Chapter 2

Terra Reyes

Terra’s heart picked up another notch and she squeezed her eyes shut, waiting for the call of an intruder rolling under the benches.

When nothing came, Terra stuck her head out slightly, making sure to glue her attention to the close pair of boots to try to gauge their attention.

Another number was called as Terra slid out, looking straight at Jamie. She locked her eyes on Terra's again and slightly nodded, disconnecting their eye contact and looking away.

Terra felt as though she was going to throw up from her heart pounding against her injured ribcage.

Jamie was going to let them leave.

Terra watched the boots again, now adjacent to her. Keeping her eyes focused on them, Terra beckoned Noah with her other hand to come closer.

Terra scampered as far back as she could against the hard metal and tried to watch what was happening, but it was still so dark that it was hard to discern the shapes and sizes from her awkward angle.

Instead, she turned her attention to Noah, who was on the floor in front of her. Terra waved to him, beckoning him to her location.

He shook his head and tucked into a small ball, still completely covered by the seat. She couldn’t speak, so she motioned for him again with her hands, hoping he would get that his fear would kill him if he didn’t do anything.

Noah sucked in an audible breath and Terra's heart lurched. She switched her attention to the boots resting in the aisle between them.

Their immobile position gave her hope and Terra waved for Noah again. This time, he rolled across the floor and Terra tucked him under her arm.

Numbers continued to be shouted into the dead silence. The silence was the only familiar thing grounding the insane situation to reality. Otherwise, Terra would have thought she was dreaming the whole thing up.

Terra placed her hand out, motioning for Noah to join her under the last seat.

There was a small space behind the seat that was left vacant, so Terra squished up as far as she could against the wall. Noah obeyed her silent command and curled up under the bench.

It looked like her options were the back door, which might or might not be locked or make any noise when Terra open it, or the window, which was going to be a loud fall and very obvious.

Neither were options Terra was fond of, but the alternative was even worse.

Terra leaned to her brother's ear.

“When I pull the red lever, you are going to jump out the door and run,” Terra whispered and Noah nodded his head.

Terra could feel his fear of building and held her breath. Terra could hear the passengers on the bus stand and her arm shot out, gripping the red handle at the end of the bus and swinging open the door open in one swift motion.

Noah launched from his position under the bench and dove out the door, landing hard on his shoulders in his wake. Terra watched him stand and felt relief that he was okay before following right behind him.

Adrenaline filled Terra's system the second Terra heard them yelling.

Grabbing Noah’s hand, Terra swung both their bags over her shoulder and bolted. They were on the side of a road, but there were thick trees that lined a small fence.

Terra all but threw Noah over. Noah took off as Terra swung her leg around the thin wires before letting her other one follow.

Her heart rate spiked as Terra heard boots and voices echoing behind her and she pushed her feet in the moist grass, her feet slipping slightly in the moisture.

“Don't stop, Noah! Just keep going,” She hollered, hoping he heard her.

Terra dug her own feet into the sod and pushed her body forward a much as she could. She could hear a commotion behind them and knew they were found out.

Swinging her backpack off one shoulder, she tucked her arm over the thick fabric and darted her hand into the front pocket, reaching for her gun. She first gripped her knife and she pulled it out, slipping it into her front left pocket before sticking her hand back in and grabbing the bigger of the two guns.

Terra spun around, catching sight of who was after them.

She noticed four moving shadows and raised her weapon, setting it parallel to the ground before looking down the barrel. The gun bounced with each of her steps, but she focused her aim best she could.

Her finger twitched on the safety right as she saw a bright light and she lowered her hand, shocked by the speed the light was traveling. She fell back, just barely missing the ball of light as she landed hard against the moist grass.

“What the heck...” She whispered as she watched the ball fade and diminish into the night air. Terra shook her head and squeezed her eyes shut before opening them again and settling on the last location of the fireball. Seeing nothing there, she cocked her head in confusion again.

Terra heard her attackers coming closer and sprung to her feet, putting the strange light in the back of her mind. She was crawling before she even placed her feet under her body and sprinted for the trees lining the road.

As soon as she broke the treeline, Terra settled against a thick root, hiding her body in the dark woods. Pulling her hood over her head again, she waited silently for her victim to come.

The first shadow emerged and she pulled out her knife, flicking her wrist towards the moving shadow. The blade left her palm and she heard a cry.

Trying not to give her position away, she ducked back behind the roots and waited for the next man.

Noah’s piercing scream set Terra’s heart into a frenzy.

Terra raised her gun at the next man who approached and squeezed, feeling the kick-back at the action.

The man fell in a yell and she spun, darting further into the woods.

“Noah!” She yelled.

She heard nothing in return, so she headed for the innocent voice she heard echo through the trees earlier. She heard his cry again and picked up her pace, trying not to trip on the thick vines and roots lying on the ground.

She heard the leaves crunching and branches moving to her right and dove towards the action. Her boots collided with their own branch, making a commotion in her desperation to reach them.

She heard Noah's voice fearfully pleading and felt worry grip her emotions.

She pushed her legs harder.

She cleared the tree line and squinted against the darkness, struggling to see in the early morning light. She bolted after the moving shadows, once again clutching the gun between her palms.

She stopped her pursuit and leveled her weapon, looking down the barrel to make her shot. Terra huffed in frustration when she couldn't tell the shadows apart and bolted for them again, her feet aching under her heavy body.

“Noah!” She shouted, trying to grab his attention.

When she saw no motion, Terra's heart sank and she pushed her aching legs harder, wanting nothing more than to reach her brother.

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