Wild

What will the girl do when she finds herself in a mysterious jungle? How did she get there? Was it all a dream?

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1. Wild

 

I pushed the branches aside as I made my own path through the thick foliage. Where was I? How did I get here? I couldn’t remember the last thing I did or how I ended up in this encroaching forest, but I was here. I pushed the last of the branches out of the way and stepped into an open clearing in the trees. There was nothing but grass as high as my waist, motionless in the windless air. My eyes flickered to a movement in the grass, and I heard a low growl.

Suddenly, in a flash of orange fur and white fangs, a tiger lunged at me, knocking me to the ground. I lifted my hands protectively in front of my face and I felt a sharp pain in my arm. I opened my eyes for a second and saw blood trickling down and white fangs stained red. When I thought I was done for I heard the animal cry out in pain, and it stopped attacking. I was left lying alone in the high grass. I had scratches all over and a decent wound on my arm. Thinking quickly, I held my arm up in the air, above my heart, to slow the bleeding. But my arm was getting weak and I couldn’t hold it up for much longer.

All of a sudden, someone grabbed my hand and pulled me to my feet. I stumbled forwards and bumped into something that felt like warm bare skin. I looked up and saw a boy’s face. I jumped back in surprise. He looked about 18, my age, with warm russet-colored skin and deep black eyes. He had long, silky black hair pulled back into a pony tail. His bottom half was covered by animal skin but his chest was bare. I realized that he just saved me from the tiger.

  “Who are you?” I asked. He didn’t say anything and his expression stayed blank. He grabbed my arm and examined the wound. I tried to pull away but he had a strong grip. After a moment, he let go and my arm dropped to my side. He started to walk away but turned around to look at me. It seemed he wanted me to follow, and I was curious, so I did. We walked for a while until we came to a cave. I was hesitant to go inside, but he grabbed my hand and pulled me along.

It was dark inside, but I guessed that was his home. He started a fire and the place lit up. There were bowls made out of gourds and animal skins piled up or sprawled across the floor. He picked up one of the bowls and scooped something gel-like out with his hand. Then he grabbed my wrist and rubbed it on my arm, smearing the blood. It stung at first but slowly started to soothe the pain.

“Thank you.” I said. He smiled like he understood. He walked over to the animal skins and grabbed one. Then he came back and wrapped it around my arm. He laid an animal skin across the floor next to another one and sat down on one. He beckoned to me. I was hesitant, but the boy didn’t scare me, he did save me after all.

I sat down on the animal skin next to him and he handed me a piece of fruit. I was hungry so I grabbed it and took a bite. We sat there next to each other on the cold ground in front of the blazing fire in silence for what felt like forever. The only sound was the singing of birds in the trees and a distant waterfall. I turned my head and saw the boy was staring at me. I quickly looked away. I saw him stand up out of the corner of my eye, so I got up too. He walked out of the cave and waited, so I followed. Compared to inside, the air was sticky and the birds’ songs were louder. When he was sure I was behind him, he lead me to a beaten trail through the trees, wore down from being often used. I wondered where we were going but I was no longer hesitant, I followed obediently. As we walked, I could hear the sound of the waterfall getting louder. After a while, we broke through the trees and stepped onto the banks of a river. At the other end, a small waterfall poured into the river and I could see a small opening behind it. The water flowed quickly at first but slowed as the river became wider.

I heard a splash and turned to see the boy had jumped off the bank into the river. He swam against the current towards the waterfall and waited there. I realized he was waiting for me. I was worried about getting my arm wet, so I just stood there and shook my head. He gestured for me to jump in and smiled. He didn’t seem to worry about it so I guess it was alright. The cool water was tempting as I stood in the humid air. I kicked off my shoes and dipped my foot in. the water was cold and felt refreshing against my skin. I put my worries aside and jumped in. I struggled to swim back to the surface and I felt the current pushing me downstream. I threw my arms out in front of me but grasped nothing but water. I searched for the river bank with my hands and felt someone grab hold of my arms. I was pulled above water and I immediately took a deep breath. I put my feet down and just barely touched the bottom. I saw the boy’s face looking down at me and he held both of my hands in his, keeping me from being swept away. He swam so easily through it; I didn’t realize how strong the current actually was. That was the second time he had saved me in such a short amount of time. What a day.

He swam towards the waterfall again and tugged me along. The current was getting even stronger. He ducked his head as he went underneath the falling water. I was pulled under too and I could feel the water pounding on my neck as I ducked my head. We entered the cave behind the waterfall and I scrambled up onto the cave floor. He climbed up too and sat next to me. I was tired from fighting against the current and was starting to shiver. I laid back on the cold cave floor with me feet still dangling in the water. After a minute, the boy grabbed my arms and pulled me up. He wrapped his arms around my shoulders and held me against him. I could feel his warmth against my cheek and hear his steady heartbeat thumping in his chest. I closed my eyes and started to think. What was I doing here? Who was this boy? When I reopened my eyes I was in my bed, looking up at the ceiling.

I sat up. So it was all just a dream. There was no forest, no tiger, and no boy. As I pulled back the covers, something caught my eye. I looked down at my arm and gasped at what I saw, a bite mark. 

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