Elder Stow stepped to the front entrance of the cavern. Lockhart and Decker went with him. Elder Stow played with his scanner, and the sound of the storm stopped all at once. “I set the screen to block the storm, but I suppose I should stay here for a while in case others are trying to reach the caves.”
“I’ll stay with him,” Decker volunteered. He had his rifle. Who knew what he thought might try to get into the cave.
Lockhart went back to tell the others, and found them building a huge bonfire in the center of the cavern. “Elder Stow set his screens across the entrance,” he said. “There isn’t going to be any air circulation.”
“There are plenty of cracks in the cave wall,” Mingus said. “I imagine some will start leaking water when the storm really hits.”
“You mean the storm hasn’t hit yet?” Katie asked.
“We don’t let the smoke go where it wants,” Boston explained. “You can’t trust the natural air currents and circulation.” Lockhart nodded, even if he had no idea how that might work. All he really figured was Boston had finally gone fully elf.
“I’m just worried some of those cracks might be hiding a goblin lair, or something worse,” Lincoln said. Lockhart nodded again. Now that was a normal comment from Lincoln, so he figured at least there was nothing wrong with his hearing.
A couple of men tried to keep them from lighting the bonfire for fear they would suffocate everyone or fill the cavern with smoke and force them all out into the storm. Alexis and Kinitap stood in their way. “Eniwah. Spirits,” Alexis said and pointed to Mingus and Boston. “Trust us.”
The men really had no choice, and soon realized they were not all going to die from smoke inhalation. After that, everyone shared around what food they had and settled in to wait for the storm to pass.
Around one in the morning, the rain stopped. The sky cleared enough to see the moon and a few stars. “Is it over?” Elder Stow asked. “That was bad.”
Decker shook his head. “The eye of the storm. Part two will be here in a minute.”
“I want to see,” Boston said, and got up by the entrance. Katie held out one of the discs Elder Stow left with them that would allow people to move through the screens.
“Not needed,” Boston said with a grin. She put her hand through the screens and pulled it back.
“I forgot,” Katie admitted. The screens were not spirit proof, even for the little spirits. “Don’t wander far,” Katie suggested as she went back to the center to build up the fire for whatever they had left to cook.
Boston stepped out into the fresh morning air and looked down the path from the cave to the jungle below. The birds sang to her. The soggy ground smelled fresh and new. For all the ferocity of the typhoon, it renewed the land in so many ways.
Boston thought she might find some plantains or other edibles for breakfast. The people had to be waking up with the sun, even if they did not sleep so well among the rocks, knowing what the storm did to their homes. She walked the path with her eyes open for good things to eat. Her eyes passed over the vine twice before she realized the vine was moving.
“Blob,” Boston yelled and raced up the nearest tree. She stopped about half-way to the top and looked down on the floor of the rainforest. The blob rolled into view. It was bigger than Boston remembered from Rebecca’s day. It appeared to have more tentacles as well, but no one got a really good view of the one that pushed between the door of the house and the door of its ship in that time zone. It was only a fleeting glance.
Boston let out a small “Peep” when the blob stopped at the base of her tree. Boston did not see any sensory organs on the outside of the thing, just the yellow-green Jell-O-like body and plenty of tentacles. All the same, she tried to scrunch down behind the leaves. The blob was not fooled. It wrapped around the tree and began to climb, holding on by some unknown force, tentacles out front, searching.
Boston let out a full shriek and scrambled to the end of the branch where she leapt like a squirrel to a branch on the next tree over. She saw a second blob beneath that tree and shrieked again. She panicked. She did not think of her fire magic or that she might turn invisible, except for the passing thought that the blob did not appear to have any eyes. She did think of her Beretta and panicked again when she realized she was not wearing her belt. In fact, she was not sure where her belt with her knife and handgun had gone. All she thought at that point was to get away, and maybe get back to the path to the cave.
The branch Boston landed on cracked and she scrambled for safety. All three blobs were below her, tracking her moves, and moving much faster than she thought they could move. Boston had one coherent thought when she heard something thumping in the distance. She thought she might make it to safety if she could just get to the path to the cave. She listened to the thumping. It sounded like someone had a club and was banging the distant trees. The ground appeared to shake. Two of the blobs moved off in the direction of the sound. Boston mapped her route in her mind. She would leap three trees before she dropped to the path.
The one blob that remained below her committed to climbing the tree. She had noticed once they started to climb, it took time for them to climb back down. She waited as long as she could. Then she ran.
The first tree was easy, the second tree had a big branch to run down, but the third tree was wobbly. She did not jump as far as she intended. The branch she landed on broke. She fell and screamed, even as a man, swinging on a vine, caught her. They landed on the path and the man yelled.
“Run,” and he added, “I always wanted to play Tarzan.”
Boston ran to the cave entrance, and with a burst of elf speed. She easily outran the man. She phased through Elder Stow’s screen in the cave entrance and turned. The man was doing his best, but the blob was nearly on him, and much faster than Boston believed. The man was yelling something, though the words were blocked by Elder Stow’s screen. All at once, he vanished.
Boston swallowed as Katie and Lockhart ran up. Decker was only a step behind.
“Where did the man go?” Boston asked.
The blob came right up to the entrance, and it shot several tentacles toward the people standing there.