Categories > Original > Sci-Fi > Evolve or Die


by Togot 0 reviews

Andrew and Jenifer meet others, but is that a good thing?

Category: Sci-Fi - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama,Sci-fi - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2019-08-11 - 2947 words

I had just begun making the fire pit to cook the fish when I heard the sound of breaking sticks and rustling branches coming closer to us. Jennifer and IU readied our spears and stood shoulder to shoulder to face the potential threat. We were both surprised by what emerged.

A six and a half foot tall black seventeen year old with a shaved head and glasses walked out of the jungle.

“Jason!” Jennifer said with surprise and relief.

Jason looked at us a moment and then called over his shoulder, “I found two more!”

So he wasn’t alone, I thought. That was good news.

Jason noticed the fish and frowned. “What’s that?”

“Some kind of carnivorous fish,” I explained. “Nearly took my foot off.”

Jason came over and squatted down to get a closer look at the fish. “Huh, Ugly looking thing,” he said.

I heard more noise and turned to see another classmate come from the direction Jason had. Then another, and another. They just kept coming until nearly thirty people stood around me. I was surprised that so many of them had found each other. Even our teacher, Mr. Huxley was with them. I searched the faces but didn’t find the two I was looking for. “Hey Jason, Have you found Bryan or Sam?”

“Naw, not yet,” he said, which deflated my good mood. Even more so when I saw that Terry, Eric, Brian, and Bradley were here. I had a bad history with them, so naturally they made it, and now I was stuck out in a jungle with them. The only way this could have been worse is if I’d been alone with them. On the bright side, I was armed.

“I see,” I said

I didn’t see Sarah, Christina, or Erin around, which gave me hope that maybe they had been eaten.

Having so many people around me, including several that I would call enemies, gave me considerable anxiety. I’ve never felt comfortable around crowds, but I was glad to see so many people had made it, even if the two I cared about most were still unaccounted for. The rational part of myself was relieved to be around others as there was safety in numbers…theoretically. If nothing else it meant any large predators would have more targets to choose from which would increase my chances of survival.

“Thank god we finally found water, I’m thirsty as hell,” someone said, and they all started moving to the river. Jason did to, but I stopped him since he and I are on friendly terms. “

“Don’t drink from the river, drink from this,” I said as I offered him the canteen.

“What about everyone one else?’ Jennifer asked. “You said you could get sick from river water.”

I shrugged, “I doubt they’d listen to me even if I told them.” I said

“You need to at least try,” She said.

“Look, I only have the one canteen,” I explained. “Having everyone drink out of it is just as likely to make people sick as drinking right from the river. I’m willing to share with you and Jason, and Bryan and Sam when we find them, but it’s just not practical to use it for nearly thirty people.”

“Can’t we make something for everyone to drink out of?” She asked.

I thought a moment. It was true I knew several ways to make containers for water, but I would have to make a lot of them…or maybe not.

I sighed,” fine. Hey Jason, could you do me a favor and take this to cut up some would about this big?” I indicated the desired size with my hands and offered him the hatchet. He nodded, took the hatchet and walked away. I got up and said loudly enough for everyone to hear me before they got to the river, “Don’t drink the water!”

Everyone stopped and looked at me, and I instantly regretted my decision. I hate being the center of attention, it spikes my anxiety through the roof, makes me feel small and vulnerable, like everyone is about to throw stones at me.

“Why not?” Damien asked, he’s a small skinny ginger.

“River water can contain bacteria, you can get sick if you drink it. You need to boil it first,” I explained.

“We’ve been wandering around for over a day without water,” Terry said. “We need something to drink.”

“I’ll show everyone how to make water containers so we can drink it safely.” I said.

“How the fuck do you know,” Erik asked.

“What happened to your shirt,” Terry added, ‘And where’d you get that spear and canteen anyway?”

I felt my throat getting tight, my brow sweat, and my hands start to tremble as my nerves were frayed. “That’s not important right now. I need everyone to grab two sticks, about as long as your forearm, and some plant fiber. You’ll need it to make the mugs.”

“Not important?” Terry said incredulously. “You found a metal spear, a canteen and a hatchet in the middle of a jungle. We haven’t found shit for two days, and you say it’s not important?”

Terry’s right, Andrew, “Mr. Huxley said. “Where did you find it?”

Several of the others agreed with him, pressuring me to answer. “I found a weird container,” I said. “I touched it, the thing in my arm glowed, it opened up, and this stuff was inside it.”

“What kind of container?” Terry asked.

“Where did you find it?” Erik asked

“What do you mean weird?” Bradly asked.

“It was alien, ok!” I shouted, losing my temper. “It was a big floating glowing alien container in the middle of the jungle, nothing else around it. I found it yesterday, i can’t bring you to it cause I wouldn’t be able to find it again.”

“Alien?” Terry said.

“Who do you think put these in our arms?” I asked, practically shouting. “Who do you think abducted an entire classroom of people and dumped them in a jungle, the Taliban?”

Everyone was quiet for a moment, and then Terry asked, Ok, but what happened to your shirt?”

My anger deflated at that question. “I found Heather,” I said, eliciting several surprised murmurs. She was attacked by an animal. I killed the animal and used my shit as a bandage, but she didn’t make it…she’s dead.”

Everyone stared at me with a mixture of expressions. Shock, horror, disbelief, sadness. I didn’t want to look at them or think about it, so I tried to focus on what I needed to do now. “If you’re done giving me the third degree, we need to make water containers to boil the water to make it safe to drink. We also need food. It’s going to take a while so we should set up camp here for the night.

“Who put you in charge?” Terry asked.

“Fine, do whatever you want,” I said, exasperated. “Anyone who doesn’t want to risk intestinal parasites, grab some sticks. Twice as long as your arm, gather fire wood, or call out for so anyone still out there can find us” Some people did as I asked, others, including Terry, ignored me and drank water raw. I didn’t care.

I used my knife to make a few a spear, but unlike my first one, I split the tip with two cross cuts, creating four points. I then wedged two small sticks into the gaps, pushing the tips apart from each other, and then tied them in place with fiber. “Anyone think they can catch a fish for dinner?’ I asked. A fishing spear had a wider strike end to compensate for the inaccuracy of attacking something under water due to the light making it seem like something is in a different spot than it actually is.

“Yeah,” Hasheem said. He was a dark-skinned guy about my height with a short afro and a come pick in it. I tossed him the spear and then made a few more until Jason brought me the pieces of wood that I’d asked for.

I got a fire going and put several small stones in it to heat them up. Then I used the hatchet to chop at one end of the wood making a small bowl which I stuffed with tinder and set on fire. While it burned, I used my stone knife to cut a grove in each of the sticks that if fit and tied together, making a handle. Then at the other end I fit the sharpened stone to make a drill. I then used the drill to bore a hole into the burned bowl, deepening it. Burning it made it easier to tear through until I hit fresh wood again. Then I’d stuff it with tinder and burn it again. I repeated this process several times until I had a mug that could hold water. The downside was it took a long time to do. I explained to the others what I was doing and as I worked Jason got more pieces of wood, and those who were willing copied me as best they could. I loaned out the hatchet and knife to them. It took a few hours, but we would up with seven passable mugs in the end which was plenty. I told everyone to go fill them up, but not to drink out of them yet but bring them to me instead. They did so and I took the stones that were now plenty hot and placed them in the water, explaining that we needed to boil it for about three minutes before drinking.

By that time several fish had been caught. I cleaned them, put them on sticks and cooked them over the fire. While they were cooking three more of our classmates found us, but still not Sam or Bryan. It was very stressful for me to have so many people watching me so closely, crowding around me, but I managed to deal by focusing on what I was doing.

Before nightfall everyone had something to eat and water to drink, though not much. It was clear we’d be camping here, so I moved away from the others and started making a lean-to. This is basically a bunch of sticks tied together to make a board that you prop up like half a roof. One of the simplest forms of shelter, little more than a windbreak. I filled it with leaves to insulate me and settled in.

As everyone ate their small share of the food, Terry asked, “How do you know all this shit anyway?”

“My grandpa was Comanche Indian,” I explained. “Every summer he’d take me out in the wild for camping. No tent, no camper, just some basic supplies, and sometimes not even that, so this? This is just another camping trip for me.”

I went to bed feeling much more secure than I had the night before. That’s not to say I slept soundly mind you. I still clutched my spear tight. The sounds of nocturnal creatures was muffled by the whisperers of my classmates, and no giants came stomping around though, so I fell asleep faster, but it was far from peaceful. My nightmares were of sharp gnashing teeth chasing me in the dark whole terrified screams cried out all around me. I almost screamed myself when someone shook me awake.

“Sorry,” Jason said at seeing my reaction to being roused. “Some of the guys caught more fish for breakfast, I just wanted to borrow your knife to clean them.”

“You know how?” How I asked as I sat up and shook the sleep from my head.

“Yeah, I woulda helped earlier, but you only had the one knife.”

“Ok then,” I said as I pulled it out and handed it to him. He hurried off after thanking me, and I looked around. It was early, but almost everyone was up and about. The fire had fresh wood which was a relief as I had been worried they’d let it die out. There didn’t seem to be anything that needed doing, so I decided to make a new stone knife and let Jason keep the one I’d given him.

A few curious people watched me, but only Jenifer actually asked what I was doing, so I told her.

“Can you teach me?” she asked.

“I guess. Just grab a piece of fling and a hammer stone.”

“Ok,” she said. “…how do I find flint?”

“It looks like this,” I said, showing her the piece I had already found. “And sounds like this.’ It clinked it against the hammer stone. “This is a rocky area. You should have no trouble finding some.”

She went off to look, and I went back to work. A few seconds later she came back with a stone.

“Is this flint?” she asked.

I looked at what she had brought and shook my head. “Try again.”

Without a word, she left to do exactly that, but then someone else came over and asked me the same thing. I looked around and realized that six people were picking up stones, and I felt myself grow irritated. I said I’d teach her, not them; they hadn’t even asked, they just assumed I would, and that always made me angry. The truth was I was usually very stingy with sharing my knowledge or offering help, and only did so to friends for the most part, but given our current situation, I suppose it couldn’t be helped.

On her third try, Jennifer got it right, so I showed her what to do, and the others as well, albeit begrudgingly. By the time breakfast was ready, they all had stone knives of varying quality. When Jason tried to return the one he’d borrowed, I told him to keep it. I also gave him my wooden spear and promised to make one for Jennifer when we next camped. I could, and probably should have made spears for everyone, but there were several people I just wasn’t comfortable giving weapons to, specifically Terry and his goons. I was already feeling unsafe just being stuck out here with them.

During breakfast, I noticed two people getting violently ill. I recognized them as two of the ones who had drank water straight from the river. Sadly neither of them were terry or his friends, but I felt a smug sense of satisfaction none the less. Stupid people should be punished for their stupidity.

Finally we were ready to move out again. I told everyone that I had traveled north from where the river dumped into the sea, so we should continue north to its source. I argued that it would keep us near a water and food source, and prevent us from getting lost. No one argued which was a surprise as well as a relief.

Apparently Jason had been ahead of the group as a kind of scout since he was the fastest runner so if he found trouble he could get away while warning the others. No one else had encountered any dangerous creatures, and several people, including terry, were highly skeptical when I told them about the spitting creatures, but Jennifer backed me up.

.”I’ll be up front with him then” I said.

“What if you run into a dangerous animal?” Mr. Huxley asked.

“That’s my problem,” I said. “And what I have this for.” I added holding up the metal spear.

“What if something attacks us?” Annita asked. It was ironic that she of all people suggesting she was a damsel in distress since she was a radical manhating lesbian feminist

“That’s your problem,” I said.

“What?” she said. Several other people also complained.

“There’s over twenty of you,” I said, getting annoyed. “If something shows up, just pelt it with rocks until it leaves, or dies. You’ll be fine.”

As if on que a girl screamed. I immediately ran to see what was wrong along with several others to find her pointing at a nearby fallen tree. When I saw what it was I was both relieved and horrified. I was relieved because what she was pointing at was a dragonfly which I know to be harmless. I was horrified because it was the size of a hawk.

I stared at it in silent confusion and wonder. I knew that dragon flies didn’t get anywhere near thi8s big, so my mind raced for an explanation. The alien theory popped up first, but why would an alien creature look exactly like a giant dragonfly. Was it an experiment, the result of genetic engineering? Was that what happened to the fish? Had it been a normal piranha once? I couldn’t even guess what the spitting things had been once, unless…maybe a frilled lizard? What did that mean for us? If they could turn a normal bug into this monstrosity, what could they do to us? Was the implant in our arms going to do something to us?

Too many questions, not enough evidence.

Deeply disturbed by these thoughts, I turned away from the creature.

“Aren’t you going to kill it?” Anita asked.

”It’s just a dragonfly,” I said as I walked away. I don’t know what they did to the thing, if anything, nor did I care. I had my mind on other things.
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