Layke and Harry walked side by side, Harry watching for any enemies and Layke looking for Waiye.
“Are you sure this is the right path?” Harry asked. He is so nervous, the poor thing, Layke thought pitifully.
“No, but we can never be sure, because we’re looking for something, right?”
“Yeah, I suppose so,” Harry said, nodding.
They continued walking for more minutes, looking for something that Layke had almost given up hope on finding. Layke tripped on a dangling vine, and he stopped. Harry continued walking, but after asking one of his aimless questions and receiving no answer, he, too, stopped.
“What’s wrong, Layke?”
Layke bit his lip and looked back at the way they had come. “I think we’ve gone a little too far. We should be sweeping around in a loop and coming back a little further up than where we had left.”
“And we aren’t?”
Layke’s eyes searched the greenery they had walked into. It appeared to be some sort of jungle; a much different environment than what they had just left. “I’m … not exactly sure.”
Harry sucked in his breath and started shaking. Layke wasn’t sure whether he should have said what he had just said anymore. “It’s ok, Harry. I’m sure we’ll find our way back.”
“You mean … we’re lost?” Harry’s eyes widened. Layke shook his head and put out his hands in an attempt to calm Harry down.
“No, I’m sure we’re not. Just don’t panic like you are now and we’ll be fine.”
“Oh, ok. Sorry, I won’t panic.” Harry juddered a little bit. “Well, I’ll try.”
“Good,” Layke nodded, still biting his lip. At this rate, his lip would be in shreds by the time he got back to the others. If he ever got back to the others. Layke shook his head forcefully. “No,” he told himself. “Think positively.”
“Aren’t you thinking positively?” Harry asked, eyes widening. “And I am? That means I have a false hope, doesn’t it?”
Layke looked at Harry. “Calm down, man. You’ll work yourself up into a fit if you keep on going like this.”
“Oh, no,” Harry said, wringing his hands. “Me ma always said that I worked myself up too much. What if I do have a fit? What then?”
“Relax,” Layke said. “If you don’t, you’ll surely have a fit.”
Harry ran off, but before Layke could chase after him, ran back. Then he ran off again and came back. It seemed that this was his equivalent of pacing. After a few laps, he stopped, panting, by Layke’s side.
“Good. You seem to have calmed down a bit,” Layke said, seeing Harry’s silent composure. Then he started walking back the way they had come. “Harry, we’re going back.”
“Aren’t you going to look for Waiye?”
“She’s evidently not here,” Layke said. Harry scuttled up to join him.
“And if we go back the way we came, doesn’t that mean we won’t be ending up a bit further than where we started off?”
“But Linda said that that was where we were going to meet up!”
“Yes, but I doubt we can find the way back easily in this position, let alone find a way up a bit further from where we came.” There was a silence in which only Layke and Harry’s breathing could be heard. “And besides, I think at least one other pair will go back to our starting place instead of further up, anyway. We’ve got a better chance of finding someone else by retracing our path than trying to find a new spot.”
“You’re right. So everything’s going to be fine, isn’t it?” Harry asked.
“Yes,” Layke said, trying to convince himself more than Harry. If only things were that simple.