Marquez Santiago stumbled out of the forest, his body aching, especially his left, broken arm. Twenty minutes before, he had crossed a river, which was not too wide, yet not too deep, but now he found himself at the edge of yellowish-green tall grass, which swayed in the darkness.
“Where the hell…am I?”
He pushed into the tall grass, feeling it swipe across his face lightly as he walked. His map was useless for now—there was no way he could see in the darkness—but his instincts told him he was almost where he wanted to go.
There was a boulder up ahead; its peak rising over the grass.
He stopped, hearing something.
But as he listened, he could hear it again: a distinct hiss, followed by a low series of crunching. Whatever it was, it was coming closer.
And it wasn’t just one set. There seemed to be multiple crunching, coming from all sides. “Oh God… Oh God…”
He turned, running back the way he came. He had only come in twenty or thirty feet, but the end seemed so far away.
The animals behind snarled, hissed. He felt like they were right behind him.
They probably are…
But somehow Marquez came out of the tall grass, dashing back into the forest through which he came, looking back to see that nothing had followed him out.
“What have I done? I’m sorry, Anne…I’m sorry…”
The chopper landed with a thud on the landing pad, only moments before the side door was slid open, a man at the entrance, beckoning her forward.
She smiled, nearly jumping inside, as the door slid closed behind her. She was lifted up, dropped down onto a padded bench. Another man sat across from her, next to the entrance to the cockpit, where a small, sliding door hid the inside. He was wearing a black suit, his hair combed neatly, making him look younger than what he would have appeared to be.
The man smiled, and said, “I’m Gregory Yorkin.”
Anne took several breathes, as the chopper jolted, beginning to lift off. “I’m Anne Jones…I’m glad you guys could make it.”
Yorkin laughed. “When we received your radio call, I sent the chopper to come here. I’m working on protecting people from the island here, so I figured it was my duty to come get you.”
“When we get back to Costa Rica, we’ll be dropping you off. You’ll be staying there for a few days, in one of the beachside hotels, paid for by us for you. We know what you’ve had to go through, but you’ll have to be questioned eventually by some of the higher-ups, who are giving you several days to calm down.”
“Why can’t we go back to the States?”
“It’s a bit too crazy there for now. Someone intercepted the signal you sent back somewhere in California and alerted the press to it. They’re all waiting for you to return, so we’re leaving you in Costa Rica until it dies down.”
“Will I ever get to leave?”
Anne looked out the window, at the shrinking helicopter pad, and saw that the purplish raptor was gone; the second raptor still lying on top of the small building, unmoving.
Soon the whole pad was growing smaller. The mountain seemed to shrink.
When she looked away, the island was nothing but a black speck on the dark horizon.
Marquez walked through the forest. He had wanted to find the river again, but couldn’t. He had been wandering for what seemed an eternity, until he heard the small splash of water off to his right.
He turned, running, breaking out of the forest and stopping in his tracks.
He was at the river, but not alone.
There was a rex standing at the opposite bank, and as it sensed movement, it snapped it head up, looking straight at him.
Anne said don’t move…Just don’t move and it won’t see me…
The rex seemed to stare into him for several long, piercing moments. To his horror, the rex finally moved, crossing the river with a slight limp.
It came out on his side, standing still, looking down at him.
It doesn’t see me…It doesn’t see me…
He jumped, as the rex roared, clenching his eyes until it finished. When he opened them, he started to scream, as the rex’s jaws wrapped around his torso, lifting him up gently yet forcefully in its jaws.
He continued to scream, as the rex carried him back across the river, into the forest on the other side.
Marquez couldn’t move his limbs, too scared to do so, and the rex didn’t seem to care about the odd sound coming out of its prey.
Eventually Marquez stopped screaming, only for a moment as the rex jerked its head, opening its jaws. He felt himself roll off of its teeth, ripping his clothes, flying several feet as he fell.
He landed with a thud on his left arm, which instantly cracked even more, blazing his entire body with pain. He rolled over, his shrieks turned to wails.
He was in a large clearing in the forest, in a slight crater in the ground lined on the outside by a large mound only a few feet high; the opening facing the rex, which stood there, watching him.
“My arm…My arm…”
He began to sob, unable to control it. He stood up shakily, gripping his left arm, and backed away, toward the mound. He turned, starting to claw up it with his right hand, and surprisingly made it to the top.
He felt something push into his back, and he felt his entire body sink into the mud at the top. He rolled over, which was hard to do, and put his right hand in front of his face, kicking his way up the mound with his heels, trying to get away.
The rex roared, swinging its head low. He felt an immense amount of pressure go away, and took away his right hand from his face to look at the rex.
It had backed away, holding something in its jaws. Marquez quickly realized what it was.
His left arm.
“Oh my God!”
He didn’t bother to look at where his left arm had been. He just kicked, pushing himself over the top of the mound and feeling his legs fly over him as he rolled down.
He landed on his chest, turning away and crawling across the ground to the forest.
Behind him, the rex roared, quickly dashing around the mound. Marquez was almost to the edge of the forest when something massive pinned him to the spot.
He craned his neck, looking back to see that the rex had its foot placed right on his back, pressing down.
He screamed, continually trying to get away, but it was useless.
His lower torso seemed to disappear, as the rex quickly pushed down, and Marquez heard a sickening crunch. The rex lifted its foot, and Marquez screamed, his craned head seeing that his legs seemed to have been flattened. He tried to go on, but couldn’t.
He felt the life racing away from him. He rolled over, losing the will to go on.
Everything seemed to blur, and he rolled over into darkness. He tried to scream, realizing it was the rex’s open jaws bearing down on him, but he couldn’t.
His body was lifted up, and all he saw was darkness.