I needed to sleep. I knew I couldn’t go on much longer if I didn’t sleep.
It had been two-and-a-half days since I’d allowed myself to rest. The air stung my bloodshot eyes and I could feel the dark bags beneath them like swollen bruises. Walking on my tired legs felt like treadi...
<p>I needed to sleep. I knew I couldn’t go on much longer if I didn’t sleep.</p>
<p>It had been two-and-a-half days since I’d allowed myself to rest. The air stung my bloodshot eyes and I could feel the dark bags beneath them like swollen bruises. Walking on my tired legs felt like treading knee-deep through wet cement, but I had no choice. I had to keep moving.</p>
<p>I passed as quietly as I could from tree to tree, listening for the hunter. Hearing was the only sense I could rely on. My biggest problem, other than sleep deprivation, was trying to see through the mass of broad, green leaves and thick, viney, gnarled trunks.</p>
<p>I used to think fear was attending social gatherings or answering the phone. It’s not. Fear is being hunted in a jungle for sport by psychopaths and not being able to see more than ten feet in front of you. The dense canopy above obstructed almost all the sunlight, leaving the jungle in a dim, shadowy glow during the day and in absolute darkness at night. Ironically, these conditions were perhaps the only things keeping me alive.</p>
<p>On the very first night, I found two of the hunters dead in their camp. I was actually lucky to find them when I did. Half an hour earlier, and all three of us would have been dead. Both of their corpses were contorted and crooked, their backs arched in awkward angles and their arms splayed out like discarded ragdolls. Their frozen faces revealed the extent of the pain they’d suffered in their deaths. I thought perhaps they ate some bad fruit, but as I was about to step closer and scavenge their supplies, I saw what killed them.</p>
<p>Coiled near the fire was a long, slender snake with a wide head and small, beady eyes. It hissed and flicked its tongue at me and I could imagine it saying, “Just come a little closer, buddy. You think I won’t kill you, too?” Evidently, these two hunters had no experience in the jungle. Neither did I, but luck had been on my side so far.</p>
<p>The one remaining hunter, on the other hand, seemed to have no problem surviving the dark labyrinth of trees and vines. In fact, there was almost no evidence that the hunter was even trying to find me. Only one indication told me he was still in the jungle: the birds hidden in the higher branches would occasionally take to the sky, squawking and screaming the way they had when I first met the man.</p>
<p>That first day I had been dumped out of a truck, bli...