This is for the Picture Prompt competition. The story is about Ajith, a boy of 21 working in a NGO. He along with his friends take a visit to the exotic islands near Andaman for a capturing the beauty of nature. But, it is they who are captured.


4. Ambush

I was slinking down the obscurity provided by the darkness inside the patch of trees. I knew not why I was walking nimbly, sure, there was the scrunch of dead leaves, but no one was there to hear. It was general consternation that geared all these precautions. The darkness, the hoot of owls, my ever-pervading fear of darkness were the catalysts that were stirring the anxiety. The moment the gong of the bullet resounded, orders had been issued, the plan was simple, circulate the gang and hit them in all flanks. Though I doubted the precision of the articulation, I decided to shove them off, for I had no better plan. I was given the hardest job, cut through the chest of trees and attack from the hind.

I walked through as the myriad entanglements hindered my venture, I made naked my mind off all thoughts and concentrated on seeing the light on the other end. I was trapped in a small time window, there would come a call from Raj that would signal the convergence from all flanks. This would be given under the assumption that everyone had taken their respective covers and were ready for the breach. The boatman and Jagadeesh had taken the eastern wing and Raj and Sasha had taken the west wing. The chagrin of Raj at being accompanied by Sasha was concealed, but I knew it well, yet there was no choice for she could not be handed to a stranger.

I had clearly underestimated the span of the chunk, the trees nestled in the core of the island were certainly length and the thick canopy did not filter any light. As I maneuvered through the gloom I stumbled onto something and was about to fall. My fall was broken by a rope that wrung around my neck. I was surprised by the appearance of it. I turned around and the knot tightened. Terrified at the realization of being strangled, I groped in the darkness. The invisible invader kicked me in the back of my knees and I was forced to kneel down. I instinctively shielded my face as it was under immediate exposure. The little adjustment my eye had got helped me ascertain the location of my foe. He was a foot or two away ahead of me. His hands were engaged in keeping the rope in my neck. The kick had alleviated the level of pressure he had on my neck, but it still hindered by airflow. He had seen me guarding my eyes and I reckoned was calculating his next move. I decided to take on the sudden retaliation tactic that I had watched in boxing matched.

Using the rope as leverage, I got up and delivered a kick to his groins. My foe was far too fast for me, but he at least lot grip of his ropes because of the need to block. I launched myself upon him and unleashed the nastiest punches I could muster. On my third punch, my knuckles banged against something that felt like spectacles, I quickly punched him in the nose and knocked him out as a result. I grabbed the spectacles and they confirmed my suspicions, they were Goggles.

I wore them on and the world around me took color. They were not exactly colorful, but I could see everything around me. I slung the unconscious body of my attacker and started walking forth.

After what seemed to be, an eternity I finally spotted a black spot in the brimming discolored wildlife. I knew they were the clearing as it was day outside. I disarmed myself off the goggles and pocketed it. Beams of sunlight streamed into the enveloping darkness. I charged toward the exit and halted upon reaching.

The sight my eyes graced upon at the arrival was of such gravity that it stopped my breath for a second even without a rope flung around my neck. I was standing where the trees terminated and a few feet off, I saw Raj being negotiated at a gunpoint.

The call must have been drowned amongst the drooling of nature or it must have been my saturated attention towards survival, somehow I had missed the call, and now I had put in jeopardy the life of my best friend. The angry gesticulation made by Raj pointed to me that the shot would be made. I shifted my gaze towards the trigger, the fingers were losing upon them, and I had to act fast. I also knew that I could not reveal myself, the confluence of the black and white was partially screening me and I knew I had an upper hand.

The shot materialized all too fast, but only after, I had completed my contemplation. The movement the press was made; I pushed the body of my attacker. The trajectory of the bullet was intercepted as my nemesis took the brunt of the blow. The shooter, terrified at the sudden turn of events and hit by a wave of poignancy caught the falling body. He bent in the progress and I snatched the opportunity to kick him in his jaws. He fell down arms flailing and dropped the shotgun. Raj grabbed the gun and hovered it above; Jagadeesh materialized from thin air and started pounding the poacher in the face.

I unveiled my presence but there was not even a greeting acknowledged towards me. I blanketed my disappointment and helped in the tying up of the other poachers, who seemed to have been snared somehow. “What the heck happened”, I asked.

“What happened, we awaited your heed traipsed late off time, managed to trap on group but got overpowered thanks to you”, said Sasha glowering at me her naked teeth a fang in my eyes.

“Hey, I was ambushed, they somehow carved out our plan, I saved you out of that mess Raj”, I said passively.

“I wouldn’t have been put in such a mess in the first place had you played game”, Raj said, the tempo in his voice reaching a crescendo.

“ Yeah right, now I play the sucker, you know one thing, the plan you so eloquently fabricated was a complete bummer in the first place, how do you suppose that I could hear your voice among the chaos in the forest”, I said my voice flavored with incense.

Raj’s temper peaked and with blinding intensity, a punch was channelized my way. The flesh of his hands connected with my face and as his hands retreated the swish of an arrow whizzed past the place my head previously been. Far in the horizon, distorting the flow of the sky was a small boat. As it traversed the leaps and bounds of the ocean in lengthened in size and strung out of the best archers came whistling the most accurate arrows. All directed at us. In the distance, we could discern the next hurdle; Tribals. We had just tripped the Hornet’s nests.


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