155 Days Until Answers And the Uncertain End (part 2)
Heia stepped carefully. She knew it was better than to be afraid. They had driven up this high. They had to keep following the trail, and the cars could no longer follow. The sound of her foot steps would be negligible to the noise the car made to those underground. If they were alert, it was because of their earlier movement, not the movement of now. However, the fear still permeated in each step she took. That this step would let the Aralax know that they were there. Each step would lead to the possibility of death.
“if your father was here. Where would he be?” Shawn asked as they walked up the mountain side. The light was beginning to dim in the sky above them. The thick of the trees gave them little to no visibility, but the fact that the suns light was creating too long shadows now. Heia’s heart rate had spiked with each passing breath. Her senses were on high alert and her weapon was ready for her to strike at any moment.
“There. Right?” Kori pointed up towards the cabin ahead of them. Through the trees there was a clearing, atop a empty slope. The cabin was large, decrepit, and had a straight sight to the world outside the mountain range. At one point this mountain may have been a Circle resort, but it was no longer.
“Everyone at the ready.” Zeydar nodded with Kori. “That’s where the trail leads.”
Heia didn’t want to think of what it would mean if Zeydar had been wrong again. If they’d been following Aralax the entire time. What would they do? Their plan hinged on the fact that it was worth coming out here. However, the thought continued to circle in her head that he was wrong and that they had to get away. They had to go back. They needed to put distance between themselves and the Hive as fast as they could.
They approached the cabin, fear intensifying in her bones, as she could no longer see the cars behind them. Zeydar’s eyes darted as he looked around just as they made their way to the clearing. Kim had her weapon ready, starring to the sky and then to the cabin. She made comments to Phil who nodded and whispered back.
Deciding if we have enough time to get back. Heia hoped that they did.
“Do you feel any interference?” Kony asked Zeydar, who had stopped their entire party.
“Evester’s father did something.” Zeydar nodded. He hesitated to go forward, but did so anyway, the soft crunch of the snow beneath his feet as the air temperature began to drop dramatically.
“Someone want to tell me how he would have survived up here?” Shawn asked, following behind Zeydar. “Wouldn’t they know? The Aralax aren’t stupid.”
They would have known, which was why Heia did not believe it. It was all too good to be true. Zeydar’s footsteps were the first to the cabin wood, creating a new sound of thuds. With his magic Zeydar opened the door. Kony then followed with him casting spells to activate traps that were around the cabin. All at once a few explosions went off, alerting Heia to the idea that all around them had to be more mines. That they had walked through a death zone, blindly.
“That’s him alright.” Evester raced up the cabin stairs to Zeydar’s side. Zeydar walked into the house with Evester, lighting it with his magic. Heia was next to follow, with Shawn, then Kim, Phil, Kori, and Kony. At first Heia blinked back in revulsion, until she could process what she was seeing. Carcasses of Aralax everywhere, in each corner, from the ceiling, on the ground. Their blood had soaked into the cabin floors leaving rot and broken floor boards. It was the sign of a great battle.
“Are we sure?” Shawn asked gun up in a defensive way, and pressure in his voice that they had to leave.
“The trail goes here.” Zeydar answered walking on ahead as if the bodies didn’t exist at all.
Weapon up, Heia stepped closely behind Zeydar as he led them deeper into the cabin. The stench of decomposing Aralax wafted through the air. Heia had smelled some horrible things in her life, and she was almost certain that this was the worst. Expletives sounded through Zeydar’s lips as he lifted his Staff and cast defensive magic around them. A holoblade was caught in the air before Zeydar’s face. Shawn immediately threw up his gun to an attack stance.
“Stand down we are humans.” Shawn ordered, taking control of the situation as Evester pulled the Holoblade from the air and Zeydar cursed the world more. Kori fanned out with Kim, hitting the wall next to bodies doing as she did, ready to attack. Phil hit the other wall nodding to Kim, who looked to Shawn with signals. Evester stood listlessly looking at the holoblade, before it clattered to the floor, creating a hollow sound in the cabin.
“Up here?” The voice was muffled as a shadow loomed. Before them an Aralax came through the doorway. Heia stepped forward about to shoot, as Evester pulled her back tossing her to the ground, knocking the weapon out of his hand. She watched as Zeydar moved his Staff to force Shawn to shoot the roof instead of the Aralax before them. Phil held up his hand to Kony as Kim stopped Kori, grabbing her arm. One by one Heia’s family fell to Evester’s friends and the Aralax walked towards them.
There was no skitter in the step, clunky instead. And then the head was lifted off and held in the arms of the creature. A man stood within the carcass, dirty, ragged, hair unkempt and eyes with glasses — eyes that Heia knew all too well.
“Zeydar, Heia, Evester.” The man’s voice seemed broken from not using it, and yet there was still a cheery nature about him, as if they were not at risk of dying in the minutes.
“Father.” Evester stepped forward past them all. He walked directly towards his father, fist raised and throwing it at him. Maverin Igilistal raised the head and it shattered at Evester’s punch. Evester pulled back glaring at his father, and his now bleeding had dropped to his side.
“Do you have any idea how long it took me to carve that and make it inhabitable for a human?” Maverin looked to the broken head, as if Evester’s blood was not staining the floor.
“Do you have any idea how much bullshit I’ve had to go through for you?” Evester lifted his hand again grabbing his father’s Arala suit.
His father shrugged. “Found Heia and Zeydar.” He gaze went to Zeydar and Heia in the back. “Saved Valaria. Stopped many of the major death counts reported because of telling the dates. You’ve saved a lot of lives. I hardly think that’s bullshit.”
“Mom’s pissed at you.” Evester pushed his father back, avoiding the fact that he was pissed at his father.
“Ah! Estashia? She’d understand.” There was a wistful way that he said the words, as if he truly believed it, and for a moment Heia believed she would too.
“Why don’t you enlighten me on what she’d so wonderfully understand.” Evester was furious. The whiplash of their tones was beginning to give Heia a head ache.
“Science Evester. Science.” He then smiled at his son, brightly. “The Yasloughve Project is our end.”