posted on Jun, 1 2017 @ 11:06 PM
“We should bury him,” Katherine said knowing what the answer would be.
“We don't have enough time.” Jeremy answered. “The ground is too hard to dig in and there was barely enough sand to scrape together to bury the
backpacks. I'm sorry, but we have to keep moving.”
Jeremy didn't like the idea of leaving Craig's body out in the open either. But he had to be realistic. If they stayed long enough to bury Craig they
all might need burying. If there was anything left to bury. Already their shadows were beginning to stretch behind them. It was time to get moving.
Jeremy was to give himself the grim task of gathering Craig's belongings when he noticed the other man in their group, Randy, going through Craig's
pockets. As he watched, Craig's body shifted in an unnatural way and the tip of the scorpion's tail grazed Randy's arm. Randy withdrew quickly, but
not before getting a small scrape about an inch long. Randy gasped as he clutched at his arm, looking at Jeremy for answers with a stunned expression.
Jeremy could only hope that no poison entered the wound. Everyone had heard about the torturous pain of scorpion venom that would lead to madness,
then death. All they could do now was wait.
At Jeremy's urging they continued their trek to the Cave. The plodding of their feet on the hardened soil was occasionally interrupted by sobbing.
Jeremy turned expecting to see Katherine but found Randy instead. Tears streaked his dust covered cheeks. Jeremy knew what he must be thinking. He was
thinking the same thing. Laura, the last member of their party, was watching Randy very carefully. She had seen first hand how fast the venom could
As the Sun started to reach for the horizon Jeremy wondered if they would make it in time. Then, as if on queue, the Mound appeared in the distance.
The Mound housed the entrance to the Cave, a vast open expanse that seemed to go on endlessly underground. Though it appeared they were going to make
it in time, Jeremy urged the others to pick up the pace just to be safe. He noticed Laura was paying particularly close attention to Randy. Red
streaks were moving up his arm from the wound he received from the scorpion. Randy grimaced in pain but remained silent, his eyes darting back and
forth from Laura to Jeremy. Laura held a Ruger Redhawk in her hands and kept it pointed in Randy's direction. She wasn't taking any chances.
For a moment it seemed like they would finish their journey in peace when Randy, beating his temples with his fists, stepped toward Laura shouting,
“Kill me! Please, kill me!” Laura complied.
“Hey, you made it!” One of the guards at the Cave entrance greeted Jeremy.
“Three out of five anyway...” Jeremy replied looking distant. He felt as if he had failed though there was nothing he could have done to save
either of the men who had died. He was beginning to wonder if he was the right man for the job. Escorting people from the Island to the Cave was
dangerous work. Many had been lost along the way. Mass migration was tried only once. They were decimated. The Lurkers had a field day and suffered no
losses in the process. No, it had to be small groups, easily hidden. Safety in numbers was not always the rule of thumb.
Jeremy dropped the two women off with a group of people who helped newcomers assimilate to life in the Cave before heading to his alcove. They thanked
him for his efforts and he smiled in return but he felt their kind words were undeserved. In his heart, he felt as though he had failed.
In the familiar surroundings of his home Jeremy started to unwind as he lay in his bed. It wasn't long before sleep crept in with him. He barely had
time to wriggle into a comfortable position before drifting into slumber. His mind still wound tight Jeremy found his sleep filled with visions of the
days events. Yet, even in his exhausted state, he sensed something was amiss. Moments before the claxons sounded Jeremy's eyes popped open and he sat
upright in bed. The alarm rang out meaning one of two things: either the Cave was under attack by the Lurkers, or, the bugs had found a new way in.
Jeremy burst from his alcove to see people running toward the deeper end of the Cave and instinctively ran the other way. As he neared the Cave
entrance he heard the shouts and commotion. In a bizarre twist of their normal behavior the bugs were trying a direct assault on the Cave entrance.
Experience had taught the Dwellers, the people who lived in the Cave, that the guards were up to the task. This seemed different however and Jeremy
went to see why.
As he neared the Cave entrance Jeremy saw something swoop down, grab one of the guards, and then fly off, the man screaming as he disappeared from
sight. Other guards lay on the ground motionless. Other Dwellers were grabbing weapons and fighting as best they could but it seemed as though the
battle was turning against them. One of the flame throwers kept near the entrance to the Cave launched a burst of flames out the mouth of the Cave
sending the bugs scurrying. A second burst from the flame thrower on the other side of the entrance was rewarded with similar results. Jeremy noticed
that the bugs were not leaving. They only retreated far enough to be out of the reach of the flame throwers. The bugs weren't that smart. Something
was definitely wrong, but what?. The bugs in the center of the arc around the entrance to the Cave moved slightly farther back and a giant wasp slowly
lowered into the vacated space. It hung motionless in the air save for the beating of it's wings for a moment before landing. It stood still, just
staring at Jeremy. For all the world it looked as if it was about to speak. Jeremy stared back into the black eyes of the wasp wondering what it was
thinking. One of the men moved to pick up a weapon near his feet. The wasp twitched rapidly for a few seconds and the bugs started to advance in the
mans direction. Jeremy realized with stunned fascination that the wasp was controlling the other bugs! Enough of this, he thought. “Light it up!”
Jeremy shouted and the flame throwers covered the wasp in flames, its fragile wings disappearing in a flash leaving the body of the massive creature
on the ground to be roasted alive. This time the bugs scurried away as fast as they could. It seemed as though they had little interest in the fight
with their leader in flames.