“Let me get this straight—you escaped the Militia by climbing off your roof to a plane, ended up having to drop your littlest sister some fifteen, twenty feet, had your other sister jump out when the going got rough, and then you survived impact?”
“Something like that. You mind telling me your name? I told you mine.” Kit said tiredly.
Unswerving as ever and sword sheathed to his back, the russet-eyed man held a wary stance across him by only a few paces.
“I don’t know, make something up. Zero sounds cool. No, no, listen. So, we’re gonna play a little game called, “Trust.” See, right now, I don’t trust you. I can’t. I really can’t decide if you’re with them and just a legit good storyteller, or… if you’re telling the truth.” “Zero” leaned his back against the bark of the tree, tapping his head suspiciously.
“‘Kay, hold on—you still don’t believe me? And what, what’s all this about them? Who are ‘they’, exactly?” Kit questioned.
“If you do this, then maybe I’ll begin to consider it. Oh, them? Well, if you’re not lying to me then you’ll find out real soon.” The tone of red on Kit’s face deepened, and “Zero” carried on. “So here’s what you’re gonna do: back at that crash site, the little worker bees are gonna be swarming around, gatherin’ up their honey. You’re gonna go up there and steal one of their radios so that we can patch into their frequency, okay? Get out of there alive, and I’ll find you.” Zero let out a serious chuckle. “No, seriously, Gunpowder. I want to trust you. Prove to me that you deserve it.”
Kit closed his eyes and took a long, slow breath. “This is mental,” he stated for the record as he tied his jacket around his waist. “What if I decide to just go off somewhere else. On my own?”
“You can. But then again you likely might not survive long if you do that. Not that I care, but you’re more useful alive than dead,” the man declared.
A grimace formed on Kit’s face. “What…. happened to you on this island?”
“Stick around for long enough,” the man said somberly, “and you’ll soon find out.”
With absolutely nothing in his possession except for the pack he left against the shelter of a tall fir, a knife, and an apple, Kit left wanderingly for the general direction in which the crash site supposedly was. Blacking out wasn’t ideal, especially under the circumstances. Crisp leaves crunched underneath his feet as he scoped out the general topography. Not a tropical island by any means, supposedly in the Atlantic. Maybe offshore Canada, but who could know. The small section of land that Kit explored was forest-like, pine needles forming a carpet along the ground, the trees lacking an abundance of lower branches. Douglas firs, and some , by the appearances of things. There were plenty others, but Kit had only studied a fraction of the different variations.
A fresh smell, marine in nature, permeated the forest, and Kit faintly believed he could hear waves crashing on a beach. Maybe another time. “Get a radio.” Kit echoed it in his head, not sure quite what he was walking into. He stumbled into a clearing far faster than was prudent. He withdrew rapidly to the cover of some wild berry bushes. A burning smell hung in the air, dull, dead, and pungent. There it was, the plane, twisted and deformed, leaving a trail or carnage in its wake. The nose dug down into the ground, the wings plied by and through the trees like needles.
Yet for all that, Kit wasn’t sure which was more gripping, the sight of the plane or the magnitude of the operation surrounding it. “There used to be four. What happened?” An infuriated Scottish voice called out.
Kit pointed his ear in their direction, listening carefully. “Don’t worry,” a second voice said soothingly, “Everything is just as it should be.”
Several cases were set up close by, a radio set on top of them. However, eight guards also monitored the area closely. “Need a distraction,” Kit mumbled. Tension growing by the second in his stomach, he crept to a tree just in front of the cases. He got up and started walking towards the radio, the quickly turned to walk deadly fast in the opposite direction. A man wandered over directly in front of the unoccupied radio, a mere ten paces from Kit’s position. He waited there for what felt like hours in tense desperation. A shiver went through his spine at every twig snapping or leaf jumping around.
They eventually began to clean up the site, and the pressure began to build. Kit too everything he could into account—to the best of his capability, of course, given the effects of the crash and everything before and after still thumping through his head. Suddenly, a map fluttered away and came to rest almost at Kit’s feet. He snatched it up in a flash—only to realize his predicament. In any moment, they would come to pick it up, only to find him defenseless. “Now or never,” Kit stated, throwing caution to the wind and darting around the bulk of the tree, making a run for the closest radio there was.
Of course, he hadn’t scanned the situation fully, inclined as he was to rush into things either too rashly or with too much hesitation. Kit was soon to find out that might have been wise. Fully functional radio and neatly folded-up map in hand (though he had little idea of what the map covered specifically), the lad ran for the hills, as it were. Not quick enough to not be spotted.
Three soldiers raced after him with loaded rifles at the ready. Approaching quickly was a gully that Kit dove down to in order to buy some time. A mad scramble up the other side was folly, though. “Must’ve just rained recently.” The ground was soft, the grass, pliable. The ceaseless leaves, however vibrant with fiery autumn colors they might have been, did nothing to help his case with the endless crunching. “I can’t outrun them,“ Kit thought, so instead he delved into the ground at the base of a curved birch tree, perhaps about the same age as Kit, all of sixteen and a half years.
With care and a great level of stress upon him, Kit gingerly placed the map into the makeshift hiding place with the radio pressed on top. Shouts were almost behind him, yet still not within sight. They were too close for comfort, though, pressuring him to throw leaves over it as best he could, hoping with everything within him that it would work. At least he couldn’t see the stowed away items.
Twelve rapid strides away front the tree was all that he made before getting hit in the shoulder with some sort of stunning bullet. When he woke, it was zip-tied inside an all-terrain vehicle, on the pebbly beach, surrounded by four armed soldiers. Destination unknown, Kit sighed and dropped his head. “This…. wasn’t exactly how I had hoped my 2094 would go.”