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.