After signing up for Celebrity Adrenaline Rush - an action packed reality show - the boys find themselves in the ultimate game of survival and one which could possibly cost them their lives.
Fanfiction > Backstreet Boys Characters:
AJ, Brian, Howie, Nick
Action, Adventure, Drama, SuspenseWarnings:
1. Chapter 1 by Carter-Orange
2. Chapter 2 by Carter-Orange
3. Chapter 3 by Carter-Orange
4. Chapter 4 by Carter-Orange
5. Chapter 5 by Carter-Orange
6. Chapter 6 by Carter-Orange
7. Chapter 7 by Carter-Orange
8. Chapter 8 by Carter-Orange
9. Chapter 9 by Carter-Orange
10. Chapter 10 by Carter-Orange
11. Chapter 11 by Carter-Orange
12. Chapter 12 by Carter-Orange
13. Chapter 13 by Carter-Orange
14. Chapter 14 by Carter-Orange
15. Chapter 15 by Carter-Orange
16. Chapter 16 by Carter-Orange
17. Chapter 17 by Carter-Orange
18. Chapter 18 by Carter-Orange
19. Chapter 19 by Carter-Orange
20. Chapter 20 by Carter-Orange
21. Chapter 21 by Carter-Orange
22. Chapter 22 by Carter-Orange
23. Chapter 23 by Carter-Orange
Chapter 1 by Carter-Orange
Although NKOTB are featured, it's not a story about them.
To be honest, after doing The House of Carters a few years ago, I didn’t think I’d ever do another reality show ever again. In fact, I’d been adamant that I’d never do another reality show again. The House of Carters hadn’t gone down too well with some of my band mates (Brian in particular), but at the time, it was something I wanted to do. I don’t regret it, because I believe that everything happens for a reason, but it wasn’t something I wanted to repeat.
So when we, as a band, were approached to take part in Celebrity Adrenaline Rush – a huge TV show which would give us tons of media coverage - it was something we thought long and hard over. We didn’t want to rush into it just for the attention it would generate for us (although speaking for myself, I would’ve signed on the dotted line there and then, seeing as I’m a big fan of the show and don’t class it with other reality shows), so had to carefully consider it from all points of view.
To make the show a little more interesting for the viewers at home, there would be two teams, the other team being New Kids on the Block, who’d already agreed to do it.
“It’ll be kind of like a battle of the boy bands” I mused, imagining myself doing some of the crazy shit they do on that show and getting the chance to beat our older rivals. I’ve always been a competitive kind of person, so this was right up my street.
AJ was reluctant, he’d seen the show on TV obviously, and said something along the lines of “there’s no fucking way I’m doing any of that shit”
That was so typical of AJ though. But I say, fuck it! Life is for living and cramming in as many new experiences as you can. I don’t want to look back in years to come, when I’m old, grey and past it, with regrets for not grabbing the chance when I had it. Luckily everyone else agreed with me…even Brian, although he said he didn’t think he could do anything where heights were involved.
And so we signed up for it!
We may all be in our thirties now, but personally, I’ve never been fitter. In the old days I was criticised over my fluctuating weight and party lifestyle, but that all changed when I was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. The years of booze and drugs had taken its toll and I had to make some serious changes unless I wanted to end up dead before the age of forty. And so I ditched the old habits and also began to work out, eat better and generally look after myself. Before long I was seeing results and I liked what I saw in the mirror every morning, hell I even started taking my shirt off at concerts; something I would never have done when I was heavier. Not that I’m big headed or anything (well not much), but I loved to hear the girls go wild when I started unbuttoning my shirt on stage. You have no idea how it knocks your confidence to read some of the stuff they say online or in the papers, there were times when I wanted to just give up and hide, but it’s not really in my nature to give up.
So anyway, before we could go any further with this TV project, we all had to have medicals to ensure we were in good health and up to taking part in challenging physical activities. We were. Then there was the paper work which had to be completed. We let Howie take care of that seeing as he’s the businessman of the group and the person who looks after our best interests. There was nothing which would get past him.
“Alrighty then, looks like we’re really doing this” Brian signed on the dotted line and handed the pen to AJ, who hesitated for a moment before finally signing his name.
“If I die out there, I’m gonna come back for you” he announced looking at us all. AJ was always such a drama queen. That tough guy exterior hid the wuss he really was.
“Y’know, I wish Kev could be a part of this, this shit is right up his street” I grinned, thinking how jealous he’d be when he found out. Although he’d left the band a number of years ago, we all stayed in touch with him.
“Sure is” AJ agreed “in fact can’t he swap and take my place?”
“Nice try but not a chance. If I’m doing this then so are you” Brian replied.
The day arrived for us to set off on our mission, I packed my bag and was raring to go, wondering what tasks we’d be competing in and hoping I’d get a chance to bungee jump or sky dive. At 10am a car arrived to collect me and take me to the meeting point where I’d be meeting up with everyone else who was taking part. I’d done my research and found out that the New Kids weren’t quite the old has beens that I’d initially thought they would be. They all looked in good shape and I hoped we were good enough to beat them.
I was one of the last to arrive and walked in as everyone else seemed to be getting to know one another. We’d crossed paths with the New Kids over the years, but up until now had never had the opportunity to get to know each other. They were a great bunch of guys though and we all seemed to hit it off.
“So, anyone know what’s happening?” I asked.
“No, not yet” Joey replied and then we all turned to see a formally dressed man enter the room with a silver tray containing a folded piece of paper.
“Who’s gonna read it?” AJ asked and Howie took command and picked it up.
Now that you’re all here, the games can begin. In a few moments you will be changing out of your designer attire and into overalls, red for the Backstreet Boys and blue for the New Kids. You will be provided with back packs containing all the survival equipment you’ll need for your challenges; however you will be allowed to include a few personal items or your choice.
Please be ready to go in fifteen minutes, a plane is waiting to take you all to your first destination…South America.
“We’re taking a flight out to South America?” Brian gulped.
“Bring it on” I shrugged out of my clothes and into the white t-shirt and unflattering red overalls we’d been assigned “we’re in for the thrill of a lifetime. This is gonna be fucking awesome, I just know it”
Chapter 2 by Carter-Orange
Being a bit of a film maker myself, I wondered why we hadn’t encountered any cameras or film crew so far. If I’d been the producer, I’d have been filming from the moment we walked into that room. I would’ve filmed our reaction to that note and the ugly overalls we were going to have to wear. Maybe they didn’t think that was worth it. Who knows.
My wonderings were soon answered when we reached the plane and found a small camera crew waiting for us.
“We’ve got some great footage so far, that’s the beauty of hidden cameras” I heard the producer saying to the cameraman “now we just need a few shots here and we’re done for now”
“Hey” I couldn’t resist butting in to the conversation “you had hidden cameras planted? Don’t you think that’s invading our privacy?”
“You lost your right to your privacy when you signed up for this show” he laughed “and anyway, we didn’t want any of that fake bullshit, we wanted to capture the real people behind the famous face”
I suppose he had a point.
It was here that we met the host of the show, a British guy called Duncan James. He’d presented shows in the UK and had gone down well with the audience, so had been approached for this one. He seemed like the kind of guy who liked to have a laugh, both on and off camera. Over the years we’d come across so many fakes, the kind of people who were your best friend on camera and then as soon as filming stopped, were complete assholes. I’d learned to accept it, it was showbiz.
Eventually it was time to board the flight. The film crew got their footage of us climbing the steps of the plane, looking like criminals or something in our ugly overalls. The film ‘Con Air’ came to mind. We didn’t have a direct flight but would eventually end up in Lima in Peru, and would travel from there to wherever Duncan and his team were taking us.
The flight was long, but we passed the time with tour stories, seems us and the New Kids weren’t so different. The airline food was not great but it was edible, I filled up as who knew what kind of shit they’d make us eat when we got there.
As the plane came down to land, I looked out of the window and remembered some of the wild concerts we’d done down in South America. But we weren’t here for that this time.
“Welcome to Peru guys, we’re gonna have a blast” said Duncan in his very British accent as we collected our bags and headed out of the airport. As we travelled to our hotel, I looked out of the ancient taxi’s window and couldn’t help noticing the poverty, how could parts of the world still be living like this? It just didn’t seem right.
We arrived at our hotel a little while later, and I was pleased to see it looked habitable. Of course I wasn’t bothered about luxuries or anything like that, but after a long flight there was nothing like a nice clean and inviting bed.
We spent that evening just chilling over a meal and a few (OK, more than a few in some people’s cases) drinks. It was a very enjoyable evening, no cameras, no fans, just a bunch of guys bonding.
“Come on then dude, are you gonna tell us what we’re gonna have to do?” I asked Duncan, hoping that the numerous Jack Daniels he’d knocked back would loosen his tongue and make him spill.
“And spoil the surprise? You’ve got to be fucking kidding. Let’s just say I hope you aren’t afraid of heights though” he chuckled and tipped the last of his drink down his throat. He’d told us about one of the shows he’d presented called ‘Scream If You Know The Answer’ in which the contestants took part in challenges whilst riding some of the scariest roller coasters in the world.
Brian paled a little at the mention of heights and roller coasters. He hated heights with a passion and made no secret of it. But no matter how hard we tried, Duncan wasn’t giving in, so we gave up in the end. We’d find out soon enough. Couldn’t be that bad, could it? I could handle roller coasters. No problem!
We carried on drinking and chatting until late into the night, coming up with outrageous situations they might put us in, all trying to scare one another.
“Right then guys, film crew will be here in the morning so I think it would be a good idea to try and get some sleep” Duncan said as he stood there swaying.
We all said goodnight and went to our rooms, I looked out of my window at the city and wondered to myself what was in store for us over the next few days. I closed the blinds and undressed down to my boxers and climbed into bed, sleep came to me easily; it had been a long day.
The next morning, after a surprisingly sound sleep, I took a shower and dressed then went to see who was about, and maybe see about some breakfast, I was starved. Most of the others were already there, looking like shit, drinking large mugs of coffee and scoffing a hearty breakfast to no doubt ease the hangovers. I was so glad those days were over. That’s not to say I don’t have a drink, because I do. I just do it in moderation these days and don’t overdo it. Nothing like a health scare to make you see sense.
“That’s what I like to see, eager celebrities” said Duncan, arriving in the restaurant and pouring himself a coffee. “Just had a call from the crew, they’ll be here in about half an hour, I’m gonna grab some breakfast and then round up the others if they aren’t here before I’m done”
“So we’re actually doing one of the challenges today?” I asked
“No, today the film crew are just going to do the interviews and take some footage of us all relaxing. The calm before the storm if you like. Then later on they’ll go on ahead to the location and set up there” he answered in between mouthfuls of food.
“Great, so what’s the plan for today? Y’know after that?” AJ asked.
“Whatever you want dude” he replied.
I had a feeling AJ and Howie would want to check out a club whilst we were here. But as it turned out, by the time we’d finished filming, none of us really had the energy to go out clubbing, so we went out for a meal and drinks then back to the hotel for an early night.
The action will begin in the next chapter!
Chapter 3 by Carter-Orange
For anyone with a fear of heights, then I definitely do not recommend doing what we are about to do.
We arrived here by helicopter (which was scary enough for some, no names mentioned), and were told that our first challenge was bungee jumping. Or should I say, extreme bungee jumping. Bungee jumping into a massive tropical gorge, from a helicopter to be exact. We must be absolutely fucking crazy! But if you’re going to scare yourself shitless, then better do it good!
The look on Brian’s face was priceless and I hope the camera caught it. AJ didn’t look much better; in fact the pair of them looked ready to puke. Howie seemed kind of cool about it, but that’s Howie. As for the New Kids, well, they weren’t showing any fear.
My hands were sweating and I admit to feeling just a little bit queasy when we saw just how high we were going to have to jump from. I couldn’t back out of it though, I told myself I wasn’t a quitter and I was sticking by what I’d said. People bungee jumped every day, how hard could it be?
Before going any further though, we had a talk with the safety team, we had to know the risks involved and be fully aware of what we were about to do before tackling the challenge. I have to say, the safety team were brilliant and really pumped me up ready to do it. After they’d done with us, I felt ready to take on the world.
“So, the big question is…who wants to go first?” Duncan asked, looking each one of us in the eye before turning back to the camera.
“Guys, I’ll go first and show you how it’s done” replied Danny, eager to get up there. He got harnessed up and off he went, into the helicopter without a trace of fear, a camera strapped to his head to capture the jump, whilst the camera crew on the ground were filming the rest.
“Oh my god, oh my god, I don’t think I can do this” said Brian, watching Danny’s movements on the monitor, and he hadn’t even jumped yet. Brian was a complete bag of nerves, biting his finger nails until there was almost nothing left of them. AJ was chain smoking and muttering every swear word known to man whilst pacing up and down.
“You’ll be fine, they wouldn’t be letting us do it if it wasn’t safe” I said, hoping to ease his fears.
“True” he laughed nervously “but that doesn’t change things”
All eyes turned to Danny as the helicopter took off at speed, with a very calm and collected looking Danny waving to us all. He actually looked as if this was just a walk in the park. Once the helicopter had reached the correct height and position, it was thumbs up for him to jump.
“And here goes. Danny Wood is the first one to take on the challenge. Will he do it? Keep watching to find out!” Duncan did his bit for camera and then looked up into the air, where Danny was on the edge, ready to jump.
“Are you watching this you guys?” he shouted. Obviously we couldn’t hear him from the ground, but we could see and hear him on the monitor and could tell he was pumped up with adrenaline. Next thing we knew he was dangling in the air, loud “woohoo’s” and “fucking awesome’s” could be heard coming from the monitor.
“Wow, now that is scary looking” Duncan said as we all watched Danny dangling by his legs over the gorge. This wasn’t going to be as easy as I’d thought it would be, but I was still up for it.
Danny eventually made it back to where we were waiting “that was fucking awesome guys, you’re gonna love it, who’s up next?”
I looked around to see if anyone was going to volunteer, seeing no one else stepping forward, I offered. To be honest, I just wanted to get it over and done with. I went over to the helicopter to be harnessed up, they asked if I was 100% sure I wanted to go ahead, I suppose they had to make sure before taking people up.
“Yeah, bring it on” I said, my voice not quite as steady as I would’ve liked it to have been.
“OK, here we go” said one of the crew and up we went. I took a few deep breaths to try and calm my nerves. Danny had made it look so easy, but when you’re actually in that situation, it’s not so simple. My palms were sweating and I had to repeatedly wipe them on my overalls. I felt sick too.
We got to the right jumping zone and I was asked to stand up and stand on the edge. “You ready?” I was asked and I gave a thumbs up, next thing I knew I was free falling, my arms out in front of me. I was flying. I was also scared shitless and screaming my head off, but Danny was right, it was fucking awesome. I looked down and all around me, praying that the rope wouldn’t snap or anything like that. I’d be well and truly fucked otherwise. Below me was a fast flowing river and all around me was jungle or something. It was all moving too fast to really take in. I felt like I was never going to stop falling, then all of a sudden I felt a pull and was transported back up in the air, then down again. It was like nothing I’d ever experienced before. The helicopter lowered me down to safety and I was unclipped from the restraints, my legs felt like jelly as I made my way over to everyone else.
“What did you think? Told you you’d love it didn’t I?” Danny asked, still high from his jump.
“I’m telling you, I fucking loved it, can I go again” I asked, although my legs were still a little shaky and in all honesty, I don’t really think I could’ve done it again, but you know what I mean.
“I’m not sure I can do it” said AJ, trembling slightly and puffing on yet another cigarette.
I walked over to him and placed my hand on his shoulder “It really is OK, you’ll be perfectly safe up there, they know what they’re doing, and if I can do it then I’m sure you can”
“You think?” he asked, looking for reassurance.
“Do you wanna beat the New Kids?” I lowered my voice so none of them would hear.
“At this moment in time, I couldn’t give a fuck” AJ replied “but I guess I’ll have to do it”
“That’s the way!” I slapped him on the back.
Joey was up next. Like Danny, he showed no fear whatsoever. I was beginning to think they were super human or something.
“Fucking awesome man” Joey said as he walked back to where we were all standing.
“Go on, get it over and done with” I whispered to AJ “keep the Backstreet pride alive” and off he went. I was watching him on the monitor and could see how terrified he was, but he did it, he actually jumped. He looked shit scared the whole time and was screaming “fuck” constantly, but he did it.
“I am never doing that again” he said when he finally got his feet on solid ground “I need a cigarette or twenty”
Donnie, Howie and Jordan did the jump no problem. Brian on the other hand was a different matter. After about half an hour of being talked into going up, he did finally go up in the helicopter, muttering prayers the whole time. There was a bit of drama before the jump and we did think he wasn’t going to do it, but he shocked us all and did it. We all cheered him when he came back down.
“Fuck” he said, which was not a word that Brian used very often “Never again”
“Well, fuck that shit. I’m not even going up” Jon announced. There would be no changing his mind either.
We all had a group hug and congratulated each other, then talked about our individual jumps until the sun was beginning to set. We headed back to our hotel via another helicopter, and I had never felt so happy to be back within four walls as I did when we walked through that hotel entrance.
I know I've posted these first couple of chapters really quick, but I was on a roll!
Rather them doing that bungee jump than me, lol.
Chapter 4 by Carter-Orange
We were all sweaty and a little weary as we entered the hotel and as much as I needed an ice cold drink, I needed a shower and change of clothes before I could even think of stepping into the bar. So we all agreed to meet up in the bar in half an hour. That would give us plenty of time to freshen up.
“God that’s good” I said to myself as I stood under the shower head whilst the nice warm torrent of water washed over me, sending little rivers of dirt running off my body and down the drain. I washed myself and then turned off the shower, grabbed a fluffy towel off the towel rail and secured it around my waist. The other guys had crammed all sorts of clothes into their back packs as their allowed extras, but not wanting to have to carry all that extra crap, all I’d put in mine was my iPhone, a couple of pairs of shorts, a couple of t-shirts and my battered old flip flops. It’s not like we were anywhere which required us to dress up, and besides, when the cameras were rolling we were wearing those ugly prisoner style overalls which we’d been designated.
And so I pulled on my shorts and t-shirt, ran the towel roughly over my hair and then styled it messily with my fingers and was good to go.
I was first downstairs, so I ordered a drink and picked up the food menu, I don’t know about anyone else but I’d suddenly found my appetite after the day we’d had and was now ravenous. Luckily I didn’t have long to wait for the others to join me, and before long we all made our way to a table and ordered food and more drinks.
Everything on the menu looked good, but I decided on Lomo Saltado, something traditionally Peruvian, and when it arrived I was not disappointed. It was delicious. Howie opted for the hottest item on the menu (he should be breathing fire the amount of chilli he eats) and I was glad none of us had to share a room, because I would not have wanted to share with him after what he ate! So we sat around the table, eating, drinking and chatting about the challenge we’d just undertaken and our guesses for what tomorrow’s would be.
“Come on man, put us out of our misery” Donnie asked Duncan, who was chugging down the beer like it was water.
“You really wanna know? Because it’s not for the faint hearted” he laughed.
“Yes, why else would he ask” AJ replied as he blew cigarette smoke away from the table. I had a feeling AJ was regretting signing up for this, the same could also be said for Brian. The pair of them were only just regaining their colour after the bungee jumping challenge earlier.
“OK, the next challenge…are you ready for this…is a challenge of endurance, both physically and mentally” said Duncan, getting more and more animated as he spoke.
“Carry on” said Jordan, leaning closer. Everyone waited for Duncan to carry on.
“You’re gonna spend the next few days in the jungle!” he said excitedly “you’ll have to navigate your way through the jungle with a map, compass and minimal rations of food and water”
“No way!” AJ protested.
“Way” Duncan laughed “and to make things more interesting it’ll be red team versus blue team. You’ll be dropped off in different locations and the first one to reach the destination marked with a cross on the map wins”
“So it’s kind of like a treasure hunt?” I asked, imagining myself wearing an Indiana Jones style hat, with my whip in hand in search of ancient ruins, or buried gold, or something else like that.
“If you like…yes” Duncan nodded.
“Cool” I replied. How hard could that be?
“You’re gonna have to live off the land and cook whatever you catch on an open fire, camp out beneath the stars under the shelter of the rainforest, and in amongst all the jungle beasties” he laughed “I almost wish I was gonna be there with you”. He was probably glad he’d be far away and enjoying all the little luxuries of life.
“Will there be spiders?” asked AJ and we all looked at him as if he was as thick as shit.
“Duh!” said Brian shaking his head at his band mate “it’s the jungle, there’ll be everything. Spiders, snakes and who knows what else”
“Fuck” he muttered “I hate spiders, I’m not sure I can do it. If one of those giant fucking bird eating bastards lands on me…well, I don’t know what I’ll do”
“Scream like a girl?” I suggested to the sound of the others sniggering.
“Like you wouldn’t be scared” AJ challenged us all. He did have a point. I think I’d be shitting my pants if one of those big hairy monsters landed on me too.
“Come on guys, it’s gonna be awesome, I know it” said Howie, always the optimist of the group. But his enthusiasm usually had the desired effect and it wasn’t long before we were all ready to face another challenge. A few days in the jungle wouldn’t be so bad, would it?
Thanks for reading! Sorry this was such a short chapter.
Chapter 5 by Carter-Orange
I woke up the next morning, the sunlight was streaming through a gap in the blinds, and for a moment I thought I was back home. Then I took a look around and realised that that was wishful thinking. I dragged myself out of bed, did what needed to be done in the bathroom and then splashed cold water over my face to help revive myself into the land of the living.
“Ugh” I groaned as I looked at my reflection. I looked like shit. Mornings are not really my thing.
We were all due to meet downstairs at ten, so I pulled on the clean t-shirt and overalls which I’d been given and then headed off to meet them. Duncan and the film crew had gone on ahead of us so that they could set up ready for the next bit of filming, so it was just us and the New Kids left in the hotel.
A man dressed smartly and carrying a silver tray appeared and we all stopped doing what we were doing and looked around to see if we could see the hidden cameras. The last time they’d done this to us, we’d later found out that cameras had been hidden in the room. They were there somewhere, but where, I couldn’t tell.
“Shall I read it?” Jordan asked as he walked towards the man with the tray.
We hope you slept well last night as it’ll be a few days before you encounter such luxuries again.
As you are aware, today will kick off with a new challenge, one which is entitled ‘Welcome To The Jungle’. The object of the game this time is to test your endurance, both physically and mentally. The jungle can be a tough place, possibly fatal if you don’t pay attention. You will be given basic rations and equipment needed to survive and complete the task.
If you would like to grab your back packs and head outside, there is a mini bus waiting for you.
Further information will follow once you reach the starting point.
“The stuff we need is over there” I pointed to the far wall where a pile of back packs were stacked. We each grabbed one and had a quick look inside.
“What is this shit?” AJ said as he pulled out a packet a freeze dried, high energy, beef and potato casserole from his back pack.
“Um, whatever it says on the label dude” I replied, and rummaged through my supplies to see what was in there. Freeze dried sachets, energy bars in various flavours and a few snack type things were what I found, along with bottles of water.
“Come on, we better get going” Brian said and slung his back pack over his shoulder “the sooner we start, the sooner we finish”. I knew he would rather be home with his wife and kid, who wouldn’t? But this was something we’d never forget. It was the chance of a lifetime. At least that was how I thought of it. If Bear Grylls could survive the jungle, then so could Nick Carter and Co.
With that we left the hotel with our back packs and got into the waiting mini bus which would take us to the airport.
“We’re going on that thing?” I said, looking at the ancient little propeller plane which was waiting for us on the runway. Now you’d think that after all the years of plane hopping we’d done that we’d be OK with this, but to tell you the truth, I’m not fussed on flying. I’m especially not keen when the plane I’m expected to get on looks like it should be on the scrap heap. I could see that I wasn’t alone in my thoughts.
“Morning guys and yep, you are indeed flying on this plane today. I know it may look like a piece of shit, but we won’t be able to get there in anything else, and this plane is reliable” said Jason, a member of the production team whom we’d met during our time in Peru.
“Are you getting on it? It looks like a tin can!” Brian observed as he nervously bit his nails. He wasn’t too good with small planes.
“It’s perfectly safe. Eduardo here has thirty years experience” Jason indicated towards a skinny, dark haired man with a handlebar moustache who was wearing a pilot’s shirt and black trousers “isn’t that right Eduardo”
Eduardo nodded and smiled. I wondered whether he spoke English.
And so we took his word for it, after all, the TV company wouldn’t book us on anything less than perfect would they? So we climbed aboard. As I was first on, I sat at the back with AJ and next to me, directly in front was Brian and Howie, then Jordan, Jon and Donnie were in front of them and Joey and Danny were right behind Eduardo. There was just enough room for our rucksacks.
“Fasten your seatbelts kids” Jason called out and chuckled to himself as he waved us off.
I would’ve felt safer in a paper airplane! We were bouncing up and down as if we were on a trampoline in a sardine tin! Jordan said he felt sick, Brian actually was sick into a paper bag which had been conveniently placed on each seat. AJ clung to me (which I kind of didn’t mind as I was also a little scared) and swore constantly and Howie had managed to nod off amongst all of it.
About an hour into the flight we began to relax and regain our confidence. We were getting used to the way the plane bounced up and down, and Eduardo seemed perfectly calm, proving that we had no reason to be afraid I looked out of the window from time to time, below us was nothing but trees in every direction, thick dense rainforest to be precise, stretching for as far as the eye could see. I wondered how far we were from landing.
All of a sudden, the plane began to lose altitude quite drastically. This couldn’t be right could it?
“What the fuck” AJ muttered, obviously noticing the same thing as I was.
“Erm, Eduardo, what’s going on?” I shouted, hoping he could hear me from where I was sitting at the back of the plane.
He didn’t reply, he obviously hadn’t heard me. But I noticed his cool and calm demeanour had slipped and he seemed to be frantically fiddling with the controls. And then the engine stopped.
“Hey, Eduardo, that engine doesn’t sound too good, in fact the engine isn’t making any sound at all” Donnie called out.
“Eduardo” shouted Joey “what the fuck is going on man?”
“It cut out……engine, it stop” Eduardo said, beads of sweat developing on his forehead.
“What the fuck? You mean there’s nothing keeping us up here?” AJ asked as Brian held his hands in the prayer position and began to pray. Howie was now awake and as freaked out as the rest of us.
“I knew I shouldn’t have done this” Jon muttered “I could’ve been finishing the renovations on my house, and now I’m going to die”
“We aren’t going to die” Howie tried to be the voice of reason, although his voice trembled as he spoke. Good old Howie, always trying to be optimistic, even in the face of doom.
“We glide down, make crash landing” Eduardo said, sounding reasonably calm considering we were facing death.
“OK, everyone assume the crash landing position, make sure your seat belts are secure, we’re in for a bumpy ride” Donnie called out.
“Oh god, oh fuck, I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die” AJ screamed as we began plummeting towards the ground.
“Arghhhhhhh Lord save us” screamed Brian clinging to Howie. As if prayers would work, he should save them for if we ever got off this plane.
Danny and Joey remained pretty quiet, took their positions and closed their eyes. Jon, Jordan and Donnie clung to each other, also praying to whomever.
Me, well, I was shitting my pants, I’m not going to lie.
The ground was approaching way too fast, this was going to end horribly, I just knew it.
Chapter 6 by Carter-Orange
Eduardo was swearing and shouting in Spanish (I’d learned numerous Spanish swear words courtesy of Howie) and doing his very best to steady the plane, but it was no good, we were going down.
The cabin went deadly quiet. What was the use in screaming when no one could hear or do anything to stop the inevitable? I squeezed my eyes tightly shut, sat in the emergency landing position and gripped AJ’s hand. He squeezed my hand equally as hard. We were understandably petrified.
The plane crashed through trees, branches tearing off as they slowed us down, the sound of creaking metal piercing the air. We seemed to travel for miles until we eventually came to a stop, the battered plane groaning as we did do.
“Thank fuck” I muttered, still crouched over in my seat. I didn’t know whether to be happy or burst into tears. It was the stuff of nightmares, no doubt about that. I couldn’t believe we’d just crash landed and were alive to tell the tale. I opened my eyes to complete and utter devastation though, and my happy feeling soon evaporated.
“AJ, are you OK?” I asked as I looked at my friend, still in the crash landing position.
“I think so” he said, slowly sitting up to reveal minor scratches on his hands and face. He seemed to be in shock, just kind of staring into space, but at least he was alive and relatively unharmed.
“Don’t worry, everything will be OK” I said and wiped at my face with my sleeve, I must’ve been bleeding from somewhere because the sleeve was covered in blood, although at this point, I had no idea whose blood it was.
Others weren’t so lucky though. As I looked up, I took in the devastation before me, it was awful, more awful than you can possibly imagine. I’m not ashamed to admit that seeing all that gore made me puke my guts up.
“Who’s OK?” I called out, although I knew there was no way Eduardo could be OK, all that was left of him was mangled bone and tissue. He would’ve been unidentifiable if not for the fact that I could see the others.
There were a few mumbles coming from in front of me, so that sounded promising. I got up out of my seat and tried to open the door to the plane, which was conveniently located towards the back. It was stuck fast. Great! First the damn plane crash lands and then we can’t get off the thing.
“Come on you bastard, open up” I shouted and charged at the door, it eventually gave way and opened. I told AJ to get off the plane, I didn’t know if this thing was going to explode or something like that, because they do in the movies don’t they?
“Bri, Howie, you OK guys?” I asked. Brian had a nasty looking cut to his face and Howie had a shard of metal piercing his leg, it looked as if he was pinned down.
“I…I’m OK” Brian replied shakily.
“I’m trapped” Howie said quietly, in shock, his face devoid of all colour.
“Can you move anything?” I asked, just to check whether he could move the limbs which weren’t trapped. He wriggled his arms and his right leg, but couldn’t move the left leg.
“Don’t leave me” he said and a tear rolled down his cheek.
“As if! I’m gonna get you out of here, you’re gonna be OK” I reassured him, wondering where my confidence was coming from because I sure as hell didn’t feel it. But I also wasn’t about to leave my friends on a plane which may or may not explode at any given moment.
I unfastened Brian and helped him out, telling him to sit next to AJ who was a little way away from the plane. Then I turned back to face the rest of the horror which was to come.
There was absolutely no hope for Danny and Joey, the pair of them had been speared by broken off branches and their insides were now on their outsides. I retched at the sight of them. It was an awful way to go, but I hoped they’d died before they had a chance to know what had happened to them.
Jordan seemed to be unresponsive but he had a pulse, I checked him over and apart from a nasty looking head injury, he seemed OK. I unfastened him and hoisted him onto my shoulder, then carried him off the plane and laid him down on a grassy clearing, asking AJ to look after him and clean his wound up.
“Oh my god” he said, as if the enormity of the situation was finally dawning on him. But he did as I asked and tore off a strip of t-shirt and mopped some of the blood up. I grabbed the bags, which had been scattered around, and rummaged in them for the first aid kit, tossed it to AJ and then ran back to the plane.
“OK Howie, you’re gonna be fine, let me just check on the others and then I’ll get back to you” I said.
There was no sign of life from either of them; Jon’s head was at an unnatural angle, his eyes had rolled and there was blood dripping from his slack lips. He also looked as if he’d suffered multiple body wounds judging by the bones protruding through his skin. Poor guy. He looked as if he’d died instantly and there was nothing I could do now for him.
“Donnie” I called but there was no answer, I reached over and checked his pulse, there wasn’t one, I could see no damage to him, apart from the expected lacerations, but who knows what kind of internal damage he’d suffered? He could have something lodged in his body and I just couldn’t see it. But it was too late for him also.
“Oh god” I said, tears springing to my eyes. This was a fucking nightmare, like something out of a disaster movie. This couldn’t be happening to us, it just couldn’t. Surely this was all a dream and I’d wake up any second.
Except it wasn’t a dream, it was very very real.
There was no time to dwell on the dead bodies in front of me, I could do nothing more for them, my main priority now was Howie. I looked at the way his leg was jammed and wondered how the hell I was going to get him out.
Sorry but someone had to go! Hope you liked and thanks for reading :)
Chapter 7 by Carter-Orange
Of all the fucking planes in the world, it had to be our plane; it was just my luck really. But at least I’d managed to escape relatively unharmed, unlike some. There was no time to think about myself though; I had to get Howie out of that plane somehow. But how? I’m no hero, just plain old Nick Carter, the guy who fucks up from time to time.
I grabbed the first aid kit (although I’m sure it would take more than the antiseptic wipes, band-aids in various sizes, a small bandage roll and a box of pain killers contained within it to fix Howie’s leg) and strode back to the mangled plane to determine how I was going to free my trapped friend.
“How you doing D?” I asked jovially, trying to keep his spirits up and not show him how absolutely terrified I was while I thought of what I was going to do.
“Just fine, couldn’t be better” he replied, keeping up with the pretence that everything was fine. Although how he could remain so calm baffled me, he must be in agony with that injury. If I was in his position, I’m sure I’d be kicking up a huge fuss.
“OK then dude, I’m just gonna take a closer look and see how we’re gonna do this” I said and moved closer to inspect his leg. It wasn’t quite as bad as I’d previously thought, the metal rod hadn’t gone right through his leg, but I had no way of knowing how far it had gone. But I’d seen medical dramas on TV, and knew how careful you had to be with injuries like this. The patient always seemed perfectly fine apart from the obvious impalement, and then as soon as the obstacle was removed, they suddenly begin to bleed out and die within moments. Well I wasn’t going to let that happen to Howie. No fucking way! “This isn’t a TV show” I told myself mentally.
I carefully inspected the metal rod from every angle, deciding on the best course of action, if only I could move Howie over to the left a little, the rod might tilt and then I could try and pull it out. Sounds like I’ve got it all planned doesn’t it? To be honest I’m shitting my pants! I’m no doctor, what if I fuck this up? What if in my attempt to free him, I end up killing one of my best friends? I would not be able to live with myself if he died at my hands.
“AJ? Can you come and give me a hand?” I called out. I still had no idea what to do, but figured an extra pair of hands would be needed if we were to get Howie out.
“How’s it looking Nick?” Howie asked hopefully.
“We’ll have you out of here in no time, don’t you worry” I reassured him.
AJ appeared at my side and I thrust the measly first aid kit into his hands and told him to get the bandage out. If only we had more than that, but I supposed that’s all we would’ve needed for a few days in the jungle. If any of us had needed medical attention, the crew would’ve been on hand to treat us with the appropriate medical equipment (which was probably on that other plane, god knows where). I’m sure no one ever foresaw this catastrophe.
“If only we had a needle and thread in there” I exclaimed. I really had no idea how I would’ve used them, but I did know that Howie was going to need his wound stitching up when we freed him. Shame he would have to make do with bandages secured with band-aids.
“Right then Howie, I’m going to try to move you ever so slightly, is that OK?” I asked, trying to appear in control of the situation but feeling far from it.
“Do what you have to do” he replied with a weak smile.
“AJ is gonna hold the rod steady so that it doesn’t cause further damage OK?”
“OK” he replied
“On three……..one, two, three” I said and we moved him slightly and as gently as possible, an ear splitting scream coming from his mouth. It must’ve felt like torture. Beads of sweat were running down his face and he looked agonised.
“I’m fine, just do what you have to do” he said breathlessly.
“You sure?” I asked
“Yeah, just don’t leave me here to die alone” he said sadly
“You are not going to die OK!” I said “you’re getting out of this plane and we’ll all be rescued soon. You’ll be in the hospital getting professional treatment before you know it”
“If I don’t make it, tell my wife I love her?” he asked and I battled to hold in the tears. I couldn’t let him see how scared I was.
“You can tell her yourself when you get home” I said and smiled positively.
I inspected the rod and his leg again, to see whether we’d moved him enough to be able to retract the rod from his leg. We hadn’t, but we weren’t far off. Another go at moving him and we should be able to do it. If only we had some metal cutters. They would make this so much easier.
“OK AJ, let’s try and move him again shall we?” I said “on three again……….one, two, three”
We moved him a little bit more, he was in incredible pain and I hated to see him in that situation. But we’d moved him enough to be able to pull the rod free.
“What painkillers have we got in that kit?” I asked AJ, I knew there’d be nothing anywhere near strong enough to alleviate his pain, but anything was better than nothing.
“We have Tylenol and that’s it” AJ replied as he popped a few out of the packet and handed them to Howie.
Howie took the pills, washed down with a drink of water and then leaned back in his seat, the pain shooting through his leg.
“Right then buddy, I’m going to be a gentle as I can be, you have to trust me” I said.
Howie nodded his head and spoke through gritted teeth “Just do it”
“OK then. Ready AJ?”
“As I’ll ever be” he said standing near me.
“Right then, here goes” I said. I pulled the rod carefully and slowly, Howie cried out in pain but I couldn’t stop, I had to carry on. There was no other way of getting him out; the rod was too large to come out of the plane still embedded in Howie’s leg. After what seemed like forever, I finally removed it and AJ handed me a thick dressing (which was actually a folded up t-shirt). I pressed it over the wound before it could bleed out everywhere, securing it around his leg with the bandage. Now we just had to get him off the plane.
“Thanks guys” Howie had tears rolling down his face, tears of gratitude and pain.
“Come on, let’s get you out of here” I said. AJ and I carefully carried him out, trying not to knock his leg as we did so. He was in agony, but he didn’t complain as we made our way out of that plane and to where the others were waiting.
“Now we just have to get out of the jungle” I exclaimed, slumping down onto the ground exhausted, both physically and mentally. That would be the next problem. And with no mobile phones or any other communicative object to be able to call anyone, it was going to be more of a problem than we’d imagined.
Well, at least he's off the plane, but what next? Hmm...
Chapter 8 by Carter-Orange
After making Howie as comfortable as possible, I checked on Jordan whilst AJ cleaned up Brian’s face with a bit of water and a strip of t-shirt. If we weren’t in such a frigging nightmare situation I’d have to laugh at the two of us suddenly being the heroes and in control. Me, the one often perceived as immature. If people could see us now!
“You’re gonna have a bad ass scar Bri” AJ observed as he cleaned the dried blood off Brian’s cheek and secured a band-aid “you know how the ladies love a rugged looking bad boy”. Brian just groaned at his friend. A scar was nothing compared to what could have been, and he would take that any day rather than the alternative.
After cleaning Jordan’s wound, I realized that it didn’t look quite as bad as I’d first thought. Head cuts always seemed to bleed a lot and appear worse than they actually were, or so I’d heard somewhere. He’d now regained consciousness, but was confused and disorientated and was having trouble keeping his eyes open. I thought it best to refrain from telling him about his brother and band mates until he was more with it.
“What are we gonna tell him?” AJ whispered as Jordan’s eyes fluttered closed again.
“I don’t think we’ll have to say much, he’ll see for himself when he wakes” Brian replied.
We all looked towards the plane. It was still hard to come to terms with. Seeing how mangled and battered the plane looked, it was a miracle any of us had survived such a horrific crash.
“I think we ought to get out of these bloodied clothes before we start attracting unwanted visitors” Brian stood and tore off his overalls, which were covered in blood. His t-shirt underneath looked alright, so he kept that one and rummaged in one of the bags for something clean to put on. Luckily there were spare clothes for all of us.
“What kind of visitors are you talking about?” AJ shuddered, not really sure he wanted to know the answer to his question.
“Well, we are in the jungle, so I guess they’ll be plenty of wildlife sniffing around once they get a whiff of all the fresh meat” I replied.
“I’m gonna be sick” AJ ran to the nearest tree, leaned over and puked his guts up. I didn’t feel much better when I thought about it, so took a deep breath and tried to put the image of my friends becoming jungle chow out of my mind.
We all followed Brian’s example and got out of our bloodied clothes and tossed them into a pile. We had to go careful with Howie, and cut away at his trouser leg with a knife so as not to disturb his leg injury. I was pleased to see that the blood hadn’t soaked through his makeshift dressing yet. Hopefully that meant he hadn’t damaged an artery. Not that I know anything about that kind of thing.
“I feel so useless” Howie exclaimed as Brian and I helped him get some clean clothes on.
“Dude, you’d do the same for me” I replied. It was true though, Howie was the kind of person you could always rely on, and I knew that if the tables were turned, he’d do everything he could for the rest of us. Since the departure of Kevin from the group, Howie had become the unspoken leader, the one to keep everyone in line. He was also the business brain of the group. Now it was his turn to rely on us to do the right thing.
Once we were all in clean, blood free clothes, AJ pulled out his lighter and set fire to the pile of dirty, bloody clothes. But it wouldn’t be enough to keep the predators away.
“What are we gonna do about, y’know…the others?” AJ asked. It was a question that had been on all of our minds.
“Well, there’s not a lot we can do” I replied as I recalled the scene inside the plane “but I’ll have a look and see if I can free any of them so that we can at least bury them”
How I would do that without a shovel or anything like that, I didn’t know. But if I could save them from being gnawed on by animals, then I would dig a grave with my bare hands.
Joey, Jon and Danny were all impaled on tree branches, their insides hanging out and pools of congealing blood on the floor beside them. There was no chance of getting them out and I let out a frustrated cry. I could do nothing for them. The sight of Eduardo made me gag (although I was sure there could be nothing left to puke up), and I wasn’t even going to attempt to scoop the remaining parts of him up and get him out of there, he was all over the place. I gulped down the bile which was beginning to rise up my throat and looked away.
Donnie on the other hand, wasn’t impaled by anything and I could see no reason why I couldn’t get him out so that we could give at least one of our friends a half decent burial.
“Let’s see about getting you out” I said to the corpse of the guy who’d come to be my friend. I checked him over quickly to make sure he wasn’t trapped, and then dragged him through the wreckage and out into the open.
“Oh god…Donnie…NO” Jordan cried, obviously having regained consciousness enough to witness what was going on. He struggled to get up, but was so unsteady on his feet that he collapsed in a heap just a few feet away from where he’d been lying. “Jon…Joey…Danny? Is my brother OK? Please tell me he survived” he begged as big fat tears rolled down his face.
“I’m sorry” was all I could reply. What else was there to say?
The ground was solid and unless we had tools, there was no way we could dig even the shallowest of graves with our bare hands. And so AJ and I dragged Donnie back to the plane and decided the best course of action was to try and block up the smashed in windows and exits, to try and prevent anything from getting in. I shuddered at the thought of them being feasted upon by jungle animals and would do whatever possible to prevent that.
Chapter 9 by Carter-Orange
We ended up barricading the plane’s windows and doors with tree branches we’d cut down with the machetes which made up part of our jungle survival kit. I’d never had the need to use anything like it before, so it took some getting used to, but we’d been told beforehand that a machete in the jungle was a necessity. Seems like they were right about that.
“That’s the best we can do” I said and leaned my weary body against a nearby tree and stuck my machete into the hard ground. Changing into clean clothes earlier had probably not been a good idea, as those of us who were fit to work were now dirty and sweaty.
“Yeah, you’re right” Brian replied, wiping the sweat from his filthy, dirt streaked face “I think we should say a prayer for those who lost their lives today”.
Now, I’m not a religious person but I was willing to put my feelings on the matter aside and join Brian in a prayer for our deceased friends.
Jordan was inconsolable (and rightly so) as we stood in a semi-circle in front of the plane wreckage and said a prayer. I couldn’t begin to imagine what it would be like to lose a family member in such circumstances and placed an arm around his shoulders comfortingly. AJ was the other side of him and did the same as we all shed a few tears.
I didn’t want to be the first to mention it, but I knew we had to get moving before night fall. Even though we’d managed to disguise the plane and prevent anyone climbing in, I had a feeling that if some carnivorous animal wanted in, it would find a way.
“Guys, I think we should gather up as much stuff as we can carry and make a move. I don’t like the idea of staying here after dark” I finally announced.
“I agree” Howie said
“But what about the search parties? How will they find us if we move away from here?” AJ queried.
“Dude, they have all kinds of technology these days, like heat seeking devices and shit like that. Of course they’ll find us as soon as they find the plane. It’s only a matter of time” I replied. Of course I didn’t realize that finding us would be like finding a needle in a haystack and the plane hadn’t been carrying a tracking device.
“Nick’s right. We have to go” Jordan agreed. I felt so sorry for him. He was going to have to leave his brother to nature.
“Did any of the maps survive the crash?” Brian asked.
“It’s not like we even know where we are” AJ protested as he kicked at the dirt.
“I know, but we might need it. We do have the compasses” Howie replied.
“Fucking great, now I feel so much more confident about getting out of here alive” AJ retorted sarcastically.
“Have a little faith” Brian told him “by tomorrow I’m positive we’ll have been rescued”
“Yeah, well I wish I shared your optimism”
“Do you think you’ll be able to walk on that leg?” I asked Howie. I saw him wince in pain from time to time and knew it was giving him a lot of bother, but he wouldn’t admit it.
“I’ll manage” he replied, although it was an effort for him to stand up for long.
“We can make a stretcher out of clothes and carry you if need be” AJ told him.
“Guys, I’ll be fine”
I grabbed my machete and wandered off from the group, coming back minutes later with a large stick which Howie could use as a crutch. It would be better than nothing and would at least offer him a bit of support.
We rummaged through all the bags and other items which we’d retrieved from the plane before sealing it up. At least we had enough food and drink to last us a few days, hopefully we’d be found within a day or two, but it was better to be prepared. Some of the plastic bottles of water and sachets of survival food had perished, but the majority of them were intact.
After checking to make sure we had everything, we fastened up the back packs and got ready to go.
“Do you think we should leave a note or something?” I suddenly thought. If rescuers did find the plane, at least then they would realize that there were a bunch of survivors out in the jungle.
“Good thinking, but how?” AJ replied, but with a question of his own. It’s not like we’d come into this carrying a notepad and pen. The only paper we had was the map, and none of us wanted to give that up.
“I suppose we could tear off this part” Brian suggested, indicating the top of the map which hopefully didn’t contain anything we needed.
And so that’s what we did. With the black pen which had been in Jon’s back pack, Brian wrote a little note on the strip of map and secured it under a stone next to the plane. It wasn’t exactly noticeable unless you were looking for clues, but it was the best we could do under the circumstances. I also wrote a message in the dirt with a stick; even though I was sure it would either be washed away by rain or trampled on by animals.
“Let’s get out of here!” Brian said, being first to sling his back pack over his shoulder.
I just hoped we wouldn’t have far to go.
Not a lot going on in that chapter, but more action is on the way!
Chapter 10 by Carter-Orange
As is turned out, we didn’t get very far before deciding to call it a day, the sun was setting fast and the jungle was being thrust into darkness at an alarmingly quick rate. I’m not sure if we’d even walked a mile, but it felt more like ten miles. It’s surprising how much effort it takes to get through the jungle. It wasn’t just the fact that I was swinging my machete every so often to clear the way, or the fact that the ground we were walking on was uneven and covered with roots and other things to trip us up, it was the humidity that was really getting to us. You’d think that coming from Florida would prepare us for it, but I can assure you, nothing can prepare you for that unbearable jungle humidity. I must’ve sweated from every single pore in my body…not pleasant I can tell you!
But it was Howie I really felt the most for; the poor guy soldiered on despite his horrific leg injury. He must’ve been in agony, yet he wasn’t going to let it stop him, and refused offers of being carried on my back (which I’m kind of glad about, even though I would’ve carried him if need be).
“Are you sure no one sneaked a phone into their bag? Did you check them all?” AJ asked as we dumped our bags down in a secluded spot, which would be where we’d set up camp for the night.
“You know I checked, and you also know that if there was any chance there was a phone stashed away, we would’ve found it. But I somehow doubt a phone would work out here…not that we actually have a phone to try” I replied. I wished that I had brought my phone, but we’d been told that phones weren’t allowed and so it was back in the hotel. I wondered if we’d ever see the hotel again, or civilization for that matter.
“True. I don’t think there’s much need for phone coverage in the jungle!” Brian agreed.
“You OK D? How’s that leg?” I asked
“Well, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt like hell, but I‘ll manage” he said looking down at the leg which was heavily bandaged up. He took two more pain killers, but they weren’t powerful enough to really alleviate his pain. He needed proper medical treatment and a prescription for something stronger, but Tylenol was the best we had to offer and so that would have to do until we got out of here.
Luckily we had sleeping bags in our back packs, and I was grateful for that. Even though it wasn’t cold, the temperature had dropped along with the sun and the sleeping bags would provide a little comfort whilst sleeping on the jungle floor.
“Shall we make a fire?” Brian asked, already gathering twigs.
“Sure” Jordan replied, which was the most animated he’d been all day.
The pair of them collected twigs and a fallen log, which Brian chopped up with the machete and within no time, we had a good camp fire going. We sat around the fire, eating packet survival food and sipping water whilst talking about our imminent rescue, and what we were going to do when we got back home.
“First thing I’m doing is taking a cold shower” I told the group. I felt sticky, dirty and gross; it was as if I hadn’t showered in days.
“I’d give anything for a nice ice cold drink and a shower” Brian agreed.
“That does sound good” Howie nodded in agreement “after I’ve got my leg looked at”
“Well, I’ll have to agree about the shower, but I’ll be taking mine with the love of my life” AJ smiled, obviously picturing the scene in his mind.
Of course we couldn’t forget what had happened or those people who had lost their lives earlier that day, but it felt like it had happened to someone else. It was unbelievable that we had survived a plane crash and were in the middle of the jungle somewhere in Peru. I suppose the shock hadn’t really hit us.
Its funny how in the daylight, we hardly noticed the sound of jungle critters, but now in the darkness, the place seemed more alive. I was used to hearing things like crickets at night, and had seen bats, but nothing compared to here. I just hoped they’d leave us alone; we’d had enough to deal with for one day without having to add scorpion stings or whatever the hell else was out here into the mix.
“I’m gonna hit the sack” Brian yawned and climbed into his sleeping bag.
“Don’t let the bed bugs bite!” I teased.
“Dude, can we not talk about bugs and bites when I’m already freaked out enough here?” AJ stubbed out his last cigarette of the night and gave me a look. “Do you think anything will bite us?”
“How the fuck should I know, I certainly hope not though” I replied. Just because I was teasing Brian didn’t mean I was fine with all these jungle nasties. I would literally shit my pants if I found a snake or a huge spider in my sleeping bag.
“I’m sure they’re more afraid of us than we are of them” Howie suggested, always the diplomatic one of the group.
“Yeah, what he said” Brian agreed.
It wasn’t long before we all followed Brian’s lead and were nice and snug in our sleeping bags, under the stars and a canopy of trees. I just hoped nothing else bad would happen to us.
“Do you think we’ll get out of here?” AJ whispered, as if reading my thoughts.
“Of course we will, have faith” Brian whispered back.
“I’ll believe it when I see it” Jordan said in a flat tone.
“Guys, we’ll be out of here tomorrow” I told them. How could we not be? There had to be search parties looking for us by now, maybe they were closer than we thought. Maybe we wouldn’t even have to wait until morning. I held on to that thought as I drifted off into a dreamless sleep.
Chapter 11 by Carter-Orange
I woke to the sound of the birds singing happily and various other jungle sounds. Sunlight was trickling through the foliage and I looked at my watch, it was only 5.34am. “Fuck me, is that all?” I said to myself and yawned. But at least we’d all managed to get a few hours sleep, which is more than any of us thought we’d get after the ordeal we’d been through the previous day.
I stretched, looked around to see if the others were awake (they weren’t, or at least they appeared to be sleeping) and then slumped back down into my sleeping bag to try and get a little more sleep. It was no use though, and after five minutes of lying there with my eyes closed, listening to the damn birds tweeting away in the trees, I decided to give up. I quietly unzipped my sleeping bag and nearly screamed when a couple of spiders crawled out, I wondered what else had shared my bed during the night and shuddered at the thought. Maybe it was better I didn’t know!
“Sleep well?” Brian mumbled from his sleeping bag. Maybe I hadn’t been as quiet as I’d thought.
“I guess so, what about you?” I asked.
“Well, I’ve had better nights” he replied and slid out of his sleeping bag and joined me next to the fire I was trying to get going. He prodded at the injury on his face and I took a look at it for him to make sure it looked alright. I’m no expert or anything, but it didn’t look infected and the bleeding had stopped.
I would’ve given anything for a nice cup of coffee, but unfortunately we didn’t have anything remotely like coffee. We did have rehydration powder sachets, freeze dried meals and water. I held up a selection of sachets, ranging from oatmeal to chilli and decided that chilli for breakfast was not an option.
“Freeze dried oatmeal it is then” Brian poured water into a small metal tin and placed it over the fire to warm so that we didn’t have to eat cold oatmeal.
“Mmm my favourite” I said sarcastically. But it would have to do, it could’ve been worse and at least we didn’t have to go rummaging for food in the wild.
“Wanna wake the others?”
“Already awake” Jordan replied.
Half an hour later we were all sitting around, finishing up the portions of bland oatmeal we’d warmed over the fire and washing it down with rationed water.
“How’s the leg this morning?” I asked Howie, noticing that his makeshift bandage was saturated with blood. The strain of walking on it the day before can’t have done him any good.
“Still hurting like hell” he said as he grimaced in pain trying to move out of his sleeping bag “but I’ll survive”
“I think we’ll have to apply a fresh bandage to it” Brian suggested, ripping up a t-shirt into strips to use.
“How about you Jordan, how’s the head?” I asked.
“Fine” he replied.
“Want me to take a look?” I asked.
“No, it’s OK, but thanks anyway” he said and so I left it. There wasn’t any blood seeping through and he said he was alright, so I took his word for it.
We packed up our sleeping bags and other bits and pieces before getting the map out. We didn’t have a clue where we were and so soon put the map away and looked at the compass instead. We’d been heading west yesterday and so decided to carry on that way, hopefully we’d either find civilization or be rescued soon.
“I have a good feeling about today” I announced optimistically “they’re gonna find us soon”
“I hope so” AJ puffed on a cigarette.
“Don’t worry, we’ll be home before you run out of smokes” I teased
“I frigging hope so!”
I really could’ve done with a shower, my clothes were a bit sweaty and dirty and were the only ones I had after burning the other set, but they’d have to do until we either found a river or lake to wash in, or were rescued. I was hoping the rescue would come first.
“Right then, are we ready to go?” I asked my fellow plane wreck survivors.
“Yeah” they all replied
“Come on then, let’s see what today brings”
The temperature was rising as we trekked through the jungle, sweat pouring off all of us as we carried our rucksacks under the sweltering sun. Every so often we stopped for a sip of water and a rest, and then resumed our journey.
“I wonder how much longer?” AJ said in what sounded like a whiney kid’s voice. I couldn’t blame him, I’d had enough too. I was drenched in sweat, it was running down my face and stinging my eyes and all I wanted was an ice cold shower and a cold beer.
“Wish I knew” Brian replied, not as chirpy as he’d been when we started in the morning “but I do know people are looking for us, they wouldn’t just leave us here”
“It could take some time though, those little planes aren’t like the big commercial planes, and they don’t carry those black boxes which record all the flight data, so can’t really be traced. The search and rescue teams are going to have a tough job on their hands trying to locate us. Better if we can find a way out ourselves” said Howie, seemingly full of knowledge on the subject of plane crash survival.
“Yeah, you’re right there D, if we’d stayed where we were, we might’ve been in for a long wait” I said, agreeing with Howie.
By now our clothes were sticking to us, the heat was becoming almost unbearable, it was like being in a sauna or something like that. We’d all tied the top half of the all in one overalls around our waists as it was far too hot to be wearing that in the jungle, but I also took my t-shirt off and tied it around my head to protect myself from sunstroke. It was also to help curb the trickle of sweat which kept running into my eyes. I wasn’t sure whether the trees were enough to keep the sun from burning me, but didn’t want to take the chance. It was better to be prepared rather than suffer for it later.
“Think I’ll do the same” said AJ taking his t-shirt off too and wrapping around his shaved head. Brian, Howie and Jordan soon followed.
“I wonder how big this jungle actually is?” I asked out of curiosity after we’d been walking most of the day and not come across anything but jungle.
“Fucking huge” said AJ
“Well thanks genius” I laughed
“My pleasure” he grinned “seriously dude, I have no frigging clue”
“Me neither, but it must be fucking massive, we could be walking for days before we get out of here”
“I hope not” Jordan said
“Same here” Brian agreed.
“Come on then, we better shift our asses or we’ll never get out of here” I announced.
Chapter 12 by Carter-Orange
After a couple more hours of walking, we came to a sheer drop, at the bottom of which were jagged looking rocks and a meandering stream. I don’t know how far down it was, but let’s just say, I didn’t want to be the one to find out as I knew no one could possibly survive the fall.
“Shit!” I exclaimed and stepped back from the edge.
“What the fuck are we supposed to do now? I aint walking all the way back” AJ shook his head in annoyance.
“If we follow the edge, we’re bound to come to a crossing somewhere” Brian suggested with a shrug.
“We only have a couple more hours of daylight though” Jordan informed us. I don’t think he wanted to walk any further.
“Let’s walk a bit longer and see what we find” Howie decided.
We walked for maybe another half hour before Brian spotted something. Just up ahead was what looked like a bridge. As we got closer we confirmed that it was indeed a bridge – a rope bridge. I looked as far as I could see in both directions and this seemed like the only way across. If we wanted to get across, that was how we were going to have to do it.
“You’ve got to be fucking kidding” AJ said “there’s no way we’re crossing that, it’s made of frigging rope! I aint dying on no fucking rope bridge”
“Why don’t we see if it’s on the map?” Howie suggested and I pulled the map out and spread it before us. There was nothing to indicate a bridge - rope or otherwise. The map was worse than useless and I wondered why we were still carrying it around. I contemplated balling it up and tossing it over the edge.
“Nick, let me see the map a second” Brian moved closer and studied the map.
“See anything?” I asked
“This could be the bridge we’re at” Brian pointed to a faint line on the map.
“Y’think?” I asked.
“It has to be” Brian looked at the map again before folding it up neatly.
“We’ll have to cross here if we want to go any further then” I shook my head in dismay. I didn’t want to cross the rickety looking bridge, but I also didn’t want to carry on walking along the edge of the cliff.
“I say we vote on it” AJ “hands up who wants to carry on walking?”
AJ and Brian were the only ones with their hand up, but Brian then lowered his in defeat.
“Aw come on! You can’t seriously expect to cross that bridge” AJ objected.
“AJ, we have to…there’s no other way” Brian advised him and I knew he also didn‘t relish the idea of the bridge.
“Fine…whatever dude…you go first then” he threw his hands in the air in exasperation.
“Did I ever tell you you’re a fucking girl AJ?” I smirked at my friend.
“I’m just a realist” he replied.
We studied the bridge for a few minutes, it looked to be constructed of wood and rope and like something out of a movie…you know the type, where one of the insignificant characters plummets to their death when the bridge suddenly decides to give way. Well, we weren’t in a movie and the bridge looked steady enough to me.
“I’ll go first then, just to show you that it’s safe” I announced and began walking across without a problem. At least if the bridge did give way, I’d suffer an instant death once I reached the bottom. I’m not going to lie, I was shitting my pants as I crossed, and I didn’t dare look down in case I freaked out and toppled over the side. But with slow and careful steps, I made my way across.
Luckily the bridge was as sturdy as it looked and I made it across without any trouble.
“Who’s next?” I shouted across, I was high on adrenaline “it’s a piece of cake!”
Jordan was next across, with slow and measured moves; he also got to the other side without a hitch.
“I think Howie should come next” I called across. That way, if he got into trouble he’d have people at both ends to help out. It was going to be tougher for Howie to get across because of his leg.
“Fuck” he was saying as he slowly inched over the bridge, trying to keep it steady but not quite managing it. Because he was limping badly, the bridge was swaying and he had to keep on stopping to allow the rocking to stop. It was a tense wait and at times I was tempted to walk across and meet him halfway, but every time I called out and offered my help, Howie put me off and said he could manage. And so I trusted his judgement. Eventually he got across the rope contraption and I gave him a huge hug before he collapsed on the grass, head in his hands, probably completely knackered and relieved that he’d made it.
“OK AJ, you’re next” I called across “and don’t worry, you’re going to be just fine, you saw how easy it was”
“I’m scared” he admitted “what if it doesn’t hold my weight?”
“Dude, it held my weight! I’m a lot heavier than you” I shouted across “come on, it’s fine. I‘ll come across and help if you want”
“Hell no, you stay the fuck there!” he ordered.
He walked to the edge of the bridge and put one foot on there, I could see the fear on his face even from across the other side and refrained from shouting out my usual taunts. This was no time for messing around.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuckety fucking fuck” he muttered as he shuffled across the bridge.
“Almost there AJ, you can do it!” I cheered him on.
“Shut the fuck up Carter, I’m losing my concentration here” AJ stopped for a moment before carrying on with the shuffling and swearing. He made it across though and gave me a fierce hug, I could feel him trembling. “Thank fuck for that” he muttered and sat down with Howie to recover.
Last to cross was Brian. Now Brian is a pretty daring guy, but when it comes to heights, he’s a bigger girl than AJ.
“You OK Bri?” I called across to him, seeing him at the other side hesitating.
“Sure” he replied shakily.
“I can come across and help if you want” I suggested. The bridge was still standing and I didn’t see any reason why it couldn’t hold two of us together. I knew how big a deal heights were to him.
“It’s OK” he called, but it was clear that he was having difficulty in crossing.
Without another word, I crossed the bridge to where Brian was standing with his eyes closed.
“Here, give me your backpack” I reached out and he handed it to me. I slung it onto my back, thinking it would be easier for Brian if he didn’t have to carry anything but himself across. “Now give me your hand”
In any other circumstances I would consider taking another man’s hand to cross a bridge a completely gay thing to do, but this was Brian and he was terrified. There was nothing gay about helping a friend in need. His hand was sweating as he put his trust in me and took my hand.
“We’ll walk together, nice and slow. Everything is going to be OK” I soothed.
It was very shaky with both of us on there, and was rocking just like a rope bridge you’d find in a kids adventure playground when the kids are bouncing up and down on it excitedly. But this was no kiddie’s playground and if we fell off this, there would be no soft cushioned landing.
“Come on guys, nearly there” called Howie encouragingly
It seemed to take forever, and at one point I really did think I was going to lose it and topple us over into the unknown. One of the wooden planks cracked and my foot went through, I swore a string of curse words and told Brian to hold on tight while I pulled my foot out of the splintered wood remains and placed it on a sturdy plank. Brian began to hyperventilate and say he couldn‘t go any further, but eventually I stepped foot on solid ground and Brian was right behind me.
“Thank fuck for that” I said and sighed with relief when we were both safely away from the bridge.
“Thanks Nick” Brian threw his arms around me in a big hug.
“All in a day’s work for Indiana Carter” I joked and smiled that lopsided smile the ladies seem to love for some reason. But this was really no joking matter, that had been scary stuff up there and I just hoped we wouldn’t have anything else like that thrown into our path.
Thanks for reading! I think we may have some jungle nasties coming next :)
Chapter 13 by Carter-Orange
That night we camped out under the stars once more, but this time there was hardly any tree cover as we were in a more open location in the jungle, not too far from where we’d crossed over the river on that rickety rope bridge. It was kind of nice, or I should say it would’ve been if the circumstances had been different. I’d never done the whole camping thing when I was a kid - my childhood had been one audition after another until the Backstreet Boys came along. I hadn’t had much experience with normal childhood activities - but I imagined it would’ve been a bit like this, minus the jungle location of course.
We were all worn out, both physically and mentally after the day we’d had. Not only had we covered a lot (hopefully) of ground, but we’d had that scary rope bridge to contend with too. It had been hard going for all of us, especially Howie who was now snoring away in his sleeping bag. He had asked to be woken up when food was ready, if food is what you could call it. It was sustenance and nothing more.
Brian was the designated cook for the day and was boiling up the little pan of water over the small fire we’d managed to get going.
“What’s on the menu today Bri?” AJ asked as he leaned against his back pack, arms folded behind his head.
“Freeze dried chicken curry and rice, followed by a delicious and nutritious fruit bar and a few sips of water” Brian announced in a way that made it sound like he was cooking a gourmet dinner. It wasn’t. Those freeze dried meals tasted like shit and the fruit bars were tiny and the supply was dwindling to almost nothing.
“Sounds delicious” AJ joked “I can’t wait”
After we’d finished the bland meal, we sat around the fire talking of the things we missed most from back home. It didn’t take long for food to become the main topic of conversation, I think the food issue was a major problem for all of us.
“I miss cakes, fried chicken, chocolate and McDonalds” I said, licking my lips and imagining them all. I’d been on a diet for so long; I’d almost forgotten how good they tasted. I made a promise to myself that when we got out of here, I was going to treat myself to a little bit of what I’d been missing. I would just work harder in the gym to compensate.
“I miss my wife’s cooking” Brian sighed.
“I miss my hot sauce” Howie replied “it would’ve made this so much more bearable”
“I just hope we get out of here alive” Jordan said, changing the subject.
“We will, don’t you worry. I have faith that the Lord will see us home safely” Brian confided “I’m praying for all of us”
We studied the map by torch light for a little while before going to bed, we still weren’t 100% sure where we were, we could only hope that we were getting closer to the edge of the jungle.
“Good night” we all said to each other and climbed into our sleeping bags, hoping that this would be our final night out in the open. It’s surprising how easily you can sleep in the jungle, even though we knew there were all sorts of creatures lurking, we had no trouble getting to sleep. Maybe it was all the physical exertion that was tiring us out, but whatever, I was glad we could at least get some decent sleep.
Then suddenly, in the middle of the night, I heard a scream which woke me up instantly. It sounded like someone being murdered. Within seconds, all of us were awake.
“I’ve been fucking stabbed” AJ cried out “my fucking shoulder hurts like fuck”
“AJ, you can’t have been stabbed” I told him. Unless of course he’d been stupid enough to sleep with his knife under his sleeping bag and it had somehow managed to stab him in his sleep.
“I’m telling you, I’m in fucking pain” he whined.
I was up and out of my sleeping bag first, so I grabbed a torch and went to look. I shone the torch over him and didn’t see any big gaping stab wound. Instead, I saw a bite mark.
“Dude, you’ve been bitten, that’s all” I laughed and the others laughed with me, thinking AJ was just being a little dramatic, like he was prone to be at times.
“Hey, it’s no laughing….argh…fuck…FUCK” he screamed again and squirmed about, trying to get out of his sleeping bag “whatever the hell it is, it just bit my fucking back. Get it off me”
“Calm down and let me see” I asked as AJ wrestled his sleeping bag.
“Calm down! You try fucking calming down when you feel like you’ve been stabbed by a fucking red hot poker. I’m in fucking pain man”
He eventually got out of the sleeping bag, still whining in pain, as I looked to see what was causing it.
There was an ant like creature, about an inch long and ugly as hell, crawling around in there. It let out a kind of shriek as I shone the torch on it and then jumped onto my hand and bit me.
“Fuuuckkk” I screeched and squashed it with the torch.
“Told you, hurts like a fucking bitch doesn’t it” AJ said, still in pain with his ant stings.
“Hell yeah” I grumbled.
We looked around to make sure there wasn’t an ant’s nest or anything nearby, but none of us really knew what we were looking for, so we moved a few feet away and settled back down for the night. The pain took a couple of hours to subside, but thankfully it did go and by morning, we were fine.
Breakfast again was bland oatmeal; I think we were all starting to get pissed off with eating this stuff. God knows how explorers managed on real expeditions, when they were out in the wild for weeks at a time, did they really just live off this shit? Who knows, but I don’t think I could eat nothing but this for that long, it would drive me crazy.
“Do you know what? I’m sick of this shit already” I said as I spooned it into my mouth “I think we should try and find something else to eat. They did say we were expected to fend for ourselves in the jungle and live off the land, so I think that’s exactly what we should do”
“I wonder what would be safe to eat?” asked Brian, considering it.
“I’m sure we’ll find something” said Howie “how do you think the ancient tribal people lived? They lived off the land, so there’s bound to be plenty of edible stuff around here”
“Well, we’ll see what we find on our travels” AJ said, not really seeming all that keen on eating the unknown.
“We might find a tasty wild pig. We could roast it on a spit over a fire…” I began.
“Are you gonna catch a wild pig? I’d like to see you try” AJ laughed.
“Just you wait and see” I poked my tongue out at him, like a child would.
“How’s your leg looking this morning D?” Brian asked and went to him, unwrapping the bandage to take a look how it was healing.
“Well, to be honest, I’m not sure it’s getting any better yet” he said as Brian inspected the wound, cleaning it with water from one of the few water bottles remaining and re-covering it.
“It’s going to take some time, but at least it doesn’t look infected” he said as he secured the bandage once again.
“Thanks Bri” Howie said gratefully.
“Come on then, we ready for another day?” AJ said, fastening his rucksack on his back, eager to get going.
“Yeah, let’s get going” I replied and within a few minutes, we were on our way once again.
More jungle nasties to come, this is just a taster!
Chapter 14 by Carter-Orange
We set off on another day’s adventure, not knowing what the day would bring, but hoping it would bring us closer to being rescued. Surely they had to be close to finding us. How could they not be? They had to have found the plane wreck…or maybe they’d found it and come to the conclusion that everyone had perished. Animals had probably torn the dead bodies of our friends to shreds and feasted upon their flesh. It wouldn’t be possible to make an identification and they would just assume we’d all suffered the same fate. With that thought in mind, I suddenly felt very uneasy. What if we were stuck here for weeks? What if we starved to death before anyone found us? I shuddered at the thought of it.
This was our third day here and we were already beginning to feel the hunger set in. I know we had the limited supply of those god awful survival meals and a few of those disgusting nutrition bars, and I know they were enough to survive on, but what we all craved was proper food. What would we be like in a week if we were feeling like this after just three days? Three days, yet it felt like we’d been in the jungle forever.
It would be heavenly to taste real food, or better still; a proper home cooked meal would be sheer luxury. I knew we’d have to find something to eat in the wild soon, something like fruit, vegetables or proper meat.
“I wonder what animals are edible” I muttered, more to myself than anyone else.
“All of them” chuckled AJ “I’m serious! Right now I’d eat roast rat, I’m that fucking hungry”
“Oh come on AJ, you can’t be serious” Brian said as he shook his head, obviously not keen on the idea of roast rat.
“I sure am” he replied. The thing is, I might join him!
The lack of decent food seemed to be making Howie’s already weakened state much worse. We were all decided that if we did catch anything edible, he’d get the bigger share. He needed to build his strength up.
We carried on walking through the jungle, slashing through vines, branches and whatever else was in the way with our machetes. The only sounds seemed to be the squawking birds high above us and the odd cry out of a monkey as it swung through the trees around us. They didn’t seem to want to come close to us, which is just as well because I didn’t particularly want to die at the hands of monkeys. I’d seen on TV just how vicious they could get when there was a gang of them, they were strong fuckers!
I hoped AJ hadn’t been serious about eating absolutely anything; I really couldn’t picture myself catching and eating monkey. Wild boar, now that was a different story, in fact I reckoned it would be good; it’d be just like a hog roast. At least I think it would. I closed my eyes and thought of a barbecue I’d been to the previous year, where there was a hog roast, and every other delicious food you could imagine. I licked my lips at the thought of it and then felt my stomach begin to rumble. I had to stop thinking of food.
“Hey, I think I see something shimmering up ahead” Jordan said excitedly “could be water”
“Oh I hope so” Brian said as he wiped the sweat from his brow.
A few days of this jungle heat and not being able to wash meant that we didn’t smell our best at the moment. In fact, we stunk. It would be heaven to just cool off in a nice lake or stream, and rinse the sweat from our stuck on clothes. As we got a little closer we could see that it was in fact a river, not a very wide one, but it was perfect.
“Last one to the water is a loser” AJ shouted and dropped his rucksack and ran towards the water’s edge.
“Guess I’m a loser then” Howie laughed, but he didn’t really mind as he walked at his own pace to the refreshing coolness of the water.
“Ah, now this is just what I needed” I said as I submerged myself under the water. It was so refreshingly cool without being too cold. We all splashed around like little kids in a paddling pool for a while, forgetting our troubles for a few moments in time.
“Hey, we’d better take our clothes off and give them a wash, let them dry in the sun” I said and stood up, striding over to the edge and beginning to strip off down to my boxers. Everyone followed my lead, and before long we were all stripped down to our undies whilst our clothes lay flat out on the rocks, drying in the baking sun. We didn’t have soap and they weren’t going to be 100% clean, but it was better than nothing.
We stayed in the water for a while, until we’d all had enough, our skin beginning to resemble prunes, then decided we ought to think about getting something to eat. We set up camp there, even though it was still light. We decided we’d walked enough for today and could do with recharging our batteries.
“So, who fancies hunting for food?” I asked, standing up and walking over to check if my clothes were dry yet. In this heat it had taken no time at all, and I pulled my t-shirt and ragged trousers on and did them up. I was so glad we’d adapted those all in one things, it was just too hot for being covered up like that.
“I’ll come with you Nick” AJ jumped up “the others can stay here and get the fire going ready”
“You’re hopeful aren’t you?” I laughed “we may not find anything”
“Let’s just say, I’m fairly confident we’ll be eating better tonight” he said. Maybe the hunger had gotten to him, but it was so good to see AJ throw himself into an activity instead of wimping out.
We got our boots back on and AJ rummaged in his rucksack, pulling out a pen-knife “always be prepared” he grinned and slipped it into his back pocket, then we were off.
We didn’t stray far, as we weren’t sure we’d be able to find our way back to camp, but we went deep enough into the undergrowth to find all sorts of berries, funny looking mushrooms and AJ even thought he’d seen something moving.
“Shh” he whispered, putting his finger against his lips, and then pointed over towards a small clearing. At first I didn’t see anything, and then it moved slightly and I noticed it, it was indeed a little wild boar. We had to have it, we just had to! AJ didn’t make a sound as he crept over towards it, his knife at the ready. The animal didn’t detect a thing. Then when he was close enough, he leapt through the air and grabbed it, struggling like mad to keep it within his grasp.
“Are you just gonna fucking stand there? Get over here and give me a hand” he called and I ran over to help him with it, still a little stunned that my friend had managed to grab it. The pair of us were scrambling all over the place, trying to keep it still until AJ plunged his knife into it, making it squeal in pain. We held on until the struggling subsided and the animal went limp in our arms.
“We’re gonna have a feast tonight dude, well done” I said, imagining myself sitting there, by the fire, with a full belly.
“Wonder how long this thing will take to cook” he said and he slung it over his shoulder. I grabbed the bag which we’d collected the other stuff in. Tonight, thanks to AJ, we were going to dine in style!
We got back to camp and the other’s eyes widened in surprise when they saw what we had. We set up a kind of rotisserie and speared a stick through the animal then suspended it above the flames. It took quite a while but eventually, as darkness fell across the jungle, we were sitting around feasting on wild boar. We discarded the mushrooms as we didn’t know whether they were poisonous or not and thought we better not chance it. We’d had enough bad luck already, we didn’t need any more.
Kind of a nice chapter, but not for long! Thanks for reading :)
Chapter 15 by Carter-Orange
After stuffing ourselves until we were about ready to burst with roast wild boar, we slept exceptionally well, waking the next morning feeling refreshed and ready to face another day in the jungle.
“Hey, did you just see that?” I said pointing up to the sky, my other hand sheltering my eyes from the strong rays of the sun, I was positive I’d just seen a small plane or a helicopter, or something like that.
“I can’t see anything, other than a clear blue sky and the sun. What am I supposed to be looking at?” Brian replied.
“I thought I saw a plane or something”
“Well, I can’t see anything” Brian said.
“Me neither” AJ looked up and shook his head “you sure you didn’t eat any of them mushrooms last night?”
“Maybe I‘m just seeing things, and no it ain’t the mushrooms, which if you remember, we threw away” I replied.
Maybe it had been a bird or something, or maybe wishful thinking, but I decided to keep my eyes open and my ears alert. There had to be people out there looking for us. There just had to be. It had been days now, surely someone was missing us!
I couldn’t wait to get back to civilization. It’s funny the things you take for granted…like toilets, showers, TV, food. God, how I missed a real toilet. Shitting in the jungle and using leaves instead of toilet paper was not something I ever wanted to get used to!
We packed up and got on our way, Howie seemed a little better today and was in less pain, we all hoped that meant he was on the mend. Without any proper medication out here, it was surprising he hadn’t picked up an infection to his wound, but a huge relief. We’d lost too many people already and there was no way we were going to lose another.
“I don’t like the look of those clouds up ahead” I said a while later, after we’d been walking a couple of hours “looks like a storm is heading our way”.
Sure enough, about an hour or so later, the heavens opened and huge raindrops, the likes of which I’d never seen before, were bouncing off us. Within minutes the dry and hard ground was slushy with mud and our feet were sinking into it, making it very difficult to walk. Then out of nowhere, huge crashes of thunder began booming, and lightning flashed, illuminating the whole sky. It wasn’t like any storm I’d ever seen before, and I’d seen a lot of storms! It was like something which you only saw in the movies. It would’ve been amazing to watch, if I’d been watching it from the window in the safety of my own house.
“I don’t like this” AJ admitted, holding his back pack over his head.
“It’ll soon pass” I said with a shrug.
But it didn’t.
Hours seemed to pass and we were hardly making any progress as we slid about in the mud, getting absolutely covered in it. It was hard to keep motivated enough to keep going as the rain stung our bare skin and soaked right through our clothes, drenching us completely. But we couldn’t stop, there was nowhere to shelter as the rain and wind whipped through the jungle. I wondered where all the animals had gone? Where did they shelter?
I couldn’t be sure, but I thought I heard something other than the rain.
“Did you guys hear that?” I called out, hoping it wasn’t just my imagination.
“Yeah, it sounds like a helicopter” AJ said and began jumping up and down, waving his arms.
We all began to wave our arms around frantically and shout for help, hopeful that someone would see us and we‘d be saved. It was no use though. The helicopter didn’t come near enough to see us and even with all of us shouting until our voices hurt, it still wasn’t loud enough to make ourselves heard. No one knew where we were and I wondered how long it would be until they just gave up.
“Fuck” I said and sunk down to my knees in the mud, my head in my hands. Were we ever getting out of here?
We eventually got going again and found a formation of rocks with what looked like a cave entrance.
“You think its safe enough to go in?” Brian asked, although why he was asking any of us, I didn’t know. We were hardly cave experts.
“I don’t give a fuck. It’ll be a hell of a lot better in there than out here in the friggin rain” AJ said and made for the entrance.
“AJ’s right, we need to get out of this rain before we get sick” Howie agreed. Poor Howie, he wasn’t looking too good and the last thing he needed was to come down with pneumonia as well as the injury he already had.
Jordan wasn’t looking so good either. He’d hardly spoken a word since we’d set off that morning, he just kind of had a vacant look about him. I couldn’t blame him though, out of all of us, he’d suffered the most.
And so we decided to take shelter in the cave. We walked in and found it surprisingly spacious inside, I’m not sure how deep it was, but it was enough to shelter us from the elements. We set our things down and then collapsed to the ground in exhaustion. We were cold, wet, tired, hungry and depressed, but at least we’d be able to shelter here for the night.
I gathered a few stray twigs which were scattered around in the cave and were therefore dry, and we lit a little fire and huddled around it to warm up and dry off. We soon warmed up and before long our clothes were dry enough to put back on.
“Do you think it would be a good idea to collect rain water in a couple of the empty bottles? We’re running low on water” AJ asked.
“Good thinking! It should be fine to drink” Howie replied
“You sure you don’t have to boil it or something first?” I asked.
“No, I’m sure that’s just river water and stuff like that” Howie assured us.
So myself and AJ propped up a couple of water bottles outside the cave. Whether the rain would fill them, we didn’t know, but it was worth a try. We were running low on water and none of us fancied dying of de-hydration.
That night there was no feast, it was back to the blandness of those freeze dried sachets, but we ate it without complaint and then settled down into our sleeping bags on the cave floor. None of us were in very good moods but we were so exhausted, we all fell asleep easily. I hoped that by the time we woke up the next day, our luck would change as it couldn’t get much worse than it already was.
Rescuing them this soon was never going to happen!
Chapter 16 by Carter-Orange
It had been good thinking to leave the water bottles outside during the storm last night, as the next morning when Brian went out to check, they were full to the brim. Being rainwater we figured it would be OK to drink, or should I say, Howie told us it was alright to drink. So if we got sick drinking it, it was all Howie’s fault. I had a little taste of it and although it didn’t taste like regular water from a tap back home, it was better than nothing at all.
“Taste OK?” Brian asked
“I think so” I replied and handed the bottle to him, although he didn’t drink from it and stuck to the shop bought water we had left.
“I ain’t drinking that shit until I know it’s OK” AJ sat up and unzipped his sleeping bag.
“It’s fine” I told him and took a big gulp to prove it.
Half an hour later I was far from fine.
“Dude, you look a bit green” AJ observed.
“I don’t feel so good” I replied, taking deep breaths to try and get rid of the sickly feeling which was coming over me.
Now I’ve puked a hell of a lot over the years due to drink, but that was alcohol, not water. I barely made it out of the cave before I was puking my guts up. If that wasn’t bad enough, I had the most awful stomach cramps and my guts were gurgling. It wasn’t long until it was coming out of me at both ends. I felt like shit.
“You alr…shit Nick, buddy are you OK?” Brian asked coming out of the cave to check up on me as I’d been gone a while.
I wasn’t OK. I felt weak and was curled up on a rock, clutching my stomach. All I wanted was to be home, in my nice comfy bed with a remedy to this sickness. I didn’t want to die out here in the jungle. What a way to go, death by rainwater!
“I feel like hell” I croaked out.
“You look like it too. It must’ve been the water, let me go warn the others not to drink it” he said and rushed back into the cave.
When I felt as if there was nothing left inside my body, I dragged myself back into the cave and flopped down onto my sleeping bag.
“That’s the last time I listen to you D” I tried to joke and closed my eyes.
“Oh god Nick, I’m sorry, I really thought it’d be OK” he apologized.
“You weren’t to know, no worries” I told him. It was my own stupid fault for drinking it.
I must’ve drifted off to sleep for a few hours because when I woke up, the sun was high in the sky and I was feeling a lot better. Maybe my body had purged all the bad stuff and I wasn’t going to die from some tropical rainwater disease after all.
But just as my health was improving, one of the group’s was worsening.
“He’s not woken up today and I’m worried, this can’t be good. I’m checking his head injury” Brian said and unwrapped the dressing on Jordan’s head. Whatever Brian saw, it couldn’t have been pretty. Within moments, Brian was gagging and threw up right there in the cave.
“What is it?” AJ asked and walked over to check it out for himself. “Fuck me, that’s the grossest thing I’ve ever seen”
AJ held his hand over his mouth and ran to the entrance of the cave, where he stood taking deep breaths “oh my fucking god, he’s got shit crawling around in his head”.
“He’s got what?” I asked, not sure I heard him correctly.
“Maggots or some shit like that…in his fucking head” AJ said and lit up a cigarette and puffed hard. He was down to the last packet and had been trying to ration them.
“No way” I shook my head, thinking AJ must be exaggerating like he’s prone to do.
“It’s true” Brian said, wiping his mouth and leaning against the cave wall.
I had nothing left to puke, but I still gagged. How on earth Howie didn’t puke, I’ll never know. That man must have guts of steel or something.
“I saw something like this on TV once. This explorer had bot fly larvae burrowed under his skin and they had to be cut out. It was horrific, but the guy was fine afterwards” I recalled.
“Dude, you watch some weird shit” AJ said.
“Look who’s talking!” I replied. “Even though it was a gross as fuck, it was an interesting show”
“Here you go then, you can cut them out” Brian handed me a knife and stepped away.
Jordan obviously didn’t know what was going on; poor bastard was completely out of it. No wonder he hadn’t been right. I could imagine plenty of ways to die, but this…this was just the worst.
I moved closer and asked that someone hold the torch steady so that I could see what I was doing properly. I didn’t want to end up slicing a vein or anything like that.
“Fuck” I muttered. Why did I have to do this? Just because I’d seen it on TV didn’t mean I knew what to do. I wasn’t an expert. What if I fucked up and cut his brain out?
“I’d help, but I don’t think I can with this leg” Howie offered, but I knew he wouldn’t be much use. I had to do this kneeling down and leaning over, which is something Howie couldn’t do.
“Here goes” I muttered and leaned over. The wound was gaping open and festering with tons of maggoty bot fly things buried into his flesh. If that wasn’t bad enough, the smell was revolting too and I swallowed down the bile which was creeping up my throat. I had to do this. I had to be strong. I’d seen it on TV and it didn’t look too hard. If they could do it with a knife on TV, then so could I.
Howie held the torch and no one else had the stomach for the job. I poked the knife into the wound and scraped a couple of larvae away.
“Gross” Howie muttered as he looked over my shoulder.
“Tell me about it!” I replied and then turned back to the job.
The wound began to bleed and I wiped the blood away with my t-shirt so that I could see what I was doing. It was horrendous. There weren’t just a few larvae, there were fucking loads. And not just larvae either, but hatched friggin bot flies, squirming around inside his head.
“Guys, I don’t think I can do this” I told them “he’s infested with them”
I heard AJ and Brian puking. I didn’t blame them. I wasn’t doing much better.
“How bad does it look?” Howie tried to bend over to see for himself “fuck…”
So much for the stomach of steel.
I picked up the torch and shone it on Jordan’s gaping, infested wound and shook my head. I didn’t know what to do. Should I poke around some more, or should I leave it?
I dug my fingers in and tried to get everything out of there, but they were too deep and must’ve penetrated his brain. I gave up. I was glad he was unconscious and not aware of what was happening to him.
We sat at the mouth of the cave, contemplating what to do, but it was obvious that Jordan wasn’t going to make it.
A couple of hours later, he took his last breath.
I've posted two chapters in a row because I might not get to update again for over a week as I'm going away Monday. Hope this isn't too gross! I got the idea after watching a TV show a while ago where this guy was walking the whole length of the Amazon and he had a bot fly in his head too. Obviously his was removed and he was fine, but it was gross. I exaggerated Jordan's, lol, I have no idea if bot flies kill.
Chapter 17 by Carter-Orange
It was still hard to believe that out of the nine of us who’d begun this adventure, only four of us remained. After surviving the initial plane crash, we were so full of optimism about being rescued, but now we felt a growing sense of despair. If Jordan could die like that, what were the chances of the rest of us making it? Poor Jordan, I still couldn’t believe he was dead. I couldn’t believe that I, of all people, had been the one to try and dig out those foul looking maggoty bot flies. I’d never seen anything as fucking awful in my life. I still shuddered at the thought of it.
As much as it pained us to do so, we left Jordan’s lifeless body in the cave, covered in rocks, and set off on our way again. We tried not to think of the predators which would inevitably find him there and consoled ourselves with the thought that he was beyond feeling any pain now.
The birds were singing, the jungle was alive with noise and it was a beautiful day; but we hardly noticed the beauty of it as we trekked on, slashing a path through the foliage with our machetes.
Our supplies were running dangerously low and we knew that from now on, if we wanted a full stomach, we’d have to hunt for our own food. I just hoped we’d be lucky enough to find another wild boar, or something equally as delicious. AJ had proved himself a good hunter once; I just hoped it hadn’t been a fluke and he could do it again.
After walking for a couple of hours, little sweat rivulets were running down my chest, my hair was stuck to my head and I had to keep wiping my face on my t-shirt to stop the sweat getting in my eyes. I wasn’t the only one though; we were all sweat drenched as we stopped for a rest and a drink of water.
“Hey, look at that frog, what an unusual colour” AJ said pointing towards a yellow spotted frog which was sitting on a branch near us, it’s throat puffing out as it sat there contentedly.
“Don’t touch it! Whatever you do, don’t let it get near you, it’s poisonous” I said “that tiny little frog has enough poison in it to kill the lot of us, in fact it could probably kill a room full of people”
“Really?” Howie asked, completely stunned “and since when did you become a frog expert?”
All eyes turned to me expectantly.
“Yeah, really” I replied “I watch TV, I’ve seen those on the Discovery Channel and believe me, we do not want to get close to it. Now come on, let’s keep moving”.
I couldn’t believe the amount of helpful tips I’d picked up from watching TV. I could laugh in the faces of those people who scoffed and argued that TV wasn’t educational, as far as I was concerned; I’d learned a hell of a lot!
It’s funny how you don’t notice things at first in the jungle, but now we were getting used to the place and were beginning to notice more and more weird and wonderful things. Like some of the plants. I’d never seen plants like them before, some of them had leaves bigger than me! And weird looking flowers too, shapes I’d never seen before (not that I knew anything about flowers of course). We came across all kinds of mushrooms, some of them huge and brightly coloured in jades and oranges, but we didn’t know which were edible and which weren’t, so we left them well alone. And berries, we found hundreds of kinds of berries, but again we were unsure. I seemed to remember watching a nature programme on TV which said to steer clear of white and yellow berries, but then again, maybe it had been that white and yellow were the edible ones. We just didn’t have a clue, so left them alone.
What we did come across though were bananas. They didn’t look exactly the same as the supermarket variety, but Howie assured us they were fine. He’d seen some like them previously and told us they were sweeter than the variety we were all familiar with. So we filled our bags with them and also some of the large banana leaves, Howie said that the leaves would come in handy for cooking. I don’t know how leaves would work for cooking, but Howie obviously knew what he was talking about.
As the day wore on, the heat became more intense, it was as if the storm last night had warmed things up. We could all feel ourselves burning under the penetrating rays of the sun, even though we had plenty of tree cover, the sun still got through.
“I hear flowing water” Brian called out “sounds like a waterfall”
“Think you’re right Bri” I said and we carried on, suddenly feeling a burst of energy at the thought of a nice cool dip in the water. After about ten minutes we saw it, a huge powerful looking waterfall. We practically ran to get to it. The waterfall fell into a wide river and it looked so inviting, so refreshing and so beautiful.
“Yeehaaaa” AJ shouted as he stripped off his clothes and jumped straight in “oh man, this is fucking awesome”
We all stripped down to our underwear and jumped in, immediately feeling better; it was so good to cool down. It kind of freaked me out though when I emerged from under the surface with a huge black water spider on my face. I don’t normally scream like a girl, but I have to admit, I did. Spiders are not something I’m too fond of, especially big ones. I decided I’d had enough of the water and got out.
“Hey guys, check this out” said AJ walking from the river, a huge fish in his hands.
“Fuck me, how do you do it?” I asked, looking at the fish and trying to determine what kind it was, not that I knew much about fish.
“I just stood still while they swam all around me. It was hard as hell to catch, but I acted fast and grabbed it” he said and slammed it down onto his bag so that it wouldn’t get all dirty.
We decided we may as well stay there for the evening as sunset was fast approaching, so I gathered some wood for the fire and got it started. Howie wrapped the fish in banana leaves and threw it on the fire, tonight we’d be dining on fish and bananas, an interesting combination.
“That was delicious” I said after finishing the fish and banana concoction.
“Yeah, it was pretty good” Brian said, licking every last bit off his fingers.
“Told you those banana leaves would come in handy” Howie grinned a big satisfied smile. Poor guy, I knew he felt like a burden at times, but that wasn’t the case.
“Oh man, I wish I had a cigarette” AJ sighed. He’d finished the last of them whilst the fish was cooking.
“Think of it this way…this may be the push you need to finally quit that filthy habit!” Brian teased him.
Chapter 18 by Carter-Orange
You'd think after this many days in the jungle we'd have been found by now wouldn't you? That being stranded in the jungle for an extended length of time only happened in movies to flesh out the story? Well, let me tell you something, there is no way a plane or helicopter would find you in this place, we’d found that out when the helicopter flew over and we appeared invisible to it. You either had to try and save yourself, or sit and die. It was that simple really. The density of the jungle meant that nothing could land, and even with a crew scanning the place with binoculars from the air, we'd still be pretty hard to detect. That was the way it was and there wasn't a damn thing we could do to change it.
So, the next morning we set off again, hopeful that today might be the last we saw of this damned place. We had to think positive; the alternative didn't bear thinking about. If we let ourselves think the worst, then the worst is what would happen, at least that's the way I saw it.
“You know something…I heave a lucky feeling about today” Brian smiled “today is the day we’re gonna make some real progress”
“What makes you so sure?” AJ queried, his brows furrowed.
“Faith” Brian shrugged casually. Typical Brian, always ready for a miracle or some shit like that. I wished I shared his optimism.
“What’s the first thing you’re gonna do when we get out of here?” he asked us all “I’m gonna call my wife and tell her just how much I love her”
“Smoke twenty cigarettes one after the other whilst soaking in a hot bubble bath” AJ mused.
“Obviously I’m going straight to the hospital” Howie indicated towards his leg.
“I’m having the biggest steak known to man” I laughed “I’m gonna eat till I burst”
We carried on walking and talking, maybe a little bit of Brian’s good feeling was rubbing off on all of us. Maybe today would be our lucky day after all.
“Carry on guys, I’m just going for a piss, I’ll catch you up” AJ said and trailed off behind a tree.
We carried on walking when all of a sudden we heard a shriek and a call for help. I told the others to stay where they were, there was no need to panic anyone unnecessarily; knowing AJ it was only a spider or something like that. “I’ll go and see”.
I dropped my machete and ran in the direction he’d taken off in and froze in horror for a moment when I saw him, hands pulling at the huge snake which had somehow managed to wrap itself around his body, crushing the very life out of him. Fuck, it’s a fucking boa constrictor, what the fuck do I do now?
“AJ?” I called out in shock and horror as I ran to him.
He was turning a strange colour, I could see the life draining from him and if I was going to save him, I’d have to act fast. But how? How the fuck do you fight off a snake as big as that? It wasn’t like the average snake you saw in your local pet store, oh no, this fucker was huge. It was bigger than anything I’d ever seen Steve Irwin on TV handling, and I’d seen a lot of his shows, poor guy (I’d thought if he was going to be killed by an animal, it would’ve been death by croc, not stingray). The snake had to have been at least twenty feet long, maybe more, and it was thick too. Could probably swallow a man whole and I’m not exaggerating…well maybe slightly, but you get the picture.
“Oh my god…AJ…” Brian’s voice trailed off in complete shock.
“Help” I called out frantically as I struggled to try and prize the snake off of him with no luck “we have to do something, he’s dying here”
I fumbled in my pocket for my knife and jabbed the snake a few times, but it wasn’t having much effect, in fact, it just seemed to make it even madder.
Howie limped towards us, my machete in his trembling hands “Nick, stand back for a moment. AJ, hold steady” he called.
“Help…me…” AJ struggled to get the words out, they were barely audible. Another few seconds and I was sure he’d be dead, he was losing consciousness.
Howie raised the machete and swung it down, lopping off the snake’s head, sending it flying off into the trees. He fell backwards with the effort and dropped the machete, his head was in his hands, he couldn’t look.
“AJ?” I ran to him once more and uncoiled the lifeless body of the snake, hoping Howie had killed it in time to save our friend. AJ didn’t respond.
“AJ…oh god” Brian helped free him and we laid him out on the ground and checked his pulse. He then began CPR.
“Come on AJ” I pleaded.
Good thing Brian seemed to know what he was doing as I hadn’t a clue. I’d seen it on TV, but that was TV and not real life. He had to live.
“Nick, I need you to help” Brian commanded.
“Anything” I replied “you know what you‘re doing?”
“My wife talked me into doing a first aid course, I’m so glad I did”
“Me too” I agreed.
“I need you to blow two full breaths of air into his mouth whilst I do the chest compressions. Think you can handle that?” he asked.
“Of course” I replied and did as Brian commanded.
Whilst Brian interlocked his fingers and performed the chest compressions, muttering all the time, willing him to live; I shuffled up to AJ’s mouth, tilted his head back slightly, pinched his nose and gave two powerful breaths into his mouth, watching as his chest rose.
“Come on” I said, willing him to live. Why did this have to happen? Hadn’t we gone through enough so far? And then, as if by some kind of magic, AJ spluttered and began breathing on his own again.
“He’s breathing…thank fucking god, he’s breathing” I sighed and wiped away the tears which were spilling from my eyes.
“He’s OK?” Howie raised his head, his own eyes red rimmed with tears.
“Well, he’s breathing” Brian replied “but who knows what damage has been done”
AJ opened his eyes after a few moments, and the colour began returning to his cheeks.
“Are you OK?” we all asked, worried sick.
“My ribs are fucking killing me…” he gasped “and I feel like I’ve gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson, but I’ll live” he struggled to sit up “thanks guys…I thought that was it, that I was gonna die”
We’d already lost so many already; we couldn’t and wouldn’t lose anyone else.
Thanks for reading! I toyed with the idea of killing AJ off in this chapter, but decided against it. Hope you like :)
Chapter 19 by Carter-Orange
Sorry for the delay, I kind of lost my mojo for a little while!
After the near death of AJ, our spirits well and truly plummeted. How much more would we have to endure? Was it just going to be one thing after another until eventually we succumbed to nature? What was going to be next; eaten by bears? No, I didn’t think they lived in the jungle. It was hard to imagine ever seeing civilization again. No one was coming for us. Maybe no one even cared. We were kidding ourselves to think otherwise.
“Come on, we better get moving” I said after we’d been wallowing in self-pity for a while “night will be falling soon and I for one don’t fancy staying here overnight”
“Me neither” said Howie, wincing as he got to his feet. He’d used the last of the pain killers that morning and therefore they had now worn off, the pain was written all over his face. His leg wasn’t getting any better, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was worried about him. The best any of us could do for him was to check it and keep it clean. If he picked up an infection, well, it didn’t bear thinking about.
“Get me the hell away from here” AJ shuddered.
We all agreed we would try and get as far as we could before sunset; away from the scene of AJ’s brush with death and hopefully closer to the edge of the jungle. I slipped my knife into my back pocket and took the lead, hyper aware of our surroundings now. No wonder it was one of the most inhabitable places in the world. Who the fuck would want to live amongst this? Sure it might look pretty at times, but believe me, the jungle sucked!
Brian got the map out for a look, but to be honest, we still had no clue where we were. We weren’t skilled navigators; we were singers and we didn’t have a need for this shit in our usual daily lives. I wished I’d paid more attention in geography class…or done the whole Boy Scout thing. I guess that was something we all wished we’d done.
We hardly said a word as we walked, lost in our own thoughts, our positivity slipping away with every passing hour. Even Brian, the usual optimist of the group was having a hard time. If he’d lost hope, I didn’t like to think of the outcome.
“Let’s set up camp here for the night” Brian announced. We were all knackered and emotionally drained, we couldn’t have walked any further and the sun had just about disappeared. I made a fire and we sat around it with glum expressions on our faces. We had nothing to cook but at least we could boil a little water and have a hot drink.
“We’ll look for food in the morning” Howie said. He voiced what the rest of us were all thinking. Although we were all hungry, none of us had the energy to go looking for food. Brian found a couple of granola bars deep in the bottom of his bag, so we shared them between us.
That night I hardly slept, I drifted in and out of sleep, imagining all sorts of awful scenarios. I kept seeing AJ in the snake’s vice-like grip, hearing his voice call for help, witnessing the snake crush the life out of him. But in my dreams we were too late to save him. The snake grew to monstrous proportions and swallowed him whole, then turned its evil eyes to the rest of us, daring us to try and out run it. I woke in a cold sweat.
“Nick, are you OK?” Brian said in the darkness “you were talking in your sleep”
“Yeah, I’m OK” I lied “what about you?”
“I’m scared too” he admitted “what if we never get out of here?”
“We’ll be alright, we’ll find a way” I said, trying to sound positive. It wasn’t working. I felt anything but positive about this situation. But I didn’t want to start talking about it, because once we talked about our fears, it became reality.
The next morning we all felt tired, irritable and miserable, but we forced ourselves to keep going. We found some more bananas and eat them whilst we walked, perking up a bit as the sugar gave us the boost we needed.
By the afternoon though, Howie wasn’t doing too well. He was complaining that he was cold, despite the intense heat. He slumped down and cried out in pain. Brian placed his hand against Howie’s face and muttered something I couldn’t quite hear.
“What’s up?” I asked “is D alright?”
“He’s burning up” Brian replied “we need to try and bring his temperature down”
How we were going to do that, I didn’t know. All we had left was boiled water, which wasn’t even cold. The only thing we could do was place a wet compress against his head and hope for the best.
“Guy’s, I’ll be fine” Howie said, his words coming out slightly slurred as the fever quickly took hold of him.
I didn’t think so. Neither did the others.
“We’ll have to make a stretcher of some kind and keep going. We can’t stop” Brian shook his head.
“I know” I agreed.
“Mother fucking jungle” AJ sniffed back a tear “Howie is not going to die”
We made a makeshift stretcher out of clothes and got Howie into it. Being the strongest amongst us, me and Brian carried him, leaving AJ carrying what few things we had left in our back packs. Now, more than ever, we needed some luck.
Short chapter I know, but that's how it ended up. Thanks for reading :)
Chapter 20 by Carter-Orange
Luck wasn’t on our side. What had we done to deserve this? We weren’t bad people; we were entertainers…singers…whatever you want to call us. We’d been adored by millions of people all over the world, and now by a cruel twist of fate, we were being picked off one by one in this god forsaken jungle. Five already dead, one almost killed by a huge snake and another sick with an infected leg wound.
We carried the almost delirious Howie in the stretcher as he was too weak to walk. He slept off and on; we didn’t know if that was a good thing or a bad thing. I wished we had a doctor amongst us.
“Dude, I’m fucked, shall we call it a day?” AJ stopped and leaned against tree, careful to make sure it was snake-free.
“I guess here is a good enough place” Brian agreed and we lowered Howie gently to the ground. He was sleeping thankfully.
“What I wouldn’t give for a packet of cigarettes right now” AJ said dreamily, looking off into space.
I supposed that was one good thing about being here; AJ had been forced to quit smoking. If we ever got out of here though, I had a feeling that he’d run straight to the nearest place he could buy them!
“It’s about time you quit” Brian told him.
“Yeah maybe” AJ replied, but I knew he was only saying that to shut Brian up.
While we still had a bit of daylight, I unwrapped the bandage on Howie’s leg to take a look. It wasn’t looking good. The skin wasn’t knitting together as it should’ve been by now; instead it was a gaping, festering, necrotic looking mess. The wound looked kind of greenish black and didn’t smell too good, in fact it smelled pretty bad. I had to turn away and take a deep breath of fresh air. I’d dealt with enough horror story stuff with Jordan. I could not deal with that kind of thing with one of my closest friends.
“Bri, come and take a look” I asked.
Brian knelt down beside Howie and lifted the dressing off for a closer look. “Holy cow, that doesn’t look good at all” he muttered quietly, hoping not to disturb Howie.
“We can’t leave it, but we have no medicine. What the fuck are we supposed to do?” I scratched my head in frustration.
“I hate to say it, but amputation comes to mind” Brian replied.
“We can’t cut his friggin leg off” AJ said, absolutely horrified at the thought.
“What else can we do? If we leave it, he’ll die” I choked out the words. I couldn’t bear the thought of Howie dying. If I had to chop off his leg to save him, then I’d just have to man up and do it. What did soldiers do on the battlefield when they had no medical equipment? They improvised. We would have to do the same.
“Let’s assess it again before we make any hasty decisions” Brian suggested.
We decided to wait until Howie woke up. We couldn’t just start hacking his leg off without his permission and whilst he was sleeping, even though the knife cutting through his skin would be sure to wake him up screaming in pain.
We didn’t have long to wait until he woke, crying out in pain and with sweat running down his pale face. He was getting worse; there was no doubt about it. It amazed me how fast the infection had taken hold of him, but maybe it had been manifesting there since the crash and only now we were seeing the visible effects of it.
“Oh god” he cried out in pain “just kill me now”
Seeing him like that was heartbreaking. Howie had always been the strong one, the one who could handle anything life threw him.
“Howie” Brian began calmly “your leg isn’t looking too good, with your permission we’d like to try and cut away the infection”
“Do it” he panted in pain, but at least he was coherent at the moment “chop it off for all I care”
“That’ll be the last resort” I replied, hoping it wouldn’t come to that. I really couldn’t face doing that to my friend.
“Make. It. Stop. Hurting” he gasped in pain.
“We’ll try our best” Brian consoled him.
With no way to sterilize the knife properly, we did the next best thing. We lit a fire and boiled the knife in water over the flames, which would hopefully be good enough and not introduce more bacteria into his wound. We left it boiling over the fire for nearly an hour. In that time we prepared Howie for our makeshift surgery by cleaning the wound and making sure we had clean bandages on standby.
“I can’t watch” AJ turned away “sorry guys”
“No worries” I told him. I wished I didn’t have to look. But I knew that of all of us, I had the strongest stomach for gore. Hadn’t I proved it already with Jordan?
“We ready?” Brian asked.
“As we’ll ever be” I replied.
“You sure Howie?” we both asked the now delirious Howie, who was mumbling all kinds of nonsense. We made the decision to just get on with it and hoped he was still alright with it.
Brian held Howie’s tourniquet readied leg steady and also shone the torch whilst I deliberated over how I was going to begin. I really hoped it wouldn’t come to it that I’d have to amputate, I wasn’t sure I could have that on my conscience. Howie may never forgive me for it.
Slowly and ever so carefully, I carved around the necrotic skin, hoping the incision was deep enough to get it all out. Howie thrashed around in agony, but Brian was strong and managed to keep his leg still for me.
“Oh shit, I guess I should suck it up and come help” AJ muttered and came to help keep Howie still.
“Thanks” I told him.
“You get his top half and I’ll keep his legs still” Brian advised, glad of the help.
I carried on cutting away the rotting flesh, trying not to gag as the knife went down to the bone as I scraped away the infection. Blood was gushing out of the wound and Brian tightened the tourniquet. Thankfully the blood flow stopped and I was able to carry on.
After carving away at his leg like a pumpkin on Halloween, I was finally done. I pressed a clean dressing against the gaping hole in his leg and with Brian’s help, bandaged it up.
“I think that’s it, I got all the discoloured stuff and also a bit extra to make sure” I sat back and sighed.
“We did our best, that’s all we can do out here” Brian said.
“Well I think you two are fucking amazing!” AJ told us “the way you did that…just wow”
I just hoped Howie would think so when he regained his senses.
Poor Howie :( Thanks for reading!
Chapter 21 by Carter-Orange
A couple of days passed and Howie’s health seemed to improve following our amateur attempt at surgery. His temperature had dropped to what we could only hope was normal and he no longer had the deathly pallor he’d had pre-surgery. We’d done something right, and for that small miracle, we congratulated ourselves. Of course he still needed urgent medical attention, but for now, he would live.
With his leg as it now was though, he was unable to walk on it and so had to be carried in the stretcher we’d made. Howie being typical Howie had tried to persuade us to let him walk, but all of us had told him a firm ‘no’. He needed to rest and keep the weight off it; there was no way he could trek through the jungle. We took it in turns carrying him; right now it was Brian and AJ’s turn whilst I led the way, slashing greenery in our way with my trusty machete.
“Have we got much of that water left, I’m so damn thirsty” AJ asked, slowing down to an almost stop.
“We just stopped for a break an hour ago. I know we’re all tired and thirsty but we have to make this last until we come across water again” Brian replied.
“You can have some of mine” I offered him my water bottle “just a little bit though”
“Thanks” he replied and stopped for just a moment to take a swig and wipe the sweat from his brow. “What I wouldn’t give for an ice cold bottle of Evian right now”
“Ugh, don’t” I groaned, thinking exactly the same thing. This water was only tolerable because we had no choice. It was this or dehydration. I knew which one I preferred.
“Guys…I’m sorry for being such a burden. I can walk, you don’t have to carry me” Howie tried to get up.
“Don’t even think about it” AJ told him “you’re not a burden so don’t go fucking thinking you are”
“But I feel so useless” he looked at his injured leg and shook his head. Howie wasn’t used to relying on the rest of us, it was usually the other way round…or it had been before we arrived here. Since the departure of Kevin from the band a few years back, Howie had naturally stepped into his shoes. Maybe not so much a leader, but a major decision maker for sure, plus he had a great head on him for business.
“Howie, just listen to us for a change” I smiled down at my friend. He groaned but said no more on the matter.
During our time in the jungle, we’d come across all sorts of animals; from cute looking monkeys to scary as fucking hell spiders. But none of them compared to the menacing sight which met us as we carried on after our water stop.
“Fuck. That’s a big cat!” I froze and almost dropped my machete at the sight of the huge jaguar just ahead. It had to be at least eight foot long from head to tail, and looked as if it was made of solid muscle. The jaguar also froze, its huge yellow eyes just staring at us, watching our every move.
“Fuck me!” AJ gasped.
“Keep walking” Brian called from just behind me “it’s out-numbered; it won’t hurt us if we leave it alone”
“Ha!” AJ snorted “it’s a fucking jaguar; those things can rip people to shreds. Have you seen the size of it? I tell you, we’re gonna fucking die in this jungle”
“One cat against four of us is not very good odds for it, it won’t attack” Howie agreed with Brian.
“How do you know there’s just one of them?” AJ asked, lowering his end of the stretcher to the ground and pulling his knife from his back pocket. “What if there’s a huge friggin pack of them just waiting for dinner?”
“They’re loners and you don’t often see more than one in the same place” I answered him “I saw it on the Discovery Channel”. I was so glad my endless hours of watching TV had taught me a few things, one of them being that jaguars were solitary creatures that lived near water and were stealthy hunters. They had been known to kill humans, but weren’t likely to approach a group of people unless provoked. We would just have to hope it ran off or that we could get around it without it feeling threatened in any way.
“Don’t believe everything you see on TV!” AJ huffed.
“Look…let’s just keep calm and carry on” Brian said.
“OK” AJ picked his end of the stretcher back up again “if it does attack us, then don’t say I didn’t tell you so”
The jaguar backed off a bit, but its eyes never left us as we slowly and cautiously carried on walking. I tried not to do anything to cause it to attack, barely even breathing as we moved on, for fear of spooking it.
“That’s it” Brian whispered “keeping going”
We made as little noise as possible as we passed it, then sped up once we were away. I turned to look and the jaguar was nowhere to be seen. I thanked god for that. As much as I liked to believe what I’d seen on the Discovery Channel; AJ was right and you couldn’t always rely on TV to tell you the whole truth. I knew that all too well from personal experience!
Our heart rates returned to normal and we picked up the conversation where we’d left off before coming face to face with the cat – the usual topic of what we were going to do when and if we got home.
We came across a small stream and filled the spare water bottles up, but didn’t linger too long once we’d got all we could. With Howie needing proper medical attention, we had to make every effort to push on and try to get out of here. There was no time for sitting around unnecessarily.
“I wonder if they’ve stopped looking?” I mused as we sat around the fire later that evening, eating nothing but bananas.
“Of course they haven’t” Brian answered “we may not be the A listers we were once upon a time, but I don’t think we’re ready to be just abandoned either. They knew we’re out here somewhere. I have every faith in the rescue services that they’ll find us soon”
“But it’s been ages” AJ whined “and we ain’t seen anymore helicopters since that day they flew over and missed us”
“They’re probably searching all the wrong places…but they’ll get to us” Howie agreed with Brian.
“Let’s pray that they do!” I replied. I wasn’t sure how much longer we could carry on like this, living on bananas and river water and having to walk mile upon mile in this unbearable heat. We needed to hunt for proper food again to keep our strength up; maybe AJ would be able to wrestle another wild pig. Or maybe we’d be found before that happened. Who knew?
Sorry it's not an action packed chapter, but I thought they deserved a break! Thanks for reading :)
Chapter 22 by Carter-Orange
Had it really been nearly four weeks since the crash landing? I couldn’t be sure; the days all seemed to blend together in one huge horrific blur and it felt more like we’d been here forever. Time really didn’t have much meaning in the jungle; I only knew that we’d spent far too much time here!
We were down to our last bottle of water between the four of us, and there was probably only enough left for a couple of mouthful’s each; we were rationing it to try and make it last as long as possible. These last couple of days had been hard going though and with heat so intense, we were beginning to get dehydrated. Once again it seemed as if nothing was going our way.
Story of our lives lately.
“Dude, when we get home, I’m never eating another banana for as long as I live!” I kicked the ground in disgust as I peeled the fruit which now turned my stomach. We were all sick to death of bananas.
“If Nick…if…not when we get home” AJ reminded me. He was in a lousy mood and I couldn’t blame him; I think we all were.
“We’re going home, no ifs about it!” Brian retorted, a look of sheer determination on his face. I hoped his optimism would pay off.
“Whatever!” AJ replied, in no mood to argue with Brian.
I know four weeks isn’t a great deal of time in the great scheme of things, but when you are stranded in a Peruvian jungle with fuck all to eat and drink, then it becomes kind of a big deal. Not to mention the fact that five…no six guys had already died so far, then the odds weren’t exactly stacked in our favour for getting out of here.
I don’t think any of us were in the mood for anything. It was hard to stay motivated when it didn’t seem to get you anywhere. Why was it taking rescuers so damn long to find us? Why hadn’t we managed to find our way out by ourselves…we’d been walking for long enough! I felt as if maybe this was it for us, we were destined to spend forever in this friggin hell hole. I ran my hand over the scruffy itchy beard - which I couldn’t wait to get rid of – and sighed. Life was cruel.
Just to prove how cruel life could be, Howie took a turn for the worse later that day.
We’d all thought he’d got over the infection which had taken hold of him just a few days previously. He appeared to be on the mend following the surgery I’d performed. But now it seemed as if that had all been for nothing. I suppose it was inevitable really, we had no antibiotics or sterile equipment; I just prayed I hadn’t fucked him up even more. What if by cutting away at his leg I’d introduced some other bacteria into the wound along with the infection he already had? What if my actions caused him to die out here? What were we going to do now? Were we really going to have to amputate out here in the jungle?
I sat with my arms wrapped around my knees and cried for a long time.
Why? Why did Howie have to get sick again, especially so quickly? Why couldn’t a search party suddenly appear out of the trees and whisk us out of here? Even if we were found, would Howie’s leg be beyond saving? I felt disgusted with myself for moaning about the lack of food, water and showers. How could I be so selfish when one of my best friends was in such a bad way?
“Nick…” AJ placed his hand on my shoulder but couldn’t find any words to say.
“It’s alright” I sniffed back the last remaining tears and took a deep breath “let’s do this” I stood up and rolled my head from side to side to shake off the ache in my neck from sitting hunched over for so long.
“We could just leave it a while and see how it goes” AJ’s voice had a pleading sound to it.
“We could, but it’s not going to get any better is it?” Brian shook his head.
“Just chop it off” Howie writhed in pain “make the pain stop…please”
“Howie…” I began but he interrupted.
“Nick…Brian, please” he cried, looking to us with huge sad, pain-filled eyes.
“I’m scared” I admitted and choked back fresh tears. What if it went horribly wrong and he died because of my actions? Because let’s face it, it was going to be me who’d have to do this. Brian didn’t have the stomach for it, although he’d do his best. And AJ…well, he would prefer to stay in denial about Howie’s condition.
“Don’t be” Howie begged.
As much as I didn’t want to do this, I knew that this time I wouldn’t just be cutting away dead flesh; I’d have to take off the whole leg from the thigh down.
“Alright” I said in an almost whisper.
Just how I was going to do it was a mystery though. Did I just swing the machete and chop it off like a butcher would chop a leg of pork? Or should I take the smaller knife to it and saw my way through it slowly? I had no idea and neither appealed to me. The thought of it made me sick to the stomach.
As if reading my mind, Brian pulled me out of Howie’s hearing distance and said we should go for the fast option. I could sort of see his point. Imagine getting so far and not being able to carry on, leaving his leg dangling. I took a deep breath and put that image out of my mind.
“Aw man, you can’t be serious” AJ cried “we can’t cut his leg off”
“AJ, we have no other option, you can see for yourself how bad it looks and it’s only going to get worse” Brian explained.
“But it’s his fucking leg! He’ll never walk again” AJ sniffed back the tears.
“If we don’t do it soon, he’ll never do anything again” I agreed with Brian. Although I hated the thought of Howie with one leg, I hated the thought of no Howie at all even more.
“But…oh, I don’t know…” AJ was lost for words and threw his hands up in the air in exasperation.
We boiled up the last remains of the water to try and sterilize the machete. I wasn’t going to hack his leg off with a dirty weapon if I could avoid it. We’d worry about what to drink later.
Brian prepared Howie for the amputation by tying a makeshift tourniquet tightly around his thigh and giving him something to bite down on. This was going to be more painful that anything any of us had had to endure and I wished I could do something more to ease his suffering. I would gladly absorb his pain if I could.
“Wait, I think I heard something” AJ protested as I picked up the machete.
“AJ, we’ve gone over this, we have to do this” Brian said.
“Shhhhh” he held his finger to his lips to signal us to be quiet.
“What is that?” I queried, having heard something too.
We all waited patiently for the noise to become clearer, none of us wanting to get our hopes up in case it was another false alarm or a figment of our imaginations. But when it did get closer, we could’ve wept with joy.
It appeared our prayers were about to be answered. A helicopter hovered in the air high above us.
Collectively we screamed, waved and jumped around (apart from Howie of course) hoping that they could see us. Surely they had binoculars or something and would spot three lunatics dancing around and an injured man lying down in the dirt?
The helicopter stabilized in the air and a man in a bright orange jumpsuit was lowered on a winch. Slowly but surely, he made his way down to us on the ground. All four of us began crying with relief.
“We’d given up hope of finding you guys alive” he said as he unfastened the harness and strode towards us.
“Thank fucking god you‘re here now, any longer and we would be dead” AJ cried tears of happiness, as did we all.
“Someone must love you guys a lot, we were paid to fly by one more time to check for survivors. Thank god you were somewhere visible!” he said and took in the sight of Howie “let’s get him up first”.
“Guys?” Howie groaned in pain and confusion.
“It’s going to be alright Howie, we’re safe now” I told him, wiping away the tears on the backs of my hands.
Yay, they've been found! Only one more chapter to go and then it's the end. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy.
Chapter 23 by Carter-Orange
We were taken by helicopter to an air field, where an ambulance had been summoned to take us straight to the nearest hospital. It was a bumpy ride at times as the ambulance sped towards the hospital along the pot-holed roads, but we made it in one piece and sighed with relief at finally being back in civilization.
Myself, AJ and Brian were immediately treated for dehydration whilst Howie was whisked away from us into another area of the hospital where they could assess his condition and the damage to his leg more thoroughly. I hoped we’d been found in time to save his leg, but it was out of our hands now.
It had to have been adrenaline keeping me going all that time in the jungle, because now that we were finally safe, I felt absolutely exhausted. I could’ve slept for a week. But I also felt the biggest sense of relief you could possibly imagine. We had survived against all odds.
I wondered if news had got out that we’d been found. Brian had used a pay phone at the hospital to call his wife and let her know we were safe. He’d gone against the nurse to do so, having been told to lie down and rest whilst the drip in his arm fed his body with all the nutrients he was missing. He’d dragged the drip stand with him to make that call and myself and AJ did exactly the same once was Brian was done.
All we had left to do was wait for news on Howie.
After two days in hospital for dehydration and exhaustion, me, AJ and Brian were allowed to leave. We stayed in a hotel close by so that we could be there for Howie until he was well enough to be transferred to a hospital back home, and also as support for Leigh, who had made the long journey to Peru to be right by her husband’s side. The medical team had managed to get his temperature down with a cocktail of drugs, but it wasn’t looking good for his leg which had sustained a lot of trauma.
I felt guilty. Maybe if I’d left his leg alone everything would be alright. But then again, if we’d left his leg the way it was, he would surely have been dead by now. It was a hard situation to be in.
“How you feeling?” I asked as I walked up to his bedside. He looked a hell of a lot better than he had when we’d been found.
“Much better than when I arrived here. Thanks Nick. Thanks for everything, if it wasn’t for you, I’d most probably be dead” he replied as he lay there propped up in the hospital bed.
“I just hope I didn’t damage your leg beyond repair” I looked down at the pattern in the floor tiles.
“Don’t feel guilty. I’d be dead if you hadn’t cut away the infection, the doctors told me I was lucky” he explained. Typical D, always wanting to make everyone else feel good.
After four days in hospital, he was well enough to be transferred to a hospital back home where he could receive the very best possible treatment for his leg.
News of our rescue had made the news headlines all over the world, in fact, there had been a bit of a media frenzy, with all sorts of wild stories flying around, but until now our current whereabouts was still unknown to the media. I was grateful for that. The last thing any of us wanted was to have to re-live our ordeal through their prying questions. But I knew it was something we’d have to do eventually. With fame came consequences, and one of those consequences was loss of privacy where big news was concerned. They were only doing their job, I could understand that.
We all flew back with Howie and checked into a hotel near the hospital. Brian’s wife joined us, as did some of our management team. It was then that the media found out where we were and descended upon us. They were outside the hotel and the hospital. Some even posing as hospital staff to try and get in and get their exclusive photos of Howie, whom they knew was in there.
“We’re gonna have to give them something” our manager advised us and we decided a press conference would be the best option. Get them all in one place where we could answer their questions about the ordeal in a controlled environment.
Management had informed the New Kids’ families as soon as we’d been found. Their bodies had not been able to be recovered, and that’s as much as we were told. I shuddered at the thought of what that meant. Even though I’d tried to block the exits to the plane, it was inevitable that animals were going to find their way in to feast on the rotting corpses of Donnie, Joey, Jon and Danny. I knew we’d all want to talk to their families at some point, but for now, we knew they’d want private time to grieve their loss.
The press conference was hell. We were used to the limelight, but having to answer questions about what had happened to our former rivals was just something we weren’t equipped to handle. I think we all broke down and cried as we spoke of the crash and the aftermath of it. But we didn’t go into all the grisly details. That would’ve been too much.
After several months, Howie’s leg was as good as it was going to get. He’d had numerous amounts of surgery to re-build it and would have some pretty nasty looking scars for the rest of his life, but he’d kept his leg. That was enough for Howie.
Even though it’s now six months since we got out of there, I still wake in the night due to vivid nightmares. I keep seeing Jordan’s bot fly infested corpse, half eaten by animals, asking me why I didn’t save him. I wake up in a cold sweat and shaking. I dream of being trapped in that plane and not being able to get out. I dream of giant spiders trapping us in their webs, of venomous snakes squeezing the life out of us and every other nasty experience you can think of. But every time I wake, I thank god it’s just a dream and that I really am safe.
I can honestly say it’s an experience I’ll ever never forget for as long as I live, but it’s also made me realise not to take things for granted. It’s taught me that life is short and we have to make the most of the time we have here on earth.
I now have a new appreciation for life and the Backstreet Boys have gone from strength to strength because of the life experiences we’ve shared. We even managed to get to the top of the charts again with a song which had previously been unreleased, the appropriately titled ‘Lift Me Up‘!
I know, cheesy ending, but I do like a happy ending! Thanks everyone who took the time to read and review, I really appreciate it :)
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