The Archer chronicles
Lost Boy
CHAPTER
22
A New Direction...
Archer ran as fast as his legs allowed. He slipped and slid and fell a few times, all the while, ears ringing with the hum from behind. It was a hum that resonated up the walls and he felt vibrations tingle his feet and claw at his legs as he ran. Archer had no idea where Del and Bruce were, but at the moment his only hope was to escape the big guy who’d made the web.
The big guy who was back there somewhere.
So, he kept running, Dash clutched close to his chest. He was scared and tired and hungry, and, not for the first time, he thought of his father. Along with those thoughts came a whole lot of emotion that he didn’t want to let out. He was scared that if he started to cry, he’d never stop.
“Oh, Dad,” he whispered, jumping over a large boulder. “Please come back for me.”
He landed on his knees. Hard. And then said a few choice words that Cook McDaniel would not have liked. The vibrations along the floor were still there, but much fainter.
Archer glanced over his back, but other than the shadows that crept up along the wall, the smell of water—and something he couldn’t quite put his finger on—there was nothing. Breathing heavily, he took a few moments. What to do?
Pushing up, he glanced down at his bot and then set him carefully onto the boulder. Reaching into his bag, Archer rummaged for a couple lumen batteries and it took another minute or two to replace Dash’s.
After a few seconds, his bot’s eyes glowed yellow and then red and then blue, followed by a series of chirps and beeps.
“Dash,” Archer said. “You have no idea how happy I am to hear those noises.”
Dash slowly rose into the air. “Archibald, my memory function is still not fully recovered. What happened?”
“I don’t know exactly. You went ahead to scan and didn’t come back so when we followed you, well, we found you stuck in the biggest spider web ever.”
“Thank you for the retrieval.”
“No problem.”
Archer sighed and took a few steps, eyes ahead. “I don’t know where Del and Bruce are though. We had to run and hide because once we ripped you out of that web the humming started and we knew the spider was on his way back.”
He glanced over his shoulder once more. “I don’t think he’s following me.”
Dash zipped past Archer, beeping as he went. “That assumption would be correct, Archibald. I don’t detect any life forms in the direction from where we came.” Whew. That was good to hear.
“Okay,” Archer replied. “We need to keep going. We have to find Del and Bruce and we need to snag at least a few prisms or we’re never going to get Del’s father back.”
He thought of his own dad, and that awful feeling in his belly returned. “I can’t let that happen,” he whispered.
“My suggestion would be to keep moving forward. The light seems brighter ahead which could signal either a more prisms, or an exit.”
His bot was right.
“Okay, let’s go. Once we see what’s up there we can decide what to do.” Archer paused for a moment. “You can’t detect Del or Bruce, can you?”
“Negative,” Dash replied. Archer hiked his bag up and started forward. “Okay. Seems like we only have one choice anyway.”
The vibrations were still there, just underneath his feet and he shivered a bit. “Just let me know if you sense that awful spider-thing coming at us.”
“Will do.”
Archer and Dash made their way through the tunnel. It twisted and turned and after awhile, Archer had no idea what direction they were headed in. He was lost and if there wasn’t a way out ahead, he had no idea how he was going to get out of this mess.
As he jumped over another boulder, his hand grazed the wall. He noticed how they shimmered, reflecting light. He thought of the cave he’d found behind the waterfall and the way the walls moved, like sand.

Archer touched the wall again, hoping against all hope that there was a map or something hidden inside the rock, but there was nothing. He grabbed an apple from his bag.
And then drank a bottle of water.
He hummed some long ago song that he couldn’t remember the title for.
And just when he was ready to scream because he was so tired and scared and, you know, LOST, Dash came to a halt. His bot rose into the air, eyes glowing red and then yellow. “Archibald I’m reading signs of life down the tunnel on your right.”
“Really?” Excited, Archer ran the last few steps until he was beside his bot.
“Is it Del?”
“Negative. The readings are consistent with the life forms that are indigenous to this planet.”
“Oh,” Archer replied, scratching his head. “So, like Pointy-ears people?”
“Affirmative.”
“Okay, well we know they’re friendly.” He frowned. “This isn’t their home though, I mean, that was another cave. The one behind the waterfall, right?”
“Correct,” Dash said.
“Well, the only way out seems to be that way so let’s go,” Archer said.
He and his bot made their way down the tunnel to his right. In here, the light was brighter and as they neared the end, he could hear voices. They were the high pitched, excited sounds he’d heard before. And, was that some kind of music he heard playing?
He followed Dash up a steep incline and once he crawled over it, the entire area beneath him opened up.
“Wow,” he murmured, eyes wide as he took in the scene below. It was beautiful and serene and amazing. Down below were hundreds of little Pointy-ears working and singing and giggling, among hundreds of prisms.
An excited squeal sounded loudly and he turned, smiling when he spotted his very own, special little Pointy-ear. She was standing alone near a pool of water and she waved at him, beckoning him forward.
Archer would have taken that step. He would have run to her and given her a great big hug. Except the humming started again, coming from behind.
And well, in front of him at least twenty of the Pointy-ears created a barrier. They looked different from the gentle souls he’d encountered so far. They wore uniforms and their expressions were fierce. Each of them held one of the cylinders he’d seen when he’d first started to explore this planet. Archer knew what was inside the cylinders. With a massive spider at his back, and creepy-crawlies threatening him in front...what the heck was he going to do?
“These guys don’t look so friendly,” he whispered to Dash.
“Your observation seems correct,” Dash replied.
Man. Sometimes being right sucked.

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Chapter 23

Along Came Another Spider...

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