Some sensation is coming back. Some movement again. Too much. Stop it. Back to the darkness.
When she emerged from the depths of unconsciousness first thing she heard this dialogue:
“A girl. Never seen one before?”
“Ha Ha. She new up here. Since when do they send girls? Why bruised all over? What has happened?”
“Search me. Can you do something for her?”
“Not much right now. I'd just leave her to wake up on her own, and then we'll see what needs to be done.”
Thank goodness for so much wisdom. She opened her eyes. Sunlight was filtering through numerous crevices in the wooden shack she had been brought to. And she was lying on something softer than the floor. That was one big improvement. Another one was the fact that the pain was less tremendous than it used to be. Time for some answers.
“W-” Her lips were dry, and her tongue stuck to the palate. She tried to swallow, but there was nothing fluid enough to be swallowed.
Two heads turned, one blond, one dark. She tried to sit up, but her body felt like somebody else's. She closed her eyes again. This is ridiculous. Concentrate, girl. You can do it. Muscles? Hello? Do you hear me? I am awake. I am in charge. You obey! Now get me up!
She concentrated on her arms, belly and legs, and indeed, she managed to push herself into a more upright position.
Two boys rushed to her side to support her. Her arms shot up instinctively, building up her defence, hitting the blond boy's arm. “Away!”
Obediently the two boys backed away. “Ho-wow, easy there.” - “Just wanted to help.”
She carefully looked around. “Water. Please.”
The dark-skinned, black-haired one handed her a glass of water; and she bathed her dry upper lip in the delicious wet before taking the first gulp. And another one. And all of the water. “More. Please.”
Her glass was refilled, and she drank. Only now she felt alive again, and though her body was still aching all over it was a pain she could master.
“Where am I?”
Now the blond boy took over, the slim one with the boyish face. Had she seen him before? She couldn't remember. “We call it the Glade. It is surrounded by walls. You can't leave, but it's not too bad.”
The dark-skinned boy snorted. “How could it be worse?”
“If you don't shut your bloody hole right now, I can make it worse for you, believe me”, the blond boy retorted calmly without even turning his head. Nevertheless the two of them seemed to get along quite well, since the dark-skinned one took the rebuke with a grin.
“Who are you?”, the girl wanted to know.
“Name's Newt. This is Jeff. He's a Med-jack. Means he knows something about healing people.”
“Do you know something, too?”
The blond boy called Newt furrowed his brows and opened his mouth. And shut it again. Blinked and said: “Uh. Yes. I mean, of course.”
Jeff sniggered and hastily occupied himself with some medical stuff a few feet away.
But the girl went on asking questions: “Why can't I leave?”
“Hm? Oh. Surrounded by walls.” Obviously Newt had been thinking of something very else, maybe the things he knew something about.
“And can I not climb them?”
Newt shook his head. “No, you can't do that. We tried. But that's not the point. You can walk through the doors. The problem lies beyond.”
The girl frowned. “And what is beyond the walls?”
He sighed. “You ask a lot of bloody questions, girl. Far to much. Just calm down and take it as it is. It will all come to you in a couple o' lovin' days.”
She tilted her head to one side and fixed him. “I am calm. And I'd be so much calmer if you'd just answer my questions. I hate not knowing.”
Newt scanned her up and down. “Do you feel strong enough?”
She glared at him through squinted eyes. “For what?”
“Come and see.”