This is the final part of "Tropical Trouble" I really didn't think it would take 6 chapters to get through but I got caught up. I hope you like this ending for it. I was torn between this or something else but, this was just amusing.
Tropical Trouble 6
"I know you wanted to take a dip but, that was ridiculous." I say, cringing as Harm uses a piece that he tore off from his shirt to bind the wound on my right arm. A second after the bullet sliced through my arm, I was also hit by Harm's body slamming into me and taking us over the falls. I barely registered what had happened until the rush of cool water hit my skin causing the wound to ache more than it had when it happened.
I bobbled to the surface, spewing up water and trying to catch my bearings. I swam to the edge of the pool and looked up but could not spot any of the three men that had attacked us. That was when Harm grabbed my hand and pulled me fully out of the water and into the jungle. We ran for a good ten minutes before he stopped and tended to my wound.
"This is not what I had in mind." He checks the bandage and is satisfied that it will hold. "You're damned lucky the bullet didn't get stuck in there."
"Tell me about it." The last thing I need is another bullet stuck in my body. One in my thigh was more than enough for a lifetime. "What now?"
Harm looks down at me and furls his brow as if he were trying to read my mind. "I think we should get back down to the information center and call the cops."
That would be the most logical thing, I know but, "What about the treasure?"
"Treasure? Are you nuts?! We almost got killed. You were shot. And we still don't even know if the damned thing exists!" Exasperated, he throws his arms up in the air and then places them on his hips. "We can't keep traipsing through this jungle."
"I'm fine." I begin, looking at my arm and the makeshift bandage. "What if it's more than just treasure?"
Harm stares at me as if I'd just dropped out of a spaceship. "I'm supposed to be the loose cannon and you're supposed to be the level headed one. . .When did that change?"
He's so cute when he's worried. "I'm still level headed." Looking at my watch, I calculate that we have a good seven hours before the park closes. It's more than enough time to try and make it to the third waterfall, providing any further complications. "I say we head down to the first waterfall and wait for the tour. If we join them, those guys will not be able to do anything stupid." The group is very large, there's a good chance that the threesome might miss us entirely.
"I think we should just go home. We could always finish our honeymoon in Vermont. How about Niagara Falls? It's the honeymoon capital of the world." He says, sounding as if he'd been reading one brochure too many. By the look on his face, Harm seems to know my answer. "Mac, you've been shot."
I look at my arm again and then shrug. "It's a flesh wound." It's completely asinine to continue this endeavor, but I have a feeling that I can't shake. It's probably the same rush that professional treasure seekers get so addicted to. The look of concern forces my level headed senses to fall back into place - that and the burning sensation radiating from my arm. "Fine. . .Let's head back down and get the hell out of Dodge." I concede and slip a hand into his.
We walk hand and hand through the jungle, following the sound of rushing water that leads us close to the second waterfall. As we near the edge, through the vegetation we spot the three men and quickly find a place to hide. "What are they doing?" Harm asks, unable to see too well from his spot.
Lying in the prone position is not very comfortable when your body is strewn over mud, bugs and twigs. From my position, I'm able to see through a large fern and spot two of the men frequently diving into the water. "Two of them are diving into the water. The third is giving orders . .I don't think they know we've made it."
The third man is standing on the edge of the pool yelling orders to the other two. Obviously the leader, he waves a pistol in the air which he promptly puts away once a tour begins to approach the area. "They're leaving." I say, watching as the two men come out of the water and walk off, following the leader towards the path that leads to the lower falls. "They're starting down the path to the lower falls." I turn to Harm with a smile. "We can give it another shot."
"Maaaac." He whines but, I cut him off.
"It's only about an hour hike. . .If we don't find anything after searching for a half hour or so, we can just come back down." I really don't know what makes him concede or why he did so without any other argument but, we wound up resuming our hike to the upper falls.
The trek was far worse than I had anticipated. As fit as both Harm and I are, its not every day that we need to hike up hill, through slick rocks, mud and the two, rope-assisted, stream crossings. I begin to feel my body begging me to stop when the rumble of water catches my ears. "Are you alright, Mac?" I hear Harm whisper as he pulls me to a stop.
"Ask me again and I'm gonna strangle you with my boot lace." I threaten, grateful for his concern but annoyed by the insistence. "Let's just get up this thing so we can take a break."
To be fair, I'm not doing so well. Because we've been pelted by a light rain, no one could really see how much blood had been seeping from the wound. The water would wash it away before Harm noticed. While I know that the bullet didn't nick any important artery, I have a feeling that a fragment is still inside, preventing the wound from closing. "Sorry, babe but, you're really pale."
"So are you." And he really is! "This ain't no walk in the park." I take a long pull of what's left of my drinking water and then push past him.
The upper falls are just as gorgeous as the two below although they are not as tall. Water rushing down is 'cut' by the rock face and the pieces that jut out in odd angles. It causes three smaller falls rather than one big one like the previous two. I pull out the map and had it to Harm. "We're lucky I didn't lose either of these." I say, tugging the cross from my back pocket. Placing it over a specific area of the map, I get the same clue that brought us to the Upper falls – the squiggly lines that appear to be a waterfall cut into three.
Harm turns his head slightly, trying to take a better look. "So those squiggly lines are supposed to be this water fall. . . okay, what now?" He squints at the map and turns his head another way.
"I don't know." I admit on a sigh. Honestly, it's not like this thing has step-by-step instructions or anything. "I think I sent us on a wild goose chase for nothing." Although the falls are stunning, I would have preferred not to get shot in order to see them. "Harm? What are you doing?" He hands me his pack and starts wading into the water. "Those goons could still be hanging around and you're going swimming?" I ask a second before he disappears beneath the water. "Harm!"
The ripples of water makes it impossible for me to spot him and my worry turns away from the goons and towards the waterfall and what its force could do to someone. I hold my breath and am a second away from diving into the water when Harm comes out from beneath the falls. "Mac! Come on!!" I hear him yell while motioning for me to join. "Bring the pack!"
I do as he instructs, wincing as the water brushes up against the wound on my arm. "You need to take a deep breath and stay on my six." Harm instructs and before I have a chance to ask, he's taking a deep breath. I follow suit and hold on tightly to his pack and my own as we dive beneath the water. Its coolness is a blessing on my hot skin even if the waterfall itself is pelting my already aching head. We descend beneath the falls and I follow as Harm disappears into a cave. My lungs burn, ache and plead for me to take a breath. While I don't have problems swimming, holding my breath for long periods of time is a bit of a workout for me. I think it's more of a mental thing than a physical one.
Although we are swimming through a cave, there's a brightness from above that shines through in rays that move as we cut through the water. I'm tempted to turn back as the aching in my lungs magnifies in intensity and the need for oxygen adds to my anxiety. And then, just when I think it's all too much, Harm grabs my hand and pulls me upwards. We break the surface together and each take a deep breath.
I brush the water from my eyes and breathe deeply only to find my breath caught in my throat. "Holy shit." We're surrounded by smooth rocks, obviously cut by man as nature couldn't have been so intricate. From a small crevice above, the sun's rays shine inside and reflect off of a brass mirror that's been situated on top of a wooden barrel that is so rotted out, it's a miracle it's still standing.
Harm is standing on the relatively dry ground, adjusting the mirror so that it shines towards another cave filled to the gills with old chests one of which is opened and sharing its secrets. I make my way out of the water and just stare. "It's like a movie." He says before grabbing me in a bear hug that makes me lose what's left of my breath. "Babe, you were right! Look at all of this." He steps forward, dipping his hands into the open chest full of doubloons, jewels and pearls.
"Oh my God." We've just stumbled onto a mother lode and it's now so evident why we were shot at. I take a doubloon in my hand and search for an inscription to find that it is, indeed, Spanish gold. "We need to contact someone, Harm." To begin with, it is going to be impossible to remove the treasure ourselves. And second, I'd much rather this be given to a museum where such a find will be taken care off properly. "I'll about finder's keepers but, God knows how many more people have died over this."
My words seem to cut his excitement and Harm realizes that our find is just as good as blood money. "We need to let someone know."
"Who, though? I'm not sure who we can trust that won't want all of this for themselves." I take three or four doubloons and shove them into my pack. "We need evidence, in case someone things this is nothing more than wild goose chase."
"That was great!" I hear a yell that echoes throughout the cave and a moment later, bright lights blind us as a movie camera moves in out of nowhere. "That was great! Absolutely superb. You two are going to be stars!"
Harm and I stare at several person, men and women; some dressed in scuba gear, others in jeans and t-shirts. For some reason, this all looks like some elaborate movie set. "What? What's going on here?"
"I'm Mark Santori, the director." A man smoking a cigar and wearing a fedora steps out from behind the camera, extending his hand to Harm and then to me. "You two are on Treasure Seekers, the new reality show airing this Fall on ZBS."
"Treasure Seekers?" Harm's voice drops a notch to an undertone that only comes out when he's incredibly pissed off.
"Reality show?" I look around at the cave and wonder now if it was all constructed or if it was there for the taking. "All of this?"
"Is natural." Mark confirms. "Fiji is such a wonderful place for movies and tv shows that we decided to create an adventure here. "It's something like candid camera. We lead the contestants through several clues until they find the treasure."
God help me, I am going to kill him. "So this is all bullshit?"
Mark seems affronted by my comment. "Well, not bullshit."
Harm steps forward and grabs Mark by the lapels of his shirt. "My wife was shot. . .for real. We could have been killed. What kind of sick asshole lets that happen?"
"Ah, well. . .you see." He tries to shove Harm back but it's no use as he's nearly a head shorter and thin as a rail. "Umm.. Jenny, can you explain?"
Jenny, a blond, dressed in Goth gear and a patented look of annoyance, steps up next to her boss. "It's got nothing to do with us, we called the cops and they were taken into custody."
Mark nods in agreement. "We were going to stop the shoot and give you aid but, you two disappeared into the jungle. We didn't spot you again until to set back up the trail."
I press my hand to the wound, finding it hot and painful. "And yet you kept shooting?"
"You seemed fine. We thought it was a flesh wound." He snaps his fingers and points to two paramedics waiting in the wings. "Gentlemen if you please." The pair hurries to our sides, one tending to Harm and the other to my wound.
The medic doesn't seem too pleased by the wound and uses a pen light to check my eyes. "She needs a hospital and fast. Is there anyway we can get a chopper in here?"
Mark shakes his head. "Yes, they can drop a basket and haul her up - its how we brought our equipment in."
"This is going to put you to sleep." The medic says before plunging a needle into my arm. I'm not sure of its exhaustion or the loss of blood but it doesn't take too long for me to drift into a peaceful oblivion. One of the last things I hear before falling asleep is Mark telling Harm something about signing a waiver and 10,000 dollars would be awarded to each of us. Seconds later, Harm's fist connected with the side of Mark's face. God, I love my husband.