Bec finds herself in an awkward situation when she agrees to a friend's science experiment
|Bec couldn’t believe her! How could Cynthia just leave her here like this?! She flinched as one of the Gurlocks licked her face. The slimy touch sent unwelcome shivers through her, and she imagined she must look really dumb with the clumps of fur stuck together and sticking up. She clenched her eyes shut and tried not to think about the fact she was about to be sacrificed to some lizard god in some god forsaken cave in the middle of nowhere.
“You better be here soon,” Bec grumbled as the stake she was tied to was lifted and put over a fire. The flames licked at her face as she was rotated like a spit roast.
“Let’s go study the Gurlocks, she said. It’ll be fun, she said.” The flames were getting dangerously close to her fur. Bec strategically scrunched her face to keep her whiskers from getting set aflame. “If I make it out of here alive, I’m never going on another of Cynthia’s stupid experiments.”
Many of the Gurlocks made a ring around the fire and began flailing around. Maybe they were dancing? More like the beginning of the sacrifice ritual, Bec thought to herself. This wasn’t Bec’s area of expertise, she was here primarily for backup while Cynthia did all the actual work. If Bec wasn’t about to be eaten, she would have thought the little lizard men were kind of cute. They all seemed to be enjoying themselves—except for one.
A hunched over Gurlock at the head of the ring, holding what Bec presumed to be some sort of staff made of bones, didn’t look as amused as the rest of group. It stared intently at Bec as she rotated over the fire and she craned her head as she spun around to keep it in her sights. If it wasn’t for the involuntary movement, Bec would have frozen when those wrinkled eyes locked onto her own. Unlike the moist skin of its compatriots that reflected the light of the fire, the Gurlock’s dry, shriveled hide made the sunken black eyes more menacing than they already were.
For a second, their souls were connected before the Gurlock’s lips parted and a low roar sounded. The cry grew with volume and pitch, and it wasn’t long before Bec had to flatten her ears against her head to try to block the sound waves attempting to drill into her skull. Another scream entered the fray and it took her a moment to realize it was her own voice. The Gurlock’s cry was unnatural; although tied down, her limbs felt as if they were stretching apart. Discomfort turned to pain as her head tried to separate itself from her body. Her fingers, toes, and tail were outstretched like arrows prepared to launch away.
A loud crash caused all the noise to silence. Bec sighed in relief as she released what tension she could from her body. An intense twinge of pain made Bec move her tail into view. A small yelp escaped from her lips when she realized it was on fire and she smacked it furiously on one of the dazed Gurlocks that had been tending to her rotating prison.
When it was put out, she noticed the Gurlocks were no longer paying attention to her and her eyes fell upon what caused the noise earlier. It was Cynthia…riding one of the Gurlocks? It reared up on its hind legs and roared before bolting over to where Bec was in the center of the cave. Cynthia threw small capsules that emitted a pink gas before hopping off the Gurlock. She created a small bubble of water surrounding the fire to put it out before cutting at Bec’s ropes. Still shocked at the sight of Cynthia and the whole pack of Gurlocks that suddenly started coughing in bouts, she didn’t even notice Cynthia had begun talking.
“…explosives which is how they make these tunnels. It makes so much sense; I knew these couldn’t be natural.”
Bec’s feet had just touched the ground when Cynthia grabbed her hand and started to run, talking all the way.
“And they really don’t like macklberries, like really, don’t like macklberries. I pulled one out for me and the Gurlock just started going crazy. Made them into these handy bombs though for when it was time to get you out.”
Bec didn’t have time to respond to that last part as there was an explosion directly above them. She awaited death by cave-in, but just felt a jerk on her hand and kept running when the rocks collapsed behind her.
“You know, I keep forgetting you can do that,” Bec said as she glanced a look at the massive boulders that would have crushed her.
“Don’t sweat it. Let’s just get out of here, I’ve done enough observing for the day,” Cynthia replied.
“Same here,” Bec said under her breath.
They continued their run in silence and Bec shielded her eyes against the blinding sun as they burst into the open. Not wanting to stay any longer, she bolted for their horses tied not far from the entrance. Galloping away from the Gurlock camp, Bec could finally breathe normally as her heart rate slowed down.
“So what did you mean by making those bombs for when it was time to get me out? What were you doing that whole time?”
“Observing the ritual, of course. No one’s ever seen the Gurlocks sacrifice to their god; we’ve only collected the remains and we couldn’t understand how they were being torn apart like that.”
Bec stopped her horse and stared in shock at her partner. “You left me there…to observe?”
Cynthia glanced back with a confused look. “Well yeah, but I did say I was going to get you back out.”
“After I was nearly ripped apart by screaming lizards!”
“Relax, they’re not even the worst. I hear the Creones like to bite all their victim’s fingers off first. They’re next on the list.”