Heat

Artemis would give anything to survive. Luka does everything he can to stay alive. Together they attempt to lead a ragtag group of survivors, doing all they can to ensure their safety, even when they're running blind.

                “It’s been five days.”

                Artemis covered her face with her hands. The sun was setting on yet another hell, and the worst was yet to come. Evenings were terrifying, and in the dead of night, it would always seem like they’d never see morning. The girls huddled together on the sand, drinking in the last of the light before all went black. The moon the night before had been but a sliver, they’d have to sleep completely blind. None of them had succeeded in starting a fire. They’d been hardly more successful at finding food. There was just too many of them, and too wild of a forest.

                “The fifth night,” came a voice from the tree line, “and still no rescue. I’ve told you all a thousand times…you need to get inland. You need to get food.”

                Artemis was suddenly on her feet, her eyes flaring with rage, “and what should we do if we miss the boat?”

                “What boat, Art?” he was sighing, “there is no boat. And we all know it. We’re dead, don’t you see? The whole world thinks we’re dead.”

                “We aren’t dead,” one of the girls spoke up. “So…we still have a chance to be saved.”

                The boy folded his arms and gazed off towards the horizon. The sun had taken its final peek at their island, the last farewell on day the fifth. The clouds overhead swirled menacingly. If he didn’t succeed in getting them to move, they’d all be sick with rain. He had no choice.

                “Follow me now.”

                “We won’t,” Artemis growled.

                “You’ll be all alone, here. The others have already begun to establish themselves…if you stay, you die. There is no boat. You won’t be saved sitting here on the beach. You all need to eat sometime, and you’ll do that by going inland.”

                Artemis planted herself firmly into the stand, taking a stance of blatant aggression. He stared at her with furrowed eyebrows, not understanding how she could be so stubborn. They stared at each other, relentless on their positions, neither wanting to budge. The girls began to murmur quietly, suddenly questioning their reserves.

                “If you’re worried about the boys, they won’t pull anything on your precious girls. Most of them know each other anyway.”

                Artemis’s lip twisted, and she let out a sigh of frustration. She, too, had begun to look out to the horizon with empty eyes. The boats would have been there by now…had they known they were there. Nothing would have kept them away this long.

                The beach was unforgiving. There was a reef not a few hundred meters off shore, peeking out from beneath the waves. They were sharp as razor and difficult to maneuver, slicing everything to bits as it was dragged past in the waves. Her heart still fluttered, remembering the sight of the corpse. Fear caught her unaware, and she clutched her chest. They couldn’t leave on their own, and their imagined saviors were slowly but surely beginning to disappear.

                “You all look horrible, as it is. Please, Artemis.”

                “Fine. We’ll follow you,” she spoke, walking over to the girls. Upon seeing him smile, she quickly amended, “but only for tonight.”

                The girls reluctantly gathered their meager possessions and helped each other into the trees. Artemis cast a final glance out towards the darkening seas. The sky was beginning to disappear behind a foreboding cloud line, striking an instinctual fear in her heart. She was the last one to leave the sands, turning forcedly towards the mountain and following in the footsteps of her companions.

The End

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