And now to pose a question to you all; if the bridge over the chasm (the only known way of getting to the ruins of the factory from the town) is still destroyed, then how was 10 able to get over the chasm to where 5's body was (which was left on the side the factory was) during the first chapter? Seriously, how? It might be important later.
…As much as I wanted to go after 5…since 6 had fallen into the canyon…I had decided that perhaps it would've been a better idea to go after 6 first.
After a bit of searching, I had found a small building near the edge of the canyon. The door had been left open and inside was a chair in front of a desk. Thankfully, there weren't any dead bodies in there or I would've freaked. After a bit more searching…
"Well, hullo, what's this?"
It was a spiraling staircase leading down. Maybe it led to the bottom of the canyon. With that in mind, I started going down, being careful not to go too fast or I might've started tumbling down, and I was pretty sure I would've gotten injured. And if I got injured, I wouldn't have been able to climb back up…
I stopped. How WAS I going to get back up? Especially if I had to carry 6. I looked back up the steps. They were too high up from me to climb them, at least by myself. But it was too late. There was no going back, only forward.
Just as I jumped down the bottom step, I got a very strong feeling that I was being followed. But since I couldn't see anything or go back up, I had no choice but to ignore it and keep going down.
After what felt like forever, I finally got to the bottom, which led to a doorway that led out to the bottom of the chasm.
When I got outside, the first thing that really struck me was how dark it was, which was mainly because of the mists. There were a lot of big rocks and a shallow river in the middle. The mists kept me from seeing the other side of the canyon, but I could just make out the other river bank. Because of the darkness, there weren't any plants.
I don't know whether it was because of the gentle sounds of the slow-moving river, the slightly golden mists, or the fact that I hadn't gotten any sleep at all the night before, but I found this place quite calming. It would've been more so if it wasn't so cold and wet.
And then I noticed something weird in the sand. Half of it was gone, but something had clearly drawn it. Looking around, I noticed several more drawings along the entire bank, some even splattered with black stuff…
Concentrating really hard, I could just barely sense something much further up the river, and I seriously couldn't tell what it was. Apparently, my lack of sleep was affecting my ability to sense things around me.
Anyway, I ran in the direction of whatever I sensed. Along the way, I saw a bunch of other drawings. One or two of them were of a circle with three strange shapes in it, just like the thing I had seen the day before. As for the rest of them…I had absolutely no idea what they were supposed to be. A few of them might have been words, though. 9 had been mostly the one to teach me to read; by the time he got sick, I had learned how to recognize letters and numbers, though I still couldn't exactly read. Over the next month, the twins had tried taking up that role, though they couldn't really do anything. When I got sick and 7 started going insane…well…let's just say that trying to read was impossible.
Anyway, after I-don't-know-how-long, I finally saw, up ahead, something lying curled up on a rock next to the river. It looked frail and broken, and it wasn't moving at all. His hands were clutched to his chest. Small ropes attached to his head drooped with moisture from the mist. My heart sank and I immediately began running towards the lifeless form of 6. "6!"
I dropped to my knees next to 6. My hand shook as I touched his right shoulder. There was a big rip in it, and another tear in his thigh. I gently shook him, maddeningly hoping that he was still alive. I didn't care at all about his slightly strange appearance. 6 didn't move, but then I noticed his finger twitch. Then I could hear him making breathing sounds; they sounded labored and raspy. 6 slightly curled into himself, his eyebrows furrowing. I gently stroked his shoulder, hoping that it would help him wake up.
"6, c'mon, wake up. Please, wake up," I begged softly, shaking him again. 6 gave a light groan and sighed. He tensed up, opening his mismatched eyes. He slightly lifted his head, looking into my eyes. He blinked wearily and gave a soft smile.
"I knew you'd find me, 10," he whispered softly, reaching out to touch my arm. I had no idea how he knew my name, but to be honest, right then, I didn't really care. I was just glad he was alive. …And…to be honest…I hadn't really been trying to expect anything, but if I had to guess what 6 looked like, I would never have guessed that he had vertical black and white stripes, an eye that was larger than the other, "hair", or pen nibs for fingers.
Anyway, I gathered him into my arms as carefully as I could and hugged him tightly. I know it probably wasn't the best thing to do, but I just felt this…NEED to try to assure him that he would be okay.
"Don't worry… You'll be okay…" Even though I knew that that was true, as soon as I finished saying that, I felt a surge of sadness and loneliness and longing (for what, I didn't know) in me. My chest felt heavy and empty and I almost started crying (which would've been one of, if not THE the worst thing I could've done at that point; might've made him think that I thought he was going to die).
"Don't…don't be sad… You saved us… B-brought us back…" …Was he implying that I was somehow responsible for bringing the others back to life? …I had no idea why, but that idea made a lot of sense to me.
Anyway, he leaned into me and sighed. I could tell that he was extremely weak.
"D-Don't be scared… I'll…I'll look after you…I promise…" Those words, even though I had never heard them before, were painfully familiar, and if I had a literal heart, I would've sworn it was being torn apart.
I gently cradled 6 in my arms, trying to keep him upright so he wouldn't go back into unconsciousness. 6 looked up at me with weary eyes, and then smiled softly.
"Don't be sad, 10…my niece… You saved…all of us… Even… Thank you," he whispered, holding my left hand tightly. I blinked. Niece? What was a niece? And who else had I saved? I was tempted to ask him the latter question, but I had a feeling that he wouldn't have told me even if he was in perfect health.
Anyway, I smiled down at 6, the feeling in my chest having strangely gone away. 6 smiled back, though I could sense a slight uneasiness in his smile. I then gently shifted 6 to where I could put an arm around him, helping him stand as I got up.
I quickly realized that he wasn't going to be able to walk. 6 was shaking a lot, and dirt streaked across his legs and torso. The number on his back was almost completely covered. His hands shook violently, and he wasn't even able to grab the key around his neck. 6's skin was wet and cold, and the poor guy clearly hadn't been warm or dry since he had been revived. His poor, fragile fingers were coated with mud and sand.
"C-cold," 6 muttered, bringing his hands to his chest. He seriously needed care, warmness, and rest. I had no idea how 6 ended up in the canyons, but that wasn't important right now. What was important was getting him out of the canyons and back home without hurting him even more.
"I know. Don't worry, I'll get you home. 2's there." I could sense that 6 already knew that 2, and the others, were alive.
If only I knew how to get back up…
Just then, I noticed a strange…buzzing sound that felt like it was coming from my head. 6 also tensed up, as though afraid. I tried to ignore the buzzing sound, but I couldn't help but notice that it seemed to be getting louder even though we weren't moving.
I froze. "What…was that?"
6 started muttering something as his legs gave out. I almost lost my grip on him. I then noticed something running towards us. The mists made it hard to tell what it was. It seemed to have two eyes that glowed white, though. The buzzing sound had also turned into a creepy distorted static.
The figure stopped in front of us, and it was unlike anything I had ever seen. It had four legs, some sort of snout, no skin at all, and was made of a bunch of various…parts. It also made this weird panting sound.
All I could say was, "What…is…that?"
6 didn't respond.
The thing made a bunch of whining and whimpering sounds that…that for some reason…I could understand.
"I'm a Wolf Machine!" it said.
"A what?" I had no idea what a wolf was.
"I'm a machine made to look like a wolf! Wait… You can understand me?"
"That's not what my issue was, and yes, I can."
"Um… Well… I'm here to help you!" it said. "I wanna help you!"
"Help us? Why?"
"I wanna help you. Do I really need to have a reason to?"
I was surprised by this…Wolf Machine. "I guess not."
The Wolf lied down in front of us. "Get on my back. I'll take you up."
I helped 6 get up and climb onto The Wolf's back, where we settled into a small notch. I could sense his extreme relief at being rescued. I looked back at 6 (whom had become rather quiet), made sure he had a good grip on me, and said, "You ready, 6?"
6 blinked, and then nodded, droplets of water flinging off his hair. He was so tired, but he couldn't rest, not until he was safe and warm again.
Anyway, I held onto The Wolf as it walked across the sandy bank. It wasn't going very fast, but it was faster than I would've gone by myself. The Wolf walked through the doorway and calmly walked up the stairs, being careful not to jostle us too much. We soon got back up to the building and went through the door to outside. The sudden, bright sunlight made my eyes sting a little bit. 6 tried to bury his face in my shoulder; he had been in the dark for so long, the light hurt his eyes.
6 then slid off my back and onto The Wolf's as it stopped. He laid on his side, eyes half-closed and him making labored breathing sounds. I leaned over him and put my hand on his arm.
"6, you okay?" I asked, waiting to regain feeling in my numb arms before doing anything. He looked up at me and slowly nodded. He even gave a brief smile at me.
As cold and wet as I was, 6 was much more so. His body was cold to the touch, and I could still feel and see the sand that was stuck to his skin.
"Heh, you could use a good cleaning-off when we get home, couldn't you?"
6 smiled and gave a small nod. "H-Home…"
"So," The Wolf said, "which way is home?"
"Forward!" I said, reveling in riding this creature as it trotted off towards the woods.
Author's note: Bet you didn't see that ending coming, did ya?