Anuli and I weaved our way through the jungles of Piñata Island. We'd been at it for a while, fear driving us on. I didn't feel like we were getting anywhere which really bugged me. I just wanted to go to the village and not feel like a hunted rabbit.
"Hey, look at that." Anuli said, slowing down.
I came to a stop next to him and looked too. Through the leaves, I could see light illuminating the edges of a large town. The light came from a fence that wound around the entire settlement. I walked forward a little. Upon closer inspection, the fence seemed to spark a little with blue light. I reached out a tentative hand to touch it.
"Kora, no!" Anuli hissed. "Don't touch it! It's electric!"
I quickly withdrew my hand and went back to join him. "How can you tell?"
"Can't you hear that noise?" He asked.
I wasn't one to stop and smell the flowers, so to speak. I certainly wasn't going to pay attention to any little noise. Sighing inwardly, I listened. Anuli was right. There was a small electric humming sound coming off the fence.
"Great," I snorted impatiently. "Just what we need. Now how do we get inside?"
Anuli's eyes widened a little in surprise. "You still want to go?"
I looked at him incredulously. "Of course I do! They took Captain. I'm going to make sure we didn't lose him for nothing by getting behind that fence." A look of concern spread over my face. "But what about you, Anuli? Will you stay? Captain's gone; can you get home by yourself?"
"I'm not staying," Anuli said sullenly. "I can steer the boat by myself, I'll be fine."
"As long as the lights haven't found the boat yet…" I muttered to myself. My voice rose, "So how are we going to get past it?"
Anuli thought for a moment. "The electricity has to be generated from somewhere. I say we skirt the fence and find the source."
I smiled. "I like the way you think, Anuli. I got this side," I said, pointing to the right. "You go the other way and meet up in the middle."
Without waiting for a reply I dashed off around the right side of the fence then slowed to a jog once Anuli was out of earshot, there was no point wasting my energy on a full sprint. I know, that was totally unlike me, yes. But I wanted to get inside ASAP ant there was no point doing two laps. Technically, this is faster. I watched the fence as I moved, scanning it for anything that might be the source of the electricity. Come on, anytime now. The sun was beginning to rise on the horizon, turning the sky a light shade of purple which matched my clothes. I bit my lip. We'd better speed things up, I thought frantically. Whoever wants to keep people off the island sure wouldn't like the sight of two mainlanders messing with his fence.
Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Fence post, wire, fence post, wire. Jeez this is getting old. I made a quick glance at the Village beyond the fence. The first thing I noticed was the back of a tall building that had a sign with milk and cookies on it. Odd for a prison-like island, I thought. I shook my head vigorously. Focus! Fence post, wire, fence post with little black box on it, wire, fence post. I skidded to a stop and smacked my forehead.
My first impulse was to head back to it and figure out how to switch the electricity off but I knew I had to meet up with Anuli. Running as fast as I could, I skirted the fence, making sure to stay to the shadows in case anyone was an early riser. Eventually, I spotted him in the distance and motioned him to follow me. Anuli caught my drift and soon we were both in front of the box again.
"Okay," Anuli began quietly, flipping open the lid of the black box. "There are a lot of switches here and I'm no electrician, unless you…?" I shook my head. "Okay, neither of us are electricians but I think once we stop hearing the humming, it means we did it." He looked at the fence. "Cutting the power isn't going to magically get you behind that fence though. It's got barbed wire at the top so that rules out climbing."
I looked around, searching for anything that could help. My eyes came to rest on a sturdy oak tree. The branches closest to the fence had been cut so the people inside couldn't use it to escape. However, it was long and high enough for someone on this side to use if they jumped far enough.
"That branch might be useful." I said, pointing to it.
Anuli nodded. "It's worth a shot."
I started to climb the oak tree. It had plenty of footholds making my life a whole lot easier. Carefully, I shimmied along the branch closest to the fence.
"Come on, Anuli, give it a whirl!" I said eagerly.
He frowned at the box and flicked a switch. The humming of the fence got louder. Startled, Anuli flicked the switch again and the usual drone returned. He chose another switch. This time the droning ceased. Right on, Anuli! I gave him a thumbs-up and he looked back uncertainly. He seemed to still be unsure the electricity stopped.
Taking a deep breath, I steadied myself into a sitting position. To be honest, I was freaking out. If I didn't go far enough, I'd skewer myself on the wire. If I was lucky, I'd clear the entire fence completely. What if I just jumped into the fence and all Anuli did was drown out the noise? I'd be fried! I couldn't show fear in front of Anuli. He'd worked so hard to get me here and everything depended on this moment. Sucking up my courage, I jumped.
My eyes were screwed shut. It was getting hard to breathe. I didn't want to see what happened. But I had to. I peeked out and saw with surprise I was suspended in the air. Turning my neck, I realised what occurred. I was on the right side of the fence alright, but the top of my shirt was caught by the barbed wire creating pressure on my neck.
"Kora! Are you alright?!" Anuli called as quietly as he could.
"Can't… Breathe!" I gasped.
Instinctively, I twisted my arm and grabbed hold of the fence. No electrocution. I'm alive! But maybe not for long. My lungs were shrivelling. Creating momentum, I swirled around and got a good grip with both hands on the fence. Climbing higher and higher I tried to get close enough to unlatch my shirt from the grasp of the fence. My eyes began to close, I felt weaker and weaker. No, it can't end here. I'm so close…! I reached out to unhook it. Almost… There…
I gave a huge intake of air and watched as the barbed wire flicked back and forth, free of its previous strain. After a few breaths, I gave Anuli a weak smile. He seemed relieved. Looking down, I judged it wouldn't hurt to drop from here. So I did. Dust billowed into the air around my feet from the impact. Anuli turned the electricity back on. The fence hummed in its usual taunting way.
"We can't have anyone knowing the power stopped," Anuli explained. "Now it's like you were here the whole time."
I nodded. "Thanks Anuli. For everything."
He smiled. "Good luck, Kora, doing whatever it is you're doing. Just promise me one thing. If you see Captain, tell him I'm sorry for leaving him behind and help him get out of this place."
"I will." I promised.
Suddenly, search lights began to hone in on the Village. A small siren went off. I gasped. Maybe someone noticed the power went out! I looked worriedly at Anuli.
"Go!" He told me. "I'll be fine." He turned and ran into the trees.