I looked around in pure terror waiting for him to charge at me – the realisation hadn’t fully sunk in.
The warden wasn’t anywhere near me, but he was still in my mind. It wouldn’t be anytime soon that he would choose to leave.
I returned to the gentle glisten of the cave and recovered my cuffs from the water. I spent a few more moments in the cave – I had to leave to find my brothers and sisters but I had a sense that wherever I left I would not return. My arm ached like Hell but it stopped bleeding the night before. I called to mind my training and fashioned some wood and stone into weapons. The hunt began.
I walked outside and the silence felt sincere. I’d lived in silence for so long all the noise of nature could only comfort me for so long. I walked through the barren, lifeless woods until I found myself a clearing. The mountainous region I could see from my old room…
My old room… No, I won’t go back there. No.
No, it’s not my room. The mountain, yes. The mountainous region I’d always stared at was now within reach. I continued walking and found the intersection of three regions: The lifeless forest, the mountain, and the coast. The viridescent trees dotted on the mountain made it seem like the safest place and the most likely area I would find my brothers. I could still hear them – always. Their screams were engraved in my thoughts like trauma faced by a petty child.
A boar ran down the mountainside right towards me. I lifted my club and ran towards him. With a leap and a flip to the boar I killed it with a blow to the head, but it was scared. It was running from something – another student! Finally! Who would it be?
“Jonathon!” I heard, I know that voice, Mike!
“Mike! You survived!” I shouted towards him and we ran into an embrace of shock that we’d both survived. We discussed what had happened and as I head west to the woods, he head directly north to the white mountains. We cooked the board we’d killed and I felt content with the connection to another. The force was still with us.
“Do you ever have glimpses of the warden, brother?” His question felt both petrifying and a relief. With a harsh exhale I uttered,
“You see him too? I spent the night in a cave and upon morning I heard his footsteps, like the ones outside our dorms. I walked outside to the tweet tweet, chirp chirp of birds and the footsteps grew louder and quicker. He ran towards me so I turned around with a shriek to face him but he wasn’t there. You’ve experienced the same, brother?” He looked down at his meat and pondered.
“Not quite the same, but my fear of him has always been subtle. I notice him behind a tree and my heart races like a tiger. My instinct is always to run but I walk passed the tree and he’s never there.”
If only we knew the severity of our actions, the warden wasn’t done with his evil tormenting of us yet. I can still hear him.