Reeter trudged miserably after Jack, hissing and snarling irritably under her breath. It was pouring with rain, it was almost midnight and she was up to her knees in the sewage river that had once been the road.
In other words, she wasn't happy.
Jack seemed unpeturbed by the mess, he just waded on through it as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Reeter plodded after him, still hissing. She'd used up every cuss word she knew and had now resorted to rude-sounding snarls and growls to display her ever-mounting frustration.
They'd been wandering around this blasted city for hours and still not found a trace of Omelia. Jack had remained certain that he knew what he was doing, but Reeter, who still didn't trust the slippery-looking boy, was beginning to lose faith in her guide.
She could have done better than this on her own.
Suddenly she heard Jack shout from a short distance ahead of her. Reeter sloshed through the muck to join him and gawked at what lay in front of her. Between the bars of a small cellar window was a view of a large room, pitch black and apparently endless in the dark. Only a thin shaft of moonlight reached in through the barred window illuminated a small patch of floorspace.
And in that floorspace, lying like a broken doll on the hard stone floor, her milky skin covered in gashes and bruises, was Omelia.
Reeter shrieked and dived through the bars of the cellar, eyes wide in fear for her friend. Was she too late? Was she already dead? Who had done this to her?
Squeezing her bony frame through the bars, Reeter landed lightly on the cellar floor and scrambled to Omelia's side. She placed her hand on her chest, feeling for a heartbeat. She relaxed slightly when she felt the comforting thump thump thump of a heart. But it was getting weaker by the moment. She needed to get help, and fast.
"She's here!" Reeter called to Jack, who was peering through the bars with a look of utter confusion on his face, "can you find some way to move the bars, we have to get her out of here!"
Jack nodded and pulled a small saw-like instrument from his pocket and set to work on a bar, trying to create a gap large enough to fit Omelia through. Although the bony Reeter could do it, Omelia was slightly larger and wouldn't be able to climb. Reeter gnashed her teeth in frustration, looking wildly around the cell for signs of intruders. Thankfully there was no-one there, but every sound still made her jump.
She knew this was a bad place, and they had to get out fast.
Eventually Jack pulled a bar loose from it's place and Reeter hoised Omelia into her arms, for she was alarmingly light, and passed her up to Jack, who pulled her out of the gap. Reeter scrambled out behind him and he pulled off his jacket and covered the unconscious Omelia in it. Reeter then hoisted her back into her arms and said to the boy:
"Show me where the hospital is. We need to get help."
Jack nodded wordlessly, still apparently in shock at the sight of the naked girl in Reeter's arms, and led the way back along the rain-soaked streets. Reeter followed, no longer caring how wet she was getting.
She had to help her friend. Her very life might depend on it.