It had been a good long time since either had spoken, unless you counted the man’s occasional quiet mumbling to himself. Ven had no idea what time it was, day or night.
The cells had dim artificial lights and the hall had a bright one. They all stayed on all the time as far as she could tell.
Tirus wouldn’t tell her his plan. All he would do is try to reassure her that his friends would be here soon. She wasn’t sure if she believed him or not.
While she wanted to believe him, she wasn’t quite willing to risk the let down of him being full of it.
“How long have I been here?” She asked the question not knowing if he was awake or not. But he responded almost immediately.
“You mean total or since you woke up?” She hadn’t expected the question and realized she didn’t know the answer to either.
“Both I guess.” She replied
“You were here for about six hours before I first heard you stirring. It’s been about ten hours since then.” It was silent for a few moments.
“I’m thirsty.” The words came out of no where. God she was thirsty. How had she only just now realized it. “I don’t have any food or water over here...”
“Neither do I” Tirus voice was apologetic but calm. “They only give us food and water once a day. It’s not due for several more hours.”
“How do you know how much time is passing?” For the briefest of moments Ven forgot her plight and instead gave into curiosity about this strange man whom she still hadn’t even seen.
“I have my ways.” There was mirth in his voice. “Only twenty minutes till my friends arrive.”
She didn’t dare hope he was telling the truth. Instead she just sat in silence, unsure of what to think.
After some time had passed she spoke up. “Will they come back?” Sudden terror gripped her. Her captors had murdered her parents and already given her one savage beating. She feared the next one.
“I don’t honestly know...” Tirus voice sounded regretful that he couldn’t reassure her. “But if they do......” He hesitated as though unsure how much he should share with her.
Instead he asked a question. “How old are you?”
The ordinary question in such dire circumstances gave Ven a sense of normality. Of hope. “I’m seven.” Speaking the words she felt her mind come out of the trance that had taken hold of it.
“That one.... the one with the missing teeth.....that one killed my parents.” The tears began to form again but she did not make a sound. It was Tirus who broke the silence.
“Seven.” He followed the word with a slow whistle. “That’s awful kid. I’m sorry.” He let it sit for a moment before asking another question. “Where you from?”
“Stenner...” He repeated the word back as though he expected it.