The drums

"Excuse me?" "What did you say?" and "That's not fair!" rang around the room. Everyone seemed disturbed, except maybe Maggie. But Maggie was kind of weird and this was kind of important.

"Quiet!" yelled Tierra suddenly. Everyone turned to glare at her. Foam was so furious that her hair was beginning to heat up the whole room uncomfortably.

Everyone quieted suddenly when they saw Tierra's face.

She looked terrified.

"They're coming," she whispered.

"What? How do you know?" said Aria anxiously.

"I can hear them,"

And everyone listened. And faintly, far away, they heard a sound- drums.

Rat-tat-tat-tat. Rat-tat-tat-tat.

Nobody except the element knew what the drums really meant, what they really did, but everyone felt their stomachs drop, felt fear come rolling in. Dread made everyone move a little slower, think a little faster about what would happen if the drums got too close.

Rat-tat-tat-tat. Rat-tat-tat-tat.

"We need to go," said Fiamma, softly, which was disturbing because Fiamma always spoke loudly. So something was really wrong.

"Follow me," said Aria tensely, which was also disturbing because Aria's words always flowed from her mouth like wind.

Everyone went out of the room, bumping into each other like sheep, Tierra herding them here, Aria there.

Acqua was the last one out.

They had gone through a small little door no-one had noticed before and down a dusty little tunnel, deep underground. They walked for a long time, no-one saying anything, except perhaps "Sorry," as they knocked into each other's ridculous hats or gowns, or tripped over each other's trails in high heels.

The clothes now seemed very childish, and very silly for a good get-a-way.

Elizabeth walked near the back, shooting occaisonal suspicious glances at Acqua.

She had a big problem. Problems. First of all, she had to focus on walking quickly in her stupid outfit without falling flat on her face. Then she had to focus on not making someone else fall flat on their face. Then she had to panic that there were daemons chasing them. Then she had to work out some way to deal with the daemons that wasn't basically genocide or just a s much trouble for someone else's planet. Then she had to deal with these Elementia, who were definitely untrustworthy. Then her friend Maggie was now stuck here as were the other humans until they completed their contract. Also, she was the only one who hadn't signed, which was, first, a problem, and second, made her mad at everyone else because no-one else had bothered to think about consequences and solutions and responsibilities. They had gotten to caught up in the magic and the fun and the glory.

Maybe that was why the Elementia had chosen teenagers. Because they were more reckless. Because they did't think. Because they wanted to escape and have fun and not worry.

Unfortunately for them, Elizabeth was not your typical teenager. She had always hated the fact that she was the responsible one, the practical one, the grown-up one, the one who stopped the fun.

But maybe that was a good thing.

The End

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