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.