Disclaimer: I own nothing but the words. And even those I have loose claim on. I didn't author the dictionary.
"I'm holding onto what I haven't got."
-'Waiting for the End' by Linkin Park
Sweat and dirt slid down his temples to his chin, the heat stifling as it robbed the air from his lungs and made it difficult to trudge forward. His clothes stuck to him like a second skin from the stream he'd dunked himself in not ten minutes ago, that had been unpleasantly warm and done very little towards relieving him. His shorts were dirty, stained and ripped, his plaid shirt torn and missing a sleeve, his hair damp and drooping, and his hat—well, that had been lost early on, fluttering down a chasm too dark to judge the depth. But it didn't matter anymore. He'd long put it out of his mind. He had something more important to pursue than a reminder of the past.
His two allies flanked him on either side, one pink and golden, the other dark and red. He paid them little mind as he continued determinedly up the incline of rock and vine, his own panting and the rushing of blood in his ears too loud to hear what they were saying. He just had a little further to go. He couldn't give up now, he wouldn't give up now, not for anything. He might never get another chance again. This was it. There was no more flipping pages in a book, or picture frames to stare into, or a little blue hat to clutch. There was only forward, and faster, and don't get caught, don't die, don't think, don't fall, don't fall, don't trip, don't fall—
Just breathe. And move.
And so move he did. The incline got steeper the higher you went, and it wasn't another ten steps before they were all but scaling a wall. The boy didn't know how far they had come anymore. He hardly remembered anything up to this point. He didn't remember the darts or the screams. He didn't remember sneaking off or being excited to get started (stupid, naïve, stupid). He didn't remember getting tackled into the bushes by a blur of pink or the explanations that came afterwards. He didn't remember Curly swinging through the trees or Mr. Simmons yelling for him to come down. He didn't remember almost falling, or getting shot at, or being threatened, or feeling scared. It was all a haze of swirling dust and cobwebs, shattered pictures and broken promises, and the only thing he could perceive anymore was the fury coursing through his veins.
How dare he? How dare they? How dare the world?
It simply wasn't fair.
"Life's not fair, bucko," a voice echoed in his ears. It made him clench his teeth all the harder, and pull himself up with more ferocity than was strictly required. He exerted more energy than he thought he was even in possession of, and nothing – not the voices behind him, not the hand touching his ankle, not the thought that he was barely ten and not ready for this – could stop him.
He had always thought that things would always work out in the end as long as you believed they would and did your best, but every time he got close it was snatched away, and his best already hadn't cut it. He was endangering the people he cared about for his own selfishness, for a journey that wasn't even theirs to peril, and they stubbornly refused to back down from. He had a machete-wielding maniac on his tail holding his classmates hostage, fifty-something of his cronies searching for him, a strange new feeling in his chest he was not ready to deal with, and nowhere left to go but up.
He felt stuck in time, climbing for what already felt like eternity into God-knew-what with sweat stinging his eyes and dirt in places it should not ever be. All signs pointed towards his imminent demise and yet he could not bring himself to care. All he could feel was the roughness under his reddened, agitated hands, the scrapes on his knees and elbows, and the humidity whispering like death's song against his cheeks.
He just wanted his mom and dad back.
Note: Wanna know what happens next? Then read on:
We're closer than ever before to getting TJM, you guys. Craig Bartlett and Nickelodeon have been discussing the possibility (I'm not even joking, this is serious). Fan support is still needed, however, so sign the petition, write letters, holler, scream, run naked through the streets—I don't care what you do, but show your support and make sure Nick knows it! At the very least, google "HEY ARNOLD! The Jungle Movie Petition" and sign the one that's up to 10,000 now. It takes a minute but means a lot. We still need a little less than 5,000 to reach our goal,and I know you guys are out there... I can see you through your window. Yeah, you, sitting there with your blank face and impassively staring at your screen. DO A THING FOR ONCE. FEEL ACCOMPLISHED WITH YOURSELF FOR TYPING YOUR NAME AND CLICKING A BUTTON. It's fun sometimes. I hear.
Literally, guys, we are so close I can smell it. It smells of sweat and victory, let me tell you. I knew 2013 was gonna be a lucky year already, but I intend on ensuring our success in any way I can... I can't do much but write, though, so here's my contribution.
"HEY ARNOLD! The Jungle Movie!" 2013
This advertisement is not in affiliation with Nickelodeon or Viacom. Written for entertainment purposes only. Results may vary. Side effects may include nausea, runny nose, fever, unidentified rash, yellow skin, explosive diarrhea, projectile vomiting, dry throat, sudden ability to walk through walls, rubber neck, becoming a rebel without a cause, sudden urge to burst into song, blue polka-dotted pee, hormone spikes, and death. Lots of death.
Have a nice day! :)