Walking through the vast amounts of green shrubbery that sprouted in great patches deep within the dense jungle of the Lost World, in search of ailments for Challenger's store cupboard was one of Marguerite's least favourite duties of all. It usually consisted of walking for hours on end, without rest, only to stop and peer at fern-like plants that could or could-not be the plant sought for. However, with Challenger on board for this expedition, things were looking up; this could potentially mean that the whole plant-deciphering process would take less time (Challenger had them all off by heart, as did the jungle born beauty whose Tree House the explorers inhabited, Veronica). However, this could and most likely would mean that time would be spent investigating a colony of rare insects, or plant of some form making the whole outing last that bit longer.
The day started out beautifully. It was a bright and boiling hot morning on the Plateau. As the explorers packed up their gear that would be required for the day: tools, plant books, ties for the plants, and weapons- just in case they bumped into trouble of some form or another, the birds were singing their morning songs, completely oblivious of the turmoil to come. Challenger, Roxton, Marguerite and their newest addition, Finn made their way into the elevator and descended to the jungle floor. The day had begun in an ordinary way; they were waved off by Veronica who remained behind to 'paint' or rather, as Marguerite had expected, to 'pine' after Ned, the lost Reporter from London, who it seemed had taken Veronica's heart with him when he left.
They had been walking for two hours now and were nearly half-way through their list of sought after plants. As expected, Challenger had stopped to peer at some 'magnificent' species of insect. Uninterested and tired from the walk and lack of sleep the past few nights, Maguerite wandered off from the rest of the group.
Frightening dreams of the past and what could be waiting for her in London were the cause of Marguerite's insomnia; however, rather than talk about it, the brunette preferred to spend the early hours reading: anything to keep the dreams and memories away. Only, now she felt consumed by exhaustion, and although she would never intentionally show it tell-tale signs of a lack of sleep were beginning to show through dark circles beneath her eyes. She walked slowly through the dense jungle to a small clearing within a circle of trees and stopped, leaning against a tree to catch her breath.
Having noticed Marguerite disperse from the group, Roxton ambled slowly behind her leaving Challenger and Finn exclaiming animatedly about the freak of nature they had discovered. Truth be told, he was worried about her. He had often caught her the past few evenings reading deep into the night and then, contrary to her ordinary behaviour she was the first awake in the mornings. He would find her fully dressed, coffee in hand waiting for the rest of the explorers to embark on their daily routines.
After trudging through the dense jungle for five minutes he came upon a small clearing, and leaning against a tree on the outskirts in a ivory blouse and khaki jodpers, just in front of him was Marguerite. She looked beautiful as per usual, however the dark circles beneath her eyes and troubled expression on her face made Roxton anxious.
Concerned that he might frighten her by creeping up behind her unexpectedly, he said as he made his way towards her, "I hope I'm not interrupting." However, despite his best efforts she gasped and quite visibly jumped at his unexpected entrance.
Trying desperately to compose her thoughts and expression, Marguerite watched the handsome Lord Roxton clad in his usual sky blue shirt, khaki pants and of course staple hat, step towards her. Smiling nervously she replied "No, no of course not. Just taking some fresh air." Then, realising how ridiculous she sounded she flushed slightly and turned away from him.
Closing the proximity between them with one final step he reached out and touched her arm, in a gesture of comfort. She didn't flinch at this contact, but he could tell that she was uncomfortable.
"Marguerite, are you alright?" he asked.
"Why wouldn't I be?" she asked, turning again to face him. But despite her obvious effort to retain some of her usual vigour, she sounded weak and feeble.
"You can tell me Marguerite." he begged in earnest, looking her right in the eye.
"There's nothing to tell" she said in a rather off-hand tone. Sighing in exasperation the handsome hunter took a deep breath, willing himself to be patient, and decided to broach a different subject:
"Look, what happened between us, before, in the cave. I meant every word Marguerite. If there is something bothering you, I want you to know you can trust me…" at that point he broke off as she turned and took a few steps away from him, crossing her arms tightly across her chest, as if in self defence.
"John, I…I can't…" then taking a deep breath she said "It's nothing…" she broke off, her voice caught in her throat as tears build in her eyes.
"Well it's obviously not" he replied, losing his patience. "Marguerite, you're not sleeping, barely eating anything at all, you look exhausted. No to mention the fact that you've been avoiding me like a plague ever since..." Breaking off, he stepped forwards and held her shoulders in comfort.
Shrugging him off, she turned to face him, tears streaking her face. Raising her voice she said "Please just leave me alone!"
Hurt was clear on Lord Roxton's face as she yelled at him. But this would not deter him: he took yet another step towards her in which she responded to with yet another step back, placing both of them in the centre of the clearing.
However, before Roxton could say another word, or Marguerite take another step a loud creak sounded from the jungle floor beneath them and the whole clearing gave way, taking the two explorers tumbling into the dark abyss below.
So this is my first Lost World fic, or I should say, the first Chapter of my first Lost World fic.
PLEASE RATE AND REVIEW! I would really appreciate it- both good and bad comments welcome.
Thanks for reading!