Chapter 5: False Hope

I felt lethargic. Day by day in the mines I had smashed big rocks into smaller rocks. The interrogations continued and the restrictions were now tighter than ever. Wiping the sweat from my face continued to attack the rocks. 

Luckily Ren was in the cell closest to me, it was the only communication we had with the rest of the group. Baltor being uncooperative had left me feeling hopeless until I heard Ren muttering swears at the guards. When everyone was asleep Ren and I would talk about the progression of the plan, Celeste being the only one capable of getting the map and her "secret weapon". The last he spoke to her was 2 days ago she said she got the layout of the mines, what she did in exchange for it I didn't ask. All that mattered was today was the day. The day we would escape from this hell. 

No one's heard from Leo ever since the lockdown happened, I thought maybe he was in a completely separate group, at least that's what I hoped, the latter was somewhere I didn't let my mind wander.  

The signal for our shift being over sounded and the beast-men attached the shackles to us as usual, escorting us to the feeding room. Eating the food, I couldn't help but think about how I would eat normal food again. Human food, it was hard not to smile and Baltor often gave me an icy look when that happened. He warmed up to me, even if only a little, only asking about how Celeste was doing. Ren's constant chatter often put him in a bad mood, although he was always in a bad mood. 

Finishing our meal, we were taken back to our cells, removing the shackles they shoved us inside one by one. Finally locking the door and leaving the area. It was only a matter of time now, Celeste had said we would know the signal when it happened. And I didn't sleep, for fear of missing such a thing. The anticipation was jolting through my body. For once Baltor approached me and sat down. 

"Listen, I don't want you messing this up for us. You listen to what I say, keep up and stay alert." He murmured in a low tone. 

Nodding my head in agreement we waited patiently in the dark. minutes dragged on into hours and soon we could hear the silent murmurs of the other slaves. Their nightmares torturing them in their sleep. It was the first time I hadn't slept in the mines at this time.  

The earth shook violently as a large explosion could be heard throughout the tunnels, the shifting of rock grinding against rock continued to echo throughout the mine, causing my heart to jump in my throat. Was she trying to bury us alive? Darting up, Baltor stairs at the cell door, his muscles tense, waiting. A few moments passed before the echoing of yells could be heard. 

Frantic footsteps approached the cell before Celeste showed her face through the bars, "Didn't wait too long did you guys?" A smirk plastered on her face.  

"It's about time get us out of here!" I bark with excitement, rushing towards the door. 

"What the hell Celeste let me out first, fuck that guy you've known me longer." Ren barks in the next cell, even if he was joking it still stung a bit. 

"Get back! And cover year ears," reaching into a pouch she revealed a dark powder pouring it around the cell door before trailing a wire to the far side of the room. Grasping a stone, she strikes the ground sending sparks flying, before another explosion sounds. I could feel the earth above us shift unnaturally, as rocks began to descend on us. The other slaves screamed in despair, pleading for their lives. Half of the cell caved in killing the ones too slow to get away. 

Running through the door, Baltor close behind we're greeted by Celeste. "Long time no see, glad you're ok." Looking smug we rushed over to Ren's cell. Arms folded he stood there waiting in the darkness. "Hurry up and get me outta here, these depressed slaves are really starting to bore me." 

"Good olé Ren," Smiling Celeste places the powder around the gate causing another explosion to rumble throughout the mines. The shouts grew louder along with the clatter of footsteps. "We have to go, follow me!" 

Running through the tunnel Celeste takes off, the rest of us close behind. "Where's Leo and Zefire?" I shout as we turn into the mining area. "The last I heard Leo was in the torture chamber, Zefire's fine. Grab a pickaxe, you get Leo and we'll go to the exit." shoving the map in my hands she looks up at me. "We'll see you on the other side." Nodding, I dart off towards the chamber. Angry shouts and cries rang throughout the mines and fear slowly crept into my body as I approached the chamber.  

Pushing through the wooden door slaves lay riddled throughout the room, the walls and floor were drenched in blood. Holding my mouth briefly, I search for Leo through the dismembered bodies. The blood sticking to my feet as I walked through the room. I could see some had survived, yet too weak or scared to move, I try not to look in their eyes as I walk over them deeper into the chamber. 

Another explosion vibrates through the mines, causing me to jump stepping on the corpse of a young woman. "Leo, where are you?" I shout through the loud bangs of collapsing rock.  

Scanning the ground, I see him buried underneath a small mountain of corpses. Scrambling I begin tossing the light bodies. "Get up, I know you're not dead." Opening his eye's, he stared at me as tears welled up in his eyes. 

"Finn....just go leave me here." He whispers. Looking over his body he was slim, I could hardly recognize him, aside from his curly brown hair. "We don't have time for that shit, get the fuck up were getting out of here." 

Dragging him to his feet we stumble through the corpses out of the room, glancing at the map briefly I turn down an unknown tunnel. The foreign shouts ring throughout the mine behind us as we run through the darkness, stumbling over jagged stone and falling debris. Leo continued to mumble as he went in and out of consciousness, the only word I could make out was "I'm sorry..." 

We arrive at an empty room, two tunnels going in opposite directions, looking at the path Celeste drew out for us I start down the left path before I see the dark figures emerging from the darkness in front of us. Tightening my grip on the pickaxe I approach slowly, keeping Leo close behind. A snap sounds through the tunnels as a cut burns my face. "I don't have time to play around here." My voice shaky as the words leave my mouth. Hurling the ax at them we turn heel and run back into the room turning down the only other path. 

The shadows roared angrily as they closed in behind us, "Hurry up! Their catching up!" My voice frantic. I couldn't help but think he was slowing me down. I could be free by now with the others. The tunnel is long and winding, the licks of their whips sounding off close behind. The familiar light of the sun glimmered in the distance as we stumbled through the final room.  

"Light it now Zefire!" The shout rings out through the room as an explosion shutters through the mines collapsing the tunnel, the sound of stone crushing flesh could be heard as the ceiling rained down on the unsuspecting beast-men. Looking up towards the exit three figures stood illuminated, "It's about time man I was gonna leave you." Ren proclaims, triumph plastered on his face.  

"Even though you were the one saying to wait just one more minute?" Zefire pipped in an amused tone, silently chuckling. Wandering from behind a boulder towards the group. "It looks like you found Leo, good work now let's get out of here" Celeste barked in a demanding tone, turning her back walking towards the exit, Baltor in tow close behind. As I approach the group Leo tugs on my shoulder, his eyes frantic riddled with fear.  

"Let's go, Leo, before they catch up." Tugging him forward we advance towards the exit before hearing roars and the clatter of metal against metal. 

Swinging his pickaxe frantically Baltor growled as he struck the beast-men in the chest, lodging it through the heart. The group formed a small circle back to back with Ren in the center clutching his bloody leg. Dozens of skorpioner surrounded them and as we exited the mine drawing their attention.  

"Run Finn!" Celeste shouts, swinging her weapon back and forth not making any contact with the approaching skorpioner. My instincts to rush in and help was stopped by the thought of Leo, I knew he wouldn't survive if we went to fight and with that, I resolved to leave them behind until a figure emerged from the mines behind us. 

"So, it was this bunch who killed my men, and now you've destroyed my mine." The words flung from his mouth in anger as Wickum plunged his dagger through my back. It went in cold, then was replaced by a throbbing heat. Withdrawing his blade, he kicks me forward into the skorpioner. 

Looking back at him in anger I see Leo standing at his side, his face was riddled with guilt. And the pieces all came together in my mind, yet I didn't want to believe it. He looked away in shame as he uttered the same words, 

"I'm sorry, Finn."