Chapter Eight - After the Fires

Story so far:

Hannah has embarked on an adventure in a strange new world of lava, rock and cruelty. Only the timely intervention of a handsome stranger saved her from certain death in the hands of the Mezards but now she and Kaspian are fleeing again. Will running through a curtain of fire and water save them or will the Mezards hunt them down…?

*   *   *   

What came next was a searing wave of pain that consumed her very essence. Fire. Ice. Steam. All cascading over their bodies like demons, writhing over their bodies determined to do only one thing. Destroy. Her body was in shock, she couldn’t move. Fire and heat burnt the clothes off her skin and choked her lungs with spits of venomous fury. Kaspian was holding her hand, gripping her skin as tightly as he could as though his life’s blood depended on that touch. Despite his fierce command to run straight through the flow they had stopped. Unable to open their eyes for fear of losing them and afraid of falling down into the boiling lagoon below. Instead they crawled, grasping on to each other. Unable to speak. Unable to think. Just on and on and on. It felt like forever. She would never make it. She would surely die! 

“Fire. Ice. Steam…cascading over their bodies like demons”
- own photo - 

And then it was over. The deathly fire was behind them and the earth beneath their blackened bodies had never felt so sweet. Their clothes were incinerated, burnt into a thousand pieces and their skin scorched beyond belief but Hannah didn’t feel the pain. She didn’t even feel embarrassed at being naked. All she could feel was relief. They were alive.

Hannah looked behind her and saw better what they had passed through. Several metres of pain, nothing more but they were alive. Kaspian still had hold of her hand. He was lying, wheezing softly on the earth. For a moment her heart stopped in fear, but he was not injured. He raised himself and grinned. “That top didn’t suit you anyway” She laughed but he cut her short. Mezards were flowing down the steps far across the cavern. They hadn’t seen the man and woman on the far side yet but if Hannah and Kaspian didn’t move fast they would see them soon and hard as the bridge had been to them, it was no barrier to Mezards. 
“Quickly, through this door. Keep low.”
Shuffling across the bare earth, they edged up the short path and Kaspian eased the door open a crack. Once they were through he motioned Hannah to keep going whilst he turned, watching the Mezards sniffing at the air, following the scent. He barred the door and followed her up the passage. 

“Have they seen us?” she whispered.
“No, but they’ll guess they’ve come this way. Our only chance is to get as far away as possible. They won’t be able to follow the scent now so we have a fair chance. Then we can get on with why we’re here. How’s your skin?”
“It’s fine. How, how are we alive? We should have been burnt to a crisp” 
A shriek cut through the air behind them.
“You know what, I’ll explain later. Run!” he said, pulling her hand and diving into a side passage just in front of them. Racing through the tunnels again Hannah could hear the angry fury of their pursuers who were well over the bridge and following fast. Together they fled, passage after passage, neither thinking about their bare feet as they shot over bare rock, stone and earth. The passages were getting darker, cooler and Hannah guessed from the scents possibly nearer the surface. Was she about to see the outside world of this strange place? The floor of the passage was rising steeply in front of them and yes, she could just about smell it, fresh air was coming in from somewhere. No longer steamy and hot from the lava flows. This was sweet, cool, intoxicatingly lovely. She raised her head and breathed in deeply, step after step, rising and rising. And then it was gone, Kaspian had pulled her left and they were descending again. Twisting down a tight spiral of stairs. Half way down Kaspian stopped. He placed his ear to the wall.
“They’re not far off,” he said. ‘I don’t think they can be following us from scent. Maybe they’ve spilt up. But they are still coming. We need to hide”
“Up there” he said, pointing to a door, obscurely placed in the ceiling. A perfectly circular wooden door. Of all the things in the world! A bold brass handle stood right in the middle and there was a letterbox fastened to one side. Why, it even had a little door knocker! 

For Chapter Nine - Behind the Round Door - click here

© Isla Robertson 2017