The Swamp (Part One)
Hendricks rose slowly from the water, mud covering every inch of his body. He used the remnants of strength in his aching muscles to pull himself out of the swamp and up onto the slippery clay banks.
He lay on his back, panting for air, eyes shining, face camouflaged by the flat brown streaks of his mud plastered hair. He was in a mangrove field and the bull rushes swept in among the elephant grass. He could see and hear the mosquitoes droning in the air above him, their larger than life bodies practically swimming through the humidity. Luckily, the insects could not sense his body heat due to the layer of mud that was pasted uniformly on him. If I stay out here too much longer I’ll probably turn into the fucking mud, he thought.
He had read accounts of early explorers getting rare diseases from prolonged exposure to these black waters, boils that refused to heal, skin that darkened and then bloomed in multicolored inflammations which eventually burst and killed you. There were worms that lived inside your arms and crawled around just under the skin, planted there by their parents, the stinging tropical flies.
The swamp was a miasma and has been feared since the first days that primitive man came to live and hunt and wander in these bayous.
The animals themselves were definitely enough to kill you in about ten thousand different ways. Leeches, mosquitoes large as bat, bats big as eagles. Panthers, crocodiles, wild cats, boars, snakes, poisonous frogs, even the God damned monkeys were aggressive and could completely fuck a guy up.
But the worst of all were the millions of parasites and microorganisms that could infiltrate your body and make you violently ill in such a drastic way that you would spend the next four weeks alternating between shitting your intestines inside-out and lapsing in and out of consciousness.
Hallucinations were common, especially at night when the chill crept in. It could be hot as a clay tandoori oven during the day and colder than a can of Moosehead straight from the freezer at night.
So how tough did you really have to be to survive two weeks alone in the jungles of Panama? Hendricks was finding out the hard way, and there really is no way other than the hard way, he laughed bitterly to himself.
Hendricks didn't officially have a say in the matter either since he had escaped several days earlier from the Campamento Central, the jungle prison where they kept the worst offenders, or the poor assholes like himself that were never given a trial, just put away, far away, to a place where no one would ever follow, even if they knew it existed. Imagine a prison surrounded by terrain so impassable that there were no fences to keep the prisoners in. The guards didn't even bother to shoot runners. Nobody got away because no one could survive for long in the hostile environment outside the compound.
Shit, thought Hendricks, they might have been able to find his sorry ass by tracking him through the "Eye in the Sky" spy satellite like that fucking movie he saw, with that weakling Leonardo DiCaprio. What the fuck was it called? He wracked his brains, mumbling to himself like a lunatic as the mosquitoes finally found him and invaded relentlessly. He was too dead tuckered out to even mount a counterattack on the blood suckers.
He knew rather than felt that there were leeches clinging to his soaked skin, greedily sucking what was left of his tainted blood under his tattered clothing. He would have to pinch them off later, which, you would know if you have seen any Vietnam movies at all, is precisely the wrong way to remove them. The right way was burning them off with a cigarette.
A cigarette, ah, fuck. What he would not give right now, this very instant, for a dry fucking cigarette.
No matter. No matter. No matter. He kept repeating to himself, fighting off the growing nausea, fatigue, muscle pain, itching and, of course, the fear. He knew that he was not supposed to acknowledge it, but as the jungle darkness closed in around him, the fear returned with a vengeance.
to be continued
Read more of "The Swamp" by bludstream
- The Swamp (Part Two)
"Body of Lies", he remembered. That was the name of the movie. He saw bits of it when he was cleaning the warden's big office, the only room in the Campamento that had a TV, and a huge one at that. At least...
If you like "The Swamp" you may enjoy "The Thing in the Corner" by bludstream
- The Thing in the Corner (Part One)
Sam Hayes shuffled along Clay Street near Union Square in San Francisco. It was an unusually warm Indian Summer day and he was sweating as he trudged up the steep hills. Sam stopped at the top of the...
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