My shoe, caught between the cracks of the rocks, was turning into a raddled burden. My backpack got heavier with different colors of rocks I was always fascinated by. I sensed the danger in my hunch. My grip wobbled. My white shirt turned transparent from perspiration. Sweat trickled down my temple giving me an itch. I had to resist the urge to wipe my face with a shoulder-stroke. I wouldn’t want to make a fatal move. The weight would become a weightless fall, eventually.
I looked up in the sky. Huge dense clouds gathered to sound my thunderous fall. The forest beneath – with parched dry trees – was awaiting season’s first rain. A slip meant death from piercing!
I was already wet from the sweat and the slow dew. My grip on the slippery cleft was weakening. My shoe refused to come out. I was past the point of praying for help. I couldn’t ease the weight on my back for the rocks were meant for a study. And, ironically, for my life. They had breakthroughs hidden inside them.
Help! Help! Help! Shit, not a rerun of 127 hours!
“You think you know the place?” the director of my research project asked me. “Yes, I do. Deep inside the jungle,” I said confidently but with a whispering “maybe” at the end of the statement. I was excited at the thought of getting him the stones. And visiting the haunted hills to prove that science heeds no myths. “You do know that this project is no secret and…” I cut him short, “Yes, I do. Could you just let me go?”
There was a legend around the jungle that said, “Natives of the place treated the valley as the home for the angels who brought dead men back to life. Strangers to the place, on the contrary, would be cursed with a life of nightmares.”
I thought it was true. I was living a nightmare. My limbs played the game of opposites: my leg wanted to let free, my hand wanted to hold tight. Rain came. My mouth went dry. A tiny stone plunked onto my head. A girl was rappelling down; to help me perhaps. “Hand...” I called out. And then I passed out.
“You got yourself into this without any gear?” she asked when I opened my eyes. I was dressed in brand new whites. I was caught in a shock; in awe of her beauty.
I could have made a perfect poster! Instead, I was being photographed by the Gods! And then she got there in time to save me.
It was derisive madness. The place was no haunted. It just helped me fall into something.