There was some sort of delicious smell in the air, like woodsmoke. There were low voices nearby, and the crackling of flames.
Sapphire groaned and opened her eyes. She was lying on the
ground with her jacket over her like a blanket. She was facing a fire, and-
Saph jerked back instinctively, managing to sit up. Her
jacket slid off her.
Alex turned around “Saph!” he grinned. “Finally, you’re
awake. Took your time, sleepy head.”
Saph raised an eyebrow. “How long was I asleep?” she asked
Jubi as she pulled on her coat.
“A whole day,” Alex replied with a poker face.
“Just a few minutes,” Jubi shrugged. “Long enough for me to
gather some wood, and for Alex to start the fire and find a small furry
Alex pointed to what looked like the remains of a rabbit,
held by sticks above the fire. Despite her sympathy for the animal, Sapphire’s
“It died laughing,” Alex said softly, seeing the look on
“I wish we had a teleporter with us,” Jubi sighed. “Or just
a cell phone.”
Sapphire shrugged. “If Alex and I had enough energy, we
might be able to make the three of us walk on water, but it looks like we’re
stuck walking normally.”
She frowned, remembering what had happened just before she
blacked out. “Where are the other people?”
“What other people?” Jubi frowned, throwing another stick
onto the flames.
Saph blinked, confused. “Before I blacked out-“
“-fainted,” Alex cut in. She glared at him.
“I felt the minds of two other people. And I heard you two
Alex shrugged, examining the rabbit. “It could’ve been a
vision. I mean, you usually get them just before you fall asleep, right? Except
this time you were about to-“ he saw her narrow her eyes. “Black out,” Alex
Saph snapped her fingers. “I knew there was a reason I keep
Alex rolled his eyes, and Sapphire noticed how the firelight
brought out the amber in his irises. “Because you know that it’s an effective
method of torturing me?”
“It’s more torturous for me,” Sapphire grinned.
Alex harrumphed. “I wouldn’t be so sure about that.”
“Oi!” Jubi broke in. “Can we have some food and water and
work out how get out of here? Preferably before we get captured by Mevolent or
those creatures eat us?”
“You’re right,” Alex agreed. “But first I want to know if
Gustav’s nearby. Saph, are you strong enough to look for him?”
She tilted her head. “Can I have breakfast first?”
Jubi pulled the rabbit off the sticks and handed it too
Alex, who cut it up and gave everyone a piece.
Saph looked at it hesitantly and took a bite. It was
surprisingly good, and she wolfed it down in seconds.
Alex laughed and held out a half-empty water bottle.
Sapphire accepted it gratefully and took a few mouthfuls.
She concentrated, and the moisture in the air condensed into rain, re-filling
“Well, at least we’ll never run out of water,” Jubi smiled, poking
the flames with a stick. Saph swallowed, trying not to back away. She hated fire.
“Give me a minute,” Sapphire muttered. “I’m going to look
She leant back against a rock and closed her eyes. She let
her breathing slow and her body relax. Sounds drifted through the forest;
insects fluttering, birds chirping, leaves rustling. Then Sapphire opened out
She could feel lots of animals, but she tried to ignore
those. Thankfully, she couldn’t sense any more of the creatures that had
attacked them. She could feel Alex and Jubi, only a few metres away, but they
were the only humans with a mile radius.
Desperately, she tried to sense even further. But there was
nothing. The three of them were the only living humans for miles.
But just as Sapphire was about to open her eyes, Sapphire
It wasn’t a human. It was a bird, flying above them. It attracted
her attention because it was smarter than most birds- as smart as a human. And
it was flying as fast as it possibly could.
Sapphire focused on the bird. As soon as she entered its
mind, it spoke.
Who are you?
Sapphire sucked in a breath. A shape-shifter. My name’s Sapphire Iota, she replied. Who are you?
The bird paused, like it was choosing whether or not to
answer. Then it made up its mind.
I’m Lavender Hope.