It was early morning now. Probably, four in the morning. Shawn's eyes opened. He checked his phone to see what the current time was 4:13. He looked around and was shocked to see that Dixie and Troy were back. He saw that to his left Lara was sleeping peacefully whereas to his right there was Dixie sleeping just as peacefully. Troy was sleeping on a blanket all the way across the room. He didn't want Lara to wake up to such a scene. She was already paranoid of the fact that Dixie kept coming towards Shawn.
Shawn very carefully lifted Dixie up in his arms and put her beside Troy. She didn't feel a thing which relieved Shawn. He carefully woke up Lara.
Shawn: Lara. Come on babe, wake up.. Lara. Come on get up.
Lara finally woke up and gave Shawn a hug. The two went out back to brush their teeth using very little water and the toothpaste they packed.
Shawn: Let's eat something real quick and leave.
Lara: No. Let's take the food with us. We can't stay here much longer. If any one of them woke up then it'll be a disaster.
The two walked and quietly packed in whatever it was that they had taken out. They folded their blankets. Shawn stuffed half of his belongings into Lara's bag so her could stuff the tiny cooler into his bag. He carried both the bags out and kept it up against the door. He grabbed a tiny polythene that was laying around at Troy's feet and stuffed some cooked meat. The two quickly changed facing their backs at each other. They quickly stepped out of the tiny house. Lara felt a hand on her shoulder. When she turned, she saw it was Troy.
Shawn: Troy, thank you so much for letting us stay with you. But, its about time we leave.
Troy: Are you sure? You guys are welcome to stay as long as you like?
Lara: Troy, we gotta go. Let Dixie know we said thank you.
Troy: For sure. Hold on.
Saying this Troy went in a brought a polythene bag with a few cans in it. They were cans of pasta and soup and alongside were two water bottles.
Troy: Please accept this, I insist.
Lara: Thank you.
Lara accepted the bag and handed it to Shawn. Shawn put it in his bag. Troy also handed over a bag with first aid stuff.
Troy: Just in case you need it. Stay safe.
Shawn took the bag and stuffed it with his belongings as well. Lara and Shawn hugged Troy goodbye and set out on their way.
Lara: So, how far is this safe house?
Shawn: It's far and we don't know if its a safe house. It could be dangerous as well.
Lara: It has a small one room, which is on the ground floor and a giant basement. That my dear, is a safe house.
Shawn: Ok, ok. As you say.
Lara: Shawn, we need to figure out how to escape this jungle before anyone else gets killed.
Shawn: You're right but, we need to stay here long enough to find clues to the way out.
Lara: Look! It's the door of the base.
The creepy wrestler guy or York, was standing there with the door open eyeing Lara and Shawn fiercely.
York: You two!!! Get in here. Fi-Caal needs all players here for a meeting.
A meeting? All of sudden? Lara and Shawn looked at each other in confusion. They both knew that they had to go in.
York: Don't just stand there!!! GET IN!!!!!
York yelled loudly, scaring Lara out of her guts.
Shawn: Yes sir. Lara let's go.
Shawn yanked Lara to the other side of the gate.
They walked in and saw a line of people. Lara and Shawn went and stood next to Stephanie and Amy. Lara was beside Amy and she didn't wanna be there but, it was too late to change positions. She didn't wanna anyone's eye.
Soon all the teams arrived. Dixie and Troy were the last to arrive. Dixie looked at Lara in anger. Lara understood that Dixie was furious about the fact that she and Shawn and left the shelter without telling Dixie.
Fi-Caal was sitting down in front of everyone. He seemed to be meditating and mumbling a few words to himself. He finally got up and eyed everyone.
He stood far from all and began to speak in a rough voice.
Fi-Caal: A player has been killed. If I were you, I'd sleep with not one but both eyes open. I can tell from all your faces that you all want out but, it's too late. I wanna tell you a little fact. There are many gates to this place but, only one is currently open. If you want out, you need to find that gate. If you wanna find the gate, you probably wanna survive. The key to this game is to kill the other members so that they don't get out before. I don't care how many of you are left alive but, only one pair will be allowed to walk out. I bet you don't wanna be stuck here for the rest of your life in that deep part of the jungle. You haven't even seen the worst of this place. Good luck. Hope you live.
After hearing this, mostly every pair starting walking away from other competitors. They began to keep far distance from each other. They didn't wanna be near any stranger as Fi-Caal had buried a fear in everyone's head that they would be dying.
Shawn: Come on, let's get out of here Lara.
Lara: Yeah. Don't wanna run into Dixie.
Lara and Shawn began to walk back into the dark, damp area of the jungle. They walked through the gate. York was still standing there. As Lara walked in, York began to eye Lara firmly. He yanked Lara and Shawn to the side.
Lara: What the hell? Let go of me ??!!
York: Shut up and listen.
York was whispering as if he didn't want anyone to hear his voice.
Shawn: York. Sir. Please, explain. I would like to know why in the world you yanked us in this dark corner.
York: Look. You guys seem nice and yesterday, when I was circling the area, I overheard you guys talking about finding a house.
Lara: WTF??!! You are stalking us.
York: NO. I wanna let you know that the basement is safe to live in. Lock the trapdoor to the basement and it will blend into the floor. That way you guys can be safe. You guys are the only pair that doesn't seem vain so this is a little help for you.
Lara: Ummmm.... . Ok.
York: Now, get the hell lost.
York shoved the two and both of them fell straight on the ground. The both used each other as a support to get up. But, when they looked up, York was no where to be seen.
Lara: Shawn ?
Shawn: Yeah ?
Lara: What just happened?
Shawn: I don't know either but, if he's telling the truth then we are good to go. Come on, let's keep going.
Lara: Yeah. We better get to a safe place before someone kills us,
Shawn: Lara, no one is going to kill us.
Lara: I hope so.
The two walked on silently for almost an hour now. The silence was killing them both, especially Lara. She decided to say something to make the silence end.
Lara: How much longer? I'm literally so exhausted. I think we are further in than all the other pairs.
Shawn: This jungle is huge and after what Fi-Caal said, I don't think anyone is gonna be near each other. I think they all probably spread out.
Lara: Yeah, that's possible.
All of a sudden they came to an encounter with a large Banyan Tree.
Shawn: We're here.
Lara: The tree?
Shawn: Come on follow me.
Lara followed Shawn. She couldn't see any house. All of a sudden, he showed her an opening in the banyan tree. It was near the bottom..
Lara: Is that a rat hole?
Shawn: It's a surprise for you. Come on.
Saying this, Shawn carefully climbed in to the hole. Lara was shocked. He was inside the ground and was visible through the hole.
Shawn: Come on, hop in.
Saying that, Lara began to look around. She saw few branches, shrubs and a boulder. She went and began to drag the boulder. It was heavy but, it finally reached beside the opening in the tree.
Shawn: What are you doing?
She moved the boulder towards the hole and left a distance between the opening and and boulder. She grabbed the shrubs and branches. She held them and crawled in the hole. She covered the hole with the branches and shrubs. She covered it so that if anyone passed their way, they wouldn't see it.
She looked around. There was a hollow, underground space and in front was a house. She was shocked to see it.
They walked in. And there was a tiny room. Shawn opened a trapdoor in the floor. There was a ladder. They climbed down. There was a large room, a bathroom and a third room with a large ,soft bed.
Lara: Oh my god!!! Shawn, this is amazing.
Lara hugged Shawn tight. Shawn did the same.
Lara: Shawn, now that we have a place to stay, we really need to start looking for that open gate.
Shawn: Yeah, you're right. We need to be the first to find the gate and leave or else we might get trapped here.
Lara: How do we find the gates?
Shawn: Well, this place is basically located in the middle of the jungle. We need to find the right direction.
Lara: Ok. That's gonna be quite tough.
Shawn: Yeah but, we need to get started soon, otherwise someone else might reach before us.
Lara and Shawn began to explore the place. She found a piece of paper folded lying on the ground. She opened it and it looked like a map.
Shawn came running towards Lara,
Shawn: What happened?
Lara showed Shawn the map. He looked surprised to see it.
Shawn: Wait a second. Lara, I think you've found the map of the jungle.
Lara: Are you serious?!
Shawn: Yeah. Look.
Shawn pointed to a brown square in the middle of the map.
Shawn: This is where we currently are right now. And look, the borders of the map have labelled the gates.
They carefully observed the boundaries of the map. Only to notice that there were only four gates on the map.
Lara: There are only four gates over here. What about the rest ?
Shawn: I need these are the ones we need to pay attention to. Lara, at midnight we set out and try to find the first gate and hopefully try to make it back in time.
Lara: Shawn, are you sure ?
Shawn: Do you trust me ?
Lara: Yes I do.
Shawn: Then you gotta trust me with this plan.
Lara: Ok Shawn.
Lara notices something written at the top left corner of the map. It was written "Mission Gate".
Shawn and Lara gave each other a good stare and then began to unpack their untidily stuffed. Shawn began to unpack foos whereas Lara began to unpack blankets and other things which she had brought. Lara also had bug spray with her. She looked around and picked up a stick from a nearby corner. She began to break spider webs and spray them with bug spray. She also sprayed areas which seem to be worm or roach infested. Shawn began to tidy up the bathroom and see if it worked whereas Lara began to tidy up the bedroom. By the time they were done, it was around 7:30 pm. They're phones had high battery and they saved it to check time. They had cleaned the house and the basement looked much better. It wasn't the best but it definitely worked for them.
Shawn and Lara were extremely exhausted. They spread a blanket on the ground and sat on it. The two sat and began to rest for a bit.
Though there was only one thing going through their mind, what was gonna go down tonight?