Disclaimer: I do not own The River or its characters. Original idea for this story. No copyright infringement is intended.
Note: I almost finished this in school but had to finish it later. Takes place somewhere between Peaches and The Experiment. I was having a huge brain fail at the end. Wasn't sure how to finish it. lol. Next chapter of Silent Eyes gets added tomorrow. :)
Another mission was ending in a disaster. They had stumbled across some kind of sacred grounds and were nearly torn limb from limb by wild dogs. They hadn't even realized what they were walking past was sacred - until the barking and growling began and they turned to see several dogs come jumping down from what looked like a burial ground - they were several flat stones across the area. Kurt fired, hitting one of the dogs and dropped it.
But when the rest came, they all realized something was wrong. The dogs were huge. There wasn't a single breed that Lincoln could think of that would compare in size - they were larger than a wolf, for sure.
He turned to run but large paws hit his back and he fell to the ground. He rolled to see sharp teeth scything at his throat and he raised an arm defensively. Before it could get in the bite, Kurt fired a round and the dog hit the ground without as much as a whimper. Lincoln immediately got up and ran, and wasn't sure how far he had gone before he realized he had lost sight of everyone else.
He would have retraced his steps if it wasn't for the barking and howling. "Mom! Lena?" He called, slowing to a panting walk.
There was no reply. He continued to walk and the sky released a slight drizzle. A snarl from the bushes made him break into a run again, when without warning, the ground disappeared beneath him. He fell about ten feet and lay winded, head bouncing off the side. Oh crap, he thought, rolling over to see smooth walls and grey skies. He rolled back to his knees, touching his head. Ugh. For a muddy hole, it was surprisingly hard. He'd have a bump or two later.
He was starting to lift himself off the ground we he heard the crashing sound of someone running through the woods. "Where are they?" He heard Lena yell.
"Lena, stop!" He shouted, but it was too late. Her shout turned to a scream and she landed across his back. He let out a winded grunt as he collapsed with the impact. The muddy ground pressed against his face.
"Lincoln? Sorry," she immediately got off.
"All good. Just broke my spine, that's all," he responded with a somewhat forced smile.
She laughed. "Felt like I landed on a pile of rocks." Loud barking from above silenced them both. He looked up to see an enormous dog looking down the top of the hole at them. Its teeth were bared and drool trickled from the side of its mouth to hang off its fur. It growled, eyes glittering savagely, when a noise from nearby caught its attention and it ran off. They both looked at each other awkwardly.
"Are you hurt?" He asked. She shook her head.
"How are we going to get out of here?" She asked, looking up at the soil walls that would offer no purchase. There was a small chance he could push her out, but to what? A dog? He had no idea where the others were.
"We'll have to wait until someone finds us," he responded.
Another awkward silence fell over them. He looked at the ground, at the sky, anywhere possible. What a mess they had gotten in to. "I'm sorry," he said finally. There was so much to apologize for. He had no idea where to start so he went silent and stared at a side, eyes slowly becoming blurry.
"Why?" She responded, as though genuinely surprised.
Finally he looked at her. "Because, all everyone ever cared about was my father. Emmet Cole went missing - but no one ever cared or even mentioned yours. And I did the same thing. The entire trip has been nothing for me but to find my father and I have done nothing to even think about looking for yours. No one did anything. No one cared. This entire trip was all about Emmet. And I'm sorry that I didn't even see that. I should have. And now..." He trailed off. He couldn't say that. His throat was closing and his eyes were too blurred to see. Guilt swirled through him.
A soft whimper broke the silence. "It's not your fault," she said. "He..."
Lincoln found himself wrapping his arms tightly around her, letting her press her face into his shoulder as she began to cry. "I'm sorry... I'm sorry." He whispered over and over. Eventually she began to calm. She relaxed into his chest, silent for just a moment.
"Your dad may still be alive. We can't let them both die," she whispered.
That was when things went from bad, to worse.
The sky opened on them and sent buckets of rain over their heads. They gasped, shocked, as the surprisingly cold water soaked them. Water streamed down the sides of the hole and pooled at the bottom.
"Ugh." Shivering, they stood and tried to huddle together for warmth. "If it rains enough we could float to the top," he suggested lamely. They'd all be hallucinating from hypothermia by then.
How it could get this cold in South America was beyond him. But the water was freezing. His teeth clattered. The water was nearly up to their knees. It didn't seem possible, but the rain was pouring down even harder. "Lincoln," Lena said, sounding worried. "We have to get out of here. It's... cold."
"I know, I know." He turned, shivering violently, and slipped on the mud beneath the water. He was submerged in the icy water for only seconds, but when he came up whether or not he had ever been so called. "S***." He said. No matter how close they pressed together, they couldn't find any warmth. It took only minutes for the water to raise to their shoulders. They were both shivering beyond control, but he was aware of his body starting to go numb.
"Lincoln!" His mom's voice startled them. They looked up, heads barely above the rising curtain of water, and he saw his mom and Kurt looking down.
"Am I hallucinating?" He mumbled.
Then a makeshift rope ladder was thrown down that felt very real. "Let's go," he said, trying hard to fight the exhaustion that was closing his eyes.
"Thank you," she whispered and gave him a hug. And he knew it wasn't for sharing warmth.