Dungeons and Dragons – Trapped.
By Allyson Dudley.
Disclaimer – I don't own anything of Dungeons and Dragons – It's all for fun, so don't sue me!
(A/N – I'm not a Doctor so I realize my medical facts are seriously lacking - so take it all with a pinch of salt, please! Ta!)
Hank was still in a state of shock. It had begun as an accident and ended as a nightmare. Why did things like this always happen to them? He watched as Diana used her staff to loosen a boulder before he started pulling the rock out of the way. Every time a loose boulder was removed, Hank prayed it wouldn't cause the other rocks to come crashing down. Hank had forbidden Bobby from using his club in case it caused more damage than good. Guilt washed though him as he glanced over at the Barbarian. Bobby's face still showed traces of tears but he was now silently moving away the smaller rocks that looked liable to fall. Presto also worked with the younger boy in grim silence. Eric and Sheila . . .
Hank pushed the thought firmly from his mind as he relived events that had happened barely thirty minutes before. Tiamat the Dragon had surprised the Young Ones while they were resting. Though they had managed to fend her off, her tail had hit a loose rocky outcrop causing it to come crashing down on the teenagers. Everyone scattered for safety except Sheila and Eric. Hank had watched helplessly as Sheila tripped over a falling boulder and fell to the floor stunned. Hank was ready to run back to her but saw Eric had got there first. Eric skidded to his knees besides Sheila, his shield raised protectively above them. The rocks had come crashing down on them but not before Hank noticed the force field from Eric's shield begin to fade to nothing. He hadn't told the others as they set about to rescue their friends. He wanted desperately to believe that Sheila and Eric were still alive and unharmed.
It was dark and cold. Miraculously, the rocks had created a small hollow barely big enough for the two teenagers trapped within. Sheila didn't want to think what would happen if the temporary shelter began to cave-in. How long she had been lying on the cold ground in shock and fear, Sheila couldn't guess. She could feel Eric's weight lying on her legs but couldn't see him. The steady rise and fall of his chest against her told her that he was still unconscious. The relief that Eric was using his shield to protect them both had turned to sudden panic when Sheila saw a rock clip Eric on the side of the head causing him to drop his shield and pass out.
"Eric?" she called out, again, trying to rouse the boy. She managed to move slightly so she could free one hand to reach out towards the Cavalier. Her hand connected with a hunched up shoulder and she patted him, mainly because the contact reassured her that she wasn't alone. "Eric, wake up."
Eric groaned as he began to regain consciousness. Slowly, straightening up in his sitting position, he tried to open his eyes. Though his left eye opened to darkness his right eye seemed to be stuck shut. He reached up and felt something sticky covering his eye. The action caused him to feel nauseous and he drew in a deep breath to steady himself. Reaching put cautiously, he came into contact with a boot.
"Sheila?" Eric turned in the general direction of her voice. "Have I gone blind?"
Sheila's small attempt at a giggle seemed to relax Eric. "No," she reassured him. "It's just very dark. Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," he lied, biting back another wave of nausea.
"You may have a concussion after that rock hit you," Sheila told him concerned. "You have to stay awake."
"Don't worry about me," Eric replied. "What about you? Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," she reassured him. "Just a bit bruised."
"Gee, I wish Presto was here to conjure us up a lamp," commented Eric, trying to make himself as comfortable as possible. He yelped in surprise when he felt Sheila's hand brush passed his own. "Your hands are freezing," he accused her, before unlatching his cloak and wrapping it around her. "Take this."
"Eric, I can't take this," she protested, surprised at the gesture. "Won't you be cold?"
"In this tin can?" snorted Eric, tapping his armour. "Don't you worry about the Ol' Cavalier. I'll be fine. Besides, I can't let you catch a cold or suffer from shock, Bobby or Hank might kill me. And that's if Diana doesn't get to me first!"
Sheila gave him a genuine laugh. In the darkness, she took hold of his hand and gave it a grateful squeeze. Eric didn't let go; the contact seemed to steady his dizzy head.
"Thank you, Eric," she replied. "And thank you for saving my life."
Sheila was sure Eric was blushing in embarrassment despite the fact that she couldn't see him. "For all the good it did," he muttered, miserably. "We could have been crushed because I dropped my shield."
"You were unconscious!" replied Sheila, a little startled at Eric's outburst. "It wasn't your fault. Besides it's my fault we're trapped. I shouldn't have tripped over."
"That's just stupid," responded Eric. "Besides the others will free us soon and we can just forget this ever happened."
"And keep finding our way home," added Sheila, with a smile.
When Eric didn't reply, Sheila frowned and tightened her grip on his hand. "Eric, are you okay?" she asked, frantically.
"Yeah," came his quiet reply.
"You scared me," she told him. "Keep talking to me so that I know you haven't fallen asleep."
"Yes, Mom," came the tired response. "Just a little . . . dizzy when I close my eyes."
"Then don't do it," Sheila told him, concerned that he was more badly injured than she had thought. "Tell me what you're going to do when we get home."
Eric snorted. "If we get home," he responded, glumly. "We've not had much luck so far. I reckon Dungeon Master doesn't want us to get home at all."
"Don't you want to go home?"
"Of course I do," was Eric's immediate response. "Anywhere's better than this Realm. I want to eat proper food, sleep in a warm comfortable bed, wear my own clothes and not have to constantly worry that Venger or Tiamat or any other creepy evil thing won't turn up." He sighed, trying not to groan as another wave of nausea passed over him. "I just . . ."
He trailed off unwilling to say anymore. Sheila wished she could see his expression.
"Just what, Eric?" she asked.
"Nothing," he replied. Before could argue, he asked, "What do you miss about home?"
"My parents, my friends," she replied, thoughtfully. "Saturdays at the Mall, eating popcorn at the cinema . . . even school, I guess."
"Do you really think we'll all be able to go home and return back to normal?" Eric asked, hesitantly.
"I guess we could," replied Sheila. She had never really thought about it. "Is that what's worrying you?"
"I'm not worried," protested Eric.
Sheila wasn't convinced. "Tell me, Eric, please? I promise I won't tell the others if you don't want me to."
Eric hesitated as he picked at the ground with his free hand. "My Dad . . . probably doesn't even realize I'm missing. He's always so busy with business that he'll just think I've gone on another school trip that he's forgotten about," he admitted. There was no trace of arrogance or melodrama that usually came with Eric's speech. Sheila felt her heart go out to him. She, like the others, assumed Eric had a perfect home life. "I don't think I want things to go back to normal. Normal for me is being the rich kid at school that no-one likes. You guys will all go back to your own friends; even Presto. He'll not need me hanging round now he's got more confident with his dumb magic tricks."
"Don't talk like that, Eric," consoled Sheila. "We'll still be friends."
"Thanks, but I know I can be a jerk at times," Eric dismissed. "Let's just see how things turn out, okay?"
Sheila gripped his hand with her other hand so that he couldn't let go. "There you go talking like a jerk again," she teased him lightly. "It doesn't matter what you think, I know that you're my friend and always will be."
Eric cleared his throat in embarrassment. "You're hands are freezing still," he told her, quickly changing the subject. He attempted to tuck his cloak around her better before using his free hand to rub the circulation back into her hands.
"You have a very good bedside manner," she complimented him. "But I should be looking after you. I'm not the one who's hurt."
"Hey, you're the one who said I had to stay awake," Eric reminded her, with a small smile. "And this helps. Besides, I'm feeling better already. Just a slight headache."
"When we're free, I'll ask Presto to magic you up some aspirin," Sheila offered.
"No thanks," responded Eric, quickly, causing Sheila to smile in amusement. "I don't trust that hat. I'll probably end up with a bag of marbles or a sweatband or something stupid like that."
The sound of scraping rocks halted the conversation and Eric quickly grabbed his shield. Tiny grains of rock sand began to filter down onto the two teenagers.
"Did you hear that?" asked Sheila, suddenly.
"The rock about to give way on us?" responded Eric, strained, uselessly looking up into the darkness. "Yes."
"No, not that," replied Sheila, impatiently. "I'm sure I heard Bobby's voice."
They sat in silence for a moment before hearing a muffled, "Sheila! Can you hear me?" followed by another voice calling, "Eric! Shout if you can hear me!"
"Bobby!" gasped Sheila, in relief.
"And Presto," added Eric, in shock.
"We're in here!" shouted Sheila and Eric, effectively deafening themselves.
There was silence again before they heard Hank's voice nearby. "Hang on, guys! We're going to get you out. Just don't move or the whole thing could cave-in."
"No kidding, Mr Obvious," muttered Eric, to himself.
The sound of scraping rock began again and Eric felt a boulder he was leaning against move suddenly. Acting on instinct, Eric pulled his shield above his head and forced his aching legs to move. Sheila gave a yelp of surprise as she felt Eric move and crouch protectively over her. There was an ominous crack before their temporary roof collapsed and bounced harmlessly off the shields force field. Raised panicked voices could be heard nearby.
"Are you okay, Sheila?" Eric asked, his voice sounding strained and agonized from holding his shield up in such an uncomfortable position with tonnes of rock weighing down on them.
"Yes," she nodded, though he couldn't see the motion. "You saved me again."
Eric laughed briefly and Sheila felt his breath tickle her cheek. "Not for long," he apologized. "I can't stay like this for long. My arm's starting to hurt."
"Don't worry," she reassured him, reaching up to help steady his unbalanced position. "We'll be free soon."
It felt like an eternity but after a few minutes a gap appeared next to the left of Eric's head letting a ray of sunlight in. They blinked in the sudden light. As her eyes adjusted, Sheila found Diana looking in at them with a relieved and amused smile on her face.
"Hey, guys, there's no lying around on the job allowed round here," she teased. "We've been working like crazy and you two are just resting."
"Just get us out of here, Diana," responded Eric, unamused.
"Are you guys okay?" Hank's face now looked in at them. He frowned unhappily at seeing Eric crouched over Sheila, and Sheila blushed in embarrassment.
"We're fine," snapped Eric. "Just get us out!"
Hank nodded and moved away. The gap gradually began to get bigger. As more sunlight entered the hollow, Sheila looked up at Eric and gasped in shock and disgust. Seeing the look she was giving him, Eric frowned.
"What's wrong?" he asked, puzzled.
She reached up tentively to touch the skin above Eric's eye and he reared back before she could get the chance. There was a small cut above his eye and the blood that had poured from it had dried up and sealed his eye shut. Though he no longer felt dizzy or sick, his head throbbed in pain.
"Hank!" she shouted. "Get us out of here. Now!"
Eric was still watching her with his one open eye. He looked tired from keeping the rocks from falling on them, but otherwise he was still alert. At her unasked question, he told her, "It looks a lot worse than it actually is."
Soon, a big enough gap had been made for Sheila and Eric to crawl out before the rocks caved-in completely. The moment Sheila was free, she was engulfed in a hug by her brother and Diana. Eric didn't even bother to stand up but slid into a sitting position in exhaustion next to the rock pile.
"Eric," exclaimed Presto and Hank in shock, when they saw his face.
Eric waved them off. "I'm fine," he grumbled. "I just need to wash the blood out of my eye."
"We'll make camp here," Hank said, eyeing everyone in concern. "Eric, there's a small river nearby if you want to use it."
Eric groaned before being helped to his feet by Presto and going in search of the river. Sheila watched them walk away in concern.
"Sheila, are you okay?" asked Hank, once she had managed to reassure Bobby and Diana that she wasn't hurt.
"I'm fine, Hank," she smiled. He smiled back in relief. "It's Eric who needs help. I think he's got a concussion and we have to make sure his cut doesn't get infected."
"I can't believe he saved you," commented Diana.
"He saved me twice," Sheila responded. "And I didn't do anything to help in return." She looked in the direction that the Cavalier and Magician had walked away. "We're too hard on Eric, sometimes. I think I'll go and check he's okay."
She walked away, leaving Hank, Bobby and Diana to set up camp. She found Presto and Eric sitting on the bank of a small river. Presto was surrounded by useless objects that he had obviously been pulling out of his hat and the sarcastic comments Eric was giving him allowed Sheila to relax. Eric sounded like his normal self.
"Hi guys," she called out. Presto smiled in greeting as Eric mumbled a "hello" as he attempted to scoop up a handful of water and bathe his eye.
"Found any aspirin yet?" Sheila asked Presto.
"Err . . . Still working on it," responded the Magician, frowning as his hat produced a handful of odd socks.
Sheila grinned in amusement before kneeling down next to Eric to study his progress. "Eric, let me," she said, picking up a handkerchief from Presto's growing pile and dipping it into the water. "You'll not get anywhere doing it like that."
"Well it's not easy," grumbled Eric, rubbing his strained open eye. "I'm tired."
"You can't go to sleep yet, remember?" reminded Sheila, as she carefully began to wipe the blood his eye. He reared back in pain and Sheila had to use her free hand to hold his chin steady. "Don't move, Eric, or it will hurt even more."
As she washed the blood away she saw a bump and a bruise forming around the cut.
"Wow, Eric," said Presto, fascinated at the small cut above Eric's right eye. "Who'd have thought so much blood could come out of such a small cut."
"Hey, quit staring," complained Eric, the tiredness in his voice taking away any actual threat. "I'm not a lab rat."
"Poor Eric," teased Sheila, relieved to see that her ministrations hadn't caused the cut to reopen and bleed again. "Okay, that should do it. Try opening your eye now."
It took a couple of attempts before Eric was able to squint through his right eye. His eye was badly bloodshot but he could see through it.
"Better," agreed Eric. "Thanks, Sheila."
"What are friends for?" she smiled in response.
Eric smiled back.
"Got it!" exclaimed Presto, waving a small plastic tub in front of Eric's and Sheila's noses.
"I hope it's not contagious," Eric replied, raising a questioning eyebrow.
"Aspirin," responded Presto, ignoring Eric's comment. He passed two tablets to his friend to take.
"That's great, Presto," congratulated Sheila, helping to pick up the other discarded objects and cradle them in Presto's arms. "Why don't we join the others now for something to eat?"
Eric stiffly got to his feet, allowing Sheila and Presto to steady him as he wavered. "Err, hey, Presto? Why don't you go ahead?" he suggested. "I just want to ask Sheila something."
Presto nodded and Sheila waited until the Magician was out of earshot before turning to find Eric looking awkward at his feet.
"Err, Sheila?" he said, sounding slightly embarrassed. "About what I said earlier . . . about getting home? You won't mention it to the guys, will you?"
Sheila smiled and linked her arm through his. "Not a word," she promised. "After all, you're hero of the hour, remember?"
She placed a light kiss on his cheek before leading him back to camp.
"Hey, you're just taking advantage of my kind nature," replied Eric, blushing furiously.
Sheila laughed out loud. "In your dreams, Cavalier."
(A/N – Sorry, couldn't think of a better ending!)