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.