November 11th, 2010
We didn’t sleep at all that night in the village, even hours after silence had fallen. As the sky above us turned grey and the charred remains of the fires started to swim into focus, I had trouble keeping my eyes open. At least until Jim started talking.
“I can’t even believe it.”
Jim took the words right out of my mouth.
“All these years being ridiculed and I’ve finally found proof of a cryptid,” he said.
“That’s your first thought after last night? Shouldn’t we be thinking about how to get out of here?”
“You should be more excited that I am. This is the biggest story of the new millennium.”
I have to admit, with Jim talking like that my professional pride started to overcome my fear. I imagined all the awards I’d receive for this story, for my part in the discovery of this plant creature. Then of course there are the talk show appearances and the book deals.
“Okay, you’ve convinced me. We’re going to need proof.”
As we were talking, villagers started to emerge from their huts. It was surprising to see so many people unharmed. Though when I thought about it, I realized the attack had been measured in minutes that’d only seemed longer than the hours of quiet that’d followed. Somehow, the old chief had managed to escape being dragged off.
Whatever he’d been expecting from his forest god, it definitely hadn’t been this. He leaned against a stick as he stood talking to Jim. I could tell from his expression that the adventurer wasn’t getting the answers he’d been hoping for.
“He doesn’t know where the plant thing comes from. There is a part of the forest where the tribe doesn’t go, where the forest god dwells. Basically everything west of here, a lot of ground to search.”
“Those vines seemed to come from everywhere last night,” I said.
“I haven’t met anything I couldn’t track yet. Let’s go take a look.”
The chief tried to convince us to stay in the village, and a voice in the back of my head was telling me to just head for the river, but we went off into the jungle. It all looked the same to me, but Jim started making significant grunts as he stopped to look at the ground.
“See where the leaves are all disturbed?”
“It looks like a normal pile of leaves to me.”
“Something was dragged through here.”
His voice halted on the word something, because we both knew that something was almost certainly a someone. We continued on through the ferns and tree trunks. There were vines, but only the ordinary kind that seemed to coat the jungle. My ears strained to pick up the slightest sounds of movement and my eyes darted everywhere. Jim’s senses seemed totally focused on his task. He didn’t have any attention left over to worry about his safety.