Chapter Five: Brothers and Sisters
"Are you sure you've got everything?" Janelle asked. She hovered beside her old friend, holding her hands behind her back. "You'll be gone for a while…"
Samantha nodded, clearing her throat. She was kneeling on the jetty, reaching over into the small boat so she could stow their bags under one of the benches.
"We should," she muttered, glad that Janelle couldn't see her face. "I got enough food for a couple of weeks. And we've got a change of clothes and weapons and a map. I don't want to take too much or it'll be too heavy to carry."
"True." Janelle glanced at 256, who was standing on the beach, staring at the boat gingerly. "Gareth, will you be alright? You look like you're about to be sick."
He shook his head. "I'll – I'll be fine."
Samantha glanced at him and raised her eyebrows. He blushed and swallowed thickly.
"It's only a short journey," he said quickly. "I'll be alright once we're on the mainland."
"If you say so," she said dryly. "Just don't freak out when we're halfway across the sea. I don't want to have to fish you out."
His eyes widening and he shook his head vigorously. "I – You won't."
"Good," she said. She was careful to keep her face expressionless, but her stomach knotted slightly. The fearful look in his eyes as he gazed out at the water reminded her strongly of Thomas. She had seen the same look on his face every time it rained. He would sit tensely at the window in their bedroom, gazing outside as though the water was destroying their village. It had been a long time before they had figured out why his fear was so intense.
Samantha's throat tightened, her lip quavering at the thought of her brother. He still had yet to approach her after their argument, instead spending his time with Edward, the doctor, and Lena. Samantha had seen him at mealtimes from a distance, his last words to her ringing in her head.
He… He doesn't need me. He never did. So… Things are better this way. They have to be.
She sniffed, ducking her head and kneeling over the boat again, pretending to fix the knot holding one of the bags closed. As she untied the leather strips, the memories from their childhood swirled through her mind, one rising to the top. She had been five years old, and she was angry at her mother for reasons she couldn't begin to recall. As a child, Samantha had frequently threatened to run away over small slights, something her mother and brother continued to tease her about well into her teenage years.
That night had been no exception. In her anger, she'd packed a small bag with a blanket and a few pieces of bread, determined to leave her home behind forever. Or at least a couple of hours, to really make an impact. She had gone to bed and waited, keeping herself awake until she was sure Thomas and Michelle were asleep. Grabbing her bag, she jumped out of bed and tiptoed downstairs. She was trying to unsuccessfully open the front door when her brother appeared at the bottom of the stairwell, grinning at her. In exchange for her staying, he agreed to spend all night listening to her explain why she had to go and how horrible Michelle had been in her five-year-old mind. Thomas had taken her hand and led her back to their bedroom. He listened attentively as she told him in increasingly dramatic tones about the slight. Eventually she fell asleep, and by the morning she'd forgotten whatever it was that had made her angry, but she knew how much she loved her brother.
After everything we went through… Mum dying, leaving our village… He was always there for me. I wish I could see him before we go, but… It's clear he doesn't want to see me.
"We should get going," she said, gritting her teeth. "Come on. The sun'll set soon, and I don't fancy trying to row across the ocean when it's dark."
She stood up and stepped carefully into the boat, sitting down on one of the benches and grabbing an oar. 256 gulped, his legs shaking slightly as he stepped onto the boat and perched on the bench opposite.
"Good luck," said Janelle. "Thank you for doing this. Really, I… I know what you'll be facing, and – I'm lucky to have friends like you two."
Samantha felt her cheeks flushing as Janelle's eyes met hers. "No problem," she muttered. "We'll be alright. See you when we get back."
"I hope I don't let you down," said 256 hoarsely, his knees pressed tightly together.
"You won't," said Janelle firmly, shaking her head so her red curls fell over her shoulders. "I believe in you, Ga – Sorry. 256. You're the only person who'd have a chance on this mission."
He glanced at Samantha, swallowing thickly before answering.
"Thanks," he mumbled. "We – we shouldn't hold you up. Let's –"
"Wait," Samantha interrupted, her grey eyes widening. She was staring at the far end of the beach, where a tall, red-haired figure was making his way towards them. Standing up, Samantha leapt back onto the jetty, the boat rocking violently as she did so.
"Tom," she said breathlessly as he approached. He stopped at the edge of the beach, his arms stuffed into the pockets of his long, dark brown coat.
"Hey, Sam," he said quietly. Samantha gave him a small smile, hovering at the end of the jetty. She wanted to run up and hug him tightly, but she steadied herself. Taking a deep breath, she walked slowly towards him and placed a hand in the crook of his elbow.
"It's good to see you," she muttered. "How did you know we were here?"
"Lena said she saw you heading for the beach," said Thomas. "And Janelle told me about your mission a couple of days ago. So I figured you must be leaving."
"I see," said Samantha, hesitating. "Well… Thanks. Sorry I didn't say goodbye. I wasn't sure if…"
Her voice trailed off. Thomas stared down at her, his blue eyes blinking slowly. He looked away, shifting his feet.
"I… Sam, I'm sorry for what I said before," he said in a low voice. "I didn't mean to hurt you. I was just – With everything that's happened, I –"
"You don't have to explain," she interrupted. "I know. You've been through a lot. I'm sorry for making it worse."
Her brother opened his mouth to speak, hesitating. He closed it again, clearing his throat.
"I'll miss you," he said gruffly. Samantha nodded, a lump rising in her throat. Tentatively, she stepped forward and wrapped her arms around him, hugging him tightly.
"See you in a few months, I guess," she said, her voice muffled. Thomas stood stiffly, but slowly he drew his arms around her and patted her on the back with his left wrist.
Samantha swallowed, her eyes watering. There was so much more she wanted to say, but her throat was tight and no words came out. She let go of her brother and glanced at Janelle, who gave her a small nod.
"Come on, Thomas," said Janelle, glancing at the white stone building on top of the hill. "We'd better let them go before it gets too dark."
He nodded, tearing his eyes away from his sister. He muttered a final goodbye and turned around, trudging slowly through the sand. Janelle took a step to follow him before hesitating, turning back to face her friend.
"I'll look out for him," Janelle said quietly. Samantha nodded, swallowing thickly.
"Thank you," she said shakily. Their eyes met for a moment and Samantha felt herself blush.
"See you, then," she said abruptly. She glanced at 256, who was sitting as still as a statue in the boat, his face pale and his fingers clutching the oar. "We should get going."
"Yeah," Janelle said quickly. Her own cheeks were slightly pink. "And Sam… Good luck. Keep yourselves safe."
"We will," Samantha muttered. She turned around quickly and strode back towards the boat, climbing inside and sitting on the bench opposite 256. His shoulders relaxed slightly when she was safely seated.
"Are – are we going now?" he said, his voice higher pitched than usual.
"Yeah," she said, pursing her lips when she saw how sickly he looked. "Here, give me that oar. I'll row."
His grip loosened and he let her take the oar without an argument. She picked up the second oar and held one in each hand while Janelle knelt down and untied the rope binding the boat to the jetty.
"Goodbye," she said, her red curls billowing out behind her as the wind picked up. 256 mumbled a goodbye while Samantha started to row. They moved quickly through the waves, aided by the strong breeze. Samantha watched her friend's figure fade into the distance as they made their way across the water. Janelle stayed on the shore for as long as Samantha could see her, watching them leave the rebel base behind. By the time they reached the mainland half an hour later, she was a small speck on the rocky island.
How long will it be before I see her again?
Samantha closed her eyes, cursing under her breath. When the boat was only a few feet from the shore, she jumped out and pulled the vessel towards the battered wooden pole sitting on the northern side of the beach just beside the rocky cliff that hid it from view. 256 stepped out of the boat and let out a long sigh as his boots touched the sand.
"Which way should we head first?" he asked. Samantha barely registered his question, absentmindedly tying the boat to post and staring out at the rebels' island.
I… I wish she could've come with us. It could've been like it was at the beginning – just the two of us, leaving our village for the first time.
"Samantha?" 256's voice rang through the evening air. "Are you –"
"What?" she snapped, turning around and glaring at him. He blinked slowly, taking a step backwards.
"Sorry," he said quickly. "I… I was wondering what way you wanted to go."
"Why's it up to me?" said Samantha irritably. "This is more your mission than mine. Shouldn't you have thought about where to go first?"
I suppose," he mumbled, holding his arms across his chest and shivering slightly. Samantha stared at him with her eyebrows narrowed, waiting for him to properly answer. However, the longer she watched him the more she noticed how pale he still looked. He'd started to get a little colour back in his cheeks, but sweat clung to his forehead. Samantha bit her lip, leaning down and grabbing their bags from the boat.
"Well… Why don't we head north first?" she muttered, handing him the smaller bag. She slung her own bag over her shoulder, the metal weapons within clanking loudly. "We can head for the industrial towns. They're bigger, which means more Gifted, and busier, which means it'll be easier to hide."
"Yeah," 256 said thickly. "Good idea."
Samantha gave a curt nod and trudged past him, her boots sinking a little into the sand. They walked over to the weather-beaten rope ladder the rebels had attached to the cliff face and started to climb. The wind raged overhead, shaking the rope violently. Samantha held on tightly as she climbed, cursing under her breath when it started to rain. By the time she reached the top of the cliff, her clothes were thoroughly soaked and her teeth were chattering violently. She climbed over the top and let out a long breath, turning around and offering a hand to 256. He took it, his fingers slipping against her wrist. She helped pull him over the edge.
"Let's get under those trees," said Samantha as they caught their breath. 256 nodded, his cheeks pale again as they ran under the cover of the nearby forest. The heavy rain still managed to reach them through the thick canopy above, but it was much less than before. Samantha folded her arms across her chest and trudged through the undergrowth, boots squelching on the muddy ground. She could hear 256 shivering along behind her. They were both too miserable to talk, making their way slowly through the forest.
After a few hours of walking the sun had well and truly set and the moon was hidden behind clouds, making the woods even harder to navigate. The rain, at least, had slowed to a light drizzle. But after tripping over three large tree roots in a row, Samantha was ready to give up for the night.
"Let's get some rest," she said, leaning against a tree trunk and nursing her sore toe. 256 nodded, hastily conjuring a flame in his palm, his face glowing in the orange light. They wandered around for a few minutes until they found a small clearing big enough for them to set up camp. Samantha opened her bag, pulling out two mildly damp blankets and laying them across the muddy ground. 256 gathered a bunch of fallen twigs and branches, setting them up in the middle of the clearing. He knelt down beside them and held a flame close to the wood. It took a few minutes for the branches to dry enough to light, but soon enough a small fire flickered, providing some much needed warmth.
Shivering slightly less, Samantha dug inside her bag and pulled out her change of clothes. Like the blankets, they were a little damp, but compared to the clothes she had on they felt bone-dry. She turned around so her back was facing the campfire and changed quickly while 256 did the same. When they were both ready, they turned back to face each other and sat down on the blankets. Samantha shuffled as close to the flames as she could, still shivering.
"Here," said 256 suddenly. He placed his hand over her wrist. Before Samantha could pull her hand away a pleasant heat spread slowly from his fingers. Within a minute her entire body was pleasantly toasty, as though she'd spent the last couple of hours lying in the sun.
"Thanks," she muttered as her shivering subsided. She cleared her throat, grabbing her bag and digging out a few pieces of nutty bread. 256 took a slice and muttered his thanks, chewing on it slowly. He was still trembling.
Samantha frowned. "You're still cold?" she said, taking a bite of bread. "Can't you use your Gift like you just did on me?"
He shook his head. "It's not the cold," he said, hesitating. "I… It's the water."
"Oh yeah." Samantha shifted her legs, remembering how sickly he'd looked on the boat ride. "I didn't realise the rain caused it too."
"It's not that bad," said 256 quickly. "I manage fine, I just… I don't like it."
She nodded, frowning slightly. "Yeah, makes sense. So if you fear water, what do the other Gifted fear? I know the Gifts of Earth are scared of heights, but – what about the others? Do you know?"
256 shrugged. "I know the Gifts of Air are afraid of being confined," he said. "The Gifts of Water… I don't know. The ones I knew never mentioned anything. But I never really knew any of them that well."
Samantha swallowed a mouthful of bread, nodding. "I suppose they wouldn't," she said, pursing her lips. "Did… Did you know any Gifts of Earth well? They're the ones we're trying to connect with."
"Not really," said 256, hesitating. "Aside from 805, of course. But he – well, he doesn't count. They kind of keep to themselves."
"Yeah, I suppose they would," said Samantha darkly, remembering the way the rest of the Gifted looked at them at 805's failed execution. "Have you thought of anything you could use? To get them on our side."
256 shrugged. "Not really," he admitted. "I mean… I know they don't trust the Council or the Leader. They might turn against the other Gifted, but – that doesn't mean they'll join a nonGifted rebel group. I don't think any of them would –"
"We already went through this," Samantha interrupted, rolling her eyes at him. "You joined us, 256, which means other Gifted can too. So why did you decide to fight for the rebels?"
He hesitated, rubbing the back of his neck. "I… I don't know. It was all so sudden –"
"Yes you do."
"I don't," he insisted. "I mean – Like I said, I didn't choose to leave them. I was injured, so I had to stay with the rebels. And – by the time I got better, I couldn't go back to them. They would've thought me a spy."
"Well you could've left anyway," Samantha pointed out. "I'm sure they would've been happy to have you back if you told them information about us. So what made you stay?"
"Well… Carey saved my life," he said, his dark eyes flickering as he stared into the flames. "And the rest of you nursed me back to health even though you didn't have to. And… the longer I was away from the Fortress, the less I wanted to go back."
He shifted uncomfortably. "It's – it's hard to explain," he began. "Even though we're around each other all the time, the Gifted are… We're kept separate. We're not supposed to get too close to each other. And if we do, we get punished."
His voice shook on the last couple of sentences. He looked away, swallowing hard before continuing. "We – we're meant to serve the Leader and the Council, and to care about anything else is weak. Growing up, that's all I heard, but… I guess I didn't realise until I left how suffocating that really was. I thought that's all life would ever be and if I – if I went against it, I deserved to be punished. But when I left, I realised it wasn't. I can live for more than just the Gifted. I… I have Carey, and 805, Thomas, Janelle… You. I don't want to give you all up."
Samantha gave a small nod, her eyebrows slightly raised. She stuffed the last of the bread in her mouth and chewed on it slowly, drawing her knees close to her chest.
I'm surprised he included me on that list. It's not like we're friends. But – I suppose he was probably just being polite.
"I… I see," she said, her voice muffled as she continued to chew. "I guess we'll have to get the Gifts of Earth to realise that too."
She swallowed, reaching up and rubbing at the bridge of her nose. "Approaching them's gonna be the first challenge, though. Not like we can just walk up to them and tap them on the shoulder."
"Yeah," said 256 uncertainly. "And – we can't pretend to be villagers either. They'll be able to sense me."
"Oh yeah. I forgot about that." Samantha paused, frowning for a moment. "What if we posed as an ordinary Gifted and a Servant? That could work. We could pretend to be checking up on them or something."
"Good idea," said 256, giving her a tentative smile. "We can do that. It'll work."
Samantha raised her eyebrows. "It's not that good," she said, smirking. "We'll have to get our hands on some uniforms. And we've still gotta find the Gifts of Earth."
"True," said 256, his smile fading a little. "But – like you said. We can head to the industrial towns and hide there for a day or two. I think that'll be our best chance."
Samantha nodded. "Alright," she said, still thinking. "We should probably get some rest, then. We've got a lot of ground to cover tomorrow."
"Okay. I can –"
"I'll keep watch first," she said firmly. "You get some rest."
256 bit his lip, opening his mouth then closing it. "Okay," he said. "Thanks."
He lay down on the blanket and turned around so his back was facing the fire. Samantha shuffled a little closer to the flames and concentrated, listening hard for any sound other than the rustles and calls of any wildlife. Over the next half an hour, 256's breathing slowed and he started snoring softly. Samantha stayed vigilant, her eyelids itching. It had been a long day and she was desperate to lie back and sleep. The flames flickered feebly without 256's help to stay alight, and the chilly night air started to creep up on her. Samantha shivered, wishing her coat wasn't still soaked.
Another hour passed and Samantha stayed awake, staring into the thick darkness of the forest. The fire had gone but the branches were still feebly smoking. She stretched and yawned loudly, rubbing her eyes.
Just a couple more hours, then we can swap. It'll be –
Samantha sat upright, her heart starting to race. It was faint, but the sound of a woman's voice penetrated through the darkness. They were swearing loudly. Samantha glanced around frantically, a flicker of activity directly across from the fire catching her attention. She reached over and shook 256's shoulder. He sat up, rubbing his eyes.
"Shut up," Samantha hissed, gesturing at the forest. A twig snapped in the distance.
"Watch where you're going," said a man's voice crossly, his voice getting louder with every word.
"You're the one who dragged me out here. So don't –"
"Oh come on, don't act like this was all me. You wanted to…"
Their argument continued. Samantha's hands shook slightly as she reached into her bag and pulled out 256's dagger, holding it out to him. He stared at it for a few seconds, biting his lip as he took the knife and stowed it on his belt. Next, she retrieved her sword and placed it on the ground in front of her, her fingers resting on the hilt.
"Gifted?" she whispered. 256 nodded, swallowing. His large brown eyes shone in the darkness of the forest.
"Yes, I can sense them," he said in a low voice. "We should go. They'll be able to sense me too."
Samantha nodded biting her lip. She stood up and lifted her sword with one hand, grabbed her bag with the other and slinging it over her shoulder with the strap crossing her body. She glanced at the clothes they had left drying in the branches of a nearby tree. She hesitated, shaking her head.
"Let's go," she whispered as the Gifted's argument intensified, their footsteps drawing closer and closer. The two rebels crept away from the remains of the fire, going slowly to avoid tripping. Samantha tried to breathe steadily and quietly, but her heart was thumping loudly beneath her chest.
What if I still can't fight? What happens then?
"Wait," one of the voices said. "I… I sense something."
Behind her, 256 took a sharp breath. Samantha gritted her teeth and walked faster. A light appeared twenty feet away behind a large tree and the Gifted moved into view. The woman held a flame in her palm, frowning in their direction. She squinted through the darkness.
"I'm sure I can sense something," she said. "It's faint, but…"
Her voice trailed off. The man shook his head, frowning. "I don't sense anything," he said. "They must be far away."
"No." The woman pointed, her blue eyes flashing. "Look. There's something there."
Samantha tugged on 256's sleeve and started to run, slipping and sliding over the wet ground. The Gifted woman shot fire upwards, into the leaves of above their heads. The two rebels were illuminated in a harsh orange glow. The Gifted woman's eyes narrowed as she lifted her sword and ran through the forest, dodging around trees with difficultly.
"Stop," she yelled. The male Gifted hurried after her, raising his hands. the water droplets on the ground collected together over Samantha's boots and snaked up her legs, freezing her feet to the ground. She stumbled, steadying herself on a nearby tree. 256 knelt down and lit a small fire, but he was too slow – the Gifted were upon them.
"What are you doing?" the Gifted woman demanded. She stopped a few feet in front of them, holding a sword in her left hand and a ball of fire in her right. "Why aren't you in uniform?"
Samantha kicked her feet and the melting ice shattered completely. She grabbed 256 by the wrist and yanked him along behind her. They raced through the forest, jumping over bushes and fumbling through the darkness. The Gifted followed them, the woman shooting multiple fireballs. 256 turned and ran backwards for a few seconds to deflect them, sending the fireballs shooting up into the canopy. When he turned around again his boot caught under a tree root, sending him toppling to the ground. Samantha jumped out of the way to avoid him falling against her. 256 pulled at his boot, trying to unhook it, but the two Gifted were catching up fast.
The woman reached them first, raising her sword and striking down at 256's shoulder. Samantha jumped forward and lifted her blade, blocking the woman's attack. Her hands trembled as the Gifted woman let out a furious flurry of strikes. Samantha managed to deflect each one, sweat dripping down her forehead. The air around them was suddenly very hot and each of her enemy's attacks got closer and closer to making contact. Samantha could imagine herself fighting back, dodging and ducking under her strikes until she found an opening, but in the moment it was all she could do to avoid getting sliced open.
256 managed to unhook his foot and ran to join her, raising a hand and melting the onslaught of icy shards the Gifted man sent his way. He ran to Samantha and caught a fireball the Gifted woman shot in her direction. He turned the fire over in his hands and shot it towards the Gifted man, who dodged it deftly but fell backwards in the process. 256 glanced at Samantha, his eyebrows knotted, ducking under a swing of the Gifted woman's sword. Samantha stood still, her hands shaking even more, while he ducked and weaved under the woman's strikes.
"Traitor," the Gifted woman hissed, her eyes narrowed into slits. 256's skin flushed but he didn't falter, carefully sidestepping her next attack. Once he was close enough he grabbed her left arm at the shoulder and pushed her back from the waist up. She was taller and bulkier than he but the simple push put her off balance, giving him the opportunity to sweep his foot under her legs. She fell to the ground, her sword clattering against a tree trunk. 256 grabbed the sword and passed it to Samantha, who blinked and stowed it away in her bag.
They started to run, 256 conjuring a flame in his palm. The Gifted man was in pursuit, running his arms low against the ground, collecting water droplets from the leaves and ground. He shot a series of ice shards in their direction, one of which sliced through Samantha's sleeve and left a small cut on her upper arm. She cursed, clutching the wound as they ran. It bled slowly, wet and hot against her fingertips. The man thrust his arms forward and the water spread from the palm of his hands. He twisted his wrists and the water dove onto the ground beneath their feet. In an instant, it froze into rigid ice. Samantha slipped, stumbling to the ground while 256 did the same behind her. He melted the ice quickly with his flame and ran towards the Gifted man. The man drew his sword and stabbed it quickly towards 256's gut. 256 stepped back neatly. He curved his body around the sword and aiming a turning kick for the man's side, his boot catching fire as he did so. The man swore as the flames connected with his skin. 256 sent another kick his way, which the man managed to catch, pulling on 256's boot until he toppled over. Samantha's grip on her own sword tightened. She tried to run towards the Gifted man but her feet stayed rooted to the spot.
Snap out of this, Sam. You have to help.
256 rolled to the side to avoid the man's sword, jumping to his feet and kicking the man directly in the stomach. He coughed and doubled over, winded. 256 ran back to Samantha, his dark brown eyes wide and his cheeks flushed.
"Are you –"
Before he could finish his sentence, a stream of fire shot through the air and formed a wall between them. Samantha looked up and saw the Gifted woman approaching, her right hand clenched as flames streaked from her fingertips. The smell of burning wood filled Samantha's nostrils and a lump rose in her throat. She stood, unable to move as the Gifted woman approached. Her blonde hair was dishevelled and full of twigs, her eyebrows narrowed. She was staring straight at Samantha with hatred in her eyes. With her right hand, she kept the firewall blazing. In her left hand she held a large ball of flame, burning white with its intensity.
Samantha turned around and started to run, but the Gifted woman was approaching fast. Biting her lip, she sheathed her sword and reached into her bag, digging through it quickly until she found the small tin flask she was looking for. She unscrewed the cap and stopped, ducking under the Gifted woman's punch. Samantha threw the flask at the woman, clear liquid splashing directly in her enemy's face. The fire wall extinguished instantly.
"256," Samantha called hoarsely, glancing around. "Where –"
She stopped as he ran into view, staring at the Gifted woman with wide eyes. He nodded at her and they set off, running as fast as they could, jumping and weaving between the trees. Samantha could smell the salt of the sea, realising they must be close the edge of the forest.
"Let's get to the shore," she said between breaths. 256 nodded, glancing behind them uneasily. They ran until they left the cover of trees, finding themselves at the edge of a small cliff. It was starting to drizzle again, coating the rocks below in a thin layer of slippery water. Samantha glanced at the shore below, biting her lip. A few feet below them was a set of large rocks jutting out from the cliff-face. Gesturing at 256 to follow, she carefully jumped off the side of the cliff and landed on the rocks below, scraping the palm of her hands and banging her left knee against the hard surface. Swearing, she quickly climbed down to the bottom of the cliff, spotting a small crevice in the cliff-face where she knew they wouldn't be visible from the top. Sand stuck to her clothes as she scrambled towards it, 256 following close behind. They crouched down in the crevice, breathing hard.
Samantha strained her ears, listening to a murmur of voices above, but she couldn't make out what they were saying over the heavy rain. After a few minutes, the voices started to fade away, but neither of them dared to move. Samantha sat down properly, holding her sore knees close to her chest, her entire body still shaking. She could feel 256 watching her and she tensed, waiting for his accusations, but they never came. Instead, he simply reached out and placed his hand hesitantly over her wrist. Warmth spread from his fingertips again, enveloping her body. Her shaking lessened slightly.
"Thanks," she muttered. He gave her a brief smile, adjusting his legs so he was sitting cross-legged and holding his scraped hands in his lap.
"I'll keep watch if you want to sleep," he said after a minute. Samantha swallowed, nodding wordlessly. She closed her eyes, leaning against the cliff wall. All she could see was Victor's men and the Gifted taunting her. The more she tried to clear her mind, the more their figures grew stronger, their voices screaming in her ear. She opened her eyes again and shook her head. Instead of sleeping, they both sat and watched the rain fall until at last dawn broke.