BREAKING THE SURFACE
The fresh scent of the lush grass and caress of the gentle wind was equally as therapeutic as the basic routine Camile was performing. She found that the organic scenery of the meadow worked wonders in easing her tension, which is why she often meditated there in her spare time. Ironically, it wasn’t far from where she was nearly kidnapped just weeks earlier. Yet, she was unafraid since the compound was just a stone’s throw behind her and security had been stepped up since the attack.
Sitting upon a rock, she admired nature’s majestic work. It was an unusually warm afternoon and a few harmless feathery clouds flirted around the sun, slowly drifting across the sky. She laughed as she watched Excelsior chasing a blackbird in the distance. The tiger looked confused as his prey flew away. Moments later, he hissed into the open air and bolted past Camile, presumably to return to his den.
“Aw, no one likes a sore loser, Excelsior.” She chuckled.
Taking a swig of water from her canteen and returning it to her bag, she decided to take the tiger’s lead and head back to the compound. As she stood, something stole her attention. Shielding her eyes from the sun, she saw the earth buckling just beyond where the tiger had been hunting. It expanded like a bubble, but the grassy surface didn’t break. Instead, it rolled toward her as though the earth had swallowed something at least fifteen feet in length and about a third as wide. Several others appeared in rows and suddenly Camile found herself in the path of a strange terranean stampede.
Stunned, she wondered what kind of creatures were lurking beneath the lush foliage. They possessed a wicked speed that could outpace even the swiftest sprinters. Still, that didn’t stop her from running as she hoped they wouldn’t attack once they inevitably reached her. By now, the approaching guards were on high alert, urgently calling for her to run faster. Weapons drawn, they soon surrounded her, attempting to escort her to safety.
Looking back, Camile feared they may have made a one way trip. The mysterious heaps were now merely yards behind them. She could now see their large glowing eyes piercing the rustling blades of grass. Familiar rumbles filled the air and shook the ground, but it wasn’t until she saw the glint of metallic teeth that she finally realized what they were up against. As the grass faded, it became clear that these were no living creatures.
“Quick! Step aside,” she cried urgently.
One guard attempted to protest, so she pulled him perpendicular to their current course until they met something solid, yet invisible. Somehow, she knew their best shot at survival was to lean flat against the surface, side by side. And so, she quickly ordered the others to do just that. Reluctance was written clearly on their faces, but time didn’t allow the luxury of argument. Within a matter of seconds they were engulfed by a narrow tunnel, the wind from the passing vehicles roaring in their ears and tugging at their hair and clothes.
Camile could now see the tiled wall her back was hugging for dear life. She didn’t dare breathe too deeply out of fear she’d compromise the precious space that separated her from certain impact. This changed when she felt herself sink rapidly into the wall. Gasping, she reached out to brace herself only to grab the sleeve of one of the officers, who was also falling. Soon, the exhaust-tainted air grew still. The perilous passageway had vanished, leaving Camile and the officers lying face-up in the grass.