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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Action/Adventure · #2230581
Severed from civilization Cody is lost in the jungle.
WORDS: 3,000

Jungle Rot

There billions of years, shining, minor caveat is to bask in a star's reflected glory, all the same witness to comings and goings of Earth's organisms and geological upheavals. Cycles of evolution. The majority spanning eons. Luna.
Under this unblinking gaze, scared, in the cold shivering, knees bent, legs pressed to chest. Sitting, inclination was to rub their hands together to extract slight heat, then and wrap arms around them, curled up from night's chill.
Luna's successor blazes dawn's light. Curled up some time ago substituted for lying down. Happened as raising their head and seeing it on their belly a moment then resting the head back down groggily to sleep more. Circumstances be as it may, hadn't dulled old habits to snatch a few minutes sleep. But raises the head ever so slowly, millimeter by millimeter to see if something really there. Eyes process a few short moments, then bulge. Reality erases all grogginess, looking at it again and screams, the loudest scream pierced the surroundings.
The scream carries in the lush green environment. A tarantula spider stood on their belly. That would make you lose sleep. They have to get on with the task sooner than expected and before that, 'Got to pee.' Another old habit to take care of in mornings. 'Wait a sore throat?' The eight legged tourist pushed octaves to the max. 'Strained up my vocal chords. Damn!'
Couldn't help but look around. Back of the mind stalks an embarrassment somebody might catch them. No matter it's a remote locale, meaning nobody could see. They gave in and surveyed, moving the head side to side a bit and settled on a decision.
Arachnids horrify this sex. Frog kissing? Get the hell out.
Cautiously they raise the skirt and squat.
The person is fair skinned and a slightly thick attractive body in early twenties. Later set off walking about, occasionally easing with bare, soft hands the bush aside. The eyes are presented by a green, lush scenery. Light passed through gaps in the canopy of the inhabiting very tall trees, some a home to vines plus animals and then the smaller bushes. The ground covered in dirt and fallen leaves. The former clung to back of the head and back of the nice clothes from sleeping bereft anything to isolate themselves from bare ground. The jungle creatures giving life to the setting those you can see or simply hear adding their chorus.
Nobody could see stands for nobody could find me. The objective a way out. Lost in the jungle.
'I have to find a village or house.' People have colonized the most uninviting places you can think of. Perfect sense to contact other people. It's the doing it that's hard. They were headed no specific place in particular. How could they? Trudging through is no trail, cleared track, nothing indicative persons passed.
Moving your body in the climate made for perspiration and tiredness. The day marched onward past dawn; so did the rising temperature in a jungle.
The walker stops amongst foliage that provided not much space and rests a manicured hand on a tree. Fatigue dictates panting. Recovering enough, minutes later glance the watch, disappointingly been hours searching a way out. Minor cuts and bruises on the skin attest hard travelling. 'Not a soul in here.' The soreness ran its course allowing unhindered speech.
Technology furnishes a lifeline to the modern world. Reaching into the purse extracts a pink cased smartphone. Only has to press the dial key to automatically ring a previous number that showed on screen. The collection of microchips useful right now as a stone. 'The thing has a charge. Call damn it!'
Cell phones are subject to dead zones - points where sending a signal is impractical because of terrain or physical distance. Signal strength bars none existent. Fumbling the menu gets the radio and the speaker blurts calypso music. Wasn't the lifeline craved. The tone frustrated and angry. 'Can't do a phone call instead music plays! Tell me this thing!'
All options denied save one - walk.
Later they emerging out bushes, a river is found, the sight a relief. The jungle heat brought dehydration rapidly. Hadn't a drop of water save the miniscule unwanted sweat inadvertently entering a lipsticked mouth.
Graciously they rush headlong and bend over the water's edge hands near cupping together when they look ahead. Nothing. Instinct has them not drop the head regardless of the thirst. Disturbance in the water. The eyes, dark, scales and far off. All that would be witnessed. As the person immediately rushes away in a short scream. A mysterious whatever denies them even a sip.
Problems don't solve themselves. Around the lost soul travels. 'Leaves hold rain water on them,' the idea hit on. Successfully the life giving H2O is poured off the leaf's surface into the mouth, granting some respite. That said the prison had not set them free and the stomach wanted filling. Holding the tummy, 'God provides for the corbeau ent? I can find my own.' Corbeau is a local vulture.
The search continued, they sample edible things in the mouth and tasted, each time thrown to the ground. 'I'll have to eat my own purse!' Growing pangs make them toss stones into tree branches to fall fruit and it worked. Feverish, began wolfing the first down. Stopped in their tracks, 'Yuck.' After a while staring, 'Gawd I'm hungry!' and began to take bites. Hunger overrides inhibitions on what a person feeds on.
The hours' march, uncaring of who can't finish or start whatever in time. Night cast its cloak upon each and every dweller. A keen eye to her jungle milieu rubbed off. She demonstrated smarts, leaves and sticks on the ground are a layer serving a bed. Please don't mistake it for adapting to the predicament. An unpleasant realization spending another night wrapped in its chilly embrace all by myself, was dirty enough, no need to hand it a next victory.
Luna returned as it does many a night. The hour brought a resurgence of the chill. The lost curled this time on the side. Arms around them, bent knees to the chest. Ancestors ahead of the era designated the industrial revolution ushering modern man, harboured an emotional fear of darkness. And within the forest bowels the crickets, owls, what have you. Hardly any can be visible to an eye bereft of any inbred means to see in the dark. Consequently their impact was a huge weight on the psyche. A close at hand stick lay at the ready. In other words vocalizations of those nightmare creatures the company. Had a mind to blot out by championing radio but dissuaded from fright animals would find a tempting marker.
Eyes suddenly snap open to daylight. Nocturnal companions like a vanished memory at this dawn. Wasn't enough to discourage reaching for the stick and arms outstretched point it defensively. Alright, time to get a move on. There's no acceptance to stay put and wait for help. Longer the wait, more I'll be swallowed by this crap hole jungle.
Yesterday's fantastic sightsee glaringly showed they'll sooner run into hunger than rescuers. The want for escape trumps the stomach. Off they went several feet. Before any of that raised the skirt, squatted to piss. She didn't bother looking around anxious again.
Resuming the journey where in the way the plant life pushed aside by the trusty stick. Soon that perspiration and little cuts expose their presence. Further they travel. Later stopping in a small gap in the foliage, 'The jungle can't be this huge. There has to somebody out here!' the lost exclaims.
Their countenance at a loss. Suddenly occurs to give the Samsung Galaxy Fame another shot. Dial they a do a familiar number. 'Please, please pick up,' pleaded through a desperate face. Merely the graphical indication and accompanying sound of dialling. There's the good sense to terminate the call. 'Wonder if...' moments later the FM radio comes to life.
'I can't catch a break. Ahhh!' Frustration the predictable result. 'Yesterday now today! I've been walking ages! Telling me no closer to a cell tower?' Remaining is a flicker of hope. Pressing the touch screen icon brings Google Maps. GPS - Global Positioning System gives your placement.
Unfortunately did not show any habitual areas. 'GPS can show me where to go like a compass. How come no town on here.' They think a while, 'Must be I'm so far from any place it can't display.' Angrily exudes, 'You're not doing it for me either! Damn.'
Staying put already demonstrated long since off the table. The river is reached again. From last day's encounter the person looks around and saw it basking on the river bank a good ways off. The caiman is a local reptile similar to alligators. Right now intimidation of before is absent. Didn't care driven by craving, take a first good drink and disturbed by their unclean appearance scrub off most of the dirt with water. To that end reconsidered removing clothes thinking critters would bite up their skin faster. Then leave to collect fruit. Leftovers wind up in the purse. In the most dire circumstances you are every bit as under demands of your body as the times of plenty.
Still all but no choice to keep up a lonely trek, searching for a hope that's ever unlikely to discover them first. The hours pass into afternoon. Putting a hand above the eyes to block the sun, they see it. People.
At long last! Thing though at such extreme distance specks. Tiny dots slowly moving against background that is the less mountainous terrain they occupy. Sense enters their mind to save a breath, next moment a yell left the mouth, 'Hey, hey over there! I'm over here! Over here! Hey. Over here!' They wait a few moments without response. Their own face said it all. 'Gotta try.' They have to get close. Besting a steep embankment is the decision. Steepness makes a difficult climb. Unable to simply walk, they scramble up on feet and hands. Polished nails damaged again. A price willing to pay if it means making them happy the misery over. Reaching the top rush down to a flatter area. Panting, caught their breath, back bent over slightly and dirty hands on the knees. This done put hands to face and yells, 'Somebody please save me. Over here! Over here! I'm lost! Anybody!' Flails their arms too.
No response.
Desperately a gasp. 'Why can't they see me?' Hurriedly dry sticks and brush are placed on the ground a survival skill remembered from somewhere. Using the original and larger stick, twirl between the hands in manner of a swizzle stick employed in Caribbean kitchens. One end contacts the dry material the friction creates heat, leading to fire, and the smoke visible. 'The rescue team will see the smoke of the signal fire from all there and come for me.' At least the intension.
In their traumatized mental state did not entertain the pointlessness. The action is hurried and clumsy. Angrily say, 'Come nah. Light damn it!' Even up to touching the stick tip to the palm to check heat, then blew on the pile. Reality set in after trying for some time and the stick in despondence tossed to the jungle floor.
The need never arose when a stove lighter always a finger away in the civilized world.
All that effort and they were still specks. The person was never close enough and here the case sense lost to desperation.
Hope so close yet so far.
The tantalizing disappoint is too much. The limit is reached. They look up to the heavens and scream. Felt like God forsakes them.
Will be having a lot more respect for South American Indians if ever make it out before the animals get them. Fending in the wilderness bereft of survival training, equipment and supplies. At least those half nakeds stroll through this every day.
Cody is in a department store. Before even that seen in a living room. They look around surreptitiously. Attention is focused on the coat hanging on a chair. Their hand slips into the pockets and from one extracts a wallet; shortly thereafter returns it to the pocket and once more looks around.
Back in the store a credit card used to heart's content: spending the ill begotten wealth on worldly pleasures, dresses, perfumes and nail manicure you name it. The ball over, leaves the place so burdened an employee carries bags full of goods, loading them into the car. There is no tip.
They drive away and after some time lose control and plunge over a precipice from the road. Emerging shaken, there was no way in their estimation to climb back to the road above.
And right now leaving it doesn't look the surest move, 'You did this because you don't like me ent God?' Brings to mind lyrics to Britney's 'Oops...I did it again' - I'm not that innocent.
They start walking away from the spot crushed. 'So much for the great Cody.'
Evening witness animals go about that period's routines again upon night's imminent approach amongst are bats taking flight, conversely flocks of birds settle into tree perches.
The daylight star sinks heralding the return of Cody's old companion Luna. Bush leaves and sticks are a bed. Reminiscent the first time, shivered, wrapped arms around themselves, curled up from night's chill. Fate condemning them another night in the wilds of Beyara forest.
Eyes slowly open to early daylight. In no hurry close the eyes. Later approaching midday has them leaving the site, dragging one end of the stick.
Not long into trudging through past trees and undergrowth emerges in the open and there reflecting on their eyes - civilization.
Ecstatically rush over to several people at their houses, surprising them. Cody gives their name and tells their story - except the credit card. One with nature - an experience they wished they missed. Eagerly digging into food and drink, the response to the specks are by no means rescuers, indeed no sign anyone reported them missing. Albeit the real discomforting one is based on Cody's location day before rescue actually near salvation, but not noticing destined the girl to spend a last night in the forested depths.

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