This is a short chapter as the men try to escape the cave. You can read more about Gliese and the people who inhabit it at the Another Life Blog.
Title: Forgotten Ones Chapter 2
Series: Another Life
Coughing and struggling to breathe, Arvad woke with a groan. Slowly he rolled over and opened his eyes. The complete darkness had him reaching up to feel his eyes. Yes, they were open, but he was surrounded by blackness and dusty air. Reaching up to his throbbing head, he felt a sticky substance. Closing his eyes again, he wanted to drift back into oblivion. But his conscious kept telling him something. Something needed him. Or someone. Suddenly, Arvad's mind was filled with images of a thin, blonde man.
Perry! Arvad's mind screamed out his love's name. His eyes popped open again, but still the inky blackness engulfed him. Arvad slowed his breathing and laid still. There, to his right, he could hear ragged breathing. Reaching out, his hand bumped into the hip of the other man. The material of Perry's pants started to rip when Arvad's grip tightened. Letting go of the material, he ran his hand up until he felt the thicker material at the waistband. He gripped the pants tightly as he rolled over to his knees.
Arvad groaned louder as the pain in his head grew. Gritting his teeth, he scooted forward until he was beside Perry. Coughing as the dust stirred up from his movement, Arvad pushed down the fear that his love was dead. Reaching out in the darkness, he laid his hand on Perry's back. Crying out with joy when he felt the back under his hand rise and fall. Perry was breathing.
"Perry, Perry-love," Arvad called out. "Come on, love, wake up." He didn't want to move him too much. He didn't know what injuries Perry had and didn't want to make them worse. Running his hands over the body he knew and loved so much, Arvad silently cursed the darkness. When he didn't feel any obvious broken bones or injuries, he shook him a little harder. "Perry. I need you to wake up. Come on, you can do it."
After what seemed like several eternities, Arvad felt Perry's breathing change. "Come on. Let me know you are alright." He never heard a sound so beautiful as Perry coughing. "I know, I know. The air is full of dirt."
"You ok?" Perry mumbled.
Arvad wasn't sure either of them were really ok, but he assured his love that he was unharmed. "I'm good."
"What happened? I can't see anything! Am I blind? What's happening?"
Arvad got to his knees and hurriedly crawled closer to Perry. "Shhh, baby. You're not blind. You're alright. I think there was a cave-in. That's why it's dark." He could feel the tension rush out of Perry's body at his words. "Just stay with me. We'll be alright. I promise. We just need to get out of the cave." He'd lied to Perry many times in the past, and he felt no shame in doing so again. He didn't know if they'd be ok or if this would be their tomb. But he knew he'd do anything to give his Perry peace of mind.
The darkness was suffocating as Arvad slowly crawled forward. The pain in his head was making him dizzy. He wasn't sure which way the opening they had dived into was at so he chose a direction at random. Moving his hands forward, his legs followed. He could feel the tension on this pants as Perry moved forwarded without releasing his hold. Sharp rocks bit and tore into Arvad's hands as he swept them in front of him to clear any obstacles, it was a distant pain as his head took center stage. His hands could heal but another bump to his head could be devastating for them both. Arvad stopped suddenly as the hold on his leg lessened.
"Perry, hold on! Grab my pants!" The only answer the tall, thin man heard was throat-aching coughing. "Come on, love. Grab my pants and I'll lead you out of here. As soon as we are out, we'll find water." Arvad held his breath, then released it when he felt Perry grab ahold again. He hoped he wouldn't have to keep talking to Perry; his head throbbed with each word spoken.
"Ok. I'm good." Perry's voice was strained, but Arvad heard the determination in his voice.
Some might think Perry was stubborn, but Arvad appreciated the strong-willed determination his lover had. Stubbornness was an active emotion, not passive. Yes that stubbornness had led Perry over his lap more times then either one could count, but that stubbornness had given them both strength to continue on.
Suddenly, there was no ground beneath Arvad's hand. Bringing his hand slowly back toward him, Arvad felt the rim of the hole. Keeping balanced on one hand, he let the other hand drift down the hole. Moving his hand down further and further, until his chest was touching the floor, Arvad still hadn't reached the bottom.
"There's a hole in front of us. Only move when I tell you to, I don't want either of us to fall in. I have no idea how far down it goes," Arvad said. His voice echoed down the hole. Arvad couldn't see, but the deepness of the echo told its own story. The hole was seemed to have no ending. Running his hand along the edge of the hole, Arvad carefully inched forward. He didn't know how stable the outer edges were. Sweat started to drip from his forehead as tension and fear flowed through his body. After an eternity of following the hole, Arvad's hand bumped into a wall.
Dropping his head, Arvad called out silently for help. He didn't know if there was a superior being in charge of everything like the cults claimed. He didn't know if earth and humans had been an experiment from an alien world. Arvad only knew that he needed help and guidance to get out of the cave! Steeling himself to sound confident, he said in a low voice, "Per, we need to turn around. This is going to be tricky but we can do it."
Arvad worried. The one word held a lot of pain. He had no doubt that Perry's leg was hurting. Arvad knew there was no help for it and it would only get worse. Raising his hand, Arvad felt the ceiling only a few inches about them. Even if they could stand up, they couldn't see what was in front of them. They risked falling down any other holes.
Scuffling sideways, he reached behind him to guide Perry around and away from the hole. "This should be easier because we've already come this way," Arvad tried to reassure Perry. At the end of the large hole, he changed directions slightly. Not quite headed back the way they had come. More at an angle away from the hole.
Arvad's hands and head were throbbing with each move forward. His knees were starting to ache. If he was in this much discomfort, he knew Perry was much worse. They had to take a break or they'd both die in here.
"Let's just go a little further, and then we'll rest a bit," Arvad said. The darkness continued to weigh heavily around them. The blackness was more than a void; it was an oppressive force pressing down on them. In Arvad's heart he knew that it was a battle to the death. Either darkness would win or they would. And Arvad would use everything in his and Perry's arsenal to be victorious. No matter how small of an arsenal they had. With renewed strength, Arvad pushed himself harder. He would build his and Perry's strength back up when they were out of the darkness into light.
"Arvad," Perry panted out. "I need to rest. Just for a bit."
"I know. We will soon. You can do it. You can keep going, I know you can." Arvad felt despair. He knew Perry needed to rest, but he needed them to get to safely. When his hand bumped another wall of the cave, he decided a few minutes break would do them both good.
"Perry, there's a wall right in front of me. As slowly as you can, follow my body up until you are beside me," Arvad instructed. Staying completely still, Arvad felt Perry's hand move up his thigh, to his hip, then to his stomach, until finally they were side by side. Slipping his hand under Perry's chest, Arvad helped his love turn around and sit on his bottom.
Before sitting beside him, Arvad ran his own hands over Perry's legs. He felt sticky wetness through a hole in his pants. Perry had been putting most of his weight on his good leg knowing it was the strongest. His knee was shredded by the hard, rocky floor.
Slipping off his shirt, Arvad started to wrap it around his leg.
"Don't! What are you doing?" Perry asked. "You need your shirt on! Take it back!"
"Hush," Arvad growled out. "You will do as I say to keep us both safe." Arvad knew he was playing on Perry's emotions by saying "both safe"' but if Perry was going to continue, his leg needed to be protected. One bad leg could be compensated for, but two could not.
Once the shirt was wrapped tightly around Perry's leg offering cover over the injury and cushion for when they moved on, Arvad scooted up beside him. Carefully, Arvad maneuvered around until he was sitting close to the man he loved.
As time passed, Arvad's breathing evened out and his heart wasn't pounding as hard. He squeezed Perry's hand. Leaning his aching head back, he sighed deeply. Then he sat up straighter. Was his eyes playing tricks on him? Was that a pinpoint of light coming from the left? Arvad blinked several times. Then stared hard. Yes! It was a very small point of light.
"Stay right here," Arvad ordered. Scooting over to the light, he reached out and touched the wall. A few pebbles dropped to the floor.
"I think this could be the way out! Stay there!"
Arvad started digging at the wall of the cave. The pain in his hands didn't register nor did the blood. He knew this was the way out and he'd dig them out no matter the damage done to his hands. The thought of light and maybe water, gave him more strength then he knew he had. They would make it out of this cave! Arvad felt it in his heart.