THE AIR WAS STALE AND DAMP, and rocks jutted into Raven’s tied hands under his back. His head pounded from the landing, whenever that was, and everything was sore from running and yelling and fighting the spider-net thing. He was afraid to open his eyes. He could hear men talking nearby, and he wasn’t sure he wanted them to know he was awake.
Sudden hoarse laughter from the men made him jolt, and his eyes flicked open just in time to see their boots approaching. The rock above him made it impossible to see the rest of them without sticking his head out first, and Raven wasn’t eager to get his head knocked in again. A pair of boots stopped inches from his nose, and the voice belonging to them high above asked the other pair of boots what to do about this one.
“Check him over an’ set him to work with the others.”
One boot reached out and hit Raven’s knee. “Out,” said the boot. Raven trembled in the rocky bunk bed-style crevice, but he didn’t move. The boot kicked harder. “Out!” it said again. Raven wriggled carefully out into the open, trying without success to avoid scraping his tied hands on the ground. As he moved out, the boots grew legs, then a torso, then shoulders and arms and a soldier’s head. It felt to Raven that all his little army toys had grown to full size, like he used to always want, and decided to get their revenge on him for all the times he’d buried them in the dirt or tossed them in the sink.
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