Man Down

So I had an adventure ready to post today and when I reviewed it last night, I detested what I’d written. That doesn’t happen very often. ‘Not satisfied’ happens all the time but detestation…well, I couldn’t present that to the world.

Which left me floundering for a new adventure. My husband and I have been watching a survival show lately and it just rolled from there. I’ve no idea where this is going since I didn’t plan it out like I have with all the others. We’ll see where this takes us, I guess.

Thanks for joining the adventure. Let’s have some fun=)

Man Down

All you remember comes back in snatches of images and feelings. The dials of the plane spinning and your stomach feeling like an elevator dropped from cut cables. Freefall without a parachute. Your stomach trying to climb out your throat.

You never should have taken the plane without your instructor but he didn’t show and you drove two hours for the lesson. After five lessons, you figured you could handle an hour flying by yourself but something went horribly wrong.

The plane lies in pieces strewn throughout the trees in a mile stretch behind you. The pack you brought is now lost along with it. Looking around, you’ve no idea how you survived the crash, much less survived it with only a few minor scratches.

But now you’re in the middle of the jungle with only the clothes on your back, the large knife your instructor always strapped to the back of the pilot seat and your metal water bottle that you found tossed with the wreckage.

Trees obscure your view of the sky but from where you stand, the light’s fading fast. Birds chirp incessantly although you can’t see any of them. As night falls, though, those sounds will change to tell of darker things, you’re sure of it.

Water roars somewhere to your right but you’ve no gauge on where. You might have enough time to construct a small shelter, something that’ll get you off the ground and help keep you away from all the crawlies but it’s no guarantee against larger predators.

Or you can try to build a fire but you’ve never attempted making one without a lighter, so you might not succeed, especially before nightfall.

Do you…

A.Build a Structure?

Or

B. Attempt Fire?

Man Down Option A: Build a Shelter

With your inexperience making a fire, you don’t want to chance being caught in the dark without something to protect you. You start searching the immediate area for a good spot to get off the ground.

Not far from the wreck you find two large trees that might work. They have parallel branches bigger than your legs that, if you can find a few small logs to lay across them, will work as supports for a platform.

Your knife’s not big enough to chop down a tree so you start looking for already downed trees. The thick foliage snags on everything you find and you use up the remaining daylight hauling four logs over to the trees, hacking at vines along the way.

Photo courtesy of Arthur Rousseau with Hope for Haiti.

Photo courtesy of Arthur Rousseau with Hope for Haiti.

As if you’re not already winded, you find getting the logs up over the shoulder height branches an even more difficult task but finally, heaving air into your lungs, you have the logs lined up side by side. You lash them to the support trees using vines and then climb your way onto the small platform to see if it’s steady. It’s barely wide enough for your shoulders but it works.

Not thirty seconds after laying on the your back, the wind kicks up and starts to chill the sweat you built up while making the platform. This galvanizes you to keep moving before the gray of dusk totally disappears.

Now your knife comes in very handy. You chop as many branches off the trees near your platform as time allows. Then, exhausted, you create a tiny ‘cave’ by lashing them to a branch slightly higher than your platform to create an A-frame. It’s not great but, considering it’s completely black out, it’ll have to do.

You settle into your tiny shelter with a sigh and drink from your water bottle. The liquid hits your empty stomach, which reminds you dinner passed while you were working. Maybe it’s a good thing you didn’t notice until now. Your stomach rumbles, so you drink a little more and roll over to sleep.

***

The wind howling through the makeshift roof wakes you. Darkness obscures everything, even the branches only a few inches above you. A flash of light highlights the branches and then it all goes black again.

Moments later thunder rumbles like you’re inside a drum. You peek out just as another flash highlights the night. The string of light jumps across the sky like it’s chasing something. And then the rain comes.

You withdraw into your shelter and curl up tight. The rain’s relentless. It seeps through the shelter and denies you sleep for the rest of the night.

***

Morning drives the storm away. Stiff and cold, you crawl into a small patch of sun that sneaks through the trees. After maybe thirty minutes of warming and drying, you decide you’ve got to move, to do something. First step’s to thatch your shelter better to keep out wind and rain but then…

Do you…

Aa. attempt a fire?

Or

Ab. Look for food?

Man Down Option Ab: Look for Food

With the sun warming you after the drenching from the night, the gnawing in your stomach demands attention.

You find a little water still in your water bottle. It tastes glorious and hits your stomach like a water balloon exploding. Before you know it, all the water’s gone. Your skin’s puckered with goose flesh still but you figure looking for food might help warm you up. The jungle’s thick and you hack your way toward the sound of the river. With the rain from the night, the dim roar the river made the day before sounds more like thunder now.

You hack away more vines and stumble backwards. Directly on the other side of the foliage, the ground drops away. With cautious steps, you move forward and peek down into the ravine. The river froths at least twenty feet below.

The vague idea of using the river to get water turns to dust. From where you stand, there’s no way down into the ravine. Neither would this be a good place to fish or find wild game.

You backtrack through your hacked trail to the shelter. With your efforts, the hunger returns in full force but you tell yourself it hasn’t even been a full day and a human can survive for a while without food.

The shelter’s a welcoming sight but there’s nothing around it to eat as far as you know with your small knowledge base of wild edibles, so you head out again. This time you follow the destruction the plane made when you landed.

Already the forest is overgrowing the damage but there’s still enough that you find another section of the plane. One part has dials and when you flip it over, there’s a red light flashing.

This brings back your hurried mayday while the plane spun you in circles. You crashed almost immediately afterward and hadn’t heard a response but this light means someone might have heard because it’s broadcasting the location.

You heave the chunk of plane into your arms and head back toward your shelter. You’re about half way back when you see it. Fruit. At least you think it’s fruit.

Lowering your burden to the ground, you approach the tree and give a cry of relief. A bunch of tiny bananas hang under the leaf of a tree. You hack the bunch free and turn back to retrieve the plane beacon.

Settled into your shelter a bit later, you contemplate the flashing light while your eat a banana, spitting out seeds as you chew. (You never realized wild bananas had so many seeds.) The dilemma now is, should you stay put or try to hike out of the jungle?

There’s a chance someone’s picked up the beacon and will find you in a day or two. However, the jungle’s thick and finding people can be difficult.

Or you can try to find help and not rely on the beacon although it’d be difficult to carry. You saw a village just a few minutes before the dials of the plane went haywire. If you can find it, maybe the people there can get you to a phone.

Do you…

Ab1: Stay Put?

Or

Ab2: Search for Help?

Man Down Option Ab2: Search for Help

You can’t sit still with the possibility that no one’s picked up the beacon. Night’s falling, so you decide to curl up and hide out in your shelter until the morning. Then you plan to head in the direction of the village you saw.

No storm haunts the night but you still find sleep impossible. Your tongue feels sticky and swollen and your eyes feel like they’ve had sand poured into them. Finally, a little before sunrise, you drift off.

Birds wake you with their incessant cawing. Your entire body aches and your tongue sticks to the top of your mouth. With a groan, you crawl from your shelter. Water’s a necessity. You decide to head toward the ravine and follow it in the direction of the village in hopes there’ll be a place to get down to the water.

Before you go, you fashion a basket out of vines to carry the beacon. It’s heavy and weighs you down but, with the chance that someone might be tracking it, you’re unwilling to leave it behind.

Armed with your knife and empty water bottle, you hack your way back to the ravine. In your disheveled, achy state, the walls look shiny with mud and seem like they’ve become steeper.

You turn to head up river, scanning for any possible way down as you go. The sun climbs up over the canopy and sneaks through the trees. Sweat pours down your back. You feel the loss of water like you’re in a dehydrator.

You know you’re in trouble when the sun starts toward the western horizon and you still haven’t found a way to reach the water or found any sign of the village. With heavy steps you trudge on. You hack at vines and branches aimlessly now, expending energy but not caring.

At some point you fall down and spend several minutes trying to convince yourself to get back up. You loose track of time and become aware again when something rolls you over. A thrill of fear hits you and your mind races with all the different predators that might be about to eat you.

The predator starts jabbering at you in a language you don’t understand.

***

Several days later you wake up to find a thatched roof over your head. A bronzed skinned boy yells at you from the door and a moment later you realize there’s the chop of helicopter blades over his voice.

The searchers finally found you in the village. One of them comments on how lucky you are. If the boy hadn’t found you, you would  have died of dehydration. The crew transports you to the local hospital where your flight trainer locates you. Unfortunately you now owe him a plane but he’s kind enough to help you get home.

From there you determine that, once you’re fully recovered, you’d like to return to the village to thank the boy.

The End

Yay, you survived! Thanks for joining the adventure this week.

Blessings,

Jennifer

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12 thoughts on “Man Down

  1. leslierohman says:

    I say fire!

  2. fminuzzi says:

    It doesn’t seem to be too cold, so let’s go for shelter.

  3. DAD says:

    Gotta go with the fire and pray it does not rain… Who knows the fire may provide enough light to still allow some type of shelter??

  4. Karen Soutar says:

    I think…build a structure. 🙂

  5. lsebring says:

    It is so good to see these stories again! It is had to choose between a shelter or a fire, I would love to have both. However sense I can only have one I would work on a simple shelter that would get me of the ground. The creepy crawlies really bug me.
    A. Shelter

  6. Jackie says:

    Build a structure.

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