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Swallowed by Earth

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“Cain wake up! This is the third time I’ve been in your room, don’t make me get the water!” Cain instantly sat up at the threat. He didn’t want cold water poured all over him again. 

“I’m up! I’m up! Now get out of my room!” Cain called to J, his older brother, while throwing his pillow in J’s general direction. Now that his pillow was somewhere on his floor, he had to get up.

He rubbed his hand over his face, glancing at the clock.

7:21 am.

That leaves, like 39 minutes to get ready for school. Right? 

Cain changed then ran into the kitchen with 8 minutes to spare, grabbing a waffle off of J’s plate and shoving it into his mouth. 

”You could’ve asked for it, I would’ve just given it to you. But no, we were raised barbaric apparently.” J mumbled to no one specific. It made Cain snort, 

He gave his mom a kiss on the cheek and headed to the door,

”I’ll meet you in the car J, if you’re even a minute late today, I’ll start your car with a screw driver and leave without you.” Cain said, his voice indicating the he’s not joking.

”Cain Matthew. You will do no such thing.” His mother huffed, looking up from her newspaper “Now go put on your winter coat, it’s cold out there and I don’t want to take care of you if you get a cold!” She was right, Boston winters were cold and the heating in J’s car had gone out a few days ago, but Cain never got sick, so he didn’t care, and left the small apartment after yelling a short ‘I love you’. 

He jogged down the carpeted steps, making a detour to stop by his friends apartment,

“School time, Harold!” He called while knocking on the door of apartment 10D, A smiling, black haired teen, came out with his crutches, and book bag. 

“Dude, you’ll never guess what happened on my Minecraft world last night-“ the boy, Harry, started as the duo made their way to the beat up gray car. Cain opened the door for Harry, the crossing to the other side of the car to get in and wait for J.

“Alright, I was only 2 minutes late today, that’s a new record, now let’s head to school.” J said as he got into the car, putting his thermos of coffee in the holster. 

Cain tried to reach for the coffee, only to get his hand swatted away,

“Nope,” J said popping the p, “only big boys get coffee.”

“J! Come on! I’m almost 16,” he pouted.

”Yeah, and I’m 18. Respect your elders.” J said, making Harry laugh. They all carried on casually chatting until the car came to a rough stop. 

“Damn Boston traffic.” J hissed. Cain looked around, all the other cars were moving, why did this one stop? Finally the car in front of them moved and they were met with a small, just standing in the road. 

“J, go around.” Harry said, voice sounding anxious.

”I know what I’m doing, Harry.” J spat, while honking at the man.

J tried to go around but the man would just move in front of them. 

“Maybe we should just turn arou-“ before Harry could finish his sentence, the man lunged at the car, trying to climb up the hood.

”WHAT THE F-“ J started yelling as he threw his car in reverse, he was cut off by the shattering of the windshield.

”GO GO GO!” Harry yelled, and suddenly they were driving backwards, at full speed, in the middle of a busy Boston road, and somehow this mystery man was keeping up. Harry reaches through the opening between J’s seat and the driver’s door and hit the door unlock button, kicking open his door,

”I’ll hold him off, keep driving, get home. Your mom will know what’s happening.” 

“No offense Harry, but how will you hold this man off? You’re a cripple!” Cain yelled. 

“Just trust me!” Harry yelled. His black hair flapping in the wind coming from the broke windshield. 

Cain gave him a small nod and he launched himself out of the small car. J wiped the car around and they were no longer driving backwards, just the wrong way. That somehow was better than their previous arrangements.  

Cain twisted in his seat and watched at the mystery man grew wings, grabbed Harry, who was standing perfectly fine without his crutches, and flew into the sky. He screamed and turned back around, shut his eyes tightly and told himself that he’d be ok, that he’d wake up at any moment.

~~

Cain and J arrived back at their complex. They ran all the way to their floor, not wanting to wait for the elevator now that they were pumped full of adrenaline and fear, but their fear only rose when they saw their apartment door wide open. 

“Oh my god.” J whispered as they made their way into the living room. Everything was trashed. The couch was flipped over, the TV was smashed, the pots and pans from the kitchen were everywhere, even the carpet was torn and raised away from the floorboards in places. 

“Mom?” Cain calmed, there was no response. Maybe she was still hiding from whatever intruder did this. 

They split up and searched every room, not speaking until J called his name,

”Cain! I think I found something,” he called, walking in to the room Cain was searching. 

It was a letter, all it contained was an address to somewhere in Long Island and a little note that said-

get to camp,

Jove take care of Cain, keep him safe

I love you’

It was very clearly their mom’s handwriting.

Both boys stood in silence and stared at the letter, then Cain threw himself into J’s arms, J could feel how Cain was shaking and Cain could hear J’s racing heart but neither boy cried. 

Cain emptied his red backpack, because it was sightly bigger than J’s, it was weird seeing his notebooks on the ground with the pots and pans next to his geometry homework and his chemistry pre-test packet laying on some shards of glass from the TV. He put one change of clothes in the bottom for both of them, a bunch of granola bars in the bottom (all but free because J was allergic), a few packs of chocolate fudge poptarts, 6 bottles of water, a bottle of Tylenol (just in case), a wad of cash (both boys put in all their savings, totaling about $200), the note from their mom, a picture of the three smiling and eating ice cream (Cain didn’t tell J about this one), a couple pairs of gloves, a flashlight, a small first aid kit, a kitchen knife for both of them, and a small Swiss Army knife that has a screw driver on it. They headed towards the door. 

“Wait,” J said, “Let’s put on our winter coats, it’s cold out there and I don’t want to take care of you if you get a cold.” Cain cracked a small smile. 

~~

The car ride was long, and cold. Not only did the heat not work but now the windshield was cracked open and they had to deal with. 

“I didn’t get to say I love you” J said, breaking the silence.

”Wh-what?” 

“This morning.” He choked, “I didn’t say I love you, she told me I was running late and I just got up and ran, the last words I said to her were ‘Oh shit, gotta go’ and now we might not see her agai-” 

“Don’t say that, Jove. You’re scaring me.” Cain spat. J shut up, leaving the two to sit in silence. 

After a few minutes, J spoke up, “I’m starting to get hungry, it’s basically lunch time, you wanna stop?” Honestly, they had only been on the road for about an hour, they’d only gotten lost once, since they had no map or GPS and were relying solely on road signs 

“I’m not really hungry. But we can stop, I guess.” Cain said.

They car pulled into a Mcdonald’s, J turned to Cain.

”Hey bud, look at me,” their eyes met, “I don’t know what you saw back their, with... Ya know- Harry... but, you’re strong, and we’re gonna get to this camp together. I know we’re only half brothers, but I’m here for you.” J paused, lightly ruffling Cain’s blonde mop of curls, “I got you bro.” He said, causing Cain to huff a forced laugh. 

They went into the restaurant and ate, though Cain only really picked at his nuggets, J scarfed down his burger.

”We should really be getting back on the road soon, we should me I’m Long Island by 3:00ish if we don’t stop again.” J said, “I’m about to head to the bathroom, then I’ll be ready to go.” Cain nodded at his words, not really listening to them, and watched as J walked to the bathroom.

”Long Island, yeah?” A voice came from Cain’s left, he jumped at the sound of it, “Shouldn’t you be in school?” The man asked.

”Some stuff just came up, family emergency, I guess...” Cain said, he pulled the excuse right out of his ass, lying was never his forte.

”Well, good luck on your journey, I hope you don’t run into any other beasts on your way.” Cain froze, eyes slowly railing up to meet the man’s, “You are destined to be a very important man, Cain. On which side? That’s for you to decide.” The man spoke lowly, his dark eyes twinkling. Cain’s heart was thumping so hard in his chest he was worriedly explode. The man pushed Cain’s book bag closer to him with his foot, Cain instantly snatched the bag and held it against his stomach, now standing. 

“I put a few things in their that you might need, good luck.” The man said, smiling.

”Hey, Cain I’m ready!” J’s voice called from behind him, he spun around, “Woah, you look spooked, everything alright?” 

“There was just this-“ he went to turn to the old man but he wasn’t there anymore, “Actually... it was nothing, let’s just go.” Cain said, J didn’t press for answers, he was content with the one he got. 

They got back to the car, J put the keys in but it didn’t start. He tried again, and nothing. 

“That moth-manust’ve come a number on it,” J laughed, “looks like we’re on foot now, break out the gloves, Cain.”

They gathered a few items from the car, like a lighter, a few cents of loose change, and the screw driver Cain had joked about earlier, and started their trek on foot, leaving the car behind. 

They journey was cold, they got some weird looks from people driving by on the highway, Cain would’ve felt weird about it but his stomach was protesting too much to be worried about his image,

“J, can we stop for a second, just, like, take a granola bar break?” J agreed and they stopped by a small wooded area, sitting on some tree stumps, they broke out their granola bars, laughing at how neither of them could open the packaging with their fuzzy gloves on, yet neither of them wanted to take them off. Eventually they were opened and Cain looked to try and find the ‘gifts’ from the creepy McDonald’s man, all he could find was a coin, slightly larger than a quarter, it was a rose gold color, it looked clean yet it had an ancient feel too it. Cain twirled it around his fingers a few times, only for it to fall. No big deal, right? Well, it was pretty weird when the dirt around it started to grow around and cover the coin, Cain quickly plucked it out of the dirt, deciding it was no longer a toy and put it in the pocket of his book bag.

 

~~ 

After a few more hours of walking, they reached the bottom of a hill, shrouded with woods,

”I guess we're here.” J said 

“This doesn’t exactly look like a camp.” Cain scoffed.

”Its probably at the top of the hill, dumbass. Let’s keep walking.” 

The ground beneath their feet kept rumbling, not enough to throw off their balance, but enough to be noticeable. 

About halfway up the hill, a ball of dirt suddenly hit J right in the middle of his back, making hulk fall forward.

Cain flipped around to see a grass-looking monster running their way. 

“J get up, J we need to go-“ Cain said pulling at J, not taking his eyes off the monster, watching it get closer. “J, we need to MOVE!” he yelled as they started running. Cain pulled the pocket knife out of the side of his book bag, opening one of the blades, he knew the monster was getting closer, each step it took felt like little mini earthquakes, and they were getting stronger each second,

”Cain we can’t out run it,” J yelled,

”We’re almost to the top! Come on!” Cain begged.  

“Turn around and fight me.” The voice was deep, rumbling, and came from all directions. The next tremor was strong enough to knock both boys off their feet sending them rolling a few feet, Cain felt his ankle snap underneath him and his book bag  get knocked off his back. They were almost at the top of the hill too, where a light was coming from, a couple figures were underneath the light their running around with frantic movements.

J was now closest to the book bag, he opened the side pocket and pulled out the screw driver, driving it into the stomach of the monster that was now looming over him, it didn’t nothing but anger him. It threw the book bag, and started punching the ground where J had been but he had gotten up and ran further up the hill,

get the coin, use the coin a voice called in Cain’s head,

he stood to get to his book bag but red hot pain shot up through his ankle, and he fell to his knees with a shirt cry of pain. Seeing this, J ran back down, slinging Cain’s arm around shoulders

”No! Get the book bag!”

”just leave it Cain! It’s not that important!” 

“I have to!” Cain yelled, wiggling out of J’s grasp, sliding down the hill to the book bag, he had the coin but now the monster was basically on top of him, 

“I have the coin, I have the coin!” He called at nothing in particular what do I do with it?!” He yelled. He felt the coin growing warmer and then in a flash of light the coin was no longer a coin but a long golden looking sword that seemed to almost be emitting light in his hand. 

“Dude! Why didn’t you do that earlier?” J yelled.

He shoved the blade into the monster’s chest  dragging it down to his stomach, the monster started leaking a golden liquid, J ran down once again, and threw Cain’s arm over his shoulder,

“I have your mother.” The beast rasped, then burst into sparkly dust, Cain and J stopped, where the beast’s feet once were was a spiderwebbing of cracks, that grew and then of the the spiderweb-like cracks blew up into a huge gash in the ground with no visible bottom, and J hanging over the edge eyes with with fear, 

“JOVE!” Cain exclaimed, scrambling to grab one of his hands and pull him over the edge, leaving him dangerously close to falling over the edge, himself.

”Cain, listen, the thing had mom, I’ll find her, ok? I’ll find her, I promise. I’ll come back. We’ll both come back to you.” J was speaking so calmly, almost as if he wasn’t about to tumble into a bottomless abyss.

”J, stop! Come-come on-“ Cain became very aware of the tears falling down his face, but he wasn’t sure when they had started.

“Listen to me!” J snapped, “Let go! I’ll go find mom, you go find Harry, I’ll find you, I promise. Let go, Cain.” 

“I-I can’t loose you too.” Cain pleaded, he was cry now, not sobbing, but definitely crying. He felt weak, but he felt himself being pulled down harder than before, “Wait, are you- Jove, stop letting go! Jove-“ 

“I love you, Cain, let me fall. I’ll come back. I promise.” The figures that had been at the top of the hill were almost there. Cain let out a scream, half of frustration half of pain (because the only thing that was holding him from tumbling into the pit was a tree root he managed to hoot his broken ankle in).

“I love you, I love you, I’ll find you, I promise I’ll find you, I’m sorry.” Cain sobbed, and he let go. He would’ve watched J fall, but the pit closed. Cain dropped his sword and dug at the dirt with his hands, the sword turned back into a coin and reappeared in his pocket, he would’ve been fascinated but he was too busy screaming and hitting the ground.

One of the figures had reached him, Cain turned, pointing the screw driver (the closest weapon he had other than the coin) at the person, he was slightly short but probably the same height as Cain, pale, and had very dark hair. Cain realized he probably looked silly, maybe even pathetic, because he was using a screw driver as a weapon while this guy had a black sword on his hip,

”I’m not a monster, I’m here to help, A medic’s coming down soon, you good to meet him halfway or do you want to stay here?” Dark haired boy asked, Cain just stared.

”I’m Nico, by the way. I saw what happened, was he your boyfriend?” 

Cain huffed a humorless laugh, “Brother, well, half-brother, but still family.”

”I know what it’s like to lose a sibling.” Nico said, his voice sincere yet monotone, “We’ll find him though, don’t worry.” 

Another boy had made his way down, he had curly hair, a lot like J’s but blonde instead, he had blue eyes, tanned skin (or maybe it was pale, Cain couldn’t tell, it was dark), but he was covered in freckles.

”Hi there, I’m Will, I’ll be your doctor, we really need to get inside camp borders though, do you think you can walk?” Will asked,

”Um- I don’t know?” Cain replied, he put one arm around, will’s shoulders and the other around Nico’s, and slowly hobbled his way to the borders.

past the borders, the camp was beautiful, there was lush green grass, and tall pine trees, and rows and rows cabins, and an archery range to one side and a field of something to the left, Cain decided he’d appreciate the beauty later.

he made his way to what Will called the ‘infirmary’ where they patched up a few of his scratched and pit his ankle in a splint, Nico had dropped off his book bag, 

“Here eat this, only a few bites though.” Will said as he handed him a small yellow brownie-like bar, Cain took a small bite off the edge, it tasted exactly like the Blueberry oatmeal is mom makes him over the weekends, with just the right amount of sugar  

“What’s it taste like? It’s different for everyone.” Will asked,

”Well, oatmeal, I guess.”

”huh, that interesting,” will commented, “I never caught your name?” 

“Oh, I’m Cain, Cain Shaw.” 

“Welcome to Camp half blood, Cain Shaw.”