At last, part 8 of Mechanical Heart. I’m sorry it’s been so long, but with spring break and everything going on, my life has been extremely crazy.
(not that it wasn’t before…)
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(but don’t tell them about the chocolate… It’s mine, my own, my precioussssss)
I hoist my backpack higher onto my shoulder and squint into the shadows, trying to avoid stepping on too much gravel. Stacey’s figure moves ahead of me, showing the way through the maze of buildings and shops of the Peer camp.
“I can’t tell you how much it means for me to be able to learn the history of the Peers.” I say quietly, trying to build up my lie a little more.
I can almost see the sneer on her face as she replies, “Yeah, you’ll see soon enough.”
I don’t know why she wants to get rid of me, but I’m not going to stop her for anything. This is my opportunity, and I’m not wasting it.
A few birds call shrilly through the night, and I wonder briefly where they make their nests. In so much rubble, I don’t think there’s much substance to live on. As two birds flutter over us, filling the air with their screeches, I stay close to Stacey, hoping that none of the Peers, some of which are lounging outside in the darkness, would think to ask questions.
Stacey must be scared of the same thing, because she begins to take less obvious streets, slipping between rows of houses. I duck my head a little every time we come to a window, the dull light shining through posing a danger.
When we finally make it to the edge of the camp, Stacey turns to me sharply. “Okay, listen. I know how much you want to know about everything,” (I almost wince at the poorly disguised sarcasm) “but since what we’re doing isn’t really allowed, we have to be as quiet as possible and avoid the guards posted on the edges of the camp. Okay?”
I nod my head up and down as hard as possible, smiling in a sweet and innocent way. Once Stacey’s back is turned, my smile drops and I roll my eyes at her. Mhm, keep talking like that and you’re gonna get a broken nose… Gritting my teeth to keep myself from doing something violent, I follow her quietly through the large boulders and rubble outlining the camp.
We move as quickly as possible, and I have no choose but to follow Stacey’s lead. She’s taking me out by a different route that I came in. Glancing around at the new surroundings, I grimace at the overhanging buildings and crumbling wall that help disguise the location of the camp. There’s always that danger of one of those heavy walls shattering and crushing whomever is standing underneath. With this in mind, I quicken my steps as Stacey leads me under a decrepit arch.
“Where are we going?” I ask, as we keep walking around the outskirts of the camp.
“There’s a better way to get through, less guards, less everything.”
I soon see what she means by ‘less everything’. When we climb over a rather large pile of unstable boulders, I’m looking down on a smallish hole in a wall, dirt and grime covering the concrete.
“Come on.” Stacey commands, running down the rest of the rocks and squeezing through the crack without a moment’s hesitation. I roll my eyes again and take off my backpack, holding it at my side as I jump down and push myself through the hole.
It takes a little time for my eyes to adjust to the darkness, and even the light is limited, Stacey’s struggling figure ahead of me blocking out the crack.
Our panting soon fills the limited space as we both wriggle from side to side, inching our way through the tight space. Thank goodness I’m not claustrophobic. I think to myself as my sides press tightly against the sides of the wall.
I’m about halfway through when Stacey gets out, her face peering through into the darkness to see where I am.
“Hurry up, will you? We don’t have much time.” Her impatient voice fills the crack and I press my lips together and heave one last time, my backpack scraping against the rock as I push free.
Out here, it seems desolate, empty almost. Even with towering buildings filling the spaces and wires and concrete decorating it, the rising moon’s light makes it lonely, cold. I swallow a little as I follow Stacey through the rubble, trying not to shiver as a piece of concrete breaks off from a nearby building and crashes to the ground, the only thing that breaks the silence.
I’ve always hated the night. It brings back memories, memories of things I’ll never have again, memories of things I never want to have again.
I think some of my feelings rub off onto Stacey, because she stops making sarcastic and rude comments as we pick our way over the rocks and concrete. Soon the sound of our shoes against the rubble is the only thing that fills the silence.
As the moon rises higher into the sky, we walk farther away from the camp, and soon the Weeper is in front of us, the cable stretching over the yawning canyon. Stacey grabs the door to the hanging cage and opens it.
“You wanna see the history of the Peer camp? I’ll show it to you.” She grins a little at me and opens the door wider.
I barely suppress bursting into laughter, and climb in. Even though I knew it was coming, I still jump as she slams the door closed behind me, and unhooks the cage, causing it to hurdle down the slight incline.
“Don’t come back!” Is all I hear from her angry figure as she gets smaller and smaller.
I savor the moment of victory, but it’s short lived as the cage rocks dangerously over the abyss. I grab the sides and steady myself. Of all the things I hate, heights is one of the worst. My mouth begins to dry and I swallow, trying to assure myself that I won’t fall, I won’t die.
When the cage is almost to the other side, I crouch lower, my eyes scanning the area, looking for anyone peering out of the shadows. With a jolt, I realize that this probably wasn’t such a good idea.
“Too late now,” I mutter to myself as the cage begins to slow, the cable leveling out.
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