Chapter Thirteen: [Insert Epic Chapter Title Here That Will Perfectly Describe What is About to Happen]
I could just see the sun dipping into the trees as I laid there, waiting for that boy to come back. My breathing was calmer now, but my mind was not. I wondered if Cora would make it or if she was already trapped. After all, she basically went up to my captor and lead him away from me. I don’t know what she was planning or thinking, but I knew that that wasn’t strategy—it was suicide. And that bothered me.
Not only was I slightly anxious, but I was bored as well. I knew that if I hadn’t gone so far back then I probably would have made it back and would be helping my team defend our flag. Heck, the game was probably already over and Bethany had declared that everyone who was trapped had to stay there.
The boredom sagged down my shoulders like huge weights. Nothing to do but lay there and count the leaves above me.
Something kept me from going back to my team, though. I wasn’t sure what it was. Hope that I wold be saved? Loyalty to the rules? The answer was a mystery to me.
The sound of rustling branches and something scraping against wood made me sit up. I looked around, wondering if the boy or Cora were coming back. I looked around, seeing nothing to suggest any sign of humans.
Suddenly, there was more rustling and a thunk. I looked around frantically, wondering when that could be coming from. Was it not human? Would it attack me?
There was more rustling and several light green leaves rained down in a veggie-celled downpour. That was when I realized that there was something above me, not on the ground, but in the trees. My body shaking a little, I slowly rose my head.
Standing on a sturdy branch was a figure. Their body was darkened by the sun which was directly behind them like a pair of circular wings. Little beams of sunlight managed to filter past their form. They leaped down from the tree and landed neatly onto the ground in front of me.
“Rowan!” I exclaimed.
The girl nodded. “Hi.”
“How did you find me?”
“Do you want to be tagged or not?”
I flinched back a little at the aggressiveness in her voice. It was like the roar of a tiger whose food had just had just been stolen or Mr. Lumpert’s outburst in the middle of class. Why was Rowan sometimes so feisty?
Without waiting for a response, Rowan tapped my shoulder with a lot more force than necessary and marched away.
I was dazed for a few moments, but then scrambled to my feet and rushed after her, occasionally tripping over myself. I caught up to her, but she only sighed in an annoyed kind of way.
“What?” I asked.
I could see her roll her eyes. “Nothing. Nothing important. Never mind.”
I crossed my arms. “Nope, something is definitely wrong. Talk to me, Rowan.”
She picked up the pace and I had to speed up a little, but stumbled over every root and rock and bush that we went by. I yelped occasionally, but Rowan only huffed and sped up a little more. I could feel my nerves slipping like a toddler on a slick sheet of ice, but I tried to keep my temper under control.
At last, Rowan snorted and said, “Thank me.”
“Um, for what?” I inquired, glancing down at my stumbling feet as if to prove that there was no reason to thank her.
The angry girl stopped and stamped her foot. “I came and rescue you, M. No thank you from you, no thank you!” She turned away and threw her hands into the air. “Thanks for risking my neck? Nope! Why I agree when councillor lady of dramatics told me about capture to rescue, I say yes? Nope! Not next time! Do it for that annoying Link or cheat for you own, Moll.”
She then stormed away angrily, her fists clenched.
I, on the other hand, just stood there in complete shock. Why did she have to react like that? Should I be mad at her? Or should I want her forgiveness? I wasn’t quite sure, or sure that I ever would be.
Rowan seems to be very complicated, I concluded.
As soon as I crossed the boundary that divided my side from the music program’s, I was bathed in yellow sunlight. I basked in its warm glory, relieved to be back to my team. A few sneaker marks were now scattered the dirt from intruders and four kids sat on the ground, frowns creasing their faces.
Silvia was darting from between the back of our cabin where I presumed Griffin was to the beach front. Rowan was standing next to one of the prisoners and Christian was keeping opponents at bay by the pebbly beach front. Link was nowhere to be found.
Cora suddenly appeared beside me and smiled thoughtfully. “I managed to lure Trent into our territory. He’s very devoted to chasing, you know.”
“Who?” I asked.
“Oh, Trent’s the boy who was guarding you.”
“Ok.” So that was his name: Trent. I didn’t really find that it suited him. I pictured someone named Trent to be tall and in their teenage years with black hair and the smarts to become a train engineer. This Trent on the other hand, was probably around twelve with brown hair and a sharp chin. He was somewhat on the smaller side, but seemed quite muscular for someone his age.
“So can you fill me in on what’s happened?” I requested.
“Well,” Cora replied quickly, “Not much. I’ve ran into their side about a million times and am totally tired. We’ve had several people come in and get caught, as you can see. Some did escape, however. While I was gone with Rowan to rescue you—we went in at the same time—Silvia was busy chasing someone down and Link just disappeared. Poof! Now Silvia’s annoyed. But you’re back. Yay!”
“That’s an awful lot for ‘not much.’”
Cora shrugged just as Silvia caught sit of us. She jogged over, panting.
“Molly! Glad to…see…you’re…back,” she wheezed.
I smiled. “Thanks.
“Christian…needs help…on the beach…front. Can you…assist him?”
I nodded. “Sure.”
My legs carried me over to Christian, who smiled and offered me a quick wave. Two art campers were facing him off, one of them gave us a I-will-kill-you-if-necessary look, while the other didn’t seem so sure of herself. All three of them were lunging and feinting, trying to get a reaction from their opponents.
I joined that charade, but it didn’t last long before Christian said, “I’ve got an idea.” He bolted past the other two campers. “Follow me!”
I reacted immediately, running after him with around the same amount of speed I used when running from Trent. We sprinted towards the lake, the other campers hot on our trail. Cerulean waves crashed to the shore, one quickly following the other. A tough wind buffeted my face, sending my fiery hair flying behind me. I quickly thought of myself as Medusa with fire instead of snakes and choked down a chuckle.
Christian and I veered left, our feet shifting over slick pebbled. Our sneakers were partially succumbed in the water so that my toes were soon wet and slick, making my journey a little slipperier.
“What now?” I asked.
Christian reached down and snagged a handful of pebbles. “I know where the flag is. Don’t worry. Keep running!”