Anyway, before I start hyperventilating, you'd better get your weekly dose of The Feral Boy. A little reminder - if you want to read the Feral Boy series, check out the Book Reviews and Stories Page! I've catalogued all of my stories there, so if you're in need of read, just choose whatever takes your fancy!
The Feral Boy 6
She reached the cell in less than two minutes. Henry was hunched at the back of it, but he leapt up and smiled when he saw Amelia. It was heartbreaking watching his eyes scour the corridor, looking for some sign of his son. Amelia took a step forward and wrapped her arms round the bars. “I’m sorry, but he didn’t come. He-he didn’t believe me when I said you where here.”
“Oh.” Javen’s dad sagged and the smile vanished from his face. His face drooped and Amelia noticed a sheen of tears over his eyes. “Oh.”
“I can still get you out though. And then we can go and get him together, ok?” The man nodded, but his head was buried deep in his chest and his breathing bounced up and down, dancing to an irregular beat. His eyes were squeezed shut and he was murmuring something under his breath. A moment passed and he looked up. The bottoms of his eyes were puffy and red and there were red lines curving around his irises, pencil lines on a sheet of blank paper.
“Ok. Do you have a crowbar or something? How did you get Javen out?” His voice stuck over his son’s name, and he looked ready to cry when it finally came out. Amelia felt a rush of sympathy. How horrible must it be to the father of someone who thought you were dead? Someone who was so set on the fact, he didn’t hold on to any hope that you might be alive, someone who had abandoned any optimism a long time ago. Amelia could see the man’s heart twist and writhe in his chest, full of sadness and remorse over his son’s dismissal. Amelia gave a weak smile. The least she could do was get him out before the guards came.
“We got out with a bar, but I left it back at his cage. I know how he did it though. We just need some leverage.” Amelia glanced behind her. If there was one metal bar lying around, surely there would be more? The cages behind her had no gaps between them, so they’re couldn’t be anything in there. Amelia’s eyes flitted over the cages, looking for a glimpse of metal. There was nothing. Exasperated, she turned back to Henry. “I can’t see anything. But there has to be something. There has to be.”
Javen's dad shrugged. His hand was massaging the lump in his pocket. “Give it up. You tried. Just tell Javen I love him, ok? Not that he’ll believe you.” He slumped backwards against the cell wall. “It’s pointless, you know. Everything. I should be dead, but I’m not, am I? I didn’t want to sign their stupid agreement, the one that orders me to pray to a God I don’t believe in, the one that made me laugh at things I didn’t find funny and fight for things I hated. And look where that got me? In here, with a bunch of other rule-breakers. There are more of us than you think. We’re not all just feral in here. I mix with murderers and thieves, with arsonists and frauds. We’re the scum of the earth, but the truth is, most of us haven’t done anything wrong. We just ended up in the wrong circumstances - hungry, poor and looking for shelter. That’s why they steal, why they burn, why they kill. To survive. It’s a mad, animal world out there, full of primitive violence and primeval instincts. They say we’re feral. But we’re not - they are.”
He sighed and reached into his pocket, pulling out the lump he had been stroking during his speech. It was red and small, about the size of a phone. Henry pressed a button and a blade popped out. Amelia stared. “A penknife? But they were banned two years ago? Ho-how did you get one?”
Javen’s dad smiled weakly and ran his finger over the blade, heavy enough to leave a faint red mark on his mottled skin, but lightly enough for it to fade almost instantly. “Murderers and thieves, murderers and thieves.”
He grinned and ran his hand over the blade again, heavier this time. A bead of blood popped out from the skin, gently tricking down his wrist, a crimson stream over chalky hallowed rocks. “I got this a few years back when I first came here. I thought that one day I might use it to...you know...” He mimed slitting his throat and Amelia cowered backwards. Her ears were trained behind her, listening for the footsteps to get louder. They had slowed a few seconds ago, and Amelia couldn’t help but wonder if it was because they had caught Javen. The thought made her feel sick.
“But I didn’t,” Javen’s dad continued. “Instead I kept it, biding my time. I tried picking the lock with it, but it was no use. Too small and delicate for the big locks.” He sighed again and tinkered with the knife in his palm.
“Anyway, I was wondering, if you would take it. Goodness knows, I’m not getting out of here...”
“Don’t say that. I’ll get you out.”
Javen’s dad held up a hand to stop her. Like father, like son. “No. My time is coming; you and Javen are the priority now. Take the knife, and this.” He paused and then reached up. His hand curled around a lock of his hair and with a slashing action, he sliced a chunk of it off. He passed the knife and the hair through to Amelia, who was too stunned and desperate to refuse them. “Take the hair to Javen. Maybe then he’ll believe you.”
He smiled, but his eyes were dull and tired looking. “Thanks for everything. I might be able to die happy now.” He sighed again. “I’m just glad he’s alive.”
The footsteps had started again and Amelia’s whole body was tense and coiled like a spring. Every ounce of her being was screaming t o run, but she couldn’t. “I can’t leave you here.”
Javen’s dad stood up, towering to his full height. “I’ve been on my own for years. Another five minutes isn’t going to make a difference. Now, go, for goodness sake. You can’t do anything for me!”
Amelia took a faltering step back. He was right. She couldn’t do anything for him, couldn’t help him at all.
She bowed her head. “Thank you, Henry.”
“The feeling is mutual. Now, go!” He gave her a little push backwards and that was all she needed. Her legs started flying beneath her and she was off, sprinting down the dark corridor, hair in one hand and a penknife in the other.
The footsteps of the guards had started again, but it was impossible to tell where they were coming from. Amelia turned a corner. She needed to find Javen as quickly as possible, before the guards did. It was vital. She had to. Amelia paused at a junction and then turned right, down an identical corridor to the one she just came down. The hall was larger than she first thought. Maybe all those doors had been leading into just one hall? That would explain it. There was no way ten or so of these rooms could fit underground.
Amelia skidded to a stop and listened. The sound of the footsteps was louder, meaning the guards were closer. A though popped into Amelia’s head. If the guards were looking for Javen, then maybe, just maybe...She had to follow them. They knew their way around better than she did, and they would be able to find him quicker. But there were they? Amelia glanced to her right and then her left. The noise seemed to be coming from everywhere around her, echoing around her, filling the air with thunderous footsteps. Where were they?! Amelia bit her lip. She had to move. She closed her eyes and tilted her head to the side. The left. They were coming from the left. She could hear them perfectly with her eyes closed. Why? Amelia opened her eyes and started running down the left corridor. She had no time to question - only run.
Amelia sprinted along the corridor, trying to face left at each turn she took. She could hear the footsteps getting louder and louder as she ran. They were getting close! And the guards seemed to be standing still. Had they found him already? It couldn’t be long until they found Javen, not if they had multiple patrols like she thought. Amelia kept running. They had to be near. They had to. Am Amelia sprinted round a corner and froze. The guards.
They were five of them, standing at the bottom of the corridor, dressed in dark blue khaki. Their guns were pushed over the shoulders, bar one, who was pointing his gun at the ground and shouting abuse. Their faces were twisted in disgust and horror and they all seemed engrossed in whatever the man with the gun was pointing at. Amelia could hear her heart beat in her chest - a mixture of fear for herself and terror for the thing on the ground. She knew what it was - it couldn’t be anything else. Amelia took a breath and reached down into her pocket. She dumped the hair in it, and tightened her grip on the penknife. Any moment now and the guards would turn round and see her. Their guns would come sliding off their shoulders and the lasered bullets would come soaring out, shooting through the air and hitting her square on the chest. She would be dead. Javen would be dead. Amelia felt her heart harden and her fear fall away, only to be replaced with determination and anger. She had to reach them first. She had to get them before they got her.
Amelia took a step forward, overly aware of the sound of her shoes hitting the concrete. She blended into the background, her black outfit indistinguishable from the dim corridors behind her. She took another step - still no reaction. She took another step and another, moving into a jog. The guards were blind to her actions, still concentrating on the thing on the floor. Stopping, she moved to the side and peered into the darkness. It was Javen alright. That mop of hair, the ragged clothes. It seemed strange that in a few minutes he could get himself beaten down like that. The man with the gun was still shouting at him and Javen was wincing. The man was standing on his chest, and his foot was hovering a few centimetres off the ground. Amelia felt her blood boil. No. NO. Not Javen, not him, not her best friend, her only friend, not ever! The man was grinning and his foot was moving closer and closer to Javen’s side. NO. She jerked forward, but it was too late. The foot had crunched into Javen’s side. Sending him sprawling backwards, and howling in pain. “NO!”
Amelia was barely aware she had spoken. Her face flushed red and she leapt forward, her hand tight around the penknife. Every ounce of her body and soul was concentrated on Javen. Her heart was tugging at its veins, willing her to keep running, to hurt the man that hurt Javen. The emotions welling up inside her didn’t feel normal - they were stronger, more powerful, angrier than anything she had ever felt before. She ran past the other guards, her hair flying behind her and catching one of them behind the ear. She hurtled towards the guard, and clicking the knife open, thrust her arm into the guard’s chest.