The humidity. That’s what he’d remember about this trip. Not the amazing finds or the beautiful scenery, not the adventure or the bugs, not the highs or the lows, but that cloying, sweltering heat and wetness that made it hard to breathe. His skin shone with glistening sweat as he swung his machete through the dense brush. He loved nature, he loved the forest and the jungle and the wild exhilaration of being so far from civilization, it’s why he’d entered the field he had, but he’d never imagined he’d find himself all but drowning in the middle of the jungle.
Thwack. He was so focused on his musings about the heat that his machete buried deep into a fallen log he hadn’t noticed through the foliage. Silently cursing to himself, he looked down at the log. It was reasonably fresh, not the rotted hunk of vermin-infested mold one would expect so far out. More interesting was that it was decorated. Along its length were the moldering skulls and heads of jaguar, anaconda, boars, and even humans. The gruesome display bore a strong resemblance to classic warning displays seen around the world, the message clear in any language: “Fuck off.”
It began with stories he had heard a few weeks earlier. He had come with a team sent from the university to increase contact with a newly discovered tribe that had reached out to the modern world due to the encroachment of loggers on their lands. After living with them long enough to translate their language, he had learned where the loggers were working and the other parts of the tribe’s territory, including this place.
‘The land of the huntress’ they’d called it. Apparently some form of female demon had appeared about twenty years ago from the sky. She had claimed this area and killed all who entered. The loggers hadn’t come across this portion of the jungle yet as they were far on the other side of the territory and the tribesmen avoided it as a place of evil. The tales were familiar. Modern folklore had many stories of men and women surviving plane crashes in the jungle and living a Tarzan-like lifestyle. If he could find one such person and actually make contact, his PhD was assured.
Without hesitation he climbed atop the log and cried out, “Hello? Hello is anyone there? I mean you no harm!” He listened carefully but heard nothing besides the birds and insects.
There was no real surprise in this really; the area staked out by this huntress wasn’t very large, but it wasn’t so small that his voice would carry through the dense brush either. He hopped down to the other side of the log, entering the territory, and continued his lone search for this mysterious ‘huntress’ who had claimed this land.
He had been walking for thirty minutes when he got the sense of being followed, although no attack came. Having spent so long alone in the woods he had learned to trust his instincts, and doing so had saved him more than a few times from wild animals and the other dangers of the jungle while doing fieldwork all over the world.
It was the huntress, he was sure. She was stalking him. If, as he suspected, she had been the survivor of a plane crash, she may have recognized his clothes or skin tone as more familiar than that of the tribesmen she kept away and be curious about this new entrant into her territory. He decided to play it calm and give no sign that he was aware of being watched, but he also made sure to keep his machete visible and to never leave himself penned in by the surrounding environment.
Another half hour passed in this cat-and-mouse game when he came to a clearing with a medium-size stream running through its center. The stream was not large or deep enough to be home to any predator, but it was roughly knee-deep on his tall legs (he stood six-foot-six) and would probably be clean enough to drink from. His canteen was empty and he needed to stay hydrated.
If the stories he’d heard about this woman were even partially true, she could be dangerous. He looked around cautiously but saw nothing. He made a show of putting the machete to his side and dropped to one knee to fill his canteen.
As he’d expected he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. Turning slowly, so as not to alarm her, he looked up to see her entering the clearing.
She stood over six feet tall herself and the tangled mess of dirty blond hair on her head easily brought her total height to equal his. She was heavily muscled, and drawing on his undergrad wrestling experience, he’d estimate her at about a hundred eighty-five to two hundred pounds, but he doubted she had much more than ten percent body fat. She was dirty, her skin showing the same sheen of grimy sweat his did, but with a much darker complexion. Her blue eyes, in contrast, were cold, sharp, and alert. She carried a long spear made from a sharpened length of wood that stood as high as her cheek and she was clad, just barely, in jaguar or ocelot pelt. Her body was in superb athletic condition and he realized, to his alarm, that that sort of muscularity and the blood he now saw on the spear meant that she had been surviving on a very high-protein diet. This meant hunting and killing the beasts of the jungle. He thought back to the skulls on the log; among them were the largest and most dangerous predators in this part of the world as were the skulls of humans.
“Hello,” he said gently, in a soothing voice. “My name is Marcus, do you understand me?”
She looked confused for a moment, but that confusion quickly gave way to that same angry, predatory gleam she had had when she first stepped out into the clearing. “You… you no be here…” she said, struggling with the words. “This… my place… you no be here!” She began to raise the spear in a threatening gesture.
“I came here looking for you,” he said quickly, trying to calm her. “I heard the stories about you and how you fell from the sky. I thought you may be from the same place as me and that you may need help.”
She considered his words for a moment, then tensed again. “No help, me strong,” and with that she leapt at him.
He rolled to the right as the spear came down hard, sticking into the ground, then rolled his body weight into the spear, forcing it from her hands. She was on top of him in an instant, her fingernails clawing at his shoulders as she tried to get a grip on his neck. He got his foot up under her and flipped her up and over him, splashing her down into the stream. He got up quickly while she was disoriented; grabbing her in a headlock, he twisted her down onto her back. He quickly mounted her over her stomach, pinning her down on the side of the stream. The muddy bank under her provided no true leverage for her to buck him off and he pinned her arms with his knees. For a moment her breasts heaved in frustration beneath him as he tried to ignore the rock-hard erection the brief struggle had caused.
Trying to focus, he met her eyes and tried once more to calm her. “Calm down, calm down, I’m not trying to hurt you. I’m a friend.”
Her eyes flashed. “Friends gone!” she shouted angrily and kicked her knee up.
He was thrown off balance and she squirmed out from beneath him, the thin cloth covering her body pulling loose in the struggle. Now he found his back against the bank as she lunged at him again. He kicked up on reflex, hitting her in the stomach, and caught her hair as she stumbled forward. Pulling her down over him, he found himself with this now naked woman kicking over his knee.
He wasn’t sure why he did what he did next but the urge to do so overwhelmed him. Looking at her firm round buttocks and the childish way she kicked her legs and struggled with his grip on her hair, it went from urge to action too quickly to process. He slapped her on the buttocks, then again and again, and as he spanked her he shouted, “Bad girl, you will listen!” Her legs stopped kicking and her response came in a petulant voice. “No!” she quickly spat. He spanked her again, hard enough to rock her forward. “You will listen!” he repeated in a commanding tone.
“No!” she shouted again. Determined, he began slapping her harder and harder, her buttocks flushing a deep red as the wet skin was pummeled by his smacks.
“You…” he smacked her hard, “will…” another smack, “listen…” harder again, “young lady!” He stopped slapping her ass and rested his hand against it, wondering just what the hell he was doing. She was sobbing gently, still over his knee.
Her next words stunned him. “Yes, yes… I… I listen.”
He was massaging her cheeks now, stunned by what he’d just done and by the sight of her in so helpless a position. Absentmindedly his hand began rubbing her legs and then between her legs. He was aroused, so very aroused and she looked so good. Before long he was probing at her sensitive lips, feeling along until he found her clitoris. She didn’t react at first, she just sobbed gently. Then her hips began to squirm and rock against his probing. Tentatively at first, then more and more insistently. Her head leaned back into his hand and her hips rocked harder. He took two fingers and entered her roughly, feeling her hymen break. He deflowered this feral young woman with his hand as she bucked against him, moaning now as her lips, her too-soft lips, parted in the way a woman’s sex did as she gave in to pleasure. He had to get a hold of his senses, but the eroticism of the moment kept eating away at rational thought. “I am your friend,” he groaned out as he felt her tighten around his fingers. “I am here to help you. Will you let me help you?” he asked finally. She was moaning and grunting in a feral way, but through it all she managed to gently cry “yes!” as he brought her to orgasm.
He sat there with her over his knee for a moment, and then carefully slid his hand free and helped her to her feet. She stood there, naked, wet, and shaking before him, but the ferocity in her was lessened. She had one arm across her, just under her breasts, gripping the bicep of the other arm and her eyes, half hidden beneath her now soaked hair, were cast down on the ground. Aside from the natural hairiness that came from a life without basic grooming equipment, she looked fantastic and he admired her for a few moments before stepping closer. She stepped back quickly, seeming frightened by his movement, but he reached out slowly and put an arm on her shoulder. “It’s alright,” he said in a soothing voice. “I won’t hurt you.” He pulled her to him and hugged her warmly. “I’m here to help you,” he whispered to her. “I’m here to take you home.” He felt her trembling in his arms.
They stood there for a moment as he tried to process what had just occurred. After some time the heat had begun to irritate them both and flies could be heard buzzing heavily once more. He pulled away from her and went over to retrieve her clothing. Rinsing it quickly in the water, he handed it to her and watched her dress. Her muscles were firm and developed. Her legs were powerfully built and her abs were so defined, he felt a touch of shame at his own. She had clearly been here a long time and her body reflected a harsh life of survival, of running and swimming and fighting.
Once she was dressed and he had collected his things, he spoke again. “My name is Marcus,” he repeated gently, “what is your name?” Her eyes went wide and she stared at him. Name?” she said as though the word were some horrible monster. “My… my name?” She seemed to panic and quickly turned and ran off into the woods.
“Wait!” he shouted and took off after her, struggling desperately to keep pace as she effortlessly moved through the leaves and uneven terrain. He chased after her as best he could, shouting “wait, please wait” as he ran. Eventually she came to a stop at the rusted-out wreckage of an old plane. The plane had come down hard and there wasn’t much left aside from a few seats. The girl ducked into the wreckage, pulling out a worn bag. He approached cautiously. There were a few dead things rotting near the plane and what appeared to be makeshift graves to one side. He found her squatting down, rifling through the bag. On closer inspection it may once have been a school bag. She finally pulled out some scraps of paper and a worn black case. An old passport. She opened it carefully, as though afraid it would hurt her. He watched over her shoulder as she looked at it. Inside was the dirty picture of a little blond girl, no more than six or seven at the oldest. Most of the words were worn off but the name was still legible, just barely: ‘Elizabeth Morton.’
He looked down at her. “Elizabeth?” he asked carefully. She glanced up, tears in her eyes. “Elizabeth, do you want to go home now?” She hugged his legs, weeping openly now.