IN THE CAVE

Scene 6  1560 4D

Derizan chewed at the dried strip of hill ox meat. Forgotten hunger rose in him. He ate rapidly. Inkurisar, sitting beside him in the cave, chuckled.

“Easy. There’s more of that. Here – water will help.”

Derizan thanked him. “We’re holed up here for two days?”

“Two days in this cave??” his sister Ajina erupted. “With nothing but this leather to eat?” Her husband shook his head and reached to pass her a water jug.

“Two days with luck, you mean,” Inkurisar told them. “If the reloc troops find us sooner, we won’t get two days. We’ll get dead.”

Derizan listened to the muffled roiling of winds. “Won’t the storms drive them off?”

Inkurisar shrugged. “That’s just it – you can never tell. These mountain snows stop and start. And so do the troops. But we’ve learned the hard way that none of the soldiers come up here after two days.” He raised his voice to cover the gusting wail of the outside air. “All of you, hang in here until we get you out. Then we can roll back the rocks and see what’s what. Over there in the back, round that outcrop, there’s pots for your waste. We’ll empty them and clean up when we get out."

Derizan pointed to a dusty piece of cloth on the cave floor, with a dark stain. “It looks as if someone was here not long ago.”

Inkurisar came over. “Hmm. See that?” A few purple drops glistened nearby. “That might be andro blood. Looks as if we’re not the only ones going this way.”

Derizan caught the grimace on his wife Astina's face, just as Inkurisar added, "Good thing we won’t need to climb to the high pass. That’s probably where the andro was headed. Let’s get settled while this storm passes over.”

Ajina turned to Derizan, bending close. “Listen, my dear brother. My husband is not taking this very well. Could you talk with him?”

Derizan went over to Selech, shifting uneasily where he sat on the stone floor of the cave, and squatted beside him. “You look frustrated.”

Selech, his narrow face stubbled with short beard, glared. “I hate this running away. Why didn’t we fight for ourselves back in the City? We could have blocked this whole relocation. Too many of us act like sheep!” He tossed a rock at the wall opposite him, and Daryuz recoiled, giving him an angry look.

Derizan took a deep breath. “Look at what we faced. The City forces had most of the corps with them, and there were rumors of aliens in that mix, too. They all knew the City as well as we did. They would have sent our remains to the recyclers in no time. You know it’s true – look what they did to Incarnastar Coll sector last year.”

Selech sighed. “Yeah, that was a bloodbath.” He muttered a string of curses. “It doesn’t help us now, knowing that, does it?”

To Derizan’s relief, Ajina came to them. “We’ve got some water warmed. You can have a bit of tea. Inkurisar and the women with him bring tea and tin cups.”

Gratefully, they sipped. Derizan said to Selech, “Right now we need to focus ourselves on getting through this escape. That’s our best first step. If I could tell you what the next step will be, neither of us would believe it – we just have to feel our way. It’s the only next step we’ve got.”

Selech stared straight ahead, saying nothing. Finally he nodded. “I’m with you,” he said.

 

Next scene.

Last Updated Friday, June 21 2024 @ 02:48 pm  23 Hits   
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