Title: Fifty Shades of Green
Chapter 7: Aftermath
The explosion deafened me. I heard everything strangely, as if I were under water. Raphael had cuddled me to his chest and leant his weight over me. I struggled to release myself from his grip but it was steadfast. He wasn't moving.
Rubble was all around me. I coughed as dust and debris surrounded me like a tomb.
"Raph …?" I moved my shoulders a little, trying to evoke a response.
Silence. I remembered Mikey's words from yesterday. He would trade his life for yours … you're important to Leo, that's all Raph needs to know.
God, no. I'd never forgive myself if Raph was killed here like this.
"Raph …. please …. answer me …." My hearing had finally returned and my head was splitting with a new infernal pain that lanced through all my bones. There was a shouting noise from above the collapsed building, and I saw daylight as a green hand pushed the rubble aside and a compassionate face looked down at me.
"She's here, Leo. " I blinked up at him. It was Donatello. I hadn't really been introduced to him yet, although I knew he already had all the information he needed on me. "Is Raph with you, pet?"
I nodded, my bottom lip trembling. "He's not moving," My voice was small and unsure, clogged with dust and suddenly I was choking violently.
"Easy. Just take it easy. We'll get you out in a minute. Just try and get some response from Raph if you can." Don disappeared from the hole and I heard the clanging of weapons as a battle ensued from above. My choking became worse and I spat up a bloody mucas ball and shuddered at the sight.
"Urgh, okay, bomb, explosion and kid."
My heart leapt in delight. Raph had come round! I could tell he was groggy and probably confused. "Raph …" I nudged him with my shoulders. "You okay?"
"Are you okay, kid?" Raph immediately rephrased the question and I rolled my eyes. What is it with Ninjas? Is it not alright to be asked how you're doing?
"I'm okay. It's horrid being trapped in here." I admitted, my bottom lip trembling.
"I hear battle from above. My brothers are fighting." I could practically smell Raph's brain as it worked hard to come up with a viable plan. "I'm going to test the weight of the stuff on top of us. My muscles are going to clench and I'm probably going to groan a lot. Don't be worried. I'm not hurt."
I nodded, unsure. I had a feeling he was lying to me about not being hurt.
I felt him tense around me as he tried to lift his bulk through the clutter above. With an almighty roar, he pushed his entire weight through the stuff that imprisoned us, leaving me quaking at his feet. Just how strong was this guy? Sunlight bathed the ruined mess around me as I attempted to stand up. However, Raphael's arm kept me sitting down.
"Not yet, kid. Stay right here." With that, he was gone.
Was he serious? Stay at the bottom of the wreck that used to be the farmhouse? I had no idea what the situation outside was, and for a moment, I listened to the shouts and groans and intense clanking of metal going on just a little way away from the spot I was hidden.
I shivered with cold and fear as I heard desperate voices above and suddenly … he was there.
Leo with swords drawn and looking every inch the lethal warrior towered above me. He looked desperately to the left and to the right. He ordered a command with a single word. "Retreat!"
I cowered at the tone of authority in his voice. He sheathed both swords and grabbed me from the pile of rubbish and sprang off into the nearest woods with me holding on desperately to his neck.
One arm was wrapped around me, preventing me from slipping off his plastron. The other hand held several small metal clusters.
At one point during the flight he turned suddenly, flinging the small metallic disks from his hand and I saw a flash of our pursuers. Dressed in black and extremely intimidating, they were all armed with an assortment of lethal weapons. Burying my head into Leo's neck I could feel his heart pounding with adrenaline as we ran further and deeper into the woods.
I held on, eyes wide, and remained quiet as he kept looking behind him. We had been running for several minutes when he started to slow, looking warily around himself at the woods. His body was slick with sweat and if it had not been for his steadying arm, I would have fallen off him.
"Are they gone?" I asked in a quiet voice against his ear slit.
Leo shook his head, "I'm not sure. We need to stay quiet for a while longer. Are you hurt?"
"I don't think so. Raph took all the rubble, I was sheltered underneath him." I felt horrible about that. Raph could have been killed and I would have been to blame.
"Are you okay?" Leo allowed his free hand to brush my cheek gently. "Don't cry. It's going to be all right."
"What happened?" I asked, looking up into his focused eyes. "Why did the world collapse?"
Leo chuckled, mirthlessly. "A missile launcher hit the farmhouse. We'll need to go somewhere else."
"Where are the others?" I glanced around at the woods. Sunlight streamed between the trees and bathed Leo's muscles in warm, caressing light. I hugged his neck even tighter.
"I'm not sure," Leo murmured. "They got away, I saw them go into the woods."
"What if they've been captured?" I could feel tears forming.
Leo looked into my eyes and smiled reassuringly. "We can't think like that. Not now. We have to find the others and get away from here as soon as we can."
We stayed silent for a moment more, listening to the creaking limbs of shivering trees around us. I had moulded to Leo as tightly as I could, my legs straddling his shell and my heart beating wildly against his plastron.
Finally, we moved slowly through the trees ... and almost ran into Mikey as he careened along.
"Ah! Foot following me. Keep running, Leo," Mikey yelled, barreling away through the undergrowth. As we began to run, following the retreating shell ahead of us, I could hear voices approaching behind us. They began to fade and both Leo and Mikey stopped for a breather, looking around themselves warily.
"Did Raph get out?" Leo panted, shooting Mikey a concerned look.
"He wouldn't leave without April and Casey. Casey wasn't moving, Leo ….. it didn't look good. Last thing I saw was Raph bending over him, maybe giving him CPR." Mikey kicked an errant rock in disgust, "I hate the Foot Clan. If they've hurt Casey …"
"Focus, Mike," Leo was all business as he set me down on a low-lying branch. "We have to hook up with the others. There is a road that converges at the edge of the forest, I think the others will be waiting there."
"Either that or they could have gone to the other side of the forest, Leo. There's a river …. we could make a raft or something," Mikey added.
Leo thought about this carefully for a while. "I don't think they'll take a the river route, Mike. We're looking to get out of this area, hitching a ride downstream is the first place the Foot will look."
"Road it is, then." Mikey seemed pleased that the decision had been made, and was shifting eagerly from foot to foot. "We gonna get going, Fearless?"
I raised an eyebrow and caught Leo's embarrassed blush. "Fearless?"
"It's a silly name the others have given me." Leo admitted.
"I think it's a perfect name." I grinned, tears brightening my eyes. I was trying not to cry and laugh at the same time as becoming hysterical wouldn't help the situation at all.
"We'll be okay," Leo said convincingly. "We just need to make it to the road. Mike? Carry Gia. I'll keep point and watch our backs."
Mikey saluted Leo in a strange way and lifted me into his arms after sheathing his nunchuks. "Come here for a cuddle. You look like you need one."
Mikey was right. I did need a hug. As he lifted me up in the same position Leo had carried me earlier, he wound both arms around me tightly. I buried my head into his muscled shoulder and let the tears flow silently.
The three of us moved onward. As we neared the road, Leo motioned for us to stay whilst he moved forward and scouted the area. "It's clear Mike, come out."
Mikey and I emerged on the empty road. He put me down on a protruding rock and I sank against it gratefully.
"We need a vehicle," Leo mused. "We'll keep out of sight and commandeer the first car that comes along."
"What about the people in the car? We can't leave them behind. The Foot'll splatter them." Mikey reasoned.
"We'll take them with us, Mike, don't worry. I wouldn't leave innocent people behind. Not with the Foot scouring that forest." Leo reassured his younger brother gently.
"Cool. So we wait." Mikey shrugged, sitting next to me by the rock.
Leo was keeping a constant watch and Mikey had put a comforting arm around me.
We had been waiting for about twenty minutes when April and Master Splinter came quietly into our midst. I hadn't heard their approach and I watched as Leo and the Master Rat talked in hushed tones. April looked as white as a sheet. She was having trouble focusing on what was happening and in an instant I knew why she was so confused and troubled.
"What happened to Casey?" I asked Mikey.
Mikey took one look at April and got up warily. He walked over to her and she began to cry as he held her gently against his plastron. He looked at me with sad eyes and shook his head.
Shock and confusion ebbed through me. The man who had driven me down to the farmhouse, the man whom April loved more than anyone in the entire world, was dead? My mouth was dry and I was praying that this wasn't as bad as anyone thought. After all, Raph and Don were still missing. There was no way they would leave Casey behind.
So we waited for someone to drive past and we waited for Don and Raph to join us.
Unfortunately, the road was eerily quiet and the other two turtles had not yet arrived. I began to panic. April sat beside me, mute with shock, as I watched Mikey talking to her gently, his arm still around her shoulders. He seemed reluctant to let her go.
I tried not to listen in to their conversation, being so private, but it was hard not to pick up some details from their hurried conversations. From what I could gather, Casey had jumped on April the moment the missile hit and had taken the majority of the explosion on himself as he protected her. She had been trapped beneath him and had barely noticed the turtles dragging them both out. Raphael had been in the process of administering CPR to Casey and Donatello had been holding off the Foot when the order to retreat was given. Splinter had grabbed her hand and shepherded her through the forest away from the Foot. Looking over her shoulder, she had seen both Donatello and Raphael making a beeline for the trees at the back of the smouldering mess of a farmhouse with Casey's limp form thrown over Raph's shoulder.
It didn't look good for Casey.
As the weather turned foul and rain hit us, we were a miserable lot, gathered around and huddled together to conserve heat. We had decided to remain close to the road, but just out of sight. We didn't want to scare any unsuspecting drivers away, as we desperately needed a vehicle.
I was cuddled next to Master Splinter who was reassuringly warm and furry. April sat next to him and sheltered under Mikey's arm. Leo continued to keep vigil, looking to the road and then back to the forest. He was practically willing his brothers to join us, I could see the desperation in his eyes as time ticked on and there was still no sign of the other two turtles.
Then, three magical things happened at once.
The first thing that happened was the rain stopped. It immediately lifted all our spirits and I could see the relief in Leo's expression.
The second thing was that both Raphael and Donatello crashed into the road a little further up, making their ways down towards us. Raph had Casey slung over one arm and as they lay him down on the road, they were arguing about his condition. Casey was alive!
The third thing was that a holiday trailer finally appeared on the horizon, edging its way towards us. This was a wonderful turn of events. A car would never have been able to carry us all, but a trailer with in-built facilities was ideal.
The turtles and Splinter hid behind some trees as April and I waved at the trailer to stop. Casey was lying on the road and looked in a dreadful state. An elderly man got out and walked over to us.
"What the bejesus happened here?"
Within seconds the turtles and Splinter had pounced and within minutes everyone was tucked away inside the trailer. With Donatello driving and the old man spluttering expletives and turning red in anger at being kidnapped, we left the forest and the road behind us.
"So, where are we going?" Donatello was looking through the paperwork in the glove compartment, trying to find a map of the area. "We can head towards Connecticut, find somewhere out of the way to hide for a while. Leo?"
Leo was biting his beak, thinking about which direction to go. Before I knew what was happening, my hand was raised. Leo turned to me with a raised eye ridge. "What's up?"
"I know somewhere we can go. I haven't been there for years but it is out of the way." I explained. A memory of my grandparents farm came to mind, long ago forgotten … but still there. There was ample coverage surrounding the main farmhouse, but the place hadn't been used in years. I hadn't ever planned to return there as I had some very bad memories from that place.
"Where are we heading?" Donny asked from up front.
"Head towards Rhode Island. There is a town called Davisville," I instructed.
"Davisville it is." Donny drove quietly and I watched the scenery fly by the little window I was next to. It was a three hour journey from Northampton to Davisville, and I settled back with Leo, watching the world go by as I lay my ear against his plastron. I could hear his heart beating at a more normal rate, not the frantic rate it was beating at earlier. Sighing, I relaxed and watched with amusement as the little old man was getting redder and more irate with the turtles. Donny promised to drop him off in Ludlow, about thirty minutes away from Northampton and not before. Trying to explain that a murderous group of assassins were trying to locate us wasn't easy, but eventually the old man's arguments died away and he remained quiet for the whole drive to Ludlow.
Dropping him off, he wasn't impressed with the fact we were going to hold on to his trailer. Casey was extremely weak and needed to get somewhere safely to rest.
Donny bombed it down the roads and we ended up in Davisville within two and a half hours. It was the most manic journey I'd ever known, even beating the one where Casey drove me and Leo to Northampton.
Arriving safely, we found a derelict house and no-one around for miles.
It was perfect.