REPEAT NOT want to be her little sister, she is thinner than Krakae and her nails are as sharp as knives. She has always hated me. Then it’s her turn to gloat: “Come out lil’ sis,” She calls with strange emphasis on the ‘lil sis’ I cringe why- oh- why is Sal my older sister? I have the urge to slam my fists down on the vegetation but then they would discover me. Their paces quicken to almost double in speed I can tell they are beginning to get very annoyed. Aristo trys his luck” Get out here now Taya” I can’t see him but I can tell he his flaming mad. All of them Aristo, Krakae, Makain and Sal have a fire blazing up inside them, hotter than the sun, and I’m the cause of that fire.
I imagine Aristo’s fire thrashing and destroying everything in the city, destroying million’s of homes in minutes, but Krakae’s fire slinks slowly through the city slowly numbering everyone’s days rapidly but silently like deadly gas.Makin’s fire hangs like a blanket over the city rapidly suffocating the population of the city, there is no escape for anyone. Then a thought hits me, Sal’s fire would be the most terrifying fire of all I imagine people running for their lives, screaming and panicking knowing there’s no hope left for anyone. This thought terrifies me and I resist the urge to cry out in terror and weep tears of pain, fear and fatigue.
Fire burns and crackles in my mind as I remember how I lost my family and ended up in the boot camp. “Night Love” My mum had whispered as I drifted off to sleep, she had kissed me on the head then silently left my room and quietly closed the door. My dreams had been gentle and happy ones. Dreams about floating in a milkshake river and living in a shortbread house. Slowly through the course of the night, the river became hot like molten lava, and my shortbread house began to let out curling wisps of smoke, but there was nothing I could do. The thing I remember most was waking up screaming, sweating and terrified from my dream. It had suddenly become hot in my room. But my screams got caught in my throat, quickly turning into coughs.
I was only 5 I had no idea what was going on, the heat was quickly rising in my room and a bright blaze was edging closer and closer to me. When I had finally began to register what was happening, it was too late. I had screamed and screamed for my parents but there was no reply. All I could hear was the crackling of the fire and my coughs. Black spots began to cloud my vision, I couldn’t give in, I kept screaming but eventually I gave up, screaming, crying and coughing my way into unconsciousness. The last thing I remember of that night was someone lifting me up and shouting “No she and her sister are the only one’s left, their parents are dead.”
==Chapter 2: Dying==
After a very long time I hear Aristo and his gang give up and march angrily away. I pause for a second not sure if it is a trick or not, then I let out a loud sigh of relief and slowly crawl out of the bush keeping my guard, I gradually get up pain surging through my body. I keep thinking about my parents…..
The next thing I remember after that horrible night was waking up in a white room, the sound of beeping all around me and the smell of disinfectant. I had tried to scream for my parents but I discovered I couldn’t because I had a mask on helping me breathe. I began to cry, not knowing where I was and what I was supposed to do. My tears had quickly turned into a tantrum as I began to writhe and wriggle a sharp pain in my hand stopped me, I looked down at my hand and there was a needle in it. This didn’t help, I began to scream and scream though I was sure no one could hear me through my mask. I carried on screaming and screaming for ages until a nurse came in. When she saw me she had stopped short, her eyes wide in amazement.
Suddenly she ran out of the room screaming “She’s awake! She’s awake!!” I wanted to yell “Who’s awake, what’s going on, where are my parents?!!!!” Then suddenly she returned with an older looking nurse, who looked just as surprised as she did. The second, older nurse looked unsure how to approach me. “Hello sweetie” Her voice was full of worry and concern and so were her eyes. I squirmed in response, as if she knew what I was thinking she glided over to my bed and gently slipped off the mask, gently whispering “Yes want do you want to say dear?” When she had removed the mask I was unsure how do phrase it. “What day is it?” My voice was cracked and it had hurt to talk. The nurse had looked unsure, “Well it’s the 22nd of January 2008”
“22nd of January 2008?” I thought, “But that can’t be that’s three years later than it was and it’s my birthday, my 8th birthday, oh I’ve missed 2 birthdays…………” I had trailed off and started crying. “Oh my dear, please don’t cry-” “Wait-” I cut her off, “Where are my parents?” “Ah” She almost whispers as if she doesn’t want say. “Tell me!” I had almost yelled, “Where-are-my-parents?!!!!!!!!!?” The nurse had sighed “Dear, I don’t know how to put this, um, sweetie their dead, they have been for 3 years.” “What?” my voice is hoarse, “I don’t believe it I can’t!” “Sweetie I know this is hard for you but only you and Sal survived.” My eyes narrow “Stop calling me sweetie!!!” I had yelled as loud as I could. The nurse had steeped back. “Look sw-.” The look I give her cuts her off. “They are dead, I am sorry I can’t change that.”
What a great birthday that was, today isn’t any better, 22nd of January 2012, my 12 birthday. I stop short mid thought and begin to cry, shaking and heaving heavy heartfelt tears for my parents. Ignore all the pain and focus on the horrible things that happened after that miserable chat with the nurse.
“Hey Lil sis!” Sal’s sickly sweet voice had woken me from a painful sleep. “What do you want?” I almost spat, our parents were dead, how could she be so happy? She had ignored me, “Guess what! We are getting out of this hospital!” I had looked up at her, “What?” “I knew you would be happy” She had almost cooed “It’s all fixed up; tomorrow we leave this sad place and go to a boot camp!” I had frozen at her words, “A-a boot camp?” She had laughed “No it’s not called a boot camp, that’s what I call it, it’s a surprise!” It didn’t sound like a very nice surprise to me, “Have the Nurses agreed to this?” She had looked sheepish then, “Well no I told them we were going to relatives.” “What!” I was so confused, why would even let us go? “Don’t fret sis, we are going to Santa Maria de la Luvia!!!!” “But-” I had cut her off, “That’s in the Amazon!” “Precisely!!!” She had squeaked, and then pranced out of the room, swinging her hips.
From then on my life was hell, Sal wasn’t joking. The very next morning, we had packed up our very few belongings and we were off. I wasn’t looking forward to living in the Amazon in a boot camp; I didn’t even know what it was at that time. I really wish I had died in that fire. I shake my head “No that’s a stupid thing to wish.” I tell myself, and return to the present, shivering at my unpleasant memories and wiping away my tears as head on through the rainforest.
I crouch down to check there are no more fire ants as I walk on but then suddenly I feel something grab onto my leg. Almost immediately I know its Aristo, panic overwhelms me so I struggle hard but to my surprise the grip tightens. I scream and yell but only a tiny sound comes out when my face is slapped into the cold vegetation. I am slowly being dragged towards the river. I can’t see my capturer because I am face down in the wet, ant infested ground. My heart is beating faster than normal; I claw at the ground and kick but nothing works the grip just keeps getting tighter………
Panic begins to swallow me up and gulp me down through fear then panic then worst your nightmares but this is much, much worse. I am going down, down, down into the deep, dark depths of the Rio Negro. By this time I know it’s not Aristo, this seems to terrify me even more. I hear a horrible hissing sound, like my capturer is talking to me spreading panic through me like butter on a slice of bread. My capturer begins to coil itself around me squeezing and suffocating me. But now I know I am being dragged through the depths of the Rio Negro by an anaconda. I can’t breathe, I feel as if my life is being squeezed out of me. I know there is no hope left for me. Tears prick my eyes and this time I let them, the shiny clear tears stand out in the black waters of the Rio Negro. Despite everything it’s beautiful………
I hear the hissing sound again but this time it is calming and soothing despite my panic and fear. All I can make out is: “Don’t worry your sssssafe with me” I splutter, bubbles rising above me to the surface, safe!!!! Yeah right. But the calming hissing carries on; I don’t think that anacondas know that humans cannot live without air because I am about to run out of it. I feel as if I could die any second, no any millisecond from now. My lungs are bursting; my heart is beating its last beat. The light in the dingy water begins to fade away and I breath for the last time………………..  ==Chapter 3: Broken Ribs==
I am screaming and running and screaming and running. But I make no progress and I begin to tire, burning pain surging through my body. “What’s the point?!” I think. “No!” someone screams at me. “Keep going! Don’t leave me!” The voice is so familiar I almost cry “Elliot?” I look around hopefully, but I see no one. All I can see is the blackness all around me, there is nothing. “Taya listen to me, keep running don’t stop!” His voice is full of panic and fear. That pushes me over the edge, I start letting out horrendous sobs, my whole body shaking but I keep running. “I can’t Elliot! I have to stop!” I yell, the pain becoming too much to bear. “NO!” He yells, but I don’t listen. I am about to crash onto the ground. When, suddenly, I open my eyes to the blinding sun looking down on me.
I breath in deeply, I must be in heaven by now. Though I’m not. I’m lying flat on my back in the vegetation of the Amazon rainforest. I’m alive! I breathe in the fresh air around me, as much as my dry throat will let in anyway. Then I am horribly sick and the pain surging through me causes me to give a hoarse scream. I am on the verge of crying in between my coughs, but then something stops me in my tracks. “SSSSSSEE I told you would be sssssafe” the hissing voice is horribly familiar. I jerk up only to sink back down again to a horrific pain. It’s like nothing I have ever felt before; it burns through my body like, well like blazing fire. “Um” the hissing voice interrupts my pain. “I kind of,” he pauses for a second, unsure “Ssssssssort of,” he lisps, with a hint of worry in his voice,” Broke your ribssss.” I scream and thump the ground but stop abruptly as my pain gets worse and I fix the snake with a hard glare. My chest rises and falls rapidly and crystal tears of anger and pain slip from my eyes. I’m so mad I feel as if I have a fire blazing up inside me, it’s worse than Aristo and Sal’s fire put together. I imagine my fire, it destroys everything and everyone in seconds blazing through town after town no screams are heard it’s too deadly. No one is left standing. The heat is too intense. My whole body suddenly feels hot and I am illuminated by an orange glow. Suddenly a ball of crackling fire shoots out of my hand scorching the ground as it flys along. I give a squeal of terror and delight, I stare at the burnt leaves ahead of me not sure what to do. The snake looks at me his head coked side ways “Hmmmm intersssssting” he lisps. “What was that?” I almost yell. But he doesn’t reply he just continues to look at me.
I am filled with confusion but at the same time I have a strange urge to question the life threatening reptile. “Why did you try to kill me?” I ask hesitantly, unsure if I trust this creature. “Correction.” The snake says huffily, “I ssssaved you, Taya” I stop short and give a little snort. “Save me?” I hoot, “You practically killed me!” The snake gives a lisping huff and fixes me with a cold look. “I ssssaved you from Arissssto.” Now I’m stopped in my tracks, I give a little nervous cough, heat still radiating through my body. “Aristo is still out there looking?” I ask, my heart thumping. “Correction” the snake says again, with a grand air “Arissssto issss sssstill out there looking for YOU” he says. He smirks at me in a proud way as far as snakes can smile. “No!” I yell “He can’t still be looking!!” Again I see the orange glow around me. “Please, calm down I don’t want you incinerate me.” There is a hint of humour in his voice but I breathe deeply and eventually the orange light fades. “Aristo hasn’t given up he’s still on the prowl, he’s still looking for me,” the thought keeps running through my head, terrifying me. I try to sit up again but the pain is unbearable, I can’t move without wanting to scream. I can hardly do that let alone stand up or walk. I have no idea what to do and mind drifts to the fire ball, “What was that?” I totally am lost in my thoughts when something flashes through my mind. The snake called me Taya! My heart gives a nervous little beat, how did he know that is he like a psychic snake or something? “H-How did you know my name is Taya?” I stutter. Another shot of panic rushes through as I say that. It causes me to quake uncontrollably.
The snake gives a toothy grin “I know most thingsss.” Is all he says.” “But the question is do you know my name?” I think for a second but I know I can’t, I’ve never met this snake before. “I don’t,” I begin, then something stabs in my brain causing me to gasp, “I do!” I suddenly burst out, “It’s Solvester!” “Or Sssssol for short” He adds. This makes me laugh nervosly“But-how?” I begin. “How do you know my name?” Sol intervenes, he smiles and the sunlight bounces of his white fangs. “I was right, you have the power.” “What?” I say, “What power?” “You have the power I will leave it at that, as I better let you find out for yourself, pip, pip young Taya” and with that Sol slinks off into the bushes. “Wait!” I call after him but he doesn’t come back. ==Chapter 4: Caught==
The dark has never frightened me before, but now as the heat of the day turns into the bitter cold of the night fear spreads to every part of my body. I imagine it starting at my forehead, spreading over my face, flowing into my shoulders and down through my broken ribs, spreading through my lungs filling my oxygen with panic and fear, licking through my thighs and my heavily cut knees, pouring down through my shins and whirling trough my ant bite infested ankles then settling in my toes. Fear has never got to me so much before, so this is absolute horror. Even shivering from the cold, sends sharp pain through me.
I let out numerous screams but to my horror they just echo back. There are no other noises, I can’t hear anything. I shiver and try not to think about the deadly creatures that may be lurking in the shadows. Pictures swirl in my mind Aristo, Makain, Sal. But I just lie there in pain not knowing what to do. For the second time today I let out my tears and my loud sobs echo around the dark rainforest, the only sound to be heard. I eventually close my eyes and try to push all bad thoughts and nightmares out of my head…………….. Back at the boot camp (from Aristo’s point of view)
I am flaming with rage; Taya has got away for the last time. I yell and throw a plate at the peeling wall. It smashes loudly but it doesn’t satisfy me. I won't stand for it any more. This is war. I gather up Krakae, Makain and Sal.They are more reluctant than usual, giving the occasional moan or whimper especially Krakae, I think they're turning soft. This makes me even madder. I glower at their soft, frightened, sissy faces. “So quickly my life has crumpled before me,” I tell them “I am losing everything I live and stand for.All because of that, that Taya girl!!!!!!!!!!”
They look at me-cowering in their seats-I give them cold stares. I pound my fists on the table, making our cups clatter and our beer slop over the sides. Sal and Makain begin to stand up but Krakae says “Why do we need to keep chasing the poor girl we’ve bee-” I cut him off by yelling “YOU WEAK THIN RUBBISH SELF CENTERED GIT!!!!” That seems to do it for Krakae he jumps up and mumbles “Ok no need to blow your top……” But he sees my face and shuts up. I storm out of my office, followed by Sal and Makain, Krakae slinks slowly behind. I ignore the crying and screaming of the children all around me. I storm straight for the door, only stopping to give the guard a few instructions. We get Taya back tonight or we don’t get her back at all.
Back with Taya I whip my head round and I see them. Four deadly silent creatures edge out of the shadows. I don’t know what do, its over. He’s coming, they all are, I scream and run but its no use. They grab me and drag me off. There’s no getting away, no hope “NO!!!” I scream “Let me go!!!” They are all laughing as I scream and scream. Tight hands clasp around my waist, I cry out in pain and horror then the world suddenly goes dark. I am dragged along the wet ground but there is no light. I scream and yell and thrash violently. “We have you now Taya! There is no escape.” Those words ring in my head. No escape…
My heart is hammering when I wake up with a scream. Then I give another one as I try to sit up and painfully remember. I flop back down and slowly get up, scream after scream. I eventually make it up. I am breathing in short shallow breaths, my chest burning, screaming. My thoughts begin to scare me “What if they do catch me?” I shake my head “No” I tell my self “Don’t be so negative”
But something is niggling in the back of my mind “Run, Run, RUN!!!!” It screams but I am in no state to run. So I push the voice out of my head. My first task is to find food and water. Oh god, at the mere thought of water my throat begins to scream along with all my other limbs. I want to limp over to the river and drink some of its black refreshing water, but it scares me too much now to go even close to it. My throat carries on screaming as a thought runs through my mind “Have I really thought this through?” But I shake it off telling myself that I have done the right thing, anywhere is better than there.
I carry on through the rainforest; I stop occasionally to lie down. I walk on and on for ages but I never come close to water or food. The jungle is beautiful, green light filtering through the trees, tropical flowers blooming everywhere. So alive and fresh and free but it couldn’t feel more like a hell to me. The pain doesn’t help very much, but I push on. Keeping a sharp look out for a source of water or food. But there is nothing, I want to cry and fall to the ground but my eyes are worryingly dry. Instead I give some horrible coughs, my chest shaking from the movement. But I must keep going, keep going…..
Krakae’s Point of view
“Move your lazy butt!” Aristo calls gruffly, making me jump. I mumble a quiet response and get back to setting the trap. I don’t want to this; my fingers shake as I cover up the trap. How much longer can I bear this? Why am I covering up what I feel? As these thoughts are running through my head, I hear a sickly sweet noise behind me. “So Krakae, baby-how is that trappy-wappy going?” It’s Sal. I grimace and turn to face her, a fake smile spread across my face. “Not now Sal.” I say, as nicely as possible. “But, baby!” Her voice becomes annoyingly high pitched. I want to cover up my ears, but that would lead to unthinkable consequences….
I turn to face her again. Her skin is tightly stretched, pulled up by her tight bun. Her hair is a horrible dirty orange colour. Her eyes are dark, dark red and her teeth are bright yellow and wonky. I give her one of my widest smiles possible, “I said not now Sal.” My voice is quite forceful through my clenched teeth. She gives a high pitched, evil laugh. She crouches down so her face is right in front of mine. I can feel her horrid alcohol filled breath on my face. “Look,” She almost spits, “We will finish this trap and we will catch Taya, you and me together.” With these last words, she places one of her slimy hands on my left cheek. This throws me over the edge. I roughly shove her hand off my cheek, “You disgust me!” I yell.After these words I am looking straight into her eyes. They slowly get wider, and wider. I know what’s coming. She opens her ugly mouth and lets out an ear piercing scream, even when she does this I still don’t cover my ears.
“What!!!” She screams, spraying my face with spit. I resist the urge to wipe it off. “You-disgust-me” I say very slowly, as if she is a five year old, although this isn’t the best idea. She screams again and slaps me hard in the face. “Well, you are just a child!!” She stands up sharply, what a mistake. She totters on her heeled boots and goes crashing and screaming into the vegetation. Aristo and Makain are helpless with laughter, obviously having seen the whole scene. Makain whacks me on the back and croaks, in between laughs, “Good one man! That was epic!!” I don’t reply, I slowly go over to Sal. Who is writhing and screaming in the mud. “Come on,” I say softly, “Get up.” She reluctantly takes my hand, snivelling. A loud snort from Aristo causes me to jump and let go of Sal’s hand. And once again she is writhing in the mud and Aristo and Makain are clutching their sides with laughter. They think I did all this on purpose. I guess that’s kinda true. But not because I wanted to make a fool out of Sal. Because I am thinking about Taya too much. I am broken from my thoughts by a hard kick in the shin. Again, Sal’s face is right in front of mine, this time she makes sure she spits directly in my eyes. “Thanks for your help, you’re so nice!” She squeals, stamping hard on my toe and storming off. Still tottering in her heels.
I go over to Makain and Aristo, who are acting out the scene, still laughing loudly. “But baby…” Makain squeaks in a ridiculously high voice. Then lets out loud honking laughs, then falls on the floor still laughing uncontrollably. Aristo looks at me, his eyes still full of laughter and booms, “What are you waiting for child?! That trap won’t build it’s self!” I notice that he is trying to make his voice annoyingly high. Oh ha ha, Aristo, ha ha. I slink back over to the trap and get back to setting it up, the whole time muttering to myself. When I am finished, I stand back and look at it. Not in awe but in hatred. This is the horrible thing we are going to use to catch Taya. I hate it. I hear Aristo clomp up behind me. He is obviously in awe. “Very good, child!” He booms, obviously still mimicking my fight with Sal. “Well let’s set up camp and wait for the bait to come skipping along!” He almost screams, I hear Sal kick him as they walk off. I give a nervous laugh and slowly follow them to our camp spot.
They leave me on night watch, in a way I’m glad because I defiantly wouldn’t be able to sleep. I am worrying about Taya too much. Just thinking about her makes me smile. Her glowing sea blue eyes, fiery red hair, so beautiful. But she hates me I know it, I helped with the torture she has been living through, for years. I hate myself for it, I hate myself so much! I don’t know what to do. If we leave her out here she will starve, but if we take her back Aristo will make her life hell. Oh poor Taya. Slowly I drift off to sleep, the beautiful image of Taya still flashing in my mind….
The next morning, footsteps wake me with a start. I sit up, my mind suddenly alert. I scan the area but I see nothing. Then I see her, its Taya heading straight for our trap…..
Taya I don’t know how long I have lived without food, but as soon as I see the berries I head straight for them. It doesn’t occur to me that it is not the norm to see a pile of berries in the middle of the jungle. But I am too hungry to care. I run over to the berries and scoop them up in my hands. But before I get a chance to throw them into my mouth, I am scooped up into a net. I hear whooping and cheering and I let the berries fall from my hands. How could I be so stupid? How could I let them catch me? I hear Aristo’s cruel voice rise up above the others, but I can’t see him because I am closing my eyes desperately hoping that this is another dream. “I told you that we would get you Taya! And well I am a man of my word!” They all start laughing, although I can’t hear Krakae’s gentle laugh. I don’t even take a second to think about why Krakae isn’t laughing. I start to scream and writhe but the net is so tight there is nothing I can do. I am stuck, caught like a budgie in a cage. No way out, no escape.
==Chapter 5: The Boot Camp==
I so mad with myself, how could I let this happen? They caught me so easily! I struggle and struggle, my anger slowly building up. I hear their laughter and joy as I swing, screaming my head off. I hate them! I hate them all! “I hate you!” I scream at the top of my voice. I hear Aristo’s spine chilling laugh. “Ooh, Im so scared!” He laughs in response to my outburst. They all start laughing again; I think I see Makain fall onto the ground. I weave my fingers into the net; there is nothing I can do. My legs are up around my ears and I can’t feel my feet anymore. This pushes me over the edge, I am so angry. With myself, with Aristo, with my parents for leaving me. I yell out, my voice is hoarse but the laughter suddenly stops. This makes my smile, despite my anger.
Suddenly, I see the orange glow around me again. It warms my soul and makes me smile; but this time a smile of pleasure. I close my eyes, soaking up the heat. I take one gentle breath, slowly unclasping my clenched hands. To my surprise, another fire ball shoots about of my hand. Screams echo around me, but I hardly notice them. I stare at my hand- where did that come from? The fire ball burns a massive hole in the net. I topple out through the hole, right onto Aristo.
He gives a loud “Oof!”, and shoves me off him hard. When I land I feel a sharp pain in the back of my head. Everything goes out of focus and my head begins to spin. I can vaguely make out four faces above me. “How did she do that?” A high pitched voice yelps. “I don’t know…” A gentle sweet voice replies, my hearts skips a beat. “Yeah?” I croak, unable to hear my voice properly. “What?” the sweet voice says again, but I hear “Putt?” through the ringing in my ears. “We are gonna have to carry her back….” A voice, which I think is Aristo’s, says uncertainly. Three heads turn to look at a face, which has a sweep of blonde hair hanging over his face. “Krakae….” Three faces say in unison. The blonde figure slides strong arms under me and lifts me up effortlessly. I feel calm in his arms and I let my self drift off to sleep.
When I wake my head feels like hell. Faces are still looking down on me but this time there are five of them. “Taya?” A voice says, I can’t quite make out who it is. There is still a ringing in my right ear but nothing in my left. I sit up slowly, trying to avoid screaming. “What’s going on?” I croak, giving a series of loud coughs. “Are you ok?” The same voice, questions. “You look so messed up!” A different voice exclaims, and then gives a yelp when someone elbows them. “What’s going on?!” I say again, slightly louder. “Taya, listen to me.” The first voice says sternly, “What happened out there?!” “I-I don’t, WHERE AM I! WHAT’S GOING-” I cut myself off because shouting causes stabs of pain in my head and ribs. I shut my eyes hard and when I open them again everything is clearer. My heart sinks, I am back in my horrible room in the boot camp.
I start to cry, my whole body shaking. “Why am I back here?” I say weakly. The five faces give each other worried looks. “Has she got concussion?” A girl with long ginger hair and chocolate coloured eyes says worriedly. “Anna?” I say a hint of joy in my voice. “Oh honey!” She exclaims, pulling me in for a hug, “We missed you!” I cling onto her, breathing in her lavender scent. I only whisper for her to let go when I start no being able to breathe. She lets me go with a cheeky grin and an ‘oops!’ I grin back at her; she was always my best friend. I turn my head to look at the next face. She has short cropped light brown hair; I can see tears in her sky blue eyes. “Oh Rosie,” I whisper softly. She pulls me in for a gentle hug and starts crying. “Shhhhhh.” I laugh, “Don’t cry.” Rosie is like a younger sister to me, as she is only 5. We all adore her. I kiss her gently on the head and slowly let her go. She reluctantly lets go, snivelling and wiping her eyes.
The next face is plastered with a wide grin, “Jide!” I exclaim. “Sup little sis!” He laughs and pulls me in for a tight hug, which leaves me breathless. Jide is like my older brother; he is eighteen years old and has strawberry blonde hair and emerald green eyes. I laugh when apologises for squishing me and I turn to the next face. Danial gives me a big grin; he is the only black guy in our room. “Hey Taya.” He almost sings, in his African accent. His road to the boot camp was almost as traumatic as mine. But we don’t like to talk about it. “I missed you!” I laugh and let him pull me in for a quick hug. Along with Anna, he is my best friend. The last face makes my heart skip a beat. Gentle brown hair hangs around his face and his grey eyes glint with excitement. “Elliot.” I breathe. He pulls me in for a warm hug, “About time.” He jokes. He kisses me quickly on the cheek and lets me go. “Now,” Elliot says softly, “What happened out there?”
I don’t really want to tell them, I feel like such a fool. What was I thinking? I could have died out there! “I don’t really want to say…” I say, my voice barley a whisper. “Please Taya, we want to help.” Elliot gives me his stern look. This makes me laugh, as Elliot isn’t very good at being serious. But I spill anyway. At some point in my story Rosie starts to cry again. I pull her into my lap and continue. Everyone is wide eyed and agog at my story, it even shuts Rosie up. When I finish the whole room is silent. “Oh, Taya,” Whispers Elliot, tears in his eyes. I want to start crying and let him hold me. But I have to be brave for them. I give a cough and gently move Rosie from my lap, when the door slams open. A big figure stands in the doorway and it says: “Who’s ready for another day at the boot camp?” And gives a spine chilling laugh.
==Chapter 6: Hell on earth==
We all look at each other, then at the figure in the door way. I feel a shiver run down my spine. I clutch Elliot for support. The figure stares down at me, with a look of pure hatred. “Taya…” He hisses, spraying my face with spit. I don’t say anything; I just clutch Elliot tighter and stare back the figure. The figure straightens up and gives a cough, “Room 4, today you are on rock duty.” He spits-a hint of humour in his voice. But there is nothing funny about rock duty. I can tell he gave us this job because of me. Heavy steel axes, big chunks of rock, hacking at them from morning to night, come rain or shine. This was no coincidence. A tight knot in my stomach slowly begins to make an appearance.
“Yes, Aristo...” Well murmur, except me. I’m quivering with anger. “Yes Taya?” Aristo booms, obviously enjoying him self. I keep my mouth tightly shut, not wanting to give into him. Aristo crouches down and looks me straight in the eye, “What Taya?” He says in a slightly louder voice. “Yes Aristo…” I mumble, not looking him in the eye. “What?” He laughs, straightening up, “I didn’t hear you!” This time I look him straight in the eye. I summon all of my energy and shout: “YES ARISTO, SIR YES SIR.” I hear Rosie snigger behind me but stop abruptly when someone elbows her. I give a playful salute for her, but Aristo catches my hand as I am bringing it down. “I wouldn’t joke about, Taya.” He whispers, “Or you and your friends will pay, BIG time.” He drops my wrist and yells: “Report for Rock Duty, in the court yard after breakfast.” And leaves the room.
The silence is horrible. We all give each other worried glances; I notice that Danial has his arm around Anna, her head in his shoulder. I am the first one to break the silence, “Come on guys, we better go…” My voice trails off; I can tell they blame me for rock duty; I want to tell them that it will be okay. But that’s a lie. I stand up stiffly and yank open the door. Slowly I make my way into the scorching sunlight. Before I can take a step, some one catches my wrist, “Taya...” I turn around and see Elliot. His eyes are soft and there is a longing look in them. He pulls me back into the room, as the others slowly trail out. Muttering about leaving us two alone. Anna gives me a wink, still hand in hand with Danial and says: “Don’t be too long!” There is a tone in her voice that I have never heard before-almost excited.
“Wha-?” I begin-but Elliot cuts me off, “Look Taya,” He begins his voice gentle and pleading, “There’s something I have to tell you...” He looks me straight in the eye, and before I can say anything his lips are on mine. Okay, so it wasn’t what I expected. I have had dreams about this moment. Our hearts racing and such, but that’s not how it felt. I felt nothing. I guess I love Elliot but, only as a friend. So why do I feel so bad about not liking him back? I open my eyes and unlace my fingers from his. He gives me a confused look, “Taya?” He says. I don’t know how to break it to him; I can’t hurt such a sweet guy. “Elliot, I don’t think-” I sigh, I really don’t want to tell him, “I don’t, uh,-” I carry on hurriedly, unsure how to phrase it. “I love you, a lot, but only as a friend.” As soon as I have let them slip I know I have some how messed this up. Hearing these words he takes a step away from me, looking shocked. “I’m sorry…” I mutter and hurriedly run out of the room.
I run all the way to the dining room, well it’s not exactly a room. I am crying the whole way, feeling so bad. Elliot deserves to have some one who will love him just as much as he loves them, but I’m not that person. The image of his face after I told I didn’t love him, keeps replaying in my head, and it makes me cry harder. As much as this may hurt Elliot I know this was the right thing to do. I wipe my eyes and step into the busy lunch room. Almost at once I am pounced on my Anna and Danial, who still, I notice, are holding hands. “So?!” Anna says excitedly, “What happened?!” Danial gives me a- isn’t she cute?-look and grins. Seeing them so happy together makes me burst out into fresh tears. Anna and Danial give each other worried looks and gently guide me to sit down.
“Oh honey…” Anna puts her arm around me comfortingly. “It’s bad…” I say, “I really hurt Elliot…” At this point Rosie and Jide come to sit with us, carrying plates of the usual mush. They have my plate as well but I refuse to eat. Rosie comes and sits on my lap, and I spill. “He said there was something he wanted to tell me then, he kissed me, but I- didn’t feel anything and I told him that I loved him, but only as a friend. I think he was going to cry!” I let them slip quickly because they make me sound so mean. With those words I start crying harder, hating myself. “Taya, please don’t cry!” Rosie lisps, wrapping her arms around me. I mange to control myself enough to say, “I hurt him so bad!” The knot making an appearance in my stomach again. At that moment Aristo comes pacing up to us, “Chop, chop you need to be at Rock duty in 3 minutes!” We all stand straight up and follow him out of the dining room.
When we go out into the courtyard my heart sinks further. Rain is sleeting down and before us are 6 gigantic slabs of rock. My hair becomes quickly drenched as I am ushered up to collect my axe. At that moment, Elliot comes out into the rain. His eyes are red and puffy, like he has been crying. This makes me want to crawl into a corner and scream. He slowly makes his way over to the rocks, not making eye contact with me. I want to apologise but he picks the rock furthest away from me. I am about to go over to talk to him but Aristo shouts: “Time to begin!” And the instant sound of cracking is echoing around the court yard. I begin to attack my rock with my axe, gritting my teeth. From experience, the pain will begin within about ten minutes. I can hear the others moaning and sighing as their pain has already kicked in. I keep my mouth shut, as I know we will be at this for at least four hours, maybe more, there is no use complaining.
I am slaving away for about half an hour when the pain kicks in. It’s horrible and makes my ribs ache even more. The pain is so intense I nearly fall over; I don’t remember it ever hurting this much before. My breath suddenly becomes short and ragged. My axe suddenly drops from my hands and I clutch my stomach. No one notices, until I start screaming. The pain is burning through my body, every single one of my limbs are on fire. I scream again and drop to the floor. The pain is more intense than my broken ribs and nearly dying altogether. I see five worried faces above me but I can’t see clearly, through an orange light shining in front of me. I want to tell them to go back to their work, as they will surely get punished for stopping. But all comes out of my mouth is an ear piercing scream. “Taya?!” They are all saying, “What’s going on?!” The burning feeling becomes hotter and I see my friends back away slowly. “What?!” They scream, “What’s happening to Taya?!” I don’t know what they mean until I see the orange light around me. But this time it’s brighter, bolder, almost like I am on fire.
The heat is scorching now; I am screaming and screaming but the pain doesn’t fade. Suddenly I realise that the heavy rain is doing nothing. Isn’t water supposed to put out fire? Then I notice with a start that the rain is not even touching the wall of fire engulfing me. “NO!” I mange to get out; “STOP, PLEASE!” I throw out my arms, the pain too much to bear. Surprisingly the heat begins to cool and the orange light begins to fade. My screams stop abruptly and the last thing I see before I black out is Krakae’s head looking down on me, worried.
== Chapter 7: We have to get out of here==
My dream is peaceful, although it doesn’t stay that way. I am sitting next to river, frogs croaking, and the gentle sound of rushing water. I am calm and smile. The sky is pink with little wisps of blue cloud. I close my eyes to enjoy the feel of tranquillity. When was the last time I had felt this happy? Never, that’s when. I sigh running my fingers through the damp grass, watching the sunlight catch on the little droplets of water.
Suddenly fire is engulfing the peaceful valley. I scream, as the heat gets more intense. I try to get up but something is holding me down, it’s Sal. She gives me an evil grin and starts dragging me into the burning river…
When I wake up it takes me a while to adjust, through my hazy vision. I can sort of make out six faces and a horrible room. I try to sit up, expecting to have to flop back down because of pain, but I feel fine. In fact I feel great, almost powerful. I give a wide grin, much to the surprise of my friends. And, um, Krakae. I notice Elliot in a corner, shaking. I wait for the tears to appear, along with the knot in my stomach. But, surprisingly, I still feel powerful, like I can achieve anything. I don’t know what to say, though. Everyone around me looks shocked at my sudden recovery. Anna is the first one to speak, “Taya?..” She says uncertainly, giving me a quizzical look. “I can explain…” I start, wanting to ensure them not to worry. “I-um-I.” I start but I realise, I don’t know what happened. One minute I’m on the floor in pain and now I feel, better than I ever have. I makes no sense whatsoever, no wonder they look confused. I decide to try and break the ice, unfortunately the first thing that comes into my head is: “Um, Krakae what are you doing here?” I immediately scold myself-that sounded so much better in my head! Krakae gives a nervous laugh and looks around at us but he doesn’t say anything. Anna intervenes: “That was the worst rock duty ever, I think I have killed all of my muscles!” I mouth thank you at her, grateful that she was still there for me.
Danial gives a shy grin and chips in: “Yeah, I really wish we could get outta here.” His African sing song voice makes an idea flash into my head. Escape…….. “That’s it!” I yell jumping up. Krakae runs over: “What Taya?! What’s your idea?!” I am surprised by his enthusiasm but I launch into my plan: “Well, I was thinking I escaped once right?!” They all give nods, not sure where I am planning to go with this, “Well, if I can escape once I can escape again!” They all don’t seem to understand so I carry on: “But, this time you all can escape with me!” A grin is spreading over my face, “Wayda you think???!!!” They stare at me, with blank expressions.
Grins slowly begin to appear on their faces, they get it! Rosie is the first one to speak: “But how would we get out without getting caught?”
This gets me, “Um, well I hadn’t really got to that part yet-” I sigh, giving up on trying to explain. “No, Taya” Elliot’s voice startles me, it’s strong and loud. I give him a look of understanding. Bur he brushes me off, “It’s not a good idea, think about it, what will happen if we get caught?”
“But we won’t get caught!” Rosie laughs in reply to Elliot. “But we can’t take that risk!” He is standing now. I look over at Anna and Danial, Anna gives me a little wink and steps forward. “Look, I think it’s a great idea, and if we ALL,” She gives Elliot a knowing look, at which I have to contain my laughter, “, Stick together we CAN do this!” She flashes a triumphant grin before carrying on. “Who’s in?”