His hands won’t stop shaking.
Molly tries clenching them at his sides, gripping the fingers of one hand with the other, but it does nothing to stop the fine tremble. He looks up again, towards the mouth of the pit he’s stuck in, knowing he won’t see more than the faintest hint of a circle at the top. It’s a long way up-well, a relatively far way up. The fact that he can see it means it’s not so far, but it may as well be miles for all that he can get to it, that he can get out.
He tried, when he first fell in, but the sides of the pit had crumbled under his hands, dropping dirt on his head and arms, and it had taken all the inner fortitude he had to keep his panic at bay until Caleb had left, assuring him he’d be back soon with help, that they’d get him out.
No sooner had Caleb disappeared away from the lip of the pit than the ceaseless panic that had been hovering descended. The pressure of it on his chest, flashes of memory, of darkness so deep he doesn’t know what light is, the taste of grave dirt in his mouth, pushing, pressing, crushing him with the weight of destiny, of fate, of his past self’s choices.
He’s sitting now, his back pressed up against the dirt wall, legs pulled up to his chest and arms wrapped around, tail pulled close. He rocks gently, hands still clasped together, still trembling.
He tells himself it’s not the same- it isn’t, he knows it isn’t- but that does nothing to assuage the utter conviction that it’s happening again, that he’s been buried, left, forgotten, and he’ll die here a second time. He wonders if he’ll rise again, as someone else. If he remains stuck if he’ll go through an endless progression of lives, to live in starvation and loneliness and madness, over and over and over and-
No. It won’t come to that. Caleb’s gone for help, and he knows the wizard wouldn’t leave him here, not like this. He’ll be back soon, with Beau, or Fjord, or even Jester, and they’ll help get him out, lickety-split.
He looks up again, the circle at the top still blank, empty, a void.
Just like he was.
He shudders, grips his arms tighter around himself, resting his forehead on his knees and forces himself to breathe, to suck in air even as his mind tells him there’s not enough, that the air grows thin, stale. It’s a lie, a horrible fiction his mind is telling him, and only the pinprick pain of his claws on his arms is keeping him grounded.
Breathe. He just needs to breathe.
He doesn’t let himself look back up again. Continuing to look won’t make someone appear. When the others return they’ll call to him, he knows they will. Looking up again won’t change anything.
He keeps his forehead pressed to his knees, eyes closed. If his eyes are closed he can pretend it’s a normal darkness, not the deep dimness of the grave. He sings to himself, every bawdy drinking song he knows. There’s no song in the stillness of a grave. If he’s singing it means he’s alive. He’ll be okay. He just needs to wait.