CHAPTER 3

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EARTH KILLS

Monty and I had stayed by Jasper a long time. We practically hadn't left his side since he was brought in. We took shifts so we could at least catch up on a few hours of sleep. Just as Monty arrived for his shift, late at night, I slumped over and made my way to my tent, climbing inside and into my warm makeshift bed. Sleep caught up to me easily, lasting a long time.

It didn't feel like that, though. It felt like it lasted two seconds, when in fact the sun was out when I awoke. Octavia made her way into my tent and began softly shaking me to consciousness. "Ryder," she began as I opened my eyes.

I sat up groggily, leaning slightly to the side due to my lack of energy. Octavia swooped down and sat on the bed in front of me, beside my outstretched legs.

I leaned my head against her shoulder, shutting my eyes to try to block the light. She let out a light laugh before shaking me again. "He's awake."

That caused me to snap back into consciousness, eyes wide open. Before I could say anything, a loud groan was suddenly in the air. "What the hell is that?" I asked her, moving out of my bed to put my boots on.

"That would be Jasper," she answered, "He's been like this all night. I can't believe you weren't woken up by it."

I winked at her. "Heavy sleeper - it has its benefits."

We made our way through the camp, where the others were grumbling against Jasper's moans of pain.

"Quiet!"

"Go back to sleep!"

"Can he just die already?"

The last one got to me. "Why don't you shut up before you get that wish imposed on you, asswipe?" I snapped at the kid, who then grew quiet. Octavia and I made our way over to the drop ship, where Monty sat in the corner, looking physically pained to see his friend go through this. Clarke was tending to Jasper, whose eyes were tightly shut. He kept moaning in pain, understandably so.

"Is he going to be okay?" I asked her as she tilted a water bottle to his lips, forcing him to stay hydrated.

She nodded her head. "His pulse is three eighty. He's going to make it through this, though." She held his hand tightly. "Promise." She proceeded to go get some more water for him while Monty and I sat together on the side, achingly watching our best friend go through this alone.

"I wish I could do something," I mumbled, sticking my hands inside the pockets of my jacket.

He turned to me, offering me some of his leftover breakfast, a few berries. "You are doing something. You're here, and that's as much as we can do for him right now," he explained.

We stayed up there for a long time. I only came out momentarily, needing a breath of fresh air after hours of sitting in the congested space of the drop ship. As I walked around camp, I saw Murphy standing watch, circling the perimeter of the camp several times.

I don't know why but I approached him, walking along his route beside him. "Hey," I greeted, raising my water bottle to my lips and taking a long gulp.

"Hey," he repeated, slightly off.

"What're you doing?" I asked casually, looking him over. Wells had given him a run for his money, and it showed just by the healing wounds on his face.

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