"Stop! Don't move an inch or we'll ..."
A big cracking sound echoed followed by a splash like someone was thrown in the water. Brean and Travis plunged in the icy lake water after the thin of ice collapsed.
"I told you not to move but you still ...", Travis shouted. "It's now too late to scold me, and maybe here in a few minutes we'll freeze to death." Brean interrupted.
Luckily, both of them knew how to swim but they still struggled because bit by bit they can't feel their every stroke.
"Uggh. Come on Brean," Travis swallowed some water, "what's the use of the swimming classes you attended if you can't even get yourself outta here?"
That pushed Brean to abruptly grab Travis' right hand and adorned them wrapping his neck. "Shut up! I'm doing my best here." Brean murmured.
Brean swam as fast as he could and got up at the far side of the lake before he can no more feel his arms. Travis then dragged Brean away from the water and squeezed his hands to stop them from getting numb.
"Do you still sense them?" Brean asked. "No, not anymore. Maybe they got lost out of nowhere in the forest. But we still have to get up on our feet and start movin' or else..."
A shoosh sounded out of Brean's mouth and got himself up in a sitting position. The numbness was gone.
"I've wanted this kind of silence for so long. Wanna shut your mouth and join me?" Brean spoke, giggling.
"Wait. Do you hear that Brean?" "Hmm. Nope, not a single sound I..."
Brean suddenly zipped his mouth. They heard few scratches from behind. They slowly got up from sitting and crouched lowly. Slowly, they crawled towards the side and hid into those snow-covered bushes. Their eyes are focused on the source of the scratches.
Maybe five hours from now, the sun would show up. But it has been eight months and thirty-one days in exact since it happened this gloomy, showing no signs of a sun out there. Snow covering every sight. The surface waters froze into ice. The wind whipping cold air that can pierce through the bones.
"Travis! You can't just hide from us. Don't be so coward. Just join us and leave Brean behind."
The boys shivered after hearing the loud shout of Marcus. Brean tightly clasped his hands and tried not to move a bit. Travis' eyes glared and pinned on Marcus' direction, then leaned his face towards Brean's left ear. "Let's just wait until Marcus pass us by meters away. Then we'll get start moving." Brean just nodded.
"You heard me right. Join us and leave that useless Brean behind." Marcus added.
"Oh, shut it Marcus. You keep doing that, making those boys more frightened." Noman teased.
Noman, short in height but with fair skin, moved towards the white bush where Travis and Brean hid, swinging and sweeping his arms showing everything that might be behind those. Noman was so concentrated on what he's doing while the hiding boys are staring blankly forward.
"Noman, we should head back to the base. Fio surely have captured Travis right now." Marcus called. "You said it!" Noman answered.
And Noman left in a rush to catch up with Marcus. Travis and Brean didn't move a little, hearing only their hearts beating fast and the thumping steps of Noman running afar.
"That was so close. I was so close to yelp out." Brean breathed.
"You said it." Travis replied, catching his breath.
"Boy, wake up. Care to open your eyes?"
A voice was waking Brean up. It seemed like a whisper in his ears.
"Five more minutes." Brean begged.
"Brean, wake up. What happened to you? My dear, please wake up! Son, please do wake up!"
"Mother?", Brean cried.
"Mother!" Brean woke up with tears running down from his face. "Boy, are you okay?". Another boy asked with his hands on Brean's shoulders shaking them. "Wait, stop it. I'm okay. Please, get off your hands." Brean said.
"Calm down. I'm not going to hurt you. Just helping you out here.", the boy explained. "You said you needed five more minutes to sleep but then suddenly tears showed up from your eyes. Was it one of your nightmares about dark sorcerers and monsters?", he teased.
"Well, yes. Laugh till you throw up your own intestines.", Brean said.
Oh boy, sorry if I teased you. You know, I'm just making up a good word. I'm Travis."
"And I want you to know that I'm really annoyed. Brean is my name."
A handshake was done and they sat down on bulging rocks facing each other. Brean noticed that the ground was fully covered with snow. His eyes wandered from left and right, front and back, everything was filled with snow. He started to wonder, his heart panicked a bit.
"Breanniboy, can we talk about things?", Travis asked.
"I think you should start asking now, I have a lot of questions to ask of you too.", Brean answered.
Travis took a deep breath with his arms folded around his body. The snow surrounding them obviously shows how cold their environment is.
"You know, I just got here also. Maybe twenty minutes or less wandered around before I saw you lying here. Yeah, and maybe I shouldn't be asking you these cause you just got here too. ", Travis explained.
"Yeah, and I think I can't even get any answers from you." Brean said.
Travis and Brean continued talking about their personal lives since they can't have answers about their present situation.
Travis is the youngest among his three siblings. When he was eight years old, his parents got into a car accident, his father had stitches in the head while her mother died. He can't remember any of his father's or siblings' names except his own name, not even his last name. He just aged fifteen on this day.
Brean is second among his four siblings. When his older sister, the eldest died at the age of five due to heart complications , he was then the eldest. His mother is a cake expert while his father is a martial arts instructor. He just also aged fifteen on this day.
"Hey! Did you just say you're also fifteen today?", Travis being surprised.
"Weird cause we were born on the same date, yes.", Brean said.
Travis and Brean looked at the boy who just shouted. Surprised. The boy was not alone.
There were six of them.
Brean was walking towards the lying body, trying to see its face.
"Shall we wake him up? Or else, he'll be frozen solid with this kind of weather.", Travis said.
Then Marcus approached to Brean's side, reached out his hands holding the unconscious boy's shoulders and started shaking them.
"Boy, wake up! Or else you'll be frozen.", Marcus said.
"Did you just repeat what I said, Marcus?", Travis exclaimed.
Brean, trying to block Travis' sight towards Marcus.
"What's wrong with it man?", Marcus rallied.
"Oh, come on guys!", Sigmund said yelled, not teasing.
Suddenly, a snowball landed to the boy's face, it woke him up.
"Uggh, that hurt. You should've thought of anything else but a snowball.", the new boy whispered in a broken voice.
All eyes on the boy, then towards Sigmund.
"Oh, it wasn't me.", Sigmund explained running towards Marcus' back.
"My boy, you're way better than that.", Xia sighed and facepalmed.
"Sorry for that, uuhhh...", Travis spoke looking through the new boy's eyes.
"It's Jiffyr. Jiffyr Chermaunt."
Everyone's attention towards Jiffyr.
"You remember your last name? You said Chermaunt right, Jiffyr?", Brean wondered.
"Yes, I do remember my last name. Not until I have been here a year ago.", Jiffyr explained.
And everyone's eyes dilated, but bigger this time.
"Hold on there...", Xia interrupted. "Did you just say that it's your second time being here?"
"This is ridiculous!", Marcus teased. "Do you even trust this man? He must be insane."
"Ridiculous as it is, but really I am. I was fifteen that time. And I'm sure everyone of you here are also fifteen, unless some of you are not.", Jiffyr triggered.
"So you are now *******?", Brean spoke but the last word didn't come out.
"Come again Brean?", Travis asked. "Wasn't sure about the last word."
"This is weird. I can't say the word *******. This is annoying.", Brean getting irritated.
"Fifteens won't be able to speak the word fifteen, for it is their age. And since I am not fifteen, I can speak so. Same with Brean.", Jiffyr explained.
Brean, holded up his hands.
"Wait, I'm confused now. All I know is that I'm still *******." Brean explained.
Then Brean remembered the day he spoke with Travis and Xia's pack.
"Hey!", Brean shouted.
Everyone synchronized facing Brean.
"I remembered Travis spoke the word fifteen as well as Xia, Noman and Sigmund.", Brean said.
Tara turned her sight to Xia's.
"I am clueless about this. Yeah, absolutely. I can say fifteen but not *******. Seventeen and so on. I'm not getting any of this anymore.", Xia explained.
"Can someone enlighten us? My brain's still out from my head, maybe hanging out with its friends.", Sigmund teased.
Xia rolled his eyes.
"This is nonsense.", Tony being irritated. "Is this some kind of a joke? I mean, why some are not *******, Uggh I can't even utter the word *******, that Jiffyr's made a comeback here, and this place covered with snow. Anyone hungry? Bet no one."
"Calm down everyone. What we need now is to find answers to our questions. So better, keep moving now. I believe that the answers are just around the corner.", Xia explained calming down the group.
"Got something to say, Jiffyr?", Marcus said.
"I fear that I don't have something to answer your questions but think I can help you getting out from here.", Jiffyr said.
"Now that's making sense.", Sigmund teased.
"So, how can it be done?", Brean excitedly asked.
"Hoping that this still works but there's nothing wrong with trying.", Jiffyr said. "And this was our great escape."