'I totally forgot to ask in which country we are.' I said, avoiding a rock before walking next to Harry again.
It was our second day of walking now and we were all quite sick of it. It turned out one of your guides knew a little English - and when I say a little, I really mean a little, like a tiny bit - and he told us we probably had to walk for another two days before we'd reach the beach.
The thought of home made it all better, though.
'I'm pretty sure we're in Australia.' Harry spoke, putting my thoughts into words.
I smiled. ‘Yeah, same here. Those people look like aboriginals. But I didn't know they had natives living in the jungle, though.'
Harry chuckled. ‘I didn't even know they had jungles in Australia.'
I groaned. 'Oh, Harry. You've got to be kidding me.'
'Hey, I just wasn't the kind of kid that watched National Geographic and Animal Planet all day, like you.' Harry smirked at me.
'Is that a hint? Are you saying I'm a nerd?!'
Harry laughed and shrugged. 'Maybe.'
I huffed. 'Way to be nice. You forgot Discovery Channel, though.'
We laughed, but suddenly the group stopped at a signal from one of our guides.
They stared intently at the bushes. The sound of a snapping twig and a step into dry leaves.
My heart started beating a little faster.
Something was wrong.
I subconsciously grabbed Harry's hand, a thing I tended to do more and more lately.
'Not move.' The 'tiny-bit-English' guide said softly.
We did what he said and stood there for a long time, waiting.
Fifteen minutes later, we heard the sound of footsteps fading away. Whatever it had been, watching us from the bushes, it had left.
I let out a shaky sigh, running my hand through my hair.
'Well, that was creepy.' Liam mumbled.
The next hours were silent. None of us said a word while we were following the guides.
When we stopped at the end of the day, setting up a camp, we were all tired. We quickly ate some food and immediately went to bed, knowing we had another long day in front of us.
The next morning, before we left, I had to do my business, so I asked one of the guides I could borrow his spear and walked away from the camp.
What happened next I will never forget...
I pulled up my leggings when I was done and I began walking back to the camp when I heard something shuffling through some leaves, not far from me. The plants around me were big and the bushes were thick.
I intensely stared at the bushes, trying to see the figure that was behind them. It was most definitely not a human.
Suddenly there was a flash of orange and I stepped backwards. It all happened so fast...
I tripped over a branch and felt myself fall down.
The spear snapped in half at the sudden weight I put on it.
I felt her claws ripping up my shirt and the flesh on my shoulder. But I didn't pay attention to the pain. The only thing I saw were her golden eyes, staring down at me.
In my whole life, I had never seen a tiger up close before. And there I was, pinned down by one of the most beautiful and majestic animals I knew.
Ironically enough, one of my dreams had come true; being close to a tiger.
Now you've got it, Scarlett. Happy?
Surprisingly enough, I was.
Maybe it was because I had accepted I would die. Maybe I was just trying to feel happy before facing my death.
I didn't know.
But the moment was special. And I closed my eyes.
'Don't do it.' I whispered.
She roared and I could feel it in my bones.
But then, complete silence. I felt her paws move from my body and heard her walk away, rustling through some bushes and growling one last time.
'God dammit! Scarlett?! Fuck!'
I opened my eyes, looking up at a worried Niall.
'Shit, who did this to you? Oh, jesus. You're covered in blood...'
I smiled at him. A big grin. 'She was beautiful, Niall. So beautiful.'
My heart stopped beating. My breath hitched in my throat.
Her eyes were closed, her body was limp. When Niall came closer, I saw the smile on her face.
I walked towards Niall, who had Scarlett in his arms. It felt like I was floating and my body was moving by itself. I stared at her, unable to speak.
I didn't notice Niall yelling something at the others. I didn't notice a hand was being placed on my shoulder.
I was completely deaf and blind for everything around me.
My heart started beating faster. It was pounding now.
Then, her eyelashes started fluttering. And a wave - no, it felt like an ocean. An ocean of relief washed over me.
She looked up at me and smiled. A huge, bright smile. I shook my head, brushing some hair out of her face. I tried not to stare at her shirt, which was drenched in blood.
I focused on her eyes. Her beautiful, blue eyes.
Like a sky on a lovely summer afternoon. Or the sea, by an exotic country like Hawaii.
Somebody pulled me backwards a little and Niall laid Scarlett down on a bed they had quickly made on the open ground.
I sat down next to her as she continued to smile at me.
'W-what happened?' I whispered.
She shook her head. 'I still can't believe it.'
I stared at her. She looked so happy.
Then it hit me. Scarlett was in shock.
She didn't feel pain. She didn't feel fear.
'Love, who attacked you?'
Her eyes closed for a short moment. 'Oh, Harry. She was beautiful, with those golden eyes and her soft fur. And those paws! Huge!'
'A tiger?' I wondered.
She nodded and breathed out: 'Yeah.'
The guides started ripping her shirt apart, but I stopped them. 'I will do that. Get me some water, yeah?' I said, trying to explain it to them in some sort of sign-language.
One of them nodded, saying something to the other and the first one handed me a bottle of water before walking off into the jungle with his mate. I didn't know what they were going to do and I didn't care either.
I took place at Scarlett's left shoulder, wiping away some beads of sweat that had formed on my forehead.
'I'm tired, Harry. I think I'm going to...' Her voice trailed off.
I almost started to panic, but when I felt the pulse by her throat, I calmed down.
Unconscious. Just unconscious.
Knowing she wouldn't feel a thing, I worked fast. I continued what those men started and ripped her shirt apart, revealing the deep, bloody wounds.
'Oh, Scarlett... Why, love?' I mumbled, asking one of the guys if I could use their T-shirt.
Niall handed me his shirt and I soaked it with water, cleaning her shoulder and carefully dabbing the wounds.
'Hmm. Those wounds are going to leave some impressive scars. Real claw marks.' I heard Liam say, standing on the other side of Scarlett.
I glared at him. 'You think that's impressive? You think it's impressive to risk a deadly infection and to have hideous scars mutilating your body?'
'Shut the fuck up and leave us alone.' I hissed.
'Oh, it's all 'us' now, huh? I bet you haven't even fucked her yet. But don't worry, she's had plenty of fun with me.'