[Story] Story a Week 18

[[ Prompt: A story about a historical figure.

This was a tough one, I decided to borrow from the idea of the supernatural historical, such as the Vampire Hunting Abraham Lincoln, and this comic about Paul Revere and werewolves. I chose an explorer who vanished in the Amazon, a British man named Percy Fawcett. ]]

[Excerpts from Colonel Fawcett’s private journal.]

4th June 1925

It has been now nearly a week since we left the village. We have no path to follow so it has been somewhat slow going, and the ground can be treacherous. At times we must double back and retrace our steps which frustrates Rimell to no end. I sense an impatience in him, that he would prefer to go about things his own way, but when I speak to him of it, I am met only with stony silence. I am a reasonable man, I am willing to hear him out, but I think he prefers to see me make mistakes. I think he forgets who has led seven successful jungle expeditions! Not him!

We have some minor injuries, namely blisters and bites of insects. I aim to collect some to bring back for study, as there are some varieties I have not seen before. With luck they may be new to the insect studying world as well. Most of them are not so interesting, just the sort that bite and sting. Great care must be taken not to step upon a trail of ants on the forest floor, which can be difficult because they hide so cleverly beneath leaves and other plant litter. We have had blisters due to the rough terrain, which is not unexpected but must be properly cared for lest they develop into worse sores.

Food is plentiful, though not perhaps the sort of food one pictures at a supper table! Fruit is the most readily available, along with insects. Some days we are able to snare a monkey or bird, but this is rare. I have seen fewer of them as the forest becomes more dark and dense, perhaps there is not enough fruit for them further within the jungle. There has been sign of a large predator, tracks in the mud and claw marks on trees. Judging from these it must be a jaguar of spectacular size, or perhaps a new species altogether? I’m intrigued by the idea, though it mustn’t distract from my chief goal. All of my study and previous experience has come to this. We are so close, I am certain of it.

Col. P. F.

8th June 1925

We have not had an easy time these past few days. I have only now been able to write because the storms have ceased; these past several days have seen rain and thunder all day and night. It has been bad for morale and both the boys feel flush and ill, I hope it is merely this and not some more serious disease. This has made progress slow, as they tire more quickly and cannot keep the same pace as before. As well, the rivers are swollen by the rains and prove too treacherous to cross at this time. We must find a shallow bar or wait for the waters to recede.

An animal ravaged our camp the night last. I would not have thought an animal aware enough to ruin supplies, but it did — equipment broken, dry goods scattered over the mud, clothing shredded with claws. I know well enough to give the local tribes a wide berth, but this is the first time I have been given a warning by an animal! It does not appear that anything was eaten. The tracks suggest it is the same as those we saw several days back, whether the same individual or merely the same species, I am not certain.

The jungle grows darker and more dense, even by daylight the sun can hardly reach through the tangle of boughs and vines. I search for signs of the lost city but as of yet they have not been found. They may well be just beneath my nose, buried beneath the soil and litter. I could be standing upon it at this moment and be none the wiser. I like to believe that I could feel its presence, is that foolish?

Col. P. F.

10th June 1925

Bad luck continues to plague us. There is always some on any expedition, but this seems worse than I’ve encountered before. I am trying to keep our spirits high yet I am not blind to the reality of our situation. If it is necessary, I have no issue leaving Rimell behind, yet Jack would not abandon him. Both are ill, at any rate, and now have digestive trouble in addition to their previous ailments. No doubt due to the lack of proper diet, we have lost the majority of our canned and dry supplies due to the nightly raids by the animals. I am eager to push forward and leave its territory, but this seems impossible. I might consider waiting up tonight for it to arrive and try to shoot it, but it seems wary, somehow aware of when we are awake or asleep. It is a far wilier beast than any I have encountered in the jungles before. Were it one of the tribes, I am certain they would have made themselves known by now, whether of curiosity or hostility. At least natives can be reasoned with. Yet I sense it watching, or perhaps it is the forest itself. The ground beneath seems to rise and fall with its slow, primeval breathing.

11th June 1925

I stayed awake all night by the fire and it did not reveal itself. At the very least, no more supplies were ruined. Fruit for supper again.

13th June 1925

It came to the camp while we slept during the day, all of us exhausted from lack of food and the heat. Very little was destroyed, likely because there is little left. Instead it paced a purposeful track around the camp, its steps firm and deliberate and slow. I am certain that it is not just observing us, it is hunting us. Can I go ahead alone? It may be the only option. I’m not ready to consider it just yet.

14th June 1925

I saw its eyes last night, hot embers in the still night air. It is bold, unafraid of man, even when I shouted and fired my rifle it did not so much as blink. Can it sense the doubt in my heart? I feel that somehow, it can.

15th June 1925

It ate the boys. Their bones were strewn across the soil, made darker with blood. The buzzing of the insects is maddening, and the smell is worse. I have no choice now, I must move on.

? June 1925

It still follows me. I can hear its rasping breaths, smell its hot and fetid breath. This can be no creature of God’s making, but from the jaws of Hell itself. I have only two bullets left.

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