Friday, April 6, 2018

Page 1674

((TZKS 5th Anniversary -- Page 23 of 24))
“We can’t just stay here,” said Parson.

“Why not?” said Damian. “It’s safe here. Nobody’ll find us.”

It was true that they had hidden the entrance to this place pretty well behind a makeshift tapestry of leaves, but that was no guarantee, Parson felt. “What about food? Water?”

“I can hunt,” said Damian.

Parson knew it. He’d seen the other boy kill snakes before with nothing but a stick and a rock. “It’s still too dangerous to run around out there. We need to go somewhere far away from those soldiers. They’ll kill us if they catch us.”

Damian looked like he wanted to protest, but he didn’t. After a moment, he merely nodded grimly. Then he looked over at Steven again. “What about him?”

Parson knew what the other boy was really asking. Should they just leave him here?

And Parson thought about it. Maybe it would be for the best.

But no. They weren’t going to do that. Not if he could help it. Not after everything else they’d already lost.

Parson knelt down in front of him, mindful of the blade and the reach of the other boy’s arm. “Hey.”

Steven just sat there, not reacting at all.

“Hey,” Parson tried again, louder this time.

Still nothing.

“Steven.”

Again, no response.

“Steven!”

“It’s useless,” said Damian. “He’s useless.”

Parson sighed and stood back up. He looked around their hideout for something he could use. A couple blankets, some loose rocks, a few candles, and a whole lot of dirt.

He chose the dirt. He grabbed a handful and chucked it at Steven. “Look at me, you idiot!”

The boy did not. He just let the dirt hit him and kept his wide eyes forward.

“I don’t wanna leave him behind, either,” said Damian in a more conciliatory tone, “but if we have to--”

“We’re not leaving him,” said Parson, not even bothering to look at Damian. He grabbed one of the rocks next and wrapped it in a blanket. “Steven,” he tried again as readied his throw. “Steven. Look at me, Steven.”

Steven did not.

Parson scowled and threw it, using perhaps a little more strength than he meant to.

The wrapped rock hit Steven in the side of the stomach. It had to have hurt, and yet even still, the boy did not react.

Parson growled angrily. “Say something!”

“I told you,” said Damian.

Parson took a breath, looking around again. Should he try burning him with a candle?

No, probably not.

Parson took a breath and tried to think. His own hands were starting to ache something terribly as the numbness wore off. Maybe that was Steven’s problem. He was just numb to pain.

In that case, maybe some other kind of stimulation would have more of an effect. The smell of food, maybe?

It was possible, Parson supposed. But even if they went out right now and caught something, would it be safe to cook it here, in their hideout? Or would the soldiers notice the smoke, like he had noticed from the town?

Why was everything so terrifying?

Parson rubbed his face, trying not to cry again. Not in front of these two. He couldn’t let them see something like that. They’d humiliate him.

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