Chapter 13 - Reunions

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Water dripped on my face, and I raised my arm to brush it away. My arm felt heavy and sluggish like it had a mind of its own and didn't want to obey my command. A voice spoke near me, but it was like I was underwater, murky and incoherent. The ground beneath me felt cold and damp, which was odd. Everything should be hot and dry. My eyelids were sticky, almost glued shut.

More water dribbled on my face. I tried to swat it off, irritated. My hands and arms came under my control again, and the water near my eyes helped me open them as I rubbed it away. It was dark, and I couldn't make much of anything yet. Using my arms, I pushed myself up, my fingers digging into dirt.

Dirt.

My heart raced as my mind conjured up an image of a grave. I jostled around and bumped into another person. I cringed away, my back bumping into a cold dirt wall. Whoever it was put their warm hand on my knee. I swatted it away, fighting back tears as I tried to figure out my surroundings.

"Talia. It's me."

A female voice. It sounded off, but I could now make out the words. I stilled and croaked out, "Who?" My voice sounded foreign to my ears.

"It's me, Tal. Eluena.

I'd found her! The hand on my knee came back to comfort me.

The tears I held back spilled over and streaked down my cheeks. "Eluena?" Joy and sorrow commingled. The overwhelm of emotions from the past few days purged from me in the presence of Eluena.

She moved, and her hip bumped mine as she settled next to me. Her body heat seeped into me, helping fight off the unnatural chill in my bones.

"I think they drugged you... twice. Do you feel ok? You've slept through the night," Eluena spoke as my crying calmed.

I shook my head, but she couldn't see me well. "I'm ok. I feel... fuzzy."

"It'll wear off soon. Here, have some water." She pressed a bottle to my leg. I took it and drank in greedy gulps, water dribbling over my chin and down my neck. I shivered in the dank room.

Wiping at my chin, I turned towards Eluena. My eyes had adjusted, and now I could make out her blonde hair. She grasped my hand as I took in my surroundings.

The room was small. If I laid out flat, there would be two of me before I hit the wall on the other side. There were no windows, and the dim light came from above.

It was a hole.

My stomach flipped over, and I placed a hand there to calm it.

"What is this place?" I turned my head toward Eluena, trying to ignore the sensation of bugs crawling over my skin.

"Redwater's jail. It's just a hole in the ground."

Above, a figure loomed in the light, casting a shadow. The change in lighting caused us both to look up.

"Is she awake?" It was a male voice. I squinted as the form became clearer.

Thomas.

The memory of him holding my arms came rushing back. Anger at him, at myself, flooded my cheeks with warmth. The heat was welcome in this damp hole. I moved to stand up, but Eluena placed an arm around me.

"She's awake and fine," Eluena said. Then in a lower voice, she spoke, "not that you'd care that much, anyway."

Above, Thomas shuffled his feet, his hands in his pockets. "Talia, I'm sorry. I had too. Bringing you in... well, it means... you heard Jeffrey." His voice was whiny. "It was my chance to move up." He shuffled his feet more before he raised a hand to brush through his scruffy hair and rub the back of his neck. "Maybe I could offer for you."

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