Somehow They're Alive (part 19)

Welcome to part 19 of "Somehow They're Alive". I confess that this part is running longer than "Somehow I'm Alive". I'm not sure if it's even close to done yet. Hopefully you consider this a good thing.

However, I am quite certian that you will enjoy it once I get to the finally. I don't if you've been guessing what will happen or not, but it'll be happy either way. Enough of my rambling. Enjoy the story! :P

Created by: Topaz

  1. ***Jaslina's Point of View*** "Then I started drinking my bottled water and I passed out. That's all I remember. Well, that and I remember being carried through the forest by a blonde, handsome, boy. That could've been a dream, too..." For the past two weeks we've been living with Michiko and her tall, lanky, husband, Chuck; we didn't actually meet Chuck until our second day staying here. Normally we would've left a week and three days ago, but neither she nor her husband would hear of it. After the state they first saw Tammy in, they don't want us to leave until everyone's one-hundred percent certain that Tammy's alright. We've been feeding Tammy the antidote juice stuff regularly. She's been getting a lot of water and sleep as well, so she's almost back to her normal self. Almost is the key word; she isn't quite there yet. Right now Tammy's feeling more awake and lively then we've seen her yet. For that reason she's using the time to explain what happened to her right before and during the time the poison was in her system. Rayla chuckles and nods her head toward Landon. "I don't think that was a dream, Tammy." "You think I'm handsome?" Landon teases. She takes a long sip of her water before responding, "Shut up, Landon." "Admit it, Tammy. You think I'm handsome." "Maybe a little bit, but hey, a lot of girls probably find you handsome." Landon's smile turns to a frown. Almost dying can have big personality changing affects of a person because Tammy apologizes immediately. She never said sorry for anything before. "Landon, I am so sorry. I wasn't talking about Sapphire. I just meant in general." "I know that you never meant that. It's only that you're saying that has gotten me thinking. I have an idea, and..." "Oh, no! Landon, what's your idea?!" Ryan exclaims. "You aren't considering going to see her are you?" asks Jay. "I am, but there's a reason." Audrey adds, "Landon, you just escaped from her clutches. You aren't gonna go crawling back to her?" "I might, but there really is a reason if only you'll let me explain!"
  2. The living room explodes into a loud explosion of vicious arguing. It's so bad that we don't even see Michiko enter the living room and take a seat in the rocking chair. "Do not hassle him. Let Landon explain. You might like his idea," Michiko says rocking. "What if we don't like his idea?" asks Rayla softly. She smiles. "Oh, you will like his idea. Last night when all of you were sleeping he explained his thoughts to Chuck and me. If Miss Jaslina wants to find her father and sister that badly, I know that she will love his idea." That shuts us all up instantly. For a few people the stillness is more forced than anything, but at least now we're quiet. "Now are you people willing to let me explain?" "Yes," I say. "Tell us." "Thank you. Now, I know that none of you guys like the idea of me seeing Sapphire"”" "You're right we don't!" says Tammy. The look Michiko gives her shuts her up. "Okay, let me be straight and to the point. I call Sapphire and tell her that I drove a long way to bury Tammy and got stranded. Getting back to Killarney has taken me two and a half weeks alright? I tell her how much I missed her with tears in my eyes and take her away for a couple of days. At this crucial stage it's important to 'rekindle our relationship' or whatever, so she'll most likely say yes. During that time is when you go and find Jaslina's dad. Since Sapphire won't be there to threaten you you'll be able to work faster." I'm stunned to silence at his kind offer. I would attempt to say something in response to him, but what Rayla says speaks for all of us. "Landon, you'd really put yourself through all of that to help us?" Jay says, "Dude, it's like Audrey said, you just got away from her. We can't let you go running off with that crazy psychopath even if it is to save our butts. You'll doom yourself!" Landon attempts a comforting smile that quickly fades. "Don't worry about me. I already doomed myself when I betrayed all of you back in Iraq. The least I can do is helping you in your search for Jaslina's family." "You don't have to do this," urges Tammy. "I'm sure there's a way to help us that doesn't involve going somewhere alone with a mentally unstable female."
  3. "I'm sure there is too, but this way is most affective. Plus, most importantly, it will keep six out of seven of us safe. If someone doesn't lure Sapphire away from the mountain none of us are safe." Audrey, Rayla, and I gather around either side of Tammy. "He's got a point, Tam," Rayla advises. "He's got no point! Sapphire is dangerous, and we need to stay away from her. When I say we I mean all seven of us." "Yeah?" says Landon, "Well it'll be pretty hard to stay away from her at Purple Mountain. She practically lives there. Considering how long it takes to get to Mr. Rowe's room and how long it takes to get back you're bound to run into her at some point." Audrey's curiosity gets the best of her. "I'll bite. How long does it take to get there?" At these words the conversations shifts topics instantly as well as Landon's face expression. With his somber expression now a half smile, he continues on talking. "I was hoping someone would ask me that. Okay, you guys have been inside the mountain before right? Or at least you've heard of it?" We all choose to nod in response rather than speak. Suddenly, none of us want to interrupt. "I thought so. As you should also know, the tunnels run very deep down, and there are so many dead ends it'll make your head spin. All in all, if you know exactly where you're going, don't take a single wrong turn, and don't take any breaks, it'll take you a grand total of twelve hours to get to Mr. Rowe's room. However, if you do what you did before and get lost constantly it'll take you around nineteen or twenty hours. At least." Rayla gasps for breath. "That isn't true. It can't be. You're kidding right?" "Pffft, I wish I was! Do you have any idea how much time I've spent walking down there with Sapphire? The way down there is so complex that we almost get lost sometimes. If you aren't careful you could get stranded there for days. Nobody knows that better than me and Sapphire. Trust me." I wrap my arms around my ankles and bury my face in my knees feeling overwhelmed at the new facts. The last time we were there it's amazing that we found our way out at all. Hearing all of this, how can we possibly get to my family? Now that I think about it there's Audrey's mom and dad too. Will we be able to find them? Lifting up my head, I notice the others are in the same state of astonishment that I'm in.
  4. "However," Landon continues, "that was the first couple of times we went down there. Now I can find my way around easily despite how time consuming it is." "But Landon, if you're going to be with Sapphire as you plan, how are we going to find our way through the tunnels?" Audrey points out. With gratification painting his face, he takes a neatly folded piece of paper out of his jean's pocket. "I thought of that. For every night this past week I've stayed up working on this. I made two of them actually. Here, Jaslina. Take a look." Eagerly, I snatch the paper up out of his hand. As I unfold it I notice neat lines drawn in pen. Some are red while others are black or blue. At first I haven't the slightest idea why, but then I notice a key in the top right corner. Red is the color for dead ends or danger. The tunnels drawn in blue are the tunnels that we absolutely must go down; if we don't go down them we don't find dad and Josephine. For some reason he also drew out the paths that lead to pantries, kitchens, and bathrooms in case we need them. Those are labeled in black. The overall sight of the map is dizzying. There are so many tunnels that the neatly plotted map looks more like the intestines of some prehistoric reptile. Of course, the one thing that takes the dizzy feeling away is the little square toward the bottom labeled Jaslina's dad. Hugging it to my chest, I say, "Thank you, Landon. After we get out of here and everything's okay again there must be something we can do to thank you." "Actually there are a couple of things you can do. One is right now and the other is in the near future." "Awesome. Name them," says Ryan. "The first is let me protect you from Sapphire." "Darn it! Don't start up with this again!" exclaims Tammy. "You didn't seem to believe me before, but I'm urging you to believe me now. If you don't let me lure Sapphire away from the mountain for a few days she'll be there when you go looking for Mr. Rowe. You'll run into her and she'll probably kill you or keep you trapped there. Possibly both." "How are you so sure? Look at all of the tunnels on that map you drew! We probably won't see her at all!" argues Jay.
  5. "You say that now, but just wait. I know Sapphire. She always walks the tunnels that lead to Mr. Rowe's chamber. With her there you won't come close to rescuing the man!" The room goes quiet. With the noiselessness it occurs to me that we did see her last time. If we run into her again we might not be as lucky as before. She might see us. At this thought I speak out. "Guy's, don't be angry with me, but Landon's right. Sapphire needs to be gone for this to work. We should let him go off with her for a couple of days." Tammy and Jay start to boo at me. "Stop it! None of us can help the situation. It's what has to be done," Rayla defends. Tammy and Jay keep at it. After a few minutes the boos turn to harsh words and the harsh words turn to shouts that can probably be heard back in California. We must spend a half hour arguing. Eventually Ryan stands up to take charge. "Enough of this! We came here on a mission and we need to complete it. We can't complete it if we're standing here yelling at each other. How about instead of uselessly throwing words at each other we settle this calmly, huh?" Jay teases. Oddly it's the most irritated sounding teasing that I've ever heard. "Ryan, my friend, must you have such a take charge personality?" Ryan smirks. "If I don't normally no one else will. Except for you, Landon." "Aw, thanks, "he replies. "I'm getting stepped all over though." "Yes, but not by all of us. That's why I suggest that we take a vote. After all, our country's a democracy." "Not mine. We're parliamentary," says Audrey. "But it's close enough. Let's vote." "All for Landon's plan raise your hand." Ryan peers around the room and counts mentally. "Including me that makes five. Tammy and Jay, you still have a chance to change your votes." "No thanks," they reply in unison. "Okay then. The vote's five to two. Landon, I guess you'll be with my sister for a few days." A content grin comes across his face, although, fear can be sensed underneath it. "Thank you. Once you discover how much easier it'll be to get to Mr. Rowe's chamber you won't regret your decision."
  6. "Fine, but the moment we get him and leave the mountain, you'd better try to escape her again," threatens Tammy. "Quite honestly, I have a better idea than simply escaping her." "Oh no! What dangerous thing do you want to do now?!" asks Jay. "Jaslina, here's the second thing that you all can do for me." The solemn seriousness of his voice alarms me. "Okay. Continue." "At my first request I don't blame you for trying to talk me out of it; If one of you told me you wanted to spend three days alone with Sapphire I'd do the same thing. But this time I'm begging you to just go with it. If you're really my friends you'll do this no matter how crazy it sounds." "Out with it, man!" Jay exclaims laughing. "We don't need a speech." Landon laughs too. "I guess you don't. So, before I say anything, do you promise to do this for me?" "Yes," we reply lightly. "I still don't believe you, but I'll tell you anyway. You know, because I consider us friends, and I trust you to honor my request..." Someone coughs; I didn't see who it was. I think Rayla. "Moving on. Okay, so what I need you guys to do is call the police on me and Sapphire." Tammy chokes on the water she was drinking, and nearly tumbles off of the couch. "What?!" "You want us to call the police?!" says Rayla surprised. "You do realize in doing this we'll get you arrested too?" I ask. "I understand that. After thinking about it, it's the best thing to do. Like you said, she's dangerous and needs to go down."
  7. "Yes, but we won't know where to find you. How can we possibly call the police if we have no idea where you're at?" "Simple. Don't send them after us. Show them the secret labyrinth and have them catch us by surprise." "Wow," says Ryan. "You're really serious about this, even if it means going down with her." "After the things I've done I should go down with her. I'll be getting what I deserve." "That isn't true. You saved my life. Isn't that worth something?" "It's not worth enough to make up for the mistakes I've made." He pauses and then continues. "So you will call the police. Right?" None of us respond. "Right?" "Yes," I squeak out. "The very moment we get my dad out of the mountain." "Thank you. That's all I need to hear." "Now that we have everything planned, perhaps we should get some supplies together and start moving?" suggests Audrey. I support her. "Good idea. Let's get started packing. With the length of the tunnels I guess we will need some stuff."
  8. ***The morning has come and gone and now the noontime sun is high in the sky. All of the supplies we need are packed. There isn't much of it considering that we'll only be gone for a day and a half. Or at least that's how long we'll be gone if Landon's map is right and if we follow it correctly. He's been down there so many times that none of us doubt the authenticity of the map. Just in case something does go wrong, however, I took the liberty of packing enough food and clothes for three days. Landon has the most things to carry out of all of us, of course. If he's going to be with Sapphire for three days then he should at least have to joy of clean clothes and backup food. The more I think about the idea the more scared I get for Landon. Yet again, it's only necessary that he do this. What else can we do? At the moment all of us are on the porch with our things bidding Landon farewell. Just as Landon's heading for the porch steps Chuck drives into the driveway. Might I add in that Chuck's gone sometimes? Retirement just isn't doing it for him, so he has a job in town as a pharmacy clerk. He's never away too often though; being separated from one another for too long of a time is torture for him as much as it is Michiko. He steps out of the simple silver vehicle, his red-grey hair gleaming in the sun. The first thing you notice when comparing him to his wife is his hair. He must be three years older than her, but still his hair contains more of its color. The second thing that comes to attention is the manner of speaking. Chuck has a thick Irish accent while Michiko has a Japanese one which has lessened from the decades she's spent in Ireland. Other than that, nothing sticks out besides their love for one another.
  9. "Good morning, all." His eyes turn from their cheerful nature to one of curiosity at the sight of our backpacks. "Where are you off to?" Since he already knows the truth of everything we're completely honest with him. "Between the seven of us we were able to come up with a rescue plan for Jaslina's dad and sister," says Landon even though the plan was mostly his doing. I finish for him. "Now that everything is planned out we've agreed on a rescue attempt." "Oh that! I've already heard of it. The idea is actually quite brilliant despite the possible dangers." "Thank you," I say. "I'm glad that you think so." "Sorry, Chuck, but we really must be going," says Tammy. A look of surprise shows in the blue eyes set under his thick brows. "Tammy, you're going with them? Michiko and I thought that you'd rather rest." "Really? She never said that to me." "True I never said anything, but I was thinking it." Michiko rounds the corner of the house coming from the backyard to the front yard. Her long white hair is in a braid running the length of her back; it's starting to come untwined from an afternoons work in the greenhouse. At her brow line she's starting to perspire as well. In place of her normally long plain-colored skirts and decorative blouses are threadbare overalls stained with grass and earth. Underneath it is a white t-shirt. Her appearance might suggest her exhaustion, but her expression has never been more content. "So you really think that I'm too weak to go?" Tammy asks for verification. Michiko and her husband exchange glances. Quite honestly Tammy does still appear to be at the tail end of the healing stages. I was questioning the same thing. Perhaps she is still too weak to come with us. Well, I guess that's as it should be. That poison nearly took her from us. Nobody should expect her to be back to herself yet including me. "You're still awfully pale, dear," says Michiko. Chuck adds, "That and you're swaying back and forth like a newborn foal. If you think that you're going to be able to walk for twenty-four hours in that condition you're crazier than my sister at one of those American garage sale."
  10. "Landon never said twenty-four hours. He said twelve." "Twelve is what it takes to get to Mr. Rowe's room. It'll take twelve more on the way back," says Rayla. "Don't forget that we have to sleep and make food sometime. We'll be down there for a while," Audrey puts it. Tammy's twiddling her thumbs. "I understand that, but I still want to go with you guys..." Chuck holds a palm to his forehead. "Now I don't mean to offend you kids, but you've been living with us for two weeks; I'm even starting to consider us your partial guardians. Because we've been so generous I think that we deserve some say in this." "I agree. We don't like to be mean to people who've been through what you've been through in the past weeks, but we can't let this stubborn girl get herself hurt either." "I'm not going to hurt myself. I'll be fine." The rest of us consider what they're saying and turn to look at Tammy. Michiko and Chuck are right. Tammy is both pale and swaying back and forth as if she's unsure how to use her legs. "I don't know, Tam. You still aren't looking your best. Maybe they're right..." "Rayla, don't say that. I'll be fine." "You could be fine, but you also might not be fine," I add. "Tammy, if you do too much you could have a relapse. I don't know about everyone else, but twenty-four hours of walking sounds like too much." Ryan declares with authority. Tammy's about ready to argue, but Jay interrupts. "I suggest that Tammy stays here." "I don't want to stay here. I want to help." "You'll be helping by staying here. Think of it that way." She bites her lip and then releases it. "All right, fine, but Michiko has work to do in the greenhouse and in the garden. How can she work if I'm hindering her?" Now sitting on the porch, Chuck says, "That's very true. Michiko would need help keeping up the work. Perhaps a couple of people could stay here with Tammy." "Any volunteers?" asks Michiko.
  11. A few minutes pass by and nobody says anything. Finally Ryan says, "I guess I will since nobody else is willing." "Great. This place could use a couple of strong lads to make things easier," says Chuck. Ryan looks at Jay. "In that case, would you like to stay too, Jay?" "If it's for the better of the group I guess I will." "Trust me. It is for the better of the group." "Alright then. I'll stay and help out here. Jaslina, Rayla, and Audrey, that puts you at Purple Mountain alone. Are you okay with that?" "Most definitely. I guarantee you we will be fine," Audrey assures. Feeling a little bit depressed at the lack of Ryan's presence we say our goodbyes. I hop behind the wheel of the van after loading our stuff. With Audrey in the passenger's seat, Rayla in the seat behind me, and with our bags in the back I drive off through the woods. It feels so weird being split apart. This is the cheesiest line I could ever use to describe my feelings, but I'll use it anyway. I can't think of a better way to put this other than the six of them feel like my family. Over the past weeks the fact that we've grown closer is unquestionable. What really makes me sad is the thought that Landon will be going to prison and that Audrey will have to go back with her parents once we find them. Of course I guess we can always visit Audrey. Visiting Landon will be impossible after his and Sapphire's escape three and a half weeks ago. "Jaslina, are you exciting about seeing your dad and elder sister again?" The question gets my mind back on track. I glance at Audrey out of the corner of my eye as I answer her with a smile. "I'm more excited than I can explain. I truly am." The map weighs heavily in my short's pocket as I turn onto the main road. Split apart from the others or not, I'm going to find my family. To myself, I say, "Don't worry, dad. Don't worry, Josephine. We're coming to give you your freedom."

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