My oh my, how long has it been? I am so sorry, been really busy, and just burnt out in general on this story. Well, I owe this to you, don't I? Almost 2000 words, yes, I know! Updates are coming again, and I have news! Soon, very soon, a little short story will be coming up, due to a request I had! If you are wondering who, just read through the story and then read the note at the bottom! Hate to keep you waiting, here is your much well deserved treat. (Was that even proper grammar? *Scans last sentence* Nope, don't think so. I would rather write all this than fix it right now, very tired!)
I rubbed my hand over my growling stomach, wanting to puke my stomach was gnawing at my insides so violently. I'm sure I would have as well due to the stench around me, but there was nothing for my heaving gut to release. I had been sleeping again, though I was not tired. Sleeping was the easiest way to get away from all this shit. You didn't have hunger, or pain, or heat, or anything like that in your dreams. I had oases, palms, and oceans of cool, drinkable water. It was a pretty sweet thing indeed. Someone to my left hissed my name. I turned to Ice.
"What is it?" I whispered back to him, barely turning my head in his direction. He looked at me with his eyes, boring into me even through the dark. I couldn't understand why he looked so angry, all of the time, even if he was quite kind at the moment. He blinked once, and then spoke.
"I finally got an idea. You have a knife and a compass, right?" I nodded, feeling the comfort of the small objects in my pocket. My tiny treasures. The casing and the token were there as well, but he had only asked about the other two.
"Can I see the compass?" he asked in a whisper, quickly darting his eyes around before looking to me again. I did the same, checking that most were sleeping or barely aware, and that there were no guards. I slipped it out of my pocket and tossed it to him, making sure it strayed from the beam of light. He caught it in the dark without a labored breath, and flipped it open. I started talking, feeling the tears well up in my eyes as thoughts of the task force filled my head. The words were barely formed, most of my voice just a quavering mess.
"That was from my friend, Archer. He is a sniper, and he is amazing. He is tall, and strong, not only physically, but in every aspect. He was the most stoic, and steady, and collected person I knew, but he could be joking and happy at times as well. He was always pointed in the right direction. He said that he got that from his mother, who told him that it would always remind him to point his attitude and demeanor in the right direction, and help him go forward. He gave it to me in hope that it would do the same." Ice looked at me, up from the compass, and gave a wry grin.
"That's a sweet story, I guess. I can tell it has helped you. You seem very collected, and strong. Maybe some of him leaked into you, you think?" The next tear that was about to escape me suddenly stopped, as if it had turned to ice. My mind whisked back to the times I had with Archer, his calm and collected attitude, but his gift to crack a joke at the exact right moment. I remembered how wise he was, how perfect when he was teaching me how to handle weapons, and showing me around. I wished desperately that I was like him, maybe more so that Ghost and Roach. Roach was a friend, but he was more of a child still, than I would want to be. Ghost, on the other hand, was icy and cold. I knew that we had a close bond, so he was usually unlike that to me, but not to others.
I knew that Archer would be the one I would want to be the most like, with a hint of Roach to remind me that it is okay to be a child sometimes, add a little bit of fun and compassion to life. I looked back up at Ice, with those thoughts swirling through my mind like freezing ice. I realized, that he had just given me a compliment. He had told me that indeed I was like the man I wished to model my attitude after. Strong, steady, brave, confident. In those few words, he had told me I was exactly who I wanted to be. The tears stopped, and I nodded, realizing what he had said.
"Thank you." I told him, and he confirmed that I had understood with a nod. He tossed the compass back quickly, and I caught it. He launched quietly into his plan.
"Listen, I know what we are going to do. This compass, its arrow is metal. The knife, I know the model. The blade and any of the tools are too large to work as lock picks. I'm really sorry, we might have to do this, but if we break the compass open, the arrow is metal. It will work as an amazing lock pick. I'll hold the knife, I'm a pretty good throw, while you get yourself out. Then, we switch, and wait by the door. I'll be holding the knife, waiting for the next Russian to enter the room. When he does, I step away, stab him, take his gun, and give you the knife. We skirt out, taking the gun with us to protect us, then get the hell out. Disappear. I know how to survive a while in the forest, which I know surrounds us. We keep going until we find a place to be rescued. What do you think?"
I saw a glimmer of hope in his eyes for the first time, and maybe the hint of a smile on his pale, cracked lips. I swallowed, nearly feeling my heart crack as I thought of Matvei's promise to me. He told me he would get me out in only two and a half more days, I was guessing. Ice, I knew that he wanted to escape, so bad. He had no hope, but the sake of his name before I came. Now, he had a chance of rescue. I swallowed, failing to moisten my dry tongue. My words came out cracked and stuttered.
"Ice, I'm so sorry… The Russian boy, he promised that he would get me out." I grew silent as the man looked at me. Though I could not see well in the light, I could feel utter disbelief and the feeling of betrayal coming off him in poisonous waves.
"What? What do you mean? What Russian boy?" I swallowed when I heard the acid in his voice.
"H-his name is Matvei. He is the boy that brings food and water. He told me, promised me, that in two and a half days from now he would get me out. I don't know how, but h-he promised." Ice, to my surprise, actually spat upon the ground.
"What the hell is wrong with you? This Russian boy, Matvei, do you like him? Or, do you think this is some kind of sick, fucked up joke, and he is your superman? Well, get real. We are in a god forsaken middle of nowhere Russian torture hellhole. There is no angel here except for death, when he comes to collect your mangled corpse. How can you trust the bastard? He put you here. He has put you through pain you never should have had to go through."
"And he went through some for me! Have you seen him? He gave me back one of my last comforts in this hell, at the risk of punishment from superiors! Those are the real bastards. You know. You know what they did to you, and they could do the same to him. He has been sneaking me extra water and food during those rounds. He has spoken to me. He isn't the one who put me here! He is just another puppet that was brainwashed. I can hear it in his voice, I can see it in his eyes! He cares about me, though he doesn't know me!"
"Do you really think that? Are you sure it isn't a set up to get you to spill your secrets? You get out into the forest, after an 'escape' and you spill your story, all the details to him. They just pick him up, and kill you, leave your body to rot with the leaves in the middle of the jungle. Your family will never see you again. The Task Force, they won't see you again. All because you decided to trust someone who shouldn't be trusted!"
"How could you say such things! Don't tell me that you wouldn't leap at the first chance of escape, no matter how risky!"
"I would, if it weren't with our worst enemies!"
"That young boy, he isn't your enemy! Makarov, he is. He is the head of this all, the real reason you are here. I am willing to risk anything to get out and get back to my family. Do you know the hell I have gone through, what Makarov has done to me before?"
"That's right. Bombed my home, everything. My parents, family, all of them, dead in the blink of an eye. Me, I was injured. But the Russians, they decided to sweep the area. I hid in a small niche for over a week, ready to die. Nearly bled and dehydrated to death, but one day when I thought I might end it myself, they came. I thought they were the Russians, come back to find me, but it was the Task Force. Roach, Ghost, and another. They saved my life, and over the next few weeks, I saved both of theirs. I owe it to them and my new family to make it out alive, make sure there efforts to save me weren't wasted! I am taking any chance I get. A slight chance is better than none." I stopped, took a breath, and cracked my knuckles. Ice was completely silent. It was a few more moments before he spoke again, much calmer.
"I don't blame you. I'm sorry for what I said. I really shouldn't be the one to talk. I'm sure I would have done the same. But, please, if you are going to go, do you mind leaving me the knife and the compass? I might have a chance myself." I nodded, smiling in the dark.
"It's fine. I'm sorry too. I probably can't compare that to what you have gone through, but if it makes it any better for you to know, I think that you are pretty brave for all of this." I am sure I could feel him smiling as well, and it would have been the perfect time for an embrace in one of those sappy movies. But, the smiles faded as the door was thrown open and the trio of Russians walked in. Brutus, through the light, he picked me out right away with his soulless, night black eyes. A smile crossed his face. He stormed over to me, and a rock dropped in the pit of my stomach. James made a sickening sound to my right, and Ice merely sighed. I knew I was going to be strong, but something in me felt dread.
Duh Duh Duh! Torture next chapter, and a little Roach. I didn't have anything to write for him this time, but you will see some more of him next time I see you! And the winner would happen to be an anonymous reviewer, Jaclyn! Check out her review to get a taste of what you will be seeing in another day or two! Thank you, I love you so much! (Figuratively, of course :P)