Happy Holidays from Edmond
The rock around me groaned and I held my breath, waiting for everything to fall apart. I couldn't breathe for the fear of it. I watched for cracks while the sound echoed around us, a deep throbbing that faded slowly.
I looked at Beth. She smiled.
"Well good. That worked."
"Worked?" I repeated. I feared to move still.
"The explosives sealing off parts of the passages - ah. I suppose I should have warned you about that first?"
"Might have been a good idea," Edmond said. His ears were still back and his fur and tail fluffed out a bit more than usual. "Can we leave this overgrown mouse hole now? Before you do anything else crazy?"
"Yeah, time to go," she agreed. Beth looked around the area with a shake of her head, though. "This has been my home for a long time, you know. I want something better -- but what if we can't find it? What if his was the best place?"
"I can't answer that for you," I said and stood. "All I can say is that I know there are better places out there and I'm going to get myself back to them. You and your friends can come along."
She blinked and then smiled again. "Yes, I think that would be nice."
They had no trouble getting out of the 'mouse hole' as Harvey lead the way. They came out in the shadow of a building, the sun just starting to go down. That gave us a wide view through and nothing seemed to be moving. My heart dropped a little. I had wanted to find Maggie, Davis and the others the moment we appeared. I wanted to believe that the others were all right.
"Quiet night," Beth said and looked around with some worry. "I don't know if that's good, or if it's just that everyone smart has taken to cover."
"I have never been accused of smart. I suppose you better know that now." I found myself stretching as though I had been cramped in the caves. Edmond did the same and his tail was up and his ears forward. He was a much happier cat now that we were out in the open. I didn't say anything about the others, but I hoped Edmond could find them -- and without going off on his own, either. They couldn't be too far, could they?"
"What now?" Beth asked. She looked nervously around.
I guess that mean I was now in charge.
"Edmond? Any idea of where the others might be?" I finally asked.
"Not far," he said and seemed to mean those words. "This way."
Edmond started away. I watched him for a moment while wondering how I could put so much trust into a cat. I glanced at Beth and she looked at me, one eyebrow raised. The others were gathered behind us, waiting.
"Sometimes you just have to trust the cat," I said with a sigh.
So we followed him.
The shadows were already darker. I listened for the sound of biters and wondered what we'd do if they attacked again. There was my ability to send them flying if it got dangerous, but I didn't like to rely on that too much. I didn't understand it, and I had seen how it could fail.
Edmond was not going very fast. I took that as a good sign and hoped it didn't mean that he really didn't know where to go. I scanned the horizon a head of him and once I saw something move, but it wasn't large enough to be the group we wanted to find. I watched it though. Whatever the creature was, it moved from shadow to shadow, slinking closer to us. Not exactly hiding, but not out in the open, either.
"There's something --" Beth began.
"I've been watching. It hasn't leapt to attack us, yet, so I'm not going to go look for trouble."
"Yeah. Good idea," she said. She sounded nervous.
"You've been out here before and especially at night," I said. "Is there something I should know about this time?"
"No, no. Just -- I always stayed close to home, you know. It was scary enough to find myself here, but going out there and seeing all the bad things happening -- I made my safe place and I brought in anyone who helped me." She looked back and shook her head. "But I had never meant to live there forever. Thank you."
"I wish I could say we are safe, that I can protect you and everyone --"
"We have a problem," Edmond said, right on cue. "We have a big problem. I can't find any hint of the others at all. Nothing. They can't be so far away that I can't find Maggie, you know. Even if . . . Even if something happened to her, I could still find her!"
Edmond sounded panicked. I picked him up, trying to calm my own fear. "We got blown quite a ways, Edmond. And who knows that that wind did out here. It might still be interfering with what you normally sense.
"Maybe," he admitted, his voice muffled as he buried his head in my jacket. "I want to go home."
The poor guy had never sounded so forlorn before. "I'll get us there,"I said and made it as much a promise as I could. "We'll find the door --"
"Not without Maggie!" he said. He pulled his head out so fast that he hit my chin before I could pull back. "We aren't going without Maggie and Davis!"
"No, we aren't," I said and that was a better promise. I looked at Beth and smiled. "That doesn't mean I won't send you and your people through first chance we get, though."
"Thank you," she said. I could tell she wasn't certain what she wanted though.
And the creature was coming closer. Of course it was. I wasn't even surprised when it gave a loud roar and rushed at us.
To Be Continued. . .