Why was I so uncomfortable?
I tried to move. Numbness weighed down my arms and legs, exhaustion threatened to pull me under. At least warmth flowed through this place. I moaned and considered opening my eyes. A hint of light penetrated my eyelids. I considered glancing around at my surroundings. I kept my eyes closed, afraid if I opened them the light would be much brighter and pierce through my skull like a knife. I slipped back into an unconscious state.
The numbness in my arms and legs drove me back up from oblivion. My head still throbbed dully. I took my time peeking through my eyelashes, careful not to aggravate the obnoxious ache more.
I blinked a couple of times, trying to remember what happened. My memory was fuzzy and took a moment to penetrate my cloudy mind. I laid on my side staring at what looked like a cave wall. Okay. I closed my eyes. I knew who I was, which was a good sign. I brought the images of Rose, Chase, Max, Bear, Tree, Killer, and the girls into my vision and tried to piece the puzzle together. My memory wasn’t totally gone, but my thoughts were too jumbled, and the throb in my head had slowly become a splitting headache.
I opened my eyes again. Why was I in a cave? How did I get here? If I figured that out everything should fall into place. I attempted to stretch out, my body wouldn’t budge. Great! Steadily, I lifted my head off the dirt and rock covered floor and twisted my neck, glancing behind me.
My hands were tied behind my back with a rope, attached in a knot to more rope, attached to my feet. I thought I’d go insane from the numbness. I commanded my hands to move, sending prickly sensations into my fingertips as I glanced around. The fire behind me kept me warm and as far as I could tell, I was alone.
I glanced back at the fire. The most damage I could do was burn my flesh. I debated on waiting until my hands had more movement in them. Not sure how much alone time I’d been given I gritted my teeth, rocked my body, forcing my knuckles into the ground, giving myself the momentum to flip over. I now faced the fire. Holding my breath, I clenched my teeth against the pain shooting through my limbs, and flipped again. I glanced over my shoulder and spied a medium size branch sticking out of the fire, smoldering. I measured the distance between the rope and the branch, then wiggled and pushed my way toward it with the side of my face and shoulder. The movement provided to be excruciatingly difficult.
I stopped. My breath a labored rush. Sweat soaked my face and shirt. The fire ignited a hot blaze on my wrists. I glanced back again, a tremor rocked me. I rested a half inch away from burning a chunk of flesh out of my hand. I needed to push myself up and back. My face stung and my energy was quickly draining. I laid there for a few minutes with tears in my eyes.
Focus Montana, you can do this, my small voice whispered. I blinked the tears away, pulled up as much of my reserves as possible, and shimmied over to the branch.
I touched the rope, holding my arms and legs taut, to the burning branch and felt it give. I jerked my legs down, breaking the rope. I glanced over my shoulder again, making sure I hadn’t set myself on fire. The tangled break glared back at me, blackened and scorched.
Massive waves of pain marched up my limbs as the numbness dissipated. What do I do now? I knew I should be scared, but my tired brain wouldn’t allow the emotion to surface. Fear wasn’t an option anyway. I really needed a nap, but I needed to escape too. I almost wished I was scared, the emotion would give me the adrenaline kick I needed. I searched my mind again for the memories that were lost to me. It sure would be nice to know what I was up against, and why I was here.
First things first, I had to get my hands in front of me again. Then I could singe off the ropes around my wrists. I groaned, rolled onto my back, pulled my shoulders back, and brought my arms down. Lifting my hips, I looped my arms around and through my bent knees.
With my arms now in front of me I stretched, examined the rope around my wrists and frowned. The rope was tied so tight around my wrists my hands had a slight purple tint to them. I’d cause myself significant pain burning the rope off. The next best thing to do would be to untie the rope at my ankles, at least then I’d be able to walk.
I bent down to examine the rope better, thinking maybe if I could pull my boots off, the bindings would loosen enough to slide off. I yanked on one of my boots, something shifted against the side of my shin. I pressed my fingers hard against my leg, locating the object. Excited, I tugged at the leg of my jeans until I managed to drag the material through the rope and over my boot.
I blinked my eyes. Blood rushed to my head, my ears buzzed, and my hands started shaking. A knife. I freed the blade from my boot and glanced around at my surroundings. The silence would have been eerie if not for the constant crackle and pop of the fire.
I started cutting away at the rope around my ankles. When the rope frayed enough I tugged off my boots, hoping to find more buried treasure. They were empty. I pushed them back on and stretched my weary legs.
Through trail, error, agony from my hands cramping, and only dropping the knife a few times, the rope around my wrists loosened. After getting my hands free I examined my wrists. I’d only sliced my flesh a few times, but not too deep. Actors in movies made cutting through rope look so much easier than it actually was.
I collected the rope, added it to my current stash in my jacket pocket, shook my arms, and moved my fingers and wrists to expel the numbness. The only thing that felt like it received the most damage was my head. Tenderly I touched the back of my skull just above my neck. My fingers ran across a swollen gash with dried blood covering it. I vaguely remembered being knocked unconscious, but couldn’t dredge up the full memory. Was the incident that traumatic or was it where I got hit? I convinced myself my memories would come back, eventually. Right now I needed to conjure up an escape plan.