To Kill Time


Anaya Iyer


By Anaya Iyer





“She’s right.”

June stopped walking away. “How can you be so sure?” she asked.

“I can tell,” Derek responded.

“How? I can’t see it, Derek.”

“That’s ’cause you’re not paying attention.”

“I’ve been paying attention for two hours now,” June complained.

“No, you’ve been talking to me.”

“I’m gonna leave.”

       June started to walk away from Derek to prove her point.

“Wait. Do you trust me?” Derek said. June stopped.

“What does that have to do with anything?”

“Believe me, she’s right.”

       As if to prove his point, he started walking into the cave. 

“Wait!” June screamed. “You might not even find it in that cave.”

“Well, we’ll just have to find out for ourselves.”

“We can’t trust her. I don’t believe she’s right. That’s why I don’t want you to go in there.”

“Do you trust me?” Derek asked again.

June gulped. “Of course I do.”

“Then let me do this, June.”

“No, it isn’t worth it. You’re risking your life for some myth that might not even be true. Our only source of information was from a creepy lady that looked frighteningly like me. With the green eyes and blonde hair…anyway, it might be a trap for all you know. And—”

“June, you know I’ve been looking forward to this my whole life. I did a lifetime’s worth of research on this place. You can trust me.”

June was too late. Derek walked into the cave just as she was about to reach for him. 

All of a sudden, he disappeared. “Derek?” June called out. She went into the cave cautiously looking around in the dark area. She looked down. There was an open hatch below her.  

Should I follow him? June thought. If I don’t, I’ll probably regret it for the rest of my life. If I do, I’ll be sure to get killed, and that will only slow Derek down. What should I do? After careful consideration, she ran in after Derek, scraping her arms and legs in the narrow tunnel. 

As soon as June rushed into the cave, negative thoughts clouded her mind and numbed the pain.  

‘This is stupid, but I just hope Derek is okay,’ she thought.

June could see the light, the end of the tunnel. The ground gave out and she fell down a long hole. She braced herself ready to get a significant beating from the ground, but instead, landed on something soft. She tried to look around. It was too dark to see anything. Suddenly, the torches around her started to light up by some mysterious force. She looked around again. This time, she saw large razor-sharp spikes all around her. 

Then… Derek!

Sure enough, she was sitting on him. 


“June, is that you?” Derek said weakly. As soon as Derek spoke,  she regretted jumping down. She leaped off of him. Derek had a giant gash on his left arm. June gasped.

“Oh, this thing? It doesn’t hurt a bit.” Derek said, wincing from the pain.

“That doesn’t sound too convincing,” June said, looking around the room again. 

She was searching for something to stop the bleeding. She found a huge leaf and started to cover Derek’s arm, but he stopped her. 

“It’s okay, June. Only one thing I have to ask you. Why did you follow me here?”

“I don’t know. Maybe I was just concerned about you, but you’re going to be alright. Hang on.”

June started to lift Derek. 

       She walked around the large spikes, almost dragging Derek on her left side. They blindly walked through the peaks until they found a small teepee-like hut made out of the spikes. June decided to take shelter there. She set Derek down on the ground and went outside to think. June sat down and looked at the ceiling. She couldn’t hear anything except Derek moaning a bit. 

Wait, that isn’t the only thing, she thought. Somewhere deep in the distance, she heard a low growl. 

What is that? she wondered.

The sound seemed to proceed towards them. Alarmed, June stood up with a jolt. Within a few minutes, she could see them. Wolves. 

They must have smelled Derek’s blood, she thought. What am I going to do now?

       She started to pick up a branch next to her, but the wolves snarled at her with shining, white teeth. 

       June considered running, but that would leave Derek a sitting duck. Just then, out of the blue, someone or something tossed a knife which hit the ground before her. She looked up, confused. She cautiously picked up the knife and held it in front of her. The wolves, attracted by the glint of light, began their attack. 

       June’s hand was shaking with fear. What if I don’t get this, right? Both Derek and I will be in a seriously bad situation. June shook her head. No, don’t think about that right now. What I need to do is get out of this mess. 

       One of the wolves behind her back lunged in June. She spun around quickly, and the knife hit the wolf’s neck. It fell to the ground, curled in a ball of pain, then disintegrated. 

“That’s weird,” she whispered.

Another wolf, on her left side, positioned itself to pounce her. Two other wolves on the right and behind did the same. A split second later, they all lifted themselves off the ground simultaneously—all heading toward June.






The three wolves disintegrated. In their place stood a tall figure. 

“You should go check on your friend, see if he’s okay,” he said in a calm voice.

How does he know Derek is here? June thought.

“All right,” she responded.

June went inside to check on Derek. Sure enough, he looked worse.

I have to get this under control soon. June thought. Otherwise, he’ll– June couldn’t bring herself to finish her thought.

“Here,” June jumped. The guy who helped her before was now holding a med-kit behind her.

“Where did you get that?” she asked.

“Where do you think? From outside. I brought it along just in case, but it looks like your friend needs it more than me.”

“Oh, thank you!” June leaped on the stranger and momentarily wrapped him in a hug. It took her a minute to realize that she never even knew this person.

“Sorry,” she said.

She opened the medkit and set it down next to Derek.

“Can you please help me?” she asked.

“Why not?”

After several minutes of experiments, June had bandaged the wound tightly. Derek still looked pale, so she took some food out of her jeans pocket. 

“Derek. Derek, get up,” June whispered. Derek’s eyes fluttered open slowly. 

“June?” Derek looked at his bandaged arm. “You did this for me?” 

“It wasn’t all me.” June looked toward the boy. This time she got a good look at him.

He had dirtier blonde hair than June’s, and his eyes were the color of hazel. He looked a little older than June and Derek too. But still, June didn’t completely trust him.

“By the way, I never got to ask your name,” June said


“June,” said June, “and this is Derek.”

“Nice to meet you both. Now Derek, how are you feeling?” Eric asked.

“I’m okay, but I don’t think I can get up just yet.”

“Okay, then we’ll stay here for another few hours or so then move.”

       June still wasn’t sure if they could trust him or not. She looked at Derek.

‘He’s right though, June thought, we will need to stay here for a while until Derek heals.

“Oh, I completely forgot. Here Derek.” June gave Derek the food she was going to give him.


June started nibbling nervously on her food. 

I’m probably worrying too much. Everything will be fine. Now that we have Eric on our side. June thought.

She turned around to thank Eric, but he was gone.






       Where did he go? June thought.

“Eric?” she called out.

No response. 


“I’m right outside,” he replied.

“What are you doing there?”

“Trying to look for food.”


June turned to look at Derek. He looked peaceful when he was sleeping. Forgot they were in here because of him. In a cave with who knows where and what catches there are. 

June decided that she should rest a bit too. She laid down next to Derek and closed her eyes.

Almost immediately, June entered a dream. They were still in the cave. She saw Eric. Something looked different though. He was standing in front of a strange doorway. The walls around them melted into a hazy gray color. The doorway had gears all over the top and sides. Eric turned the knob and went through. He and June were both sucked into the doorway instantaneously. She heard someone saying her name. The sound grew louder. Louder. Louder.


It was Derek.

“Sorry, I just thought I should rest a bit.”

“It’s fine. Anyway, where is your friend?”

“Who, Eric? He’s outside.”

“Let’s go check on him,” Derek said.

He winced as he got up but was able to stand. Derek and June went outside.




“How long has it been?” June asked. 

       She and Derek were sitting on the ground, staring up at Eric. They still can’t trust him. However, they were trapped in a who-knows-how-long cave with a limited supply of food and energy. The only option is to stick to him for now. Plus, he looked like he knew what he was doing.

“More than three hours,” Derek responded.

“Did he move? Or is he just standing up there?”

“He moved a little, but barely.”

“I’m going to call him down,” June said.

“Why? He’s not doing anything.”

“That’s why! What is he doing up there? It’s been a long time, don’t tell me it’s not suspicious.” June challenged. She remembered the dream she had about Eric. The mechanical doorway, when Eric opened it, and the sensation she felt being sucked in.

“I wouldn’t call him down unless something changes. Besides, we can’t trust him anyway.” 

“But what if he jumps. We’d lose a lot of help.”

“I don’t think so. Eric had plenty of time to do it.”

“I’m sorry but I—”

“Wait.” Derek stopped June.

“What is it?” June snapped.

“He’s looking at us.”

       Sure enough, Eric was looking at the two of them. 

“What are you two doing down there?” Eric chuckled.

“Oh, nothing,” Derek said, scratching the back of his head awkwardly. “What are you doing up there?”

” ‘Oh, nothing,’ just looking for food.’ ” He replied in a mocking tone. Eric laughed.

“Have you found any yet?” June asked.

“Yeah, I got a rabbit.”

“But we didn’t see you move for three hours straight. How did you get it?”

“I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve.” He took a slingshot out of his shirt sleeve. “Maybe I can teach you guys how to get food too. But for now, we have to start moving.”

“Okay.” Derek agreed.

“Derek, is your arm healed?” June asked.

“Not completely, but I can walk.” To prove his point, he got up. A flicker of pain flashed across his face, then instantaneously disappeared. He walked around in circles. 

“Ok, then. Are you ready to go?” Eric asked.

“Yep,” June said.

“Then pack up all the things in the hut, and let’s go.”

       June went back in to get the stuff they brought along. 

She heard someone shout.





When June heard the shout, she was sucked into the past. She remembered something that had happened four years ago on her father’s birthday. 

The house was brimming with people chatting with each other. Laughter peeped its way across rooms. A phone rang in another place. June’s father rushed to get it.

June heard the sound of glass breaking, then shatter when it hit the ground in little tiny pieces. 


A shout emerged from the crowd as suddenly as she heard glass crunching under the weight of the figure. 

The strange person sprinted towards June. A quick flash of a moment, June’s father jumped on the stranger just as it had reached her. June saw her dad grab the intruder’s hand and hit him on the head. 

June heard a thud as the stranger’s head hit the floor. The mask cracked, revealing a slight glimpse of his eyes. They were blue and glistening because of the overhead lights. She also saw a bit of blonde though it looked like almost gold threads. He vanished just as quickly as he appeared. All that remained was one half of his mask.

June didn’t get a good look at him, but judging by his height, he looked like a kid. Now that she thought about it, the mask did look too small to fit any adults here. And so far, she and Derek were the only kids in the house. 

Soon after the incident, the police taped her house from top to bottom to find evidence. They found some but not enough to figure out who broke in. 

Not long after, the police stated that they would be interrogating everyone who was at the party. 

June looked around. Even if she was ten years old, she could still see all the adults nervously fidgeting around trying to shake off what had happened. 

From what she had heard, one person was injured. 

Maybe that’s where the shout came from.

Now that she thought about it, the sound of the shout seemed familiar.

She heard more sirens in the distance. Ambulances came to check on people. One set of four nurses came and set someone on a stretcher. June saw his face.

It was Derek. And he was still shouting. 

The memory disappeared. June shook her head and went outside to see what was happening.

She saw Derek sprawled on the ground with Eric next to him. They seemed to be sleeping.

That’s when June saw it. It was too late to help them. She was hit with a sleeping dart like the other two.





June woke up. She heard two voices.

“Are you sure we can’t be seen?”

June tried to wiggle around. She couldn’t move.


June remembered what happened before she was knocked out. She remembered Derek’s scream, he and Eric laying down on the ground, unconscious. 

“How can you know?”

“Because I have done this a thousand times.”

She looked around. Her eyesight still wasn’t a hundred percent yet. She saw two fuzzy figures in the distance and two other people lying next to her.

“The fact that no one had seen you before now doesn’t mean you can’t be seen now.”

Her eyesight was clearing slowly. She could see Derek and Eric tied up in thick ropes next to her. June looked down. She was too.

“If anyone had seen me, I would have noticed it.”

June turned her head in the direction of the voices.

“Why don’t we go back. It’s too risky.”

She could see them now. One was a woman with black hair. Her back was facing June. The other person was a man. One of them sounded familiar.

“No, wait,” said the woman

“I’d rather…” 

“Look. They’re about to wake.”

Both of them were looking towards June and the others. The woman made her way towards June. 

“I know you’re awake.”

“Please ma’am, step ahead.” The man said sarcastically.

June had never been as terrified as this moment in her life. Derek and Eric were being threatened by two people, a man, and a woman, trapped in a cave that Derek had gotten them into. What could be worse?

The woman standing next to her leaned down and picked June up by her legs. She tossed her like a bean bag to the man who caught her with brilliant reflexes.

“I’ll leave that one to you.” The woman said, “Now, I only have these two bags.”

The woman walked over to Derek and Eric. She removed two spikes from some of the huge thorns around them. She held them over Derek and Eric.

“Ok, that’s fine. I’ll take good care of her.”

June didn’t like how the man said that. What was even worse was that Derek was being threatened. Eric still couldn’t be trusted.

“Let. Me. Go,” June said, struggling to break free.

“Who are you anyway, girl?”

The man grabbed her hair and shoved her against the base of a spike nearby. June winced. 

Her eyes focused on the woman. “Hey, you look familiar.” June’s voice cracked. She cleared her throat. “You remind me of a friend I met a while ago. What was her name? Oh, right! Maria. You know her?”

“I hope my doppelganger treated you well back then because she isn’t me.”

“Shut up!” The man said. He reached for June’s neck and clutched it. June gasped as she tried to swallow as much air as possible.

“Now tell us. Who are you and how much did you hear? If you resist, we will have no choice but to give you some motivation.” He nodded towards the woman. Unexpectedly, she swung the spikes down, aiming for Derek and Eric’s hearts. Her heart skipped a beat

“Stop!” June yelled hoarsely. “Stop. I’ll tell you who I am but just leave those two alone.”

She looked at Derek. The only thing between him and the spike was his shirt which had no guarantee of safety at all.

“Don’t tell them anything,” Derek said in a cautious tone.

“But–” June saw the expression on his face and stopped. Derek was dead serious. 

“He’s right.” She looked at Eric now. Tears clouded her vision.

“Ok, enough chit-chat.” The woman interjected. “I think it’s time to get the main event started.”

She raised the spikes, targeting the boys’ bodies, and lowered them. Fast.