The opening lines of ‘Breaking Silence.’ A teen adventure, set in the not too distant future.
copyright Karen Langtree 2009
‘If you come any closer you will end up one hundred percent dead.’
Si froze. Darkness clung to him. His torch had run out hours ago and since then he had been making slow progress, through the trees by touch alone. The girl turned on a flashlight. Si shielded his eyes, as the beam struck his face.
‘Can’t you make it just fifty percent dead?’ he said.
‘Don’t push me!’ the voice replied.
‘So, how will you kill me?’
‘With my knife.’
‘What kind of knife is it?’
‘I said, what kind of knife is it?’
‘A bloody big sharp one, so shut up!’
The light advanced. ‘Turn around and put your hands on your head. Slowly.’
He did so, hoping that he was not about to feel cold steel slicing through his liver. Instead he felt her hand pushing him forwards.
He stumbled. He could now see the outlines of the trees towering over him in the ghostly light. He wondered how he had made it this far without knocking himself out.
‘What are you doing out here?’ the girl said.
‘I could ask you the same thing.’ Si felt the knife press against his ribs. It was real enough.
‘Shut up. Keep moving.’
They walked on in silence for a few minutes until she stopped, abruptly.
‘Put your hands behind your back.’
Si did so. She pulled out some rope and tied them together. The rope burned his wrists.
‘That hurts,’ Si said, matter-of-factly.
‘Good. Sit down against this tree and put your legs out straight; together.’
He obeyed, trying to catch a glimpse of the girl, but it was like being in a spotlight on the stage. She tied his feet together.
‘You’re good at this,’ Si said.
She bound him to the tree with another length of rope.
‘You carry a LOT of rope.’
He felt the knife then, under his chin, the point digging into the fleshy part behind his jawbone. She ran it slowly along the stubble beginning to form there. Perhaps he had pushed her a little too far. He held his breath.
‘I’ll be back at first light to see what’s left of you.’