A Day to Remember, A Night to Forget

December 16, 2017
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          When I was running through the swamp infested marsh, I kept thinking to myself, how did I get into this situation. This was supposed to be an adventure of a lifetime. I could hear the slurping of Ash’s feet in the swamp which gave me relief, knowing that he was right behind me. However, I was worried not knowing where Opal and Cooper were. I kept on thinking that they were dead, and the thought alone made me want to vomit. By the time Ash and I decided that we were safe, I was covered in sweat and smelled like an animal. Flies and mosquitoes kept buzzing around my head. It felt as though these bugs were biting every square inch of my body, leaving me feeling disgusted and worried; mostly worried. I kept trying to think of when everything went wrong, and then it dawned on me. This was all my fault.

          Cooper, Ash, and I just graduated from high school and I had this brilliant idea to go on one last adventure. I was the one who decided where to go. I was the one who convinced everyone to spend all of their savings on this trip, and I was the one who convinced everyone that this would be an adventure that they would never forget. The irony in that is that they never will forget, if they survive, that is. I remember it as if it were yesterday. Cooper, Ash, and I were in our navy blue graduation gowns, and just as the ceremony was about to begin, I said five words that I can never take back, “Let's go on an adventure.”  Of course, they said yes, I mean who wouldn't want to go overseas for summer vacation? We all knew that we would have to invite Opal, after all, she was how we all met. Being Ash’s sister, he obvious complained, but it wouldn't have been the same without her. By the time summer rolled around, we had bought our plane tickets and kept on saying that the plane better not crash. Thinking back, that would have been the least of our concerns. If we only knew that the day that we walked on to that metallic grey plane we would practically be signing our death certificates.
          Suddenly, I snapped out of my trance because Ash had made a fire for us to sit by. I could feel the blazing heat on my body, but felt colder than I ever have. I knew that Ash was worried about his sister, wondering if she was alive, thinking it was he who should have been there to protect her from that beast. Just thinking of the horrid creature made me shudder. I wanted to try and talk to Ash, but I couldn't. I had no idea what to say. After ten minutes or so, I noticed that Ash had a gash on his leg that was bleeding very heavily. I took a piece of my ripped shirt and tied it around the wound. All he said was, “Thank you.” Then I saw him back in that distant place in his mind where he was playing what happened over and over again. This caused me to think about it some more.
          After getting off the plane, the four of us took a very sketchy bus to our hotel. The bus smelled of rotten eggs and had one seatbelt for all of us to share. It was practically covered head to toe in duct tape. Even the emergency brake was held on by some short of glue. I thought that if we went faster than 20 miles per hour, the bus would fall apart. However, when we got to our hotel, my jaw dropped. The oversized orange sun had just set over the savannah, and the temperature started to decline ever so slightly, waking up the creatures of the night. I could hear animals start to hoot and howl. One of the groundskeepers told me that the creatures I heard were African civets, striped polecats, and hyenas. Listening to these creatures, we all thought that this was the most beautiful place we had ever seen. When we got to our room, we decided to take a nap before going out on our first adventure. Who knew it would be our last.
          My train of thought was then interrupted by a blood curdling scream. Ash and I immediately looked at each other horrified. I could see the fear in Ash’s eyes. I knew that we were thinking the exact same thing. Did the monster find our friends? I said to Ash, “Maybe it was an animal or something else.” but all he responded with was, “Sienna don't be naive, they’re dead.” Right after Ash said that, I could see him go even deeper into his thoughts, not caring about what happened. However, I refused to believe that our friends were dead because knowing that we were all alone made me want to cry. This is when I started to notice where Ash and I were. We were surrounded by leafy trees that I hoped would camouflage us from the monster, and the ground smelled of mud and rain. Looking at the ground more closely, I could see the hoofprints of animals fading in and out depending on which way the fire was shining its light. This reminded me of when things took a turn for the worse.
          After a good night’s sleep, we decided to go down to the front desk and see what type of tours there were. The middle-aged lady sitting at the intricate mahogany desk kept on tapping her magenta fake nails on the mahogany wood as she looked for any tours available for the day. After a minute or so of her going tap, tap, tap, she exclaimed, “I found a safari tour that leaves in an hour.” After we thanked her, we went to meet the jeep that would take us all around the savannah to see the wildlife in their natural habitat. On the tour, the air was very humid and sticky, but seeing the animals interact with each other in the wild  made it all worth it. There was a watering hole where we got to see baby zebras and elephants go to quench their thirst. Surrounding the watering hole was a section of tall grass where animals hid from their predators and predators searched for their prey. Everywhere I looked there was something new to be seen, and I was so happy I got to share this once in a lifetime experience with my friends.
          By the time our tour was almost over, the man driving said that we would not see the big cats today because of the humidity. However, we could get out and look around by ourselves, as long as we were back in an hour. The four of us were ecstatic and eagerly got out of the jeep to venture off on our own. We all started running through the grassy plains looking at the unique birds and insects that we would never see back home. By the time an hour rolled around and we felt like life couldn't get any better than this, we went back to the jeep. However, the driver along with the jeep, was gone. Immediately, Opal and Cooper started freaking out, but Ash and I kept our cool. We kept on telling them that the jeep was going to come back any minute. The sad thing is that both of us believed it. After an hour or so, when the sun was setting, Ash and I became skeptic. This is when Ash suggested that we start moving because the creatures of the night would be up soon. We decided to go into the grass, and after we were there for about an hour, the grass began to move. Opal and Cooper immediately started to sprint away from the grass to a cave that they saw in the distance. They both said, “Anything is better than being in an open area at night” as they started to enter the cave. They were so wrong.
          Suddenly, Ash started to shake me, taking me out of my trance. That was when I noticed the fire was dim and Ash was mumbling to himself, while starting to rock back and forth. As I got closer to him, I could make out what was being said. He kept on repeating, “We’re next, we’re next, we’re next” as if it was some tribal chant. I told him to knock it off because he was freaking me out, and this is when he got up and ran into the woods. I concernedly followed him until he stopped near an ancient tree and turned around. He still had this very distant look in his eyes, and this is when I knew that he had snapped. All of the trauma of today had made him snap. I slowly started to walk towards him, as though walking towards a spooked horse, and said, “Ash everything is going to be all right, come back to the fire with me. Someone is going to find us.” He then told me, “Sienna, they aren't going to find anything if the creature comes for us.” It was at this moment that I knew he was right, but I had to put on a brave face because that was the only way we were getting out of here. Then he said, “Sienna we have no chance”, and this made the memories of when we faced the monster resurface.
          After entering the cave, we heard crunching underneath. It sounded like we were snapping millions of twigs with every step. I remember this frightened Opal and Cooper greatly, so we started to creep to the back of the cave. As we reached the back of the cave, I felt coarse fur scrape the surface of my back and then heard a tremendous roar. Ash quickly turned on his flashlight, and we soon discovered that underneath our feet was a mound of animal bones. We quickly turned around out of fear and came face to face with a lion and quickly started to run out of the cave. This is when my memory starts to blur. I remember scrambling across the bones to the entrance which seemed liked a million miles away. I know Opal caught her foot in the rotted rib cage of an elk and was unable to walk. Cooper went back for her and was trying to carry her to the entrance. Ash was completely unaware that his sister was injured, and just as we were at the mouth of the cave, the lion pounced, almost landing on top of us. When the lion pounced, he separated our friend group. Cooper quickly said, “Split up, we will meet you in the woods!” It was at this moment that I had a horrendous feeling in my stomach. Looking back, I wish I listened to it.
          After replaying this in my mind over and over again, I noticed that Ash had gotten up from the spot where he was rocking back and forth. Then I saw it, the beast! It was crouched in the camouflaging leaves behind the ancient tree, eyeing its prey with its electric green eyes. It was at this point I knew that we were done for. The tiger eyed us as though we were a cat's play toy. It's ivory colored teeth glistened in the moonlight. I could practically smell the rotting flesh on its teeth. I told Ash, “We are going to be okay.” This was when the tiger let out a tremendous roar and pounced.
The end.


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