“How are we going to find Waiye?” Layke asked, looking at the inmates gathered around him. They were sitting on the ground in a circle, shivering against the cold and wishing they had a fire. Layke smiled at the number of new recruits that he had gotten from merely asking. They hadn’t reported him like he had expected; even the ones who didn’t agree with him hadn’t. Layke supposed they were too bitter against the government to want to help them.
“Just sweep around, I suppose,” Alexandria said, shrugging. “There isn’t any other way to go about it.”
“We should split up,” one of the new recruits said. “Then we can cover more ground.”
“But is it safe?” Priscilla asked.
“We’ll just have to make sure that there’s one good runner with every group that splits,” the new recruit said. “That way, if the guards go after them, the good runner can carry their partner to safety.”
“That means the runner will have to be strong, and it also means only two to a group,” Layke said.
“And two isn’t really safe against an attack, is it?” Lucifer said.
“And another problem,” Priscilla said. “There’s really only one well-fed, strong person in the group, and that’s you, Lucifer.”
They all thought for a while. Finally Layke had an idea.
“The only option we have, then, is to travel together as a pack for a few more days, resting and filling ourselves up. It also gives us the advantage of distance between the guards and us. Maybe then it’ll be a tiny bit safer, and more people will be stronger.”
They considered it for awhile.
“Great,” Ella said at last. Her comment was followed by more of the same nature.
“So that’s it, then,” Layke said, smiling brightly at everyone. “It’s decided.”
That night, as they lay in the cave sleeping, Layke stayed awake. He wondered how Waiye could get people to be so faithful to her and follow her without a question. Maybe it’s just a quality that only mysterious forest-girls possess, Layke thought, and mentally shrugged.
He heard a rustle in front of the cave, and sat up sharply, thinking it was an intruder. It wasn’t, though, and Layke lay back down, heart thumping wildly.
Great, he thought, how am I ever going to get to sleep now?
Layke rolled over and instantly fell asleep.