A magnificent river in the forest glinted in the sunlight, absorbing its warmth. Leaves on the trees danced to the tunes of a silent breeze that swept through the forest. A monkey closed its eyes as if bathing in the silent breeze, but it was feasting on a delicious mango. Magnificent aerial view of the forest was indeed a sight for the sore eyes. A red car came to a screeching halt in the middle of the forest. A barrage of nails lying on the road used their sharpness to puncture the tire of the car. Roman leaped out of his car, only to grimace his face at the sight of the punctured tires. His spouse Maria and his son Jack too jumped out of the car. They had a prodigious appetite for travel around the world.
“What do we do now?” Maria looked perturbed.
“I will try to call my friend,” Roman pulled out his phone, but there was no network in the area.
“Damn it! There is no network over here,” he said.
“Oh, my word! Where do we go now?” she wore a puzzled look on her face.
“I don’t know the route back home,” Roman sank his head into his hands.
A mango fell right next to Jack. He craned his neck up at an enormous mango tree peppered with delicious mangoes. Unbidden, his mouth salivated, glancing at the fruits. When he was about to pick up the fallen mango, a monkey came out of nowhere and picked the mango. It donned an angry expression to scare Jack, who jerked back in fear. Monkey removed the peel and slurped on the mango as if trying to trigger their cravings. Once it was done consuming the mango, it wagged its tail and left the place. In an instant, it was hopping from tree to tree with replenished energy that was enough to activate its body.
With no clear direction to reach home, the trio decided to stay in the forest until they meet someone who might help them get back to their home. It was not a simple task to stay in the forest amidst wild animals, but the trio had no choice but to face the perils of the jungle. Are they enough equipped with the courage to deal with the challenges that lay ahead of them? Only time had the answer. Sun rays occasionally peeked through the branches of trees to nudge them. In some time, Jack’s mouth dried to demand water. They had empty water bottles in the car, so finding a river in the jungle was their next task. They trudged their way through the muddy roads to reach the river bank. The beautiful sight of the river and the serene flow of water were indeed a festival for their weary eyes. All three knelt and slurped the water from their hands. The tasteless water gave the taste of a juice owing to their extreme thirst. Jack felt upbeat upon quenching his thirst. No one knew what hid beneath the cloak of shimmering water. Jack persuaded his parents to stay there for a while, allowing him to drink in the beauty of the surrounding atmosphere. Roman and Maria then climbed up a tree and settled on a branch of a tree with their back nestled against the trunk. Jack stood on the water’s edge and splashed it with his hands. As his gaze shifted down, the eyes of an alligator that was floating on top of the water shuddered him once. The peril of the beautiful river unfolded in front of the little boy. The mighty alligator lurking beneath drooled,
looking at its prey in front. Before it could leap on to catch the boy, the latter sprinted. It shook its body in frustration and followed the little boy. As the boy was running, another alligator crawled in front. Two more alligators from the side were all set to inflict damage upon him. The wild animals that were ready to rip his flesh surrounded him from all directions. His heart dangerously throbbed and the eerie feeling of dying in the hands of behemoths sent shivers down his spine.
“Mom… Dad…” words escaped from his mouth.
Alligators had their gaze hooked to the little boy. It appeared as if they were scanning his body to determine which part to attack first to taste his meat. His life seemed to reach the dead end and his scream was leading to a blind alley. An involuntary shudder threatened to rip his heart apart. The alligators crawled slowly condescendingly, locking him at all ends. He flinched once as he was nearing his death time. A rope hung from the top of the tree. Jack had a window of opportunity to escape. He clasped it, and in an instant, he was pulled back to the tree. Alligators that were craving his meat were in for a shocking reality. They squeezed into the river with disappointment surging through their body. Jack heaved a sigh of relief. He just survived from the jaws of death. To his utter astonishment, it was his parents who had saved him. All three embraced each other as the birds perched on the branches stared at them.
The mighty forest had already manifested the glimpses of the perils that were hidden beneath its shroud. Many horrors were yet to be unfolded. They were waiting for their time to launch their covert attack to show the world what they were capable of. Maria mused about the possibility of going back home. The pictures of the alligators kept replaying in Jacks’ mind to further strengthen his fears of staying in the forest. Roman looked helpless. Neither the network nor the people existed in the deserted jungle, which is only busy displaying its eeriness to them.
“Is there any way to escape from here?” Maria asked.
“If I knew the way, we would be home by now,” Roman said.
“If we don’t find a way home, we are certainly going to be food for wild animals,” Maria said. “Jack looks perturbed after his encounter with those alligators.”
They stroked Jack’s hairs, and the latter was sweeping his gaze around in fear because the danger could appear suddenly giving no clue. Time never waits for anyone, it knows only to move forward. Dusk took over the entire forest in no time. The roar of a lion echoed through the forest, vibrating the ground. A fox was howling as if it was about to pounce on its prey. The wildness in the forest was wielding its power to scare the trio. Rasping noises emanating from the jungle penetrated dread to every cell of their body, prevailing the air of apprehensions in their mind. Roman had flicked on his torchlight that gave them some respite in the pitch-dark atmosphere, as they could detect any creatures moving around. A leopard tiptoed around the tree on which they were located. It looked like a devil creature as the flashlight warmed its skin. Jack had his heart drop to his stomach. The leopard began climbing giving them the adrenaline rush . Maria mopped the sweat that continuously generated in her forehead.
Roman projected the torchlight away from the leopard. “Be quiet. We shall jump off the tree if it detects our presence,” he whispered.
The silent predator injured the trunk of the tree with its prickling claws. It let out an earth-shattering roar to show its dominance. The predator sniffed around and started walking towards the trio, sensing its prey. It pierced them through its deadly sight. There was now no option left but to jump off the tree. The leopard roared its way through and could only bite the shirt of Jack. Yet again, the little boy was so close to death but survived in the nick of time. They scrambled back to their feet and sprinted away from the tree. As they trudged their way through the bushes panting, they came across a hut in the faraway distance. Maria’s face transformed into a smile for the first time since landing in the forest.
“I believe we can get help there,” she motioned towards the hut.
Before they could take a step, a giant python slithered past them. One of the other horror incidents continued to frighten them. The only thought that was running through her mind was to reach the hut as soon as possible and get the required support to leave the forest at the earliest before its wildness consumes their lives. When they glanced to the side, the python squirmed and wrapped its body tightly around a jackal. Unable to consume the scene in front, Jack hugged his mother, covering his face.
“I truly believe if we don’t get the support, we are going to die in fear,” Maria quivered. “I can’t see my son in this state.”
“We shall quietly make it to the hut,” Roman murmured.
Accompanied by an eerie silence, they strode towards the hut. The overhanging branches seemed to rest on the roof of the hut. Like a bullet, lightning hit the sky for a fleeting moment. To add to their existing woes, rain God lashed at the forest mercilessly. Roman took a deep breath, gathering his courage before knocking on the door. Maria and Jack looked helpless with rain, assaulting them with disdain. Roman yanked back upon looking at a weird emerging from the hut. His body had been covered with green leaves and a cap of feathers sat like a crown on his head. He had some surreal black marks over his face that were enough to scare anyone on earth.
Roman regained his strength to speak. “We are lost in this dark jungle. Is there a way to go back to London?”
The man motioned them to get inside. All three squeezed inside a small hut. The sound of the rain lashing the roof of the hut echoed inside.
“Take this towel,” a sound waves passed from behind.
Maria swiveled to her back to see an ugly woman with a towel in her hand. Her startling face shuddered Maria’s heart as she let out a scream. Situation went out of control in just a matter of seconds. Two guys clasped Roman’s hands and tied him to a chair.
“Hey, what are you doing?” Roman shouted.
The ugly woman pulled the hair off Maria; she dragged and bounded her to another chair. The hut which they thought would serve as their protection had now transformed into a nightmare. Hapless Jack could not escape from the clutches of the owner.
“We drink human blood,” he laughed, and the sound superseded the lashing sound of rain.
Why did we come here? Perhaps we would have been safe had we not sought these man eaters’ help. How do we escape now? This is their battlefield, and we are mere prey, ready to be butchered. I can’t see my spouse and child dying in front of me. Oh, God! How do I escape from this jeopardy? Please do something. The onslaught of surreal thoughts overwhelmed Roman, who was on the brink of dying. All images of childhood flashed past Maria’s eyes. She never had an inkling that she would die one day in the middle of the dense forest. Tear propelled out of her eyes trying to plead the man eaters. The coldness of the weather had clung to Jack’s skin. He was shivering and, to add to his woes; he was to witness his parents getting butchered in front of him.
The hut door was opened, allowing the gush of wind to scan inside. A handsaw was getting sharpened to lick the blood after a long time. The ugly woman motioned her boys to butcher Maria first. The merciless boys, with a smirk on their face, looked at the glinting handsaw. Before they could swing the saw, a lion gave an entry into the hut. Its excitement knew no bounds glancing at unique preys inside. Jack, who was the first to see the lion, bit the owner’s hands and ran towards his mother. Before the man could turn towards the lion, the latter pounced upon him, clutching his neck with its teeth. The ugly woman who was craving for human blood ran to save her husband and the ruthless lion attacked her too. One of the guys ran towards them but he received the same treatment from the king of the jungle. The other guy had the presence of mind to act smart; he pulled his bow hanging on the wall and instantly aimed the arrow at the neck of the giant animal. The arrow whizzed past Jack and pierced the neck of the behemoth. The lion convulsed its body before breathing its last. He got rid of the animal but could not stop three casualties. He let out a huge shriek depicting his love for his family. The guy’s blood boiled with rage as his reddened eyes rolled towards Roman and his family.
“You are the reason for this,” he pointed his finger towards the lifeless bodies. “You deserve the same treatment,” he aimed an arrow at Roman.
Before the arrow could find a place in Roman’s heart snubbing out his life, a black cobra bit the guy’s ankle. The bow and arrow fell thud on the ground. He spewed white juice before breathing his last. The cobra silently crawled out of the hut, much to the relief of Jack. With a lot of efforts, he managed to unbound his parents. He gasped for breath. The trio hugged each other with tears, narrating the story of their grief. The explosive mixture of events had sapped their energy, rendering them weary. They fell asleep inside the hut despite the rain wreaking havoc in the forest. Dawn broke to scatter the light around. Roman woke up with his rested mind now recounting the incidents that happened a day ago. He scurried out of the hut, pulled out his mobile. The moment he came to know that the place had the network facility, his facial muscles worked together to churn out a smile. He strode inside the hut and nudged Maria and Jack awake. He shared the news to see their bleary eyes blossom. Roman made a phone call and quickly the rescue team rushed to the place to save them. On their journey back home, their mind replayed the time spent in trip and the subsequent events that materialized in the jungle. They felt lucky to be still alive despite the conspiracies executed by the perilous jungle to cease their breath.