Racheli’s legs scream in protest, Jason’s body bounced over her back, even as she was built to run long distances, it was made harder with an addition of the broken white knight slung over her shoulders. The bastard upstairs must have loved this, Rach thought sourly. His weight pushed her to the ground, slowing her down. Another shot of agony came rippling up her calf muscles into the upper leg and straight into her fear driven brain. The emotion fueled her body, whipping with her need to survive to put more energy into her running legs that skittered across the stone path towards the light ahead. A chuck of rock broke off and shattered at her right, nicking her with the broken fragments that flew from the fall.
She noticed Jeanie’s head twisted about, turning into what Racheli though was one of oh shit before flipping back around. It seemed her body was struggling with the pace and there was little surprise, Jeanie wasn’t’ built to run. If Rach didn’t have Jason then she would have outstripped them both in seconds making herself pause just let them catch up, but that wasn’t the fucking case as the hairs the back of her raised grazed by something that swiped at her. Rach cursed, pushing her legs to widen the strides to the exit saddening bring her closer to the pair in a few moments even as her body seemed to hum inwardly, her breath heaved and deep panting hung in her pounding ears. Jeanie’s voice echoed out, crying out that they were coming even as the tunnel felt like it stretched farther than before.
Almost there, unsure if Rach would make while her face looked down at her arms to see the skin of her arms washed over in orange light before turning to see the source ahead. A bright fiery bird with a long neck rose with outstretched wings, bracing against the ceiling that threatened to come crashing down with seemingly effortlessness while its flames made a dull roar that grew louder with every step taken to it. The rock in its wake seemed to hold. Heat wafted over them drawing her already sweating and grimy skin to sweat. Her body moaned as the needles became agitated from the closeness of the flames creating sounds like thin crackling ice at the temperature that seemed to melt their skin and crisp their outsides. It didn’t stop her. Racheli would rather burn, a quick and fast scorching death, then a slow painful at the ones licking at their heels making her drive onwards. Jeanie spoke, something about Roche pulling the waitress along as she closed her eyes like she mediating. A flash of anger raged in Racheli, her teeth pulled back in a snarl and eyes rolled that this was no time to do such.
They were almost upon it, expecting to feel the melting of her skin and cooking of her flesh Rach closed her eyes accepting her would be death. It would never happen as her breath let out a cold frosty mist of cold, her teeth slightly chattering while the chill spread along her inside like ice. It soothed her burning muscles making them stiff while the tunnel crumbled around them. The side of the tunnel slanted, toppling down making the exit smaller. Racheli’s body curled with her hands traveling under her cargo, his form still breathing while she uncoiled the body flinging away from the building dust scooping out and around her back quickly engulfing her in the cloud.
Silence…. as the cave’s rumbled died in her ears.
Racheli couldn’t help the last thing she asked herself was the least expected: Did I make it?
Gabby couldn’t stop it as much as she tried to. The walls seemed to have had a mind of their own, pulling to form back to what they once been in the past. Rumbling roared through her ears and tears streamed while she touched the wall, begging the rocks to listen and obey even on their hell bent course. Helena’s fire bird had burned the monster to ashes easily while its glow bathed her features in a gentle orange glow, like a fire heath on a cold day, piercing the darkness like some beacon of hope and safety to those left behind in its way to the others. Hurry…hurry….silently screamed Gabby; her voice gave out now while the dryness scratched at her throat. It stung.
Her hands felt like they no longer could feel the tips of her fingers, the ends blackened and dead looking from all the energy she pushed into the cave in. Smit’s drum’s beat barreled into the tunnel, vibrations filled the tunnel’s floor while it bounced off the walls edges furthering the cracks in the walls by extending them and widening them. Like wind flowing down to the pits. She watched with wide eyes behind the group, the wiggling masses wormed and shifted after them like some dark flood that swallowed light. It reached with forming hands out to the stragglers, Racheli’s hair shifted with the close swipe breezing on the nape of the neck spurring her on. Jeanie looked as she was on the verge of collapsing; her mouth wide and panting, hands seemed to be holding her side in the heaves her chest made. Faster, Gabby cried panic in her eyes at the drawing darkness and the walls slowly closing in.
A muffled sound echoed though the walls reaching in a soft whisper, killed by the sounds of Smit’s drums and the cracking of the tunnel falling apart. Gabby hadn’t seen the look Helena gave to the bird while she watched it come into view flying down the tunnel, following the curves easily without a problem towards them. Her breath seemed to stalled from the scene that unfolded before her while Helena’s phoenix out stretched its wings to stop her collapsing tunnel with the flames roaring along the ceiling drying any mineral rich sediment that dripped from the rocks above, bracing against the large boulders that fell away in chucks to the ground below. Maybe they would be safe after though Gabby with relief, flashing a brief smile at Helena filled with gratitude at saving them before turning back to slowing the cave in. Maybe they will make it out of this alive, maybe but the notion was shortly lived.
Jeanie looked at Roche with her lips moving, saying something, while Roche gripped her and leading her along. Her feet never lost their pace while her eyes closed inwardly and focus. Their figured drew closer while something seemed off, the edges of where the phoenix’s flames danced and waivered seemed to be dampened. As if hitting something wet or drop in temperature while they ducked under for the exit. Something went wrong, Gabby’s heart dropped while the walls shook violently in a much worse turn with large cracks spinning out in the uneven surface quickly being large gapes. One half of the tunnel came crashing down abruptly dividing the path in half, creating a cloud of dust that burst out coating everyone in a smoke screen of debris. The force and cloud’s blinding substance plumed out strongest over the Chosen closest to the exit sending some knocked back those that hadn’t braced, coating the chosen’s eyes enough to sting and clog their lungs with crushed stone.
Gabby’s body hit the ground a few feet back into the elevator, her side burned and likely bruised from the impact while it skidded a few rounds away. Her hand came about wrapping over what hurt in her stop while she groaned, being among the first to stir as the dust faded allowing her see a few shapes crumbled not far from her. Roche was already carrying Jeanie towards her, cradling her form while he entered. Her throat raw while she sputtered, coughing and choking on what tainted the air leaving her hand to push off the floor. Her body risen into an upright position, her legs curled underneath, blinking away the sting until her vision could see straight once more. Rubbing across her sooty face, cleaning the grim away, the tears dampened her hurting eyeballs before she slowly crawled to the nearest body.
He was turned over curled in a ball with limps laying as he was toss, there seemed to be breathing, shallow and barely. The chest heaved up and down faintly. Her hand shook reached for the shoulder, sacred to find dead and foggy eyes staring back at her while she forced her hand to pull him about to face her. She let out a breath of relief at seeing Jason’s out cold face, his hair disheveled and dirty with a small trail of blood trickling down his forehead, and blood and grim made his face looking like he had been playing in a dirt pile. His flesh pale but that seemed the only thing wrong.
“NOW!” Roche’s voice was harsh and demanding.
Her head was dizzy and painful, her eyes jerked about to see Smit leading Helena through the shift’s entrance. That’s two she mentally noted, thinking all were inside the elevator she hit the lever to bring them back to the surface while the metal cage closed rattle upward. Gabby leaned against the side breathing heavily, her balance off even as the cage rumbled upward. She looked about and counting heads. Her face tighten in concentration while her eyes moved from one to another, mentally keeping track, shifting to the next one shortly before once more starting again. The number was wrong. It didn’t add up right while a panic pulled at her heart making her uncomfortable now fitting names to faces. Gabby became distracted and looked up to see it still the last of it rumbling, her black fingers pushed against the ground drawing her up to a wobbly stand against the elevator side that jerked. A loud metal screeching…twanging to break as the cable holding the metal cage gave, one thread at a time making the elevator violently rock side to side. They were going to fall right back down thought Gabby staring up at the ceiling of the elevator.
It was then she heard something rattle overhead, something clawing its way up and across the roof, quick but the sound of rushing wings that stretched to block out the station’s light over head while the metal squealed from being held in a crushing grip. It was like nails on a chalk board to Gabby’s ears making her shove her hands over hurting ears and curling downward from what took ahold of the elevator then. The gears grinded against the force while the floor rocked, being ripped upwards to the surface while something growled above a low, dark rattle like some primal beast. The features hidden by the black shadows that swallowed the pitch black skin jagged with orange lines that pulse, the shape made crackling sounds like something moving up surface and eyes opened, silted pupils, glanced down upon them.
Gabby felt the air in her chest stall. Her horror was short lived however as the creature…or whatever it was, jerked upwards pounding its wings against gravity. The narrow chest inhaled and pushed, lean muscles tugged and strained in its pull. Elevator rose, the breeze of wing beat rushed about the occupants while pushing them down pinning them from the pressure while if Helena’s phoenix had risen to the shaft and followed them its orange light would reveal a night black dragon. The tough hide had been riddled with hot veins of fire and needle like hairs; the rope like tail entangled in the grid and spiked head tossed back with its effort. If any managed to catch the creature’s glance, the iris flashed a familiar green blue before being swallowed by fiery red. Higher they rose until lamp posts flashed each chosen a grin filling the compartment with bright light, the desert’s night scene stretched out in front of them. The sound of crickets cracked the silence, undisturbed by the loud sounds. The metal cage now lodged on the surface tilting the occupants to one of its leaning sides. Only the quick rustling sounds of wings were heard before the creature vanished, melting into the night abruptly as if disappearing liked magic.
Gabby blinked her eyes and feeling sore, her body currently tossed over Jason’s and likely someone else in the tussled. The cage tossed everyone about so it was hard to tell who was dog piling who. She pulled herself up to sit, her legs reflexively crossed over one another Indian style while her hand came to her head. Kneading the palm into the side, a small groan drew out and her eyes looked from place to another worried about seeing the thing that tugged them along come back for a snack. What seemed like minutes passed into a few hours on this side, bring the time to somewhere past sunset. Gabby realized she was on someone while she jumped up quickly nearly panting her face right back down into dirt on her sudden motion, head lightened by the change in position making her titter.
“Is it over? Is everyone alright?” her voice was groan while she tried to aid the nearest people up while not falling on her bottom herself.