Ch1 Jungle

We tracked through the thick jungle. My lungs began to burn and I stopped to ketch my breath. My guide stopped. His concerned voice was strained.

"You...Ok?" His choppy English was getting better.

"Yes." I heaved. "Just need to...ketch my breath. Asthma is...acting up."

"Thought you...done before.' I glanced at his confused face.

"In the Red woods...yes but harder. The air..."

"If to much you tell. Ok? We go back." I straitened up, with a slight smile.

"Alright. I'm good now."

"You good?" I nodded and we started off again.

"What was the story you were telling me?"

"Oh, few people missing is past year. But we ok." He patted his gun. "We have safe."

I smiled at his back. I did not really care for guns but they were a necessity here.

"Could you show day how to...shoot it?" He paused, a little concerned. I waved him on.

"If want to I show when get back."

It was another hour before we reached the river and I was exhausted. I knew I should have brought three extra inhalers but to late now. I would just need to be frugal with the one and a half I had left.

"You ok?" He rested a hand on my arm. For such an old man he had strong hands. I nodded my head.

"I just need a minute." It was actually a good ten minutes before I could stand again. Cursed asthma. I pulled my backpack off and started to pull my supplies out. I crouched by the waters edge and took a few samples. He came to stand by me and I straightened up. He was looking into the woods on the far bank.

"All done." He pulled his eyes away from the woods and looked me over.

"You ready go?" He seemed tense but I did not pay much attention to it.

"Can we spend the night here, it is so nice." My smile fell at the sight of his face.

"Not safe." He mumbled.

"what do you mean?" He bent down and grabbed my bag. When he handed it to me he pulled closer.

"Something watch on other side." My eyes grew wide. Wordlessly we started back to the village. By the look of things it would be well past nightfall when we got back.

I guess whatever he saw, or heard, scared him because he was going at breakneck speed.

"Slow...down." I huffed. He did not.

"I need to rest." He seemed to not hear me but I could not go any further. I flopped down where I was to rest. I dug through my bag for my inhaler and took a big puff. Closing my eyes.

"Give the bag."

"My bag? But-" My eyes shot open when a click sounded in front of my face. He was pointing his gun at me. All niceness gone from his face. Realization dawned on me.

"You work for...Hernandez?" He gave me a slight devilish smile. "So you started...all those stories about a...depredador to keep people out... And when it didn't you...lured them in and killed them. Is that it?" Even though i was out of breath i had enough to snap at him.

"Give the bag?" I looked at him, at the gun, then back at him. I went as if to hand it to him but then threw it as far as I could. He went after it and I went in the other direction. A bullet collided with the tree my head just passed but I kept running. I was not going to make this easy on him. But I was not doing very well myself. My breaths was coming in small gasps. I finally collapsed against a tree and took another puff of my inhaler that I miraculously still had in my hand. I tried to control my breathing but it was not working. Maybe if I such luck.

I heard a click sound at my right and I looked to find him grinning down at me, my backpack slung over his shoulder.

"Hernandez be happy. And you stuff get pretty price." I saw his finger squeeze the trigger. Then I heard another kind of click to my right followed by a growl. The guides head jerking in its direction. I did not think. I bolted around the tree and ran. I ran harder than I did when the Guide was after me. But it was no use I knew because soon my lungs could not support my flight and then my legs gave out. The last I remember was the jungle...shimmering?