The commando walking in front of Wynefrede stopped and dropped her down onto the wet rocks. They’d gotten tired of watching her stumble along in her sandals and started carrying her about an hour ago. A rock stabbed her in the side and she cried out, but the commandos ignored her.
One of the commandos took out his map. “We just turned into the bay,” he said. “The entrance to the road should be up ahead.”
Another one squinted down at where he was pointing, then glanced up. “Maybe half an hour longer,” he said. “It’s hard to see, with the cloud cover.”
“I’m getting a bad feeling,” said a third, looking around. “I think there might be someone else out here.”
“Other escapees, you mean? Or pirates?”
“Maybe. Or wild animals.”
Wynefrede tried peering into the dark, but beyond the circle of light cast by the commandos’ head lamps, she couldn’t see anything at all.
“The pirates are working for the cult. The animals will stay away from us unless we bother them first. And the worst the escapees can do is throw a few rocks at us.”
“I think one of us should put their night vision on,” said the guy who was worried about something.
“It’ll just slow us down,” said the first. “And we’re almost there.”
“Those things always give me a headache and kill my depth perception,” said the commando who’d been carrying Wynefrede, checking his watch. “And the sun will be coming up soon, anyway.” He moved his shoulders back and forth, twisted his torso a couple of times, then stretched his arms out behind him. “Let’s keep going.”
Wynefrede looked back. There was now a different commando carrying Finnbogi. They were at the water line. She could throw herself into the bay and try to drown. But they’d just catch her right away. And then she’d be wet and cold in addition to being bruised and achy all over.
The commandos resumed their hike.
“We should be getting close,” one said a few minutes later.
Wynefrede looked up, but all she could see was the rocks immediately around them, and Finnbogi carried by the guy behind them. Everything else was still pitch black.
Then she heard a snap, followed by several thwumping sounds, and splashes in the water. A couple of commandos grunted, and the one holding her dropped her suddenly with a hiss.
“They’re shooting at us from ten o’clock,” said the lead commando, dropping down to the rocks.
“And three o’clock,” said the second one in line.
The commando who’d been carrying Wynefrede pushed her down to the ground and threw himself on top of her. Wynefrede felt warm liquid drip on her face and tasted blood. She looked up and saw the commando’s chin, with blood dripping from the side of his head. An arrow must have nicked him. Head wounds always bled a lot, she thought to herself and tried to wriggle out from under.
“Lie still,” he told her. “They’re shooting at us. You’ll get killed.”
She rolled her eyes. “That’s the point,” she said.
He raised himself up, and the night vision headset that had been hanging down around his neck slammed into her face when he dropped back down.
“I don’t think they’re shooting to kill,” said one of the other commandos, flipping off his light. The rest of them followed suit.
Wynefrede grabbed a handful of sand and tried to throw it into where she guessed her captor’s eyes would be. There was a click, buzz, and then a sharp bolt of pain ripped through her body. Her muscles spasmed for a few second that felt like eternity.
“They should have let us carry real guns,” she heard a commando whisper as the pain subsided.
“Get them away,” whispered another commando. “Head into the jungle and try to get back to the gate.”
Wynefrede was still twitching when she was hoisted back on a commando’s back. She heard him snap something on his head. It was probably his night vision goggles, he thought. Then he started crawling. The sound of the waves splashing against the shore faded away and thorns started ripping against her robes. After a few more minutes of crawling, the sounds of the fighting were fading behind them, and the commando carrying her stood up.
Once the pain of the electric shock receded, she tried to push herself off of him, but he must have been ready for it because she was shocked again. This time, she passed out.