After The Darkness: Episode Four

By SunHi Mistwalker

Smashwords Edition

Copyright © 2013

All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission of the author.

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.

Cover art created by Keri Knutson

Published by Dark Tales Great Lives, LLC

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Calcane City — Tunnel System — Night

Nadia’s slight frame shivers as she and Colby trudge through the dark tunnels leading to Sector 3. Her borrowed clothing would be enough to keep her warm if it wasn’t for the river of liquid streaming down the tunnel walls and throwing off a thin mist, coating everything. The rough sheets of fabric passed off as clothing and the burlap sack strapped to her back grows heavier as the layers of mist multiply with each passing hour. Colby leads their trek, keeping two or three steps ahead. He’s tall for his age, much taller than other seventeen year old boys, even boys from the higher levels whose parents can afford to feed them the best food money can buy. But he’s only slightly taller than Nadia, half a head to be exact, but his sturdy build more than makes up for it. His heavy sack, like Nadia’s, is stuffed to capacity with food, water, a bit of extra clothing and other supplies, but he doesn’t seem bothered by the weight of it. He also doesn’t seem bothered by the stone path’s slippery surface. He takes long, confident strides as if he’s taken the journey a thousand times — and he has. Nadia struggles to keep pace with him. Bowed at her waist, she marches forth in a clumsy fashion, the swishing sound of her feet, slipping and sliding across the slick ground, clashes with the rhythmic splatter of Colby’s steady steps. Her throat stings as her labored breaths send waves of icy mist through her lips. And her short, dark hair sticks to the mixture of tunnel water and sweat coating her face. She hadn’t imagined the journey to Sector 3 would be so arduous. It’s been three days since they left Alexa, the Judge and the other members of Colby’s tribe, but they’ve barely stopped for a break — or sleep. She lifts her long handled torch and ignores the ache in her arms as she presses her hand against the halo of heat. The warmth against her palm is a relief. She looks down the length of the tunnel, straining to see beyond the glow of Colby’s torch, but the flames offer only enough light to see a few steps ahead. She shifts her own torch to the right and frowns when she spots a nest of white rats curled around each other for warmth. It’s much colder than it was when they first set out on their trek. Nadia isn’t sure why it’s colder, maybe the dampness settling into her clothes and skin is the root of it. But despite the heavy layer of moisture covering her, a gnawing thirst makes the tunnel wall’s liquid river seem like an enticing drink.

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