There you have it! =) the last chapter of Wild Jungle! (or just WJ for short.) But fear not my dear readers! Because I have already come up with much new and awesome stuff I'm going to have in the sequel that will be posted as soon as I have the first chapter done. Whenever that may be.
Chapter 13: Promise
The camp lay quiet at the break of dawn of the new day. Only two guards were awake at this hour, everyone else was resting in their beds. That is, except for a little girl who had been away from the lair since last night. The darkness of the jungle was starting to lift, just as a blonde head stuck up from where two sets of leaves were pushed to the side. Cornelia quickly turned her head to check both directions to see if the coast was clear.
Once satisfied, she jumped out of the bush and lightly jogged in the shadow of the equipment and tents that rose up above her, shielding her from being spotted by the guards. Once she reached her tent, the girl slipped inside the opening and tip-toed over to her own bed and crawled in under the blanket. Cornelia quickly lay back into a sleeping position, but few seconds later she opened her eyes again and hung her head over the side of the bed, looking under it. She blinked confused before she got out of the bed again and dragged out her backpack. She then proceeded with digging through it, throwing all of her stuff to the ground.
Once the bag was empty, Cornelia stared into the empty space with a puzzled look. Raising her head, she threw a quick look around the room. A few seconds passed as the girl looked with an empty glance across all the sleeping women, and then shifted her eyes back to her bed.
Where was her bunny?
The blonde sat in silence for a moment before her face lit up as her memory returned from the previous night. She had dropped it out in the jungle when she had gotten abducted. The memory sent a chill down her spine for a second, scared that the men would return again. A few seconds later she was smiling again, her fears gone. After all, Catcher was there to watch over her, this time she wouldn't doubt him anymore. Sure, he hadn't shown up at the moment that she had gotten kidnapped, but he must have had a good reason.
Cornelia climbed up into her bed again and lay down, covering herself with the blanket. She really wanted her bunny, but she wasn't going to get it without her faithful friend at her side. But that would have to wait till morning, after all, Catcher was probably tired from being up all night and needed some time to rest, something that the girl would gladly give him. Snuggling the blanket closer to her chest, she closed her heavy eyes and let out a tired yawn. Letting herself fall into dreamland, she smiled a soft smile as she whispered, "Good night, Catcher…"
Catcher walked briskly through the jungle, carrying a net in his left hand filled with human skulls which were still connected to the spine; his hunting trophies. He collected them right after having wiped out all the humans at the camp, but had left it in a safe place before returning to Cornelia. In any case, the hunter was well aware of the fact that many creatures reacted badly to having one of their own killed. Even though they weren't on the same team, they were still human. So he had decided to spare the child of this knowledge.
Pushing away a big leaf from his way, the Predator finally made it to his destination. He had marked the place on the map of his wrist guard, so that it would be easy to find it once the hunt was finished. He gently put the net down onto the ground beside him, and then marched over to a tall tree that was marked with a three clawed scratch mark. Turning slightly to the right, Catcher clicked to himself as he raised his arm and opened the wrist guard computer. He quickly punched in a code on the touch screen and looked back up to see some sort of electronic sparks ahead, before the cloaking devise started to fall off the object he had hidden and revealed itself.
The small pod the alien had used to come down on the planet was now visible. Catcher studied it for a second to check if something had changed since he left it there a few days ago. Content with what he was seeing, the hunter strode over to it and opened the door by punching in a code at a consol on the side of it. Once it opened Catcher marched back over to the net and picked it up, only to go put it into the pod.
He paused for a moment to take another look at all his new trophies. Before turning to a blinking red panel inside the pod, Catcher reached in and punched a few of the buttons. The machine comprehended the message and stopped blinking once its current owner was done. The hunter then quickly stepped away from the pod before the door closed and the light bending shield turned back on.
The hunter then walked over to a fallen tree and sat down with his back to it. He had sent out a message to the mother ship, requesting that they would come pick him up. Now, he only had to wait for them to arrive. It probably wouldn't be more than a few hours to wait, but it would be some boring hours, seeing as he had nothing to do. Turning his head to the side, he looked toward the direction of the human camp for a moment and then pushed himself off the ground.
He had nothing better to do anyway.
Cornelia woke to the constant sound of people talking out loud, and feet walking around outside the tent. A sleepy seven-year-old sat up in her bed with her hair standing out in all directions. She blinked a couple of times, trying to adjust her eyes before looking around the empty room. Yawning, the girl moved her feet off the bed side and jumped down. She was still tired and wanted to sleep some more, but that would prove impossible with all the noise.
The girl lifted her arm to wipe her tired eyes before glancing down at herself, realizing that her pajamas was covered with dirt and small scratches from the adventure last night. Cornelia's eyes widened a bit as she quickly turned to check if anyone was at the entrance, luckily, no one was to be seen. She sighed in relief before she hurried over to her backpack to get some new clothes.
If anyone saw her in her current state, they would easily figure out that she had been going outside without permission. And she had even promised not to go anywhere alone too! Cornelia soon pulled out a blue t-shirt and a pair of jeans, together with some new socks to cover up the hat-bandage that catcher had fixed for her. She put them all on her bed, before proceeding with throwing off the dirty clothing, tucking them deep down into her backpack and covered it with some of her other stuff so that no one would see it if she had to open her backpack later.
She then hurried to put on the t-shirt, and then jumped up in the side of her bed to drag on her jeans and socks. Satisfied, the girl jumped back down and opened her backpack again to pull out her hair brush. Once her hair was (somewhat) back to its original state, she put the brush back and closed the bag. She then ran over to the exit to go find her mother, but she didn't get very far before she twisted around and ran back to get her shoes.
The cloth in front of the opening moved a little to the side as Cornelia peeked outside to check if she could see her mother, something that proved to be an impossible task because of all the people walking around outside. The blonde slipped outside, but only took a couple of steps while watching all her mother's co-workers. They all seemed to be busy with carrying around all kinds of bags and boxes, while some told others what to do.
It was strange, Cornelia thought, as she cocked her head slightly to the side, ignorant to the fact that she had started copying the movement Catcher always made when he seemed to question something. Jogging forward, dodging between the busy workers, the girl made her way over to the tent where her mother usually was in, the one with the red flower in it.
Dragging the cloth door slightly aside, she peeked inside and found her guess to be correct. Emilia stood together in the other end of the tent with two researchers, discussing something. Cornelia cast another look across the room, only to frown in confusion. The flower was no longer at its usual place, in fact, there seemed to be a lot of stuff missing which had been there the last time she had been there. The place seemed rather empty.
Once she had entered, Cornelia made her way over to her mother's side, who gave her a smile before ending her conversation and suggested that the two scientists could go help out the others. When the two members of the Campbell family were alone, Emilia turned to her daughter and kneeled down to be on the same eyelevel as the seven-year-old.
"Hi sweetie, did you sleep well? I tried to wake you earlier, but you seemed to be in some sort of coma", the blonde spoke with an amused tone and gave her daughter a good-morning hug, which Cornelia returned. "It was so noisy outside, so it woke me up", Cornelia stated with a somewhat annoyed tone. "Mommy, what is everyone doing so early in the morning?"
Emilia got a bit of a troubled expression and looked to the side for a moment, wondering what would be the best way to tell her. "Well… there has been some change in our schedule. Originally, we were going to stay here for a few more days, but our plans have changed, and we are packing our stuff together. Hopefully we will be able to leave in about two to three hours…" she explained and looked back at her daughter to check her reaction.
"No! I don't want to leave yet! We haven't even been here that long! Why can't we stay longer?" Cornelia shouted out suddenly in protest, as a worried expression filled her features. Her mother sighed heavily before explaining. "Cornelia, we really want to stay longer and keep researching, but it has gotten too dangerous for us to stay any longer." The blonde paused for a moment before continuing. "You remember the man that came here yesterday right? Well, he is a mean and greedy man that would gladly put us in danger to get what he wants. Therefore, I and Rodney, along with the others, have decided to leave this place before he chooses to come back."
"I know that he is mean, but…!" Cornelia had to stop herself before she could spurt out that Catcher would surely protect them. But she had promised not to tell others about him anymore, not many people believed in aliens to begin with. Searching her mind for some other kind of solution to the problem, she came up with nothing.
With a sad and defeated expression, she looked up at her mother. "But… what about finding all kinds of new plants, like you told me before we left home?" Emilia gave her daughter a sad look and hugged her. "Sorry Cornelia, maybe we can try again in a couple of years. Besides, I think Aaron is missing us very much, and would be happy to hear that we will return early. He came home from his trip to Paris yesterday, and could probably use our company. What do you say?"
Cornelia had tears in her eyes as she held on to her mother's jacked, refusing to cry again. "B-but, can't daddy wait a little longer? I want to stay here!" Emilia sighed again and slowly let go of the girl. "Sorry, Cornelia." The woman then gave a soft smile, "Why don't you and I go pack our bags now, and then we can take a last walk around outside, together with Miles? Would you like that?" Cornelia quickly lifted her arm to wipe away the tears in her eyes before nodding. "Uh-uh…"
Emilia smiled again and gave the girl a kiss on her forehead before she stood back up and took Cornelia's hand as they walked out together. All the way, Cornelia kept her eyes looking down at her feet as they moved ahead. She didn't want to leave; leaving here would also mean leaving Catcher. The idea was far from ideal, as he was her irreplaceable best friend. Not to mention the fact that she had only found out that he was an alien. She wanted to ask him so many things.
On what planet did he live? Hopefully it was Mars, that planet wasn't so far away. She also wanted him to tell about all the adventures he had been on. What creatures had he met? Did he have any other friends than her? Where would he go once she was gone?
Cornelia looked back up when she noticed they had stopped. In front of them stood Rodney, and cast a quick look down at the girl before he turned to the older woman. "Could I talk with you for a moment, Mrs. Campbell?" Emilia figured he wanted to discuss something serious, based on the fact that he had addressed her with her last name. The blonde looked down at her daughter and gave her a small smile. "Why don't you go visit Miles while Rodney and I talk for a bit? I'll come pick you up once we are done."
The girl nodded in affirmation, then let go of her mother's hand and headed over to the medical tent. Once she stood outside the opening, Cornelia stopped up as a disturbing thought hit her. Catcher didn't know that they were leaving! And they were leaving soon, meaning that if she didn't see him soon, she wouldn't be able to say goodbye to him. The girl turned and checked if anyone was watching her. Luckily everyone was busy with the packing and wasn't paying attention.
She walked calmly over to the edge of the tent and rounded the corner where she would be out of view. Once there she turned towards the outer layer of the jungle and dashed through the leaves in her way. She kept running forward, keeping her eyes on the ground to watch her steps, but also looked up from time to time, so that she wouldn't suddenly run straight into a tree.
Dodging a few branches, Cornelia emerged into the familiar clearing. Slowing down, the blonde took a few steps forward as she turned her head to every direction, looking for any kind of movement or maybe some kind of disturbance in the air. She panted lightly from the running as her eyes traveled around the ground. Though she saw no indication of anyone else than her being there, there was something there she recognized.
Cornelia sprinted over to the middle of the clearing and kneeled down before picking up the pink rabbit she had lost the evening before. She smiled happily, glad that it had been returned to her. Dusting off a couple of leaves and some dirt, the girl lifted it up to check if it looked okay, then nodded satisfied.
Too busy with admiring her doll, Cornelia failed to notice the creature that was making its way over to her from behind. It continued to sneak closer to her without making a sound as it walked across the jungle floor. Stopping behind her, the being reached out and grabbed the back of her t-shirt, before it lifted the small girl up.
Cornelia yelped in surprise as she suddenly dangled three feet off the ground. Regardless of this, she still held on to her bunny. Fearing that this would be a replay of the night before, she was about to call for Catcher, but wasn't able to do so before the individual holding her, turned her around to face it. The seven-year-old gasped in surprise as her eyes landed on a silver mask with two covered eyes stared at her. "Catcher!" Cornelia exclaimed in surprise before stretching out both her arms as if to grab onto him or hug him, only to find that he was holding her just out of reach.
Still, she struggled to reach him, stretching her hands even more, with her tongue out on the side of her mouth as she seemed concentrated on making her arms longer. The hunter continued to watch her, making no move to help her achieve her new found goal.
Getting frustrated, Cornelia tried out a new technique. Drawing her hands back, she put her bunny in her right hand and threw it straight in Catcher's face. The toy bounced right off the armory and fell down on the ground, leaving a startled alien. The offended child crossed her hands across her chest as she scowled at her friend, "Pull me closer! I can't hug you when you are so far away!"
Catcher stared at her for a few more seconds, not really requiring a hug. So instead, he lowered his arm and put her back down on the ground. Too bad for him that Cornelia was more persistent than him, not giving up before she had hugged him. Once her feet were on a solid surface and he had removed his hand, Cornelia darted forward and threw her hands around his right leg, clinging onto it.
The hunter emitted an annoyed grunt for not thinking of that option. He started shaking his leg lightly to make her let go, but the motion only made her hold on tighter, if not, amuse her. Cornelia giggled as she smiled up at him. Catcher sighed in defeat as he bent slightly and patted her head, making her smile even wider. Happy with the hug and the response, the girl released his foot and went over to pick up her bunny again.
Once she turned again, she looked over her friend where he stood. She smiled at him for a moment, but it soon disappeared as she remembered why she had comeout there, making her look down at the ground. This made the hunter confused; why the sudden mood swings? Had he done something wrong?
Suddenly, Cornelia looked back up with a look that clearly told how displeased she was. "Mommy and Rodney say that we are going to go home today and that we are going to leave soon", she started to explain. "But I don't want to leave! I want to stay here with you a bit longer. It's fun to play with you and you are my new best friend!"Her eyes were beginning to water as she continued her rambling. While listening, Catcher kneeled down in front of her. "You are probably going to get lonely if I leave, right? You won't have anyone to play with in this whole jungle!" Cornelia shouted as she raised her hands up for dramatic effect.
She was about to continue her complaining until the hunter shook his head in disagreement, making the girl confused. "Huh? You have someone else to play with?" Again, she got a negative. "You mean… you won't miss me?" she tried again, her eyes tearing up at the possibility. Catcher kept his cool, not letting the upset girl cause him to panic the slightest, and shook his head again.
Cornelia got a puzzled look upon her as she tried to figure out what he had meant. The predator then lifted his hand slightly, drawing Cornelia's attention to him. Once her eyes were focused on his hand, he continued the movement. First he reached up and pointed to himself, then up toward the sky. It only took a couple of seconds with a confused human before she figured out. "You are going home, as well!" she shouted, pointing an accusing finger at him.
Once she got a nod, Cornelia lowered her hand and stared at him with big eyes. "But you are going to come back, right?" she asked uncertainly. Catcher only gazed at her without giving her a reply. Sure, he would return to earth again, but that wouldn't guarantee that they would be able to meet. "Catcher!" Cornelia suddenly snapped and took some quick steps closer to him, standing only an inch away as she glared up him. "You have to promise to come back and visit me!" she demanded with an expression between determination and sadness.
The hunter cocked his head slightly to the side at the sudden outburst, clicking behind his mask. "Promise me!" Cornelia shouted again, no longer having any patience to wait for an answer. Catcher laughed at her for her headstrong personality, before he turned slightly to the side and opened up one of the smaller pockets that were on his belt. The blonde watched quietly, as the action triggered her curiosity.
He soon pulled something out, but closed his hand around it before Cornelia could see what it was. She continued to stare at the hand, somehow hoping that she would suddenly gain x-ray vision. She lifted her gaze to check on her tall friend, only to find him facing her again. He nodded slightly before lifting his hand to hold it in front of her as he opened his fist.
Cornelia's blue eyes widened as her eyes landed on a small green rock that had the same shape as a leaf, tied to some kind of black thread at one end. She couldn't help but notice how bright it was, not to mention pretty. The amazed girl continued to admire the stone for a while before a low rumble drew her attention back to Catcher. She looked up at him as he grabbed the thread and lifted the stone up, letting it hang in the air in front of the little girl.
Catcher had to growl slightly to draw Cornelia's attention back to him again. He then lifted his free hand and pointed at the stone, letting out a low clicking sound. Then he pointed towards Cornelia, who was staring wide -eyed at him, getting the point a lot faster this time. "You are giving it to me!" the girl shouted with a mix of disbelief and happiness. The smile disappeared again and turned into a confused frown as Catcher shock his head.
He then pointed to himself and towards the sky, next he directed his outstretched finger toward the ground they were standing on. Continuing, he pointed to Cornelia again and the stone, and lastly to himself.
Letting his hand rest on his knee, he waited for the child to collect the information and figure out the meaning. The girl stood confused for a moment, then she started to repeat the motions she had seen him do. "Umm, I get the stone… then you go home, but come back and then I give it back to you?" Cornelia tried out. Once she got the approving nod, she smiled and jumped slightly, "Yay! I got it right!"
When her brain had finished taking in what she had just said, she turned and stared wide eyed at the masked hunter. "That means that you HAVE to return! Or else you won't get your necklace back!" Catcher nodded once again, causing Cornelia to jump with joy. She stopped and stood still as the Predator took the black rope in both hands, lead them past Cornelia's neck and tied them together. He retrieved his hands and studied Cornelia as she grabbed the new accessory and lifted it to watch the stone.
Startled, Cornelia turned with wide eyes to Cather. "It's warm!" she exclaimed in surprise. Catcher nodded; the stone was something he had picked up on one of his hunts. It was a rare artifact that produced heat, something that made it stand out in the infrared vision his mask provided. Though the hunter did want to keep it himself, it was now a guarantee that the two of them would meet again in the future.
"Oh no!" Cornelia suddenly shouted out in a light panic, she turned to him and waved her hands through the air. "Mommy thinks I'm with Miles! What am I going to do if she gets there before I do?" Catcher watched her panic for a few seconds, before he stood back up to full height and grabbed Cornelia, holding the startled girl around the waist at the side before he took a few quickly steps and snatched up her bunny that had fallen on the ground again and started to run.
Miles lay lazily in his bed, reading an army magazine in peace. Well, as much peace as he could get from the constant noise from the people that were packing. He had just flipped to page twenty-one when he heard the sound of running and panting as Cornelia suddenly appeared at the door and continued over towards him. "Cornelia? What are you- argh!" was all Miles managed to get out before the girl threw herself onto the bed and landed heavily on his stomach.
She lifter her head from where she lay across him, "Miles! Mommy and Rodney are on the way. Tell them I have been here with you the whole time!" she pleaded and barely managed to look over her shoulder to see the two said researchers entering the tent, looking surprised at the two of them. "Um, and what are you two doing?" Emilia asked, puzzled by the strange position both of them where in.
"Well…" Miles started and lifted his head to look over the seven-year-old that was blocking his view. "I didn't help Cornelia up, so she decided to take her revenge." Cornelia turned her head toward Miles, who flashed her a grin which Cornelia returned.
"I see. Anyway, Cornelia and I need to go pack our stuff so we'll be seeing you two later." the blonde woman spoke and hinted for her daughter to come over to her, which she did after waving goodbye to Miles. She grabbed her mother's hand and followed her outside. As they made their way over to their tent, Cornelia lifted her gaze to the tree line on the outskirt of their camp. Once she spotted the place where the air seemed a bit disorientated, she smiled, lifted her hand and waved goodbye to him.
The figure shifted for a moment before it disappeared. Cornelia lowered her hand, placing it on her chest where the green leaf-like stone was hidden under her t-shirt. Grinning to herself, she skipped at her mother's side happily. He would definitely return one day, and she simply couldn't wait till that happened. Not to mention that she could show off her room to him if he came to her house.
Cornelia suddenly halted with a shocked expression on her face. Emilia stopped and looked down at her daughter in confusion. "Cornelia? Is something wrong?" In response, she twisted her head to watch her mother. "I forgot…" The confused look didn't disappear from her features as she knelt down to get on eyelevel with her daughter. "What did you forget?"
"I forgot to tell him where we live…"
Important message! Please read.
There are a lot of things I have planned in the sequel that I have not full knowledge of, or other things I need help with. Therefore, I have made a forum for my story where I'll be posting updates to what I'm up to with the story, and asking for help and ideas. So I'd appreciate it if you could take your time to subscribe to it, or at least keep an eye on it from time to time. Or else I might get stuck with the writing, leading to a longer wait for you guys.
I have already added a post there with a little info on what the sequel will be about, and some things I need help with.
Find it here: wwwdotfanfictiondotnet/forum/Wild_Jungle/79318/
And before I forget! I'd like to thank all of you who have either added my story to their favorites or subscribed, not to mention all the nice reviews. It means a lot.
Ps. Don't worry about Catcher not finding his way, all he needs to do is go search for the Campbell residence on Google maps ;)