“Do you have it?”
He stared at me, perspiration dripping from his temples. I looked at him, wide-eyed.
“The box, do you have it!”
“The box?” I whirled around, facing the jungle we’d just emerged from. “Cathy has it.”
“I told her you had it.”
“What – I don’t!”
A ripping crash tore through the canopy close behind us. Mark and I had been here too long not to know what that meant. I darted into the greenery without a second thought, and knew Mark had done the same.
Cathy. Cathy has the box. Mark, you fool! I dodged vines, swatted leaves, ran fast as I could without losing my footing. The best Cathy can do is keep up. We agreed.
Suddenly I stopped. Listened. Heard nothing but tree frogs, a toucan, the quietness before a rainstorm. The sky was invisible, obliterated by towering kapoks. The low whir of helicopters. The distance was sufficient.
A moment’s hesitation, bracing myself against a mossy trunk. I had to go back. Mark was too inept. Cathy too trusting. No one had the walkie-talkies, and that was just as well since we’d never developed the Code.
That box was mine. Without it we’d reach the south gate and have nowhere to go. It held the keys.
I took my hand from the tree, silent as a heartbeat, and crept back toward the Tower. Silence was my only chance to retrieve what was ours. I could do this without Mark, but Cathy – I would have liked her by my side.