Chapter 11: Rock Bottom Depth

The smell of earth was heavy and moist. Light was dim and without consistency. Jule's awareness of her surroundings came slowly and without linear observations. Straw laid beneath her. The scent of mud hung onto every inhale. Behind her eyelids, Jule sensed she was not alone as a figure blocked pieces of the flickering light. Her hand was locked in the hand of another. Tightly, fearfully clenched in a small smooth hand not unlike her own.

Urging her eyes open, she saw him. Sitting by her on the ground, knees bent into his chest and head wearily buried in them, Gabe held her hand willing her back to consciousness. So focused on all that she heard about HER last night, she had forgotten that his future now seemingly interlaced with hers.

"Good. We must move on." Gray Man gruffed somewhere in the distance. He must've seen her eyes flicker with consciousness. Gabe stirred, and Jule knew she had to force herself to fully open her eyes and adjust to this hole.

However, upon opening her eyes, this was not just a hole. Sure, where she sat was a deeply dug hole. The latch that had revealed the hole from above ground was now a seamlessly towering ceiling. The ancient ladder laid at her feet. Straw covered the floor beneath her, but next to her, a latch similar to the one that had revealed the hole led to an expansive hallway winding its way to infinity. Gray Man was standing by the latch expectantly watching Gabe and Jule.

Gabe nudged Jule, defeatedly shrugging.

Her exit - blocked. Freewill - denied. Ability to make a sound decision - wholly lacking. Fighting chance - obliterated.

This was not the time. But she would escape again. Successfully.

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