The Forgotten Jungle

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
If you found yourself lost in the wilderness, could you survive?

Submitted: March 08, 2016

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Submitted: March 08, 2016

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The Forgotten Jungle

By Joseph Logsdon

Maureen gazed into the abyss of the night, what little courage she had left all but gone. There was an ominous breeze within the air, very different from anything she had experienced before. Pain was all around her: in the trees, the dirt, and the very air itself. The misery in her eyes, something that could only be described as tragic, slowly forced her to recognize the dangerous force within the environment. The darkness behind her, in front of her, not to mention countless other places, only made for a more terrifying experience.

Maureen gazed at her father, Raymond, who seemed to be in very poor health, in the sense that he kept clenching his chest. That fact, accompanied with the realization that they were in the middle of nowhere, with only a local archaeologist for company, only worsened the anxiety already being expressed, by both Maureen and her father. There was a whistling sound in the air, hostile by all accounts. It sent them into a state of full alert, where there could be no escape.

The fire was weak, just barely visible. The wind challenged its power, manipulated it, ultimately relieving it of all strength. Raymond held the shotgun in his hand, trembled with uncertainty, his doubt stemming from fear of the unknown. There was very little water around them, aside from the swamp, which could hardly be considered an advantage. It was them, nature, and the darkness.

“Neal, I’m asking you, on behalf of both me and my daughter, ‘Where are you taking us?’ For the last hour, longer in fact, we’ve been wandering around in circles, no closer than when we first started. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were trying to lead us in the wrong direction,” he huffed, rising off the cold ground.

“Under the circumstances, I’m doing the best I can. The weather is very unpredictable, and with all this wind blowing, I’m not really surprised by any of this. Just give me more time, and I promise that I’ll lead you to the ancient temple. Many men have gone there, few have ever returned,” he warned.

“Probably because they hired idiots. Now, as I understand it, you are very good at tracking things, particularly footprints, some of which I have found,” Raymond professed.

Neal looked at the ground, astonishment in his eyes. Maureen gasped, an honest look of terror on her face. They saw a footprint, several footprints, most of them leading deeper into the jungle.

“That wasn’t there before, the last time I checked,” Neal stuttered, gently taking the shotgun from Raymond.

“We should get out of here, sooner rather than later,” Maureen cried, taking her father by the arm.

“We will, just as soon as we find what we’re looking for,” Raymond replied.

The wind started to become faster, the breeze nearly knocking them to the ground. There was no doubt about it: they were being watched. Eyes were all around them, in every direction, from almost every viewpoint. Neal took a few steps forward, curiosity getting the better of him.

“Well, maybe so I can satisfy you, I’ll go and have a look; if I’m not back in, say, three hours, I probably won’t come back at all,” Neal stated, walking deeper into the darkness.

“Why do you say that?” Maureen asked.

“It’s just a feeling I have,” he grunted.

“Why is it important, Neal? I mean, where we’re at and everything, it’s not like anyone is going to hurt us,” Raymond stated.

“I didn’t want to tell this, thought it wouldn’t matter, but now that I’ve seen this, I might as well tell the truth. There’s a village, I guess a few miles to the south, conveniently located in a rather uneasy area. These people, from what I hear, could be described as cannibals, I guess you could say, or maybe even something far worse,” he moaned.

Maureen leaned against Raymond’s shoulder, total terror in her eyes. In all her life, in spite of all of her countless adventures, she had never been so stricken with absolute fear. Raymond tightened his grip on her hand, equally afraid of what potentially awaited them.

“You better come back, because otherwise, everything I’ve worked for, that we worked for, will have been for nothing,” he pleaded.

“I’ll be back, hopefully with a better idea of what we’re dealing with,” Neal responded, vanishing into the night.

“Dad, you’re going to let him go, just like that?”

“I have to, as much as it hurts me,” he moaned.

Maureen lowered herself to the ground, kneeled forward, with a worrisome thought that ripped at her mind. There was a haunting silence, comparable to that of a dark, bleak abyss, encompassed with the greatest of doubts. Maureen listened, only as hopeful as she allowed herself to be. The time that progressed, what little of it she had to account for, only enhanced the growing tension. Her beautiful face, usually happy and content, suddenly seemed to be full of the greatest misery possible. It was so great, so untrustworthy, that her arms shook with absolute force.

Out of nowhere, suddenly and without any warning, a rhythmic banging could be heard over the landscape, growing steadily louder, what sounded like the playing of drums, consistently and heavily, overpowering all other sounds in the area. Raymond covered his ears, out of pure necessity, the sound being one of aggression and violence. His arms, aged and tired, tensed forcefully, clenched tightly, all in the name of survival.

“That sound, what is it?”

“It’s the sound of death, most likely,” Raymond gasped, clenching his chest.

“Dad, what’s wrong?”

“I’ll be fine, I’m telling you,” he panted.

“Your medicine, back at camp, did you take it?”

“I was doing so well, I didn’t think I would need it,” he grunted.

Raymond breathed heavily, too sick to speak, to move, to even think. His heart, apparently weakened by the sound of death, could no longer stand the endless anxiety, from which there seemed to be no escape. He tilted to the right, all the way to the left, finally collapsing completely.

“Dad, what is it? We’ll get out of here, hopefully go back home, just until you can get well again. I knew it, all along actually, that entering this place, without proper support and equipment, things every explorer needs, what you neglected to give us, would ultimately lead to disaster,” she cried.

“It’s my fault, the whole thing,” he murmured, shutting his eyes.

“Dad, just know that all of the things I did, the good and the bad, I did because I loved you, and for no other reason. I still need your strength, now more than ever, in place of what I have been getting. Don’t leave me here, cold and alone, just as if I had killed you myself,” she cried.

Maureen’s desperation did nothing to save him. He was, had been, totally oblivious to reality. The banging became louder, once again tearing away at her nerves. Two vibrations were heard, very loud in the way they crossed the landscape, extremely similar to gunshots. Then, all at once, the drumming stopped. Quietness entered the landscape, every sound suddenly silenced. Maureen was alone, in the dead of night, all of her convictions without merit, leaving her cold and desperate.

“Who is out there? What do you want from us? My father’s dying, on account of what you’re doing to him, your endless banging and drumming. He’ll be dead very soon, short of some miracle,” she cried.

She received no response, other than the wind blowing dangerously through the night. Shadows surrounded her, on the right and left, their presence one of menace and danger. They inched closer and closer, only stopping inches away from her face. Maureen felt an object fall against her shoulder, something that felt like a spear, from what she could determine. Maureen looked up, terrified as she stared into the eyes of a monster, presumably from the village. She gasped, all but incapable of moving.

“Murder,” she screamed.

The End


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