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?
…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 very long coil of a light but strong metal (what it was made of, I have no idea). By the time I got to the canyon with it, the sky was starting to show the first signs of sunrise. Just as I was wondering what I was going to tie the end of the coil to, I noticed some twisted, warped metal and some broken wood on the edge of the canyon. I wasn't sure what it was supposed to be, but there were plenty of places where I could firmly tie the end of the coil.
When I started climbing down, I made sure to not try to look and see how deep the canyon was; I didn't know if I was afraid of heights, but now was not the time to try and find out. I instead focused on climbing down as quickly and carefully as I could.
…I don't know why, but twenty minutes later, when I got to the edge of a thick mist, I got a very strong feeling that I was being watched. I didn't bother looking up, though; as long as the coil wasn't untied, it didn't matter.
Anyway, when I cleared the mist, I finally let myself look down. There wasn't that much farther to go before I would get to the bottom. There were a lot of big rocks, and a shallow river in the middle that took up half the ravine. As I kept climbing down, for the first time in my life, it struck me just how small and fragile I really was…
Anyway, when I got to the hard, rocky surface of the chasm, the first thing that really struck me was how dark it was, which was mainly because of the mists. They weren't as thick as they had been higher up, but they still kept me from seeing very far (case in point, I couldn't see the other wall, 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. 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, though I still couldn't 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. "NO! 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. I put an arm around him. 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.
"I…I…don't know if…if I can climb," 6 said softly, shivering. He flexed his fragile fingers and looked at me with wide, tired eyes.
"You don't have to climb. Just hold on." I shifted him onto my back, holding him as I had been holding 2 when I was taking him home (it was hard to believe that I had only done that yesterday…). Fortunately, 6 was smaller, and therefore easier to carry. 6 wrapped his arms around my neck and sighed as the pressure was taken off his legs.
I didn't really need to to know how he was feeling, but I could sense his extreme relief at being rescued. Which made what I was doing all the more satisfying.
When I got back to the rope, 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.
I grabbed the rope and started climbing, going slowly so as to avoid hurting 6 even more. I was about halfway to the mists when it struck me that it was going to take me a LONG time to get back to the cabin. Even walking at a normal pace would have taken me at least three hours to get from the canyons to the cabin; carrying 6 on my back would extend that to four or five hours. Oh well. I'd just have to deal with it.
Anyway, when we cleared the mist bank, 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. I kept climbing.
About halfway up the cliff face, I noticed a strange…buzzing sound that felt like it was coming from my head. I tried to ignore it…but I couldn't help but notice that it seemed to be getting louder as I climbed higher.
Finally, after over an hour of climbing, I grabbed the cliff edge. I was able to heave myself and 6 over the edge. By then, the buzzing sound had turning into a distorted static that sounded really creepy. The feeling that I was being also came back.
Anyway, I silently rejoiced the fact that I was on solid ground again. 6 slid off my back and onto the dusty dirt. He laid on his side, eyes half-closed and him making labored breathing sounds. I sat down next to 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 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. Suddenly, his eyes got wide, his face fell and he grabbed his key.
I said, "What is it?"
He was silent for several moments before saying, "N-nothing. I-I was mis…mistaken."
I knew that he was lying, but I went along with it. I carefully picked him back up, sensing his fear.
I walked through the town nonstop for the rest of the morning, a sense of urgency, fear and the incessant static driving me forward. I almost could've sworn that something was actually pushing me.
I felt very anxious, but I felt like I had been in situations much more dangerous than this, which was both surprising (because I hadn't)…and concerning.
Author's note: WHY. DOES. IT. TAKE. ME. SO. LONG. TO. WRITE. THESE. CHAPTERS?
Bet you didn't see that ending coming, did ya? …Neither did I.