Disclaimer: None of the regular tree-house gang belong to me. I'm not really sure who they belong to, but they're not mine. So no suing or anything, okay?
A/N: Hello everybody! This is just a story that's been growing in my mind, and so I figured that I had better put it down on paper. Um…on the computer. Anyway, here goes!
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Humming happily, Jennifer Delilah Walters wandered slowly away from her tour group and headed towards the magnificent, crashing waterfall. The roar of the white water as it spilled over the cliff was almost deafening, almost managing to drown out the annoying muttering of the people behind her.
Walking as close as she dared, she tried to peer over the edge, but with little success. Dropping to her knees to minimize the chances that she would slip on the wet grass that framed the river, she scooted closer.
"Jenny, darling! Do come away from the edge dear; you'll fall."
Jenny sighed. "Yes, mother," she called, pulling back obediently; her mother was right, anyway. If she fell…Jenny shuddered. It was a long way down. She closed her eyes briefly, imaging what it would feel like to tumble down the cliff wall, pushed by the pouring water. Hopefully, one would be unconscious before they hit the sharp rocks that could impale a body easily…she shuddered again. Her father was right: she had too active an imagination.
With another sigh, the teenaged daughter of the Lord and Lady Adam Walters rose to her feet and brushed off the knees of her tan trousers. Jenny smiled as she looked at them; what a scandal she had caused when she first put them on! But no matter; at least she could walk without getting her skirt caught on something every few moments.
Finally, she turned was about to return to the group when she heard a small crackling in the bush beside her. Curious, Jenny stepped closer to the shrubbery.
"Jenny!" Her mother's shrill voice rose over the sound of the waterfall. "Lunch-time!"
"All right, Mother, I'm coming," Jenny shouted absently. "Just as soon as I see what's under this bush," she added softly to herself, taking another careful step forward. "Hello," she whispered quietly, "Is anyone in there?"
The bush rustled in response.
Encouraged, Jenny scooted closer. "Are you hungry? I'm sure that I could find something back at…"
Faster than she could react, a brown blur jumped out of the bush, snarling ferociously. Jenny screamed, stumbling backwards as long fangs snapped mere inches in front of her face. She reached behind her frantically, searching for something to grab on to, to balance her…
Her fingers clutched empty air.
She choked then, her heart stopping as she realized she was going over. Desperate, her fingers searched again for something to hold on to, but they met only tufts of grass or the sharp surface of the cliff wall. She tumbled over the edge, vaguely aware of a bundle of brown fur falling beside her, and she somehow found the breath to scream again, a heart-wrenching wailing that she couldn't seem to stop.
The horrified cries of her parents and friends faded away, and soon all she could hear was the roaring of the deadly falls.
With a loud crack, her head connected painfully with a protruding rock, and her last thought before she slipped into blackness was that at least she would be unconscious by the time she hit the jagged rocks below.
* * * *
I'm dead. I'm completely, totally, one-hundred-percent dead.
Nonsense, another, more rational, part of her mind told her. If you were dead, you wouldn't hurt so much.
I'm in hell, then, Jenny retorted, ignoring the fact that she was talking to herself. Sarah Parkers was right; my trousers led me down the road of iniquity. And now I'm in hell. Besides, look how dark it is.
It's only dark because you have your eyes shut. Open your eyes, stupid.
With a groan, Jenny willed herself to open her eyes. As they fluttered open, her groan increased as bright light flooded her head, increasing her already pounding headache. Her aches and pains were momentarily forgotten, however, as the blurred shapes around her began to gain detail.
WHERE IN THE WORLD AM I? her mind screamed. Gone were the oak and pine trees of the peaceful forest; the torrential river was nowhere to be seen. And for that matter, her tour group, her parents, were gone as well.
She was, as far as she could tell, in a jungle.
A very wild looking jungle.
Probably full of lions, she thought fearfully. And…and… other…things. Her education had not included "types of animals to be found in wild and mysterious jungles." With a burst of adrenaline, Jenny jumped to her feet, immediately regretting the rash decision as the world began to spin; she swayed as her vision went temporarily black. Reaching out, she held onto a nearby trunk for support until she regained her balance.
"Alright," Jenny said softly to herself. "We go slowly. Let's just take stock of our situation." Looking around her, she nodded carefully. "I'm in a jungle. I have no food, no water, no shelter, and there are probably wild animals watching my every move, just waiting to pounce…" Her skin tingled and she shivered. "Right. No more stories for you, Lady Jennifer. You're bad enough as is."
With a deep breath, she let go of the tree and took a cautious step forward. A twig snapped under her foot and she jumped at the sudden noise. She laughed nervously. "There you go again," Jenny scolded herself. "Giving yourself a heart-attack won't help matters." She took another uneasy step forward, then another, until she was soon walking at a brisk pace to…well, she didn't know where she was going, but she knew that if she just stood there, waiting, she would be reduced to a shaking, huddling mess within no time.
She had been walking for what seemed like forever before she heard any signs of life. The sound, however, was far from comforting. A loud, snuffling noise, it came from her right. It was soon followed by a loud stomp that seemed to shake the jungle floor. Jenny eyed the thick jungle, frantically looking for a tree she could climb or a hole she could hide in; whatever was making that sound was big.
Too bad there were no holes around. And she hadn't the slightest clue about how to climb a tree. She was debating on whether to just hide behind a tree trunk or make a run for it when the biggest creature Jenny had every seen burst out of the foliage.
Before her mind even had a chance to think, she screamed, her body taking over and she ran, ran faster than she ever thought she could run in her life. Of course, she had never been chased by a wild beast before, but that was beside the point.
As she stumbled between trees and over roots, she risked a glance over her shoulder and almost stopped in her tracks. A dinosaur, she thought in disbelief as she willed her feet to run faster. I'm being chased by a dinosaur.
A dinosaur that was steadily gaining on her. Its pounding footsteps grew louder and when it roared – with anticipation, she thought wryly- her heart almost stopped beating. It's too close, she thought frantically, I can't run any faster; I hurt too much.
But there was no way that she was just going to stand here and let the thing have an easy meal; she had a stubborn streak a mile wide, her father said. It had to come in handy some time.
Besides, she thought, breathing heavily, there were always miracles.