Low battery. This was the last phrase that he wanted to read right now.
“Come on, come on.” He muttered, holding his phone out. The only thing on was the light, it was the only thing he had needed. He remembered when he was younger that his mother had always told him to have a pocket flashlight nearby, maybe stashed in his car. He thought having a phone with a light was good enough. Well, she would be laughing at him now. Too long a conversation before this. Now he needed a flashlight. He also needed a working phone when he got out of these tunnels, so as to get out of this mess. Which should he give up?
Reluctantly, he turned off his phone to save the rest of the power. Standing still, he tried to adjust his eyes to the dark of the tunnel. But that only worked when there was light coming from somewhere. And there wasn’t, there wouldn’t be, it was the dark of the underground.
Hand to the side, he walked forward.
There was a reason that Dahlia didn’t want to go anywhere.
Her head swam. There were people, people everywhere. And that was okay, it really was. But between how many of them there were and the fact that they were moving and she was not… Dahlia didn’t remember where she was. Where she had come from. Where was the orphanage? Where had she thought she was going?
The desire to curl up in a corner was overwhelming, but Dahlia knew that wouldn’t get her back home. She took a few steps forward and tried not to veer into the darkness.
“What are you doing?”
She gasped, wheeling about. There he was, Golden. The boy who pretended he didn’t want to be around them. That didn’t stop him from always being around.
He stared down at her with those sharp eyes. “You’ll be late for dinner if you keep going that way. Suit yourself.”
Golden walked away, likely back to the orphanage. Dahlia trailed after. Part of her wanted to reach out and grab his sleeve. Part of her never wanted to do that, because it reminded her of the travels to get here.
Despite his gruffness, despite not caring, he led her home.
Dahlia could breathe.
“I think we need to ask someone for directions,” James finally said.
Mercedes glared over the paper map, as her phone had run out of power an hour earlier. “I think that’s the Waterfall of Fish over there.” She pointed over at the waterfall in the distance, then squinted. “Never mind, those aren’t fish. That’s a Waterfall of Spiders.”
“I don’t remember that one,” James replied, glancing over at her map.
“It’s not a big enough landmark to be on here.”
“There’s a giant rat over there, maybe we can ask him.” James drove forward to pull up alongside the rat, who pointedly ignored the two of them in their new hover car.
“Excuse me? Do you know how to get to the City of Warehouses from here?”
The rat squeaked.
Mercedes grit her teeth. “Yes, I know. But we still got lost, you… um, friend.”
James decided to cover up Mercedes lack of tact, not that it mattered because the rat was being rather rude. “Then you know which way we take from here?”
The rat squeaked more and then ran off into the bushes.
“He was lying,” Mercedes said.
“Maybe not,” James responded. “Let’s go.”
They took the path of java chips and continued on their way.