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Chapter 21




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?



Chapter End Notes:

Sorry it's not an action packed chapter, but I thought they deserved a break!  Thanks for reading :)