Chapter Seven - The Burning Bridge


Story so far:

Hannah finds herself in a strange other world. It is a world full of cruelty, lava and pain where monsters called Mezards mercilessly torture the little Tikas. She is hiding with the mysterious Kaspian when trouble strikes. The terrifying Mezards had found her iPhone… 

*    *    *   

Kaspian pulled her away from the edge as the Mezards began organising themselves for the hunt. 
“That’s yours isn’t it?” She nodded, breathing fast. Kaspian continued, “They can use it to find you. We have to move. And you have to change.”
“What? How can they-“ 
“They can smell you. Your smell will be all over that thing. If you are like any other human I’ve met, you probably barely put it down”
“I-“ she didn’t know what to say. She had always liked to think of herself different but now she thought of it, she was hooked to the thing. And now it might mean her downfall. But she wasn’t going to panic. She hadn’t come on this adventure to stay the same. She wanted to be different. In truth she wanted to be like Kaspian but there was no way on earth she was ever going to tell him that. 
Instead she asked, “what do I need to do?” He smiled. 


They crawled back through the tunnel towards the ladder again and Kaspian spoke fast. “We need to get back down the ladder and further into the hideout. They won’t be able to fit into it, they’re too big but they can blast their way through with fire soon enough and then there’s no hope for us. We need to get deeper, into one of the old store rooms. With any luck we’ll find some new clothes in there and we can burn the rubbish you’re wearing.”
“What about my skin? Can they smell my skin?”
“I’ve got an idea. It might not work but, well, we might as well try.” He looked at her seriously, “It’ll probably hurt.”
“Oh good” she replied. He ignored her. 


They reached the ladder and Kaspian swung himself down onto it. He saw her fumbling with her heels and raised his eyebrows. “You really want to do that again?” he said. “Give them to me. Can’t leave stuff lying around. Again.”  She glowered but handed them over to him just the same. There was no time to argue, it was time for the descent. The ladder was wonderfully cooling on her bare feet, her stockings had been ripped through by now and even the cutting edges couldn't stop her. How could I have been so stupid? she thought, trying to figure out when she had dropped the phone. It must have been when she first arrived. When the Tika collided with her and they’d both ended up in the pool, it must have been dislodged as she fell. Idiot. 


Kaspian had reached the bottom and reached up to help her to the floor. A shiver ran through her body as his fingers brushed her legs, guiding her down. She touched the ground, their bodies close, pressed together by the sides of the passage. She gazed up into his face, inches from her own. She could feel his breath on her cheek.
“This way,” he said, cutting short her fantasies, “we don’t have much time. Try not to touch the walls, you’ll spread the scent.”


There was an angry rumble spreading throughout the rock, the very floor was vibrating under her feet and she knew the hunt had begun. How long would it be till they traced her to this passageway? Her senses were alive but she didn’t feel scared, the danger was almost intoxicating. Together, they twisted and turned their way through the passageway, Hannah being careful to touch as little as possible. Eventually they reached a stone door-way which Kaspian pushed aside to reveal a small room. Shelves cut into the carved rock held barrels of all shapes and sizes but they were all empty. She heard Kaspian crunching the door shut again and helped him bar it with large iron rods. He turned to look around, scanning the room for anything they could use. Hannah couldn’t help feeling a bit nervous. If this empty storeroom was what he had in mind when he said he had a plan then it was somewhat lacking. She was about to tell him this when, without warning, an almighty explosion sounded from the distance. 

 

“They know where we are,” said Kaspian. “Quickly, this way.” 
He led Hannah across the room and down some steep steps into blackness. He pulled her through a series of tight corners at dizzying speed until, suddenly, they emerged. They stopped to catch their breath and Hannah looked in wonder at the sight before her eyes. Even in the state of danger they were in, she could not help but be amazed. The cavern was extraordinary. Like the one above it, lava flowed freely, high above them on the left hand side, burning all in its path. On the right, ice cold water rushed through channels, freezing onto any rock it splashed. Where they met an explosive waterfall was created, surging the glowing water and steam into the lagoon below which boiled furiously, sending ripples of death to every shore. 


“an explosive waterfall was created..sending ripples of death to every shore”
- Own photo - 


There was a noise behind them, snarling roars and an ominous rhythmic thud that could mean only one thing. The monsters were trying to get in. Without a word, Kaspian grabbed her hand and raced with her down the path along the lagoon’s searing edge. She could see the outline of a bridge at the end of the path, curving up high above the lagoon. It was their escape, it had to be. There was no other way out. Behind them lay Mezards who wanted to tear them limb from limb. Above them was sheer rock, unclimbable even to a goat. The bridge was their only hope but there was a problem with it, a very serious problem. It was burning. The fiery, steaming waterfall cascaded onto it before shooting sideways into the lagoon. Spits of the golden water splashed everywhere, scorching the moss beneath their feet. 


“Are we trapped?” she said. 
“No.” Kaspian’s jaw was set, his voice hard. “This is where-” he stopped.
“Where what?”
“You have to run through the flames.”
“What?!”
“It is the only thing that will kill your scent.”
“But I’ll, I’ll burn.”
“Only for a moment. You have to-”
“But what about you? There’s no other way round and you can’t swim through this”
He smirked at her, the exhilaration flooding his face again. “I’m coming with you.”
She smiled, looking away from him embarrassed. The intensity of his stare was…and his smile…but no, this was not the time. She had to concentrate. She might not be able to stop the fiery waterfall melting her but she should be able to stop him melting her. She looked back and nodded.
“Good” he said, still smirking “Anyway, if we’re going to burn, we might as well do it together.” 

A crash high above them announced the arrival of their murderous visitors and Kaspian grabbed her hand. 
“I don’t know about you but I hate it when people watch me running to my death” he said. Hannah laughed and turned to face the bridge.
“Run fast. Run straight,” he said. "Are you ready?”
She gave him one last look, gritted her teeth and replied, “Ready.”


And so together they took a deep breath and hurled themselves forward into the burning abyss. 


For Chapter Eight - After the Fires - Click here


© Isla Robertson 2017