My first tow followers have been waiting for this for two months. To the others, the story opens back on April 29th. Yes, the action is totally random and misinformed.
“Are you joking? Our hands are tied!” Mark shouted as he struggled against his bonds.
“Are you insane?! I’t’s run as we are or burn where you stand! In case you haven’t noticed, no-one’s in any position to untie you now!’ David shouted back as he heaved himself up.
At this response, Mark finally got himself up onto his feet, noticing that he was the last to do so. He immediately began running toward the path, the heat of the burning trees scorching his unprotected arms. When he had reached the path, he turned and looked back to see Matt randomly kicking sleeping Spaniards in a desperate attempt to wake them. Mark screamed when he saw this. “Get out of there! They’re drunk! They won’t wake up in time, and it’s their own fault! They were going to kill us, so don’t let them hang on your conscious! Get out now!”
Finally giving up, Matt came running onto the path, closely followed by the two hounds which the Spaniards had brought with them. The dogs were trailing lengths of rope, having broken them in their frantic efforts to get away.
Matt stopped when he reached Mark, panting. “It’s only human decency to try, brother, but since we’ve exhausted other routes, we can make our getaway with a cleaner conscious.”
“You’re telling me? Who was yelling at you to get out of the area before you were roasted, as it was hopeless?” mark retorted, openly exasperated.
“We can argue later, but let’s go now!” Matt screamed as the flames leapt onto the path.
“Are you crazy?! We can’t outrun this!”
“Oh, Mr. Mellino was right then, wasn’t he?! You have been looking for death ever since father left! I should be asking you whether you’re insane! Well then, stay here and get roasted, and then see if it helps you rejoin father! You should have begged to go with him!” With this parting shot, Matt sped off. Mark, who was also still running but had unwittingly slowed his pace, sped up too, barely keeping Matt in sight.
“Is that what I’m trying to do?” He asked himself “Do I really want to die? Am I already convinced that father is gone?” At this thought, he yelled out “I am stronger than that! I will go on!” After this, Mark ran on until he reached a river flowing by the side of the road. At this point, Matt, from inside the water, called out to him to jump in to save himself from the flames. Mark, skidding to a stop, dove in immediately, only stopping to think after he had gotten himself upright in the flow of the current. “Do you realize that this is not helping us at all? In fact, we’re stuck in a worse position than we got out of.”
“If you call jumping from the fire into the boiling pot a bad to worse prospect, I guess you’re right, because if we don’t all start moving we’ll be scalded to death right here.” pronounced Gabriel, gasping for breath. “Lucky for us that they only took the ones they could see. This one was under my cloak.” He continued, replacing a dagger in his belt and tossing Mark’s bonds onto the bank.
“How did you get here?”
“Are you thick enough not to think of submerging?” asked David, who had appeared on Mark’s other side, just where Matt had been positioned. “We’d best get moving while we’re still alive though. Matt’s gone ahead of us.” He concluded, in reply to Mark’s confused expression. This put an end to all speech, and everyone dove under the water and began to swim hard, although they were all apprehensive about surviving for long.
They had been swimming without stopping for half an hour (excluding pauses to breath) when they came to a bend in the river ahead, where they found Matt sitting in the curve, barely above the water. Inexplicably, he was grinning. “Haven’t you three noticed the wind? We’re safe. We can walk on dry land now.”
“Thanks a lot for telling us now, when we haven’t got shoes or shirts on us.” Mark replied sarcastically, struggling to climb out of the river.
“I was hoping you would say that.” Matt continued, with a laugh “You may have noticed that the trip this far was quite a bit easier than you should have expected; meaning of course, that the current was carrying you, which in consequence, means that everything you removed got to this point ahead of you. I’ve been sitting here catching everything that came by for the last ten minutes. It’s all drying off on the bank right now.” He concluded as he scrambled up, followed closely by the others.
“That’s all very fine,” David said when they had reached the top “but the problem you can’t solve is the most important of all. We lost all of our provisions.”
“The dogs stayed with us.” Mark announced sullenly from where he lay stretched out on the grass as one dog licked his face.
“We can’t-” Matt began, but David cut him off.
“Don’t worry, as we’ve got nothing on us to do it with.”
Even with the prospect of starvation ahead of them, Matt cheered up considerably at this announcement. “This one is mine!” he exclaimed, grinning widely “And that one on top of you is yours, Mark! Oh, look at him go!” Matt’s last remark was not directed at anyone in particular, but he was pointing at the dog, which had just begun to roll frantically all over the grass, as if it understood what was going on and had begun to celebrate in its own way. Then, it jumped up and ran to Matt, wagging its tail at double speed and panting hard.
“That is the smartest dog I have ever seen, with no exceptions” David announced “I’m sure it understands everything you said about it.”
“I’ll name it Bear, then. What’s yours, Mark?
“Mine is named Thrasher,” Mark answered, watching as his new dog began to roll even more frantically than Matt’s. “You can tell why, can’t you?”
“Yes, clearly.” Matt answered “Come on, boy, you’re with me now, and you’re going to stay with me.” He continued, pulling Bear behind him by way of the broken rope which was still attached.
“You may want to return my dog to me now. I appreciate your enthusiasm in your object.” Drawled a new voice. The Americans spun around. Standing behind their position, holding a pistol primed to fire, was Miguel Coinhara. “You must not have heard me properly. I said return my dogs now, or face the doom of death upon the first one to move.” He continued, staring suspiciously at the dagger Gabriel was still holding in his hand.
Nobody, not even the dogs, moved or made a sound. Then suddenly, everybody heard the loud clank of metal striking metal. “Whoops, sorry, I must have moved.” Gabriel said, putting strong emphasis on the last word. Finally coming to, Coinhara looked down at the grass at his feet, noticing the dagger lying on top of the pistol. He stooped.
Having anticipated the move, Gabriel immediately sprang up and leaped onto the back of the Spaniard. This caused both men to fall hard to the ground, with Gabriel on the bottom. Moreover, Coinhara now had a hand on the knife, and was making frantic stabs over his shoulder,which were missing Gabriel’s face by fractions of an inch.
After several minutes of struggling, Gabriel succeeded in joining his hands on the back of the larger man’s head, and, with his arms securely locked under Coinhara’s armpits, pushed as hard as he could on the other man’s neck. This position made it increasingly more difficult and dangerous to swing the knife. Gabriel promptly slid one hand up Coinhara’s knife arm and gripped the wrist as tight as he could. Wrapping his legs around the other’s waist, he grabbed the gun lying a foot away, pointed it straight up, and pulled the trigger. As startled as the rest, Coinhara sat up and let the knife drop out of his hand. Jackknifing forward, Gabriel swept up the dagger and propelled the Spaniard face-first into the ground. In his demand for surrender, he put extra emphasis on the yous.
“If you move, you shall die. Now you are my prisoner. You can move now.”
His face still on the ground, Coinhara spoke out angrily, and then proceeded to get up off the ground. Running one hand through his hair and the other over his mustache, he faced the Americans and muttered ‘Despicable low trick that is, jumping on a man with his guard down.”
“Oh, sorry, “David yelled out “We didn’t hear that last bit. Now tell us how you survived that fire when you were drunk!”
“The answer to that is simple,” Coinhara replied loudly “First, I was not there, so I was never drunk, and second, I knew you would attempt to escape, so I hid myself on the other side of the path and saw and heard everything that happened.”
“But” David replied “now you have to admit that it didn’t help you very much, because now you are our prisoner.”
“You seem to forget” Coinhara answered to this statement as he stood up “that you never bothered to tie my hands or my legs, so I can leave whenever I please, which I could even if I were tied. So, I will bid you good day, and exit left. Adios.”
“Wait a second, though” Mark spoke up, tugging on the rope attached to his dog. “You must not have noticed that we have security: two dogs who obviously don’t like you.”
It was only then that Coinhara noticed that the dogs which he had come for were growling loudly and straining at the remnants of rope that they were tied to. He immediately sat down again. “All right, I’ll come quietly if you keep those dogs restrained.”
“Good. Now that that is settled, we can continue on our way back home, because I don’t believe that this conflict will last many more months. Sooner or later your government is going to collapse again and we can all live normal lives once more.” David announced, standing and walking away.