chαptєr síх

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The group stopped at the edge of the valley. Gigantic skeletons laid out on the dirt, smaller bones surrounding them. Smoke rose from the vents and gas could be faintly smelt in the air. Lizzie quickly pulled James to the side as the others began their decent into the valley.

"James I'm not going with you."

James shock was evident on his face and he was about to argue but Lizzie didn't let him.

"I mean I'm not going with you into this valley. There's things at my hut I need to find."

"Let me come with you!"

"No, James your needed here. They'll get themselves killed without you and I happen to like some of the people here."

James began to talk. He couldn't let her leave. If she left there was a chance he wouldn't find her in time for the exit window.

"Please James." She begged.

He didn't say anything just nodded his head and pulled her in for a hug.

"Please get back to the boat on time. I just got you back, I can't loose you again." He whispered in her ear with a tear running down his cheek. He couldn't loose her again.

"I'll be there. Can't get rid of me that quickly Jay." He let out a dry chuckle as they pulled back from their hug.

And just like on the boat, they were frozen in time. His tightened around her waist again and he pulled her closer. Until a voice interrupted them.

"Conrad! You coming or not!" Packard. Lovely.

They pulled back from each other with small smiles on their faces. Lizzie pressed a small kiss to James' cheek before turning and disappearing in the tree line.

Conrad smiled again at the trees before swivelling on his heel and climbing down into the valley.

"I saw that." Came a voice to his left.

"I have no idea what your talking about" He replied to a smug looking Mason.

"Mmhmmm."

*~*~*

Lizzie raced through the dense forest. She wanted to get what she needed and get back to the boat with plenty of time. She wasn't about to be left behind again. She came to a stop when she saw the tell tale ladder to her hut. She clambered up and slammed open the door.

She grabbed a satchel and started stuffing in things she had kept from the boat. Photos of her parents, her friends (mainly James but still) and trinkets from home. A lighter caught her eye. James had given it to her the day she left home for the expedition.

"For good luck" Rang in her ears. Didn't really work but still.... It was a nice thought.

She heard the frantic whistles of the ants outside, her ears tuned in on instinct.

3 klicks west

Highest peak

Skull Crawler

Shit... James was at the highest point west. Double shit...

Lizzie pulled the strap of the bag over her head and secured it on her shoulder before running back outside. The bushes rustled and twigs snapped. Leafwings flew out of their nests. An army soldier rushed out of the bushes and fell to the ground.

"Oh my god!" Lizzie nearly leapt to the ground and to the soldiers side.

The man looked up in surprise from hearing another set of footsteps other than his own.

"Who are you?" He asked.

"Are you Chapman?" She ignored his question and asked her own.

"Yes, now who are you."

"I'm a friend of Conrad's now," She helped him to stand, "What on earth happened to you?"

"Weird lizard thing. Tried to eat me so I stabbed it in the eye." Lizzie led him to the bench in her garden and gave him her flask of water.

"That was a skull crawler.... You know you've got about a dozen men out looking for you right now."

Chapman lifted his head and gave a grateful nod as he handed back her flask.

"Let's go find 'em then."

*~*~*

James and Mason crouched down behind a cracked off piece skull. Guns were firing and the skull crawler.

It started gurgling and and choking. Finally it threw up the dog tags stuck in it's throat.

C H A P M A N

J A C K

R A 4 7 5 6 9 0 1 5

O . N E G

C A T H O L I C

*~*~*

Mason watched helplessly as the skull crawler stalked towards Conrad and Slivko.

"Where is he?" Lizzie cried out as she emerged from behind a skull, Chapman following closely behind.

Mason wanted to ask how the hell Chapman was even alive right now, but considering the frantic look on Lizzie's face she swallowed her questions and pointed to the stalking skull crawler.

Lizzie wasted no time flipping the lighter out of her pocket and holding her breath as she ran towards the skull crawler, who was currently in the middle of the gas cloud. She raced to James' side and flung the lighter into the smoke before watching it burst into flames.

The explosion jerked the three back. Flinging them through the air and dropping them to the ground. Lizzie groaned before rolling onto her side.

"Told you I'd come back." James merely chuckled before pulling himself off the ground and stretching his hand to her.

"I didn't doubt you even for a second." Lizzie took his hand and heaved herself off the ground straight into his arms.

"I would never."

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