Welcome to the Jungle
When ego overrides common sense, abandon hope all ye who follow the path. Dr. Bennett was no exception. When his research team was given permission, via some favors and several thousand dollars, to enter the Amazon and conduct experiments on the local wildlife, he was ecstatic. Finally a chance to carve out a real name for himself! He was determined not to stop until he found something that was world-changing.
The journey did not start out on an auspicious note. Some of their equipment was ‘delayed’ at customs until the proper financial recompense was produced. One of his assistants slipped down a hill and shattered her ankle, leaving her to be airlifted away. Two of their local guides refused to go past a certain point, babbling something about spirits. He didn’t particularly care. There would always be guides willing to help them.
To his surprise, after they hacked through countless vines and branches, the team came across an open clearing. This wasn’t something that had been created by other researchers or construction workers or even those who would sneak in to steal treasures and trees and animals. This appeared to be a natural occurrence. How fascinating!
The replacement guides, however, felt differently. They dropped their packs, turned around, and ran as quickly as they could back the path that had been created. Despite Dr. Bennett yelling at them to come back, they had disappeared within moments. What cowardice, he thought as he began to unpack. In his excitement, he did not notice the discomfort from the rest of his team.
That night, as he settled down in his tent, Dr. Bennett tried to listen to the sounds of the jungle around him to soothe him into sleep. He strained his ears but there was nothing. No rustling of night creatures hunting for food. No flapping of wings from bats or birds. The world around him was completely silent. It was unsettling and, for the first time, Dr. Bennett felt the sting of uncertainty right at the nape of his neck.
That wasn’t uncertainty. Something had stung him. He felt the spot begin to burn and then fire raced down his body, making every nerve howl in agony. He tried to scream but, to his horror, he realized he couldn’t move. He couldn’t talk. He was frozen stiff, locked into a pulsing, blazing pain.
A monstrous BOOM from outside rattled in his ears and then his tent was pulled off of him. Towering above him was some THING. Matted gray hair, glittering green eyes. It was something he had never seen before. In any other moment, he would have been jumping with joy. Now, though, he could only stay immovable as the beast reached down and wrapped a hand around him, lifting him into the air.
As he ascended, Dr. Bennett could see the destruction of his camp and the blood caked around the beast’s mouth. For just a second, he felt deep regret.
And then there was a CRUNCH.
Here is where I''ll post random stories that aren't, as of yet, in a larger book. Call it a free ride into the mouth of madness, yo.