|Jack and the Jungle
Author: Kris Noel PM
An adventurous dive into the thoughts of a young man desperately trying to figure out when his bad luck and recklessness will eventually end his life. His ten near death experiences appear to begin after meeting his dangerous new best friend, Jack Baker.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Friendship - Chapters: 20 - Words: 69,106 - Reviews: 9 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 06-21-12 - Published: 04-28-12 - id: 3017737
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I heard somewhere that a human body is worth forty-five million dollars…whether this is true or not I have no idea. Emily will be dead by the end of all this. How much was her body worth to me? Forty-five million? A billion? The obvious conclusion was that her body wasn't worth anything to me. You put someone else in her body and it would be worthless to me. I didn't want her body back. I wanted her and I wasn't going to get her back no matter how much I paid for it.
All of that seems silly now…all the happy things I wrote about. It seems too pointless. What was the point of all that happening other than to bring me down? I hate when people say it's better to have lost than to have never loved at all or some shit like that. Was it better? The feeling I had was not worth it. If I had never been infatuated with Emily, she'd still be alive. I was a fucking sickness. The same way people die from cancer, that's the same way people die from me. I could feel it flowing through my body and I needed to get rid of it. How can you get rid of something that needs to be permanently attached to you?
Bleed butterflies. I know that statement sounds weird, but what if everyone bled butterflies? Would it still be as horrifying? Dark red, flowing toward the spot you're standing and you know you would back away…get as far away from it as you could. But if it happened to be butterflies. You'd step forward and accept it. You'd try to catch it and hold it in your hand. Unless, of course, you're afraid of insects or something. Everyone has something they're afraid of.
When I made it back onto the yacht, it was very quiet. I knew Jack wasn't dead, however. He was too smart to die from something like that. His life was too complex and important. I know, I know, I can't categorize the importance of people's lives, but it was too important to me for him to die. I'd have nothing. I'd have less than I started out with and that would be disastrous to me.
My footsteps had to be very quiet also, so I concentrated hard on my shoes and eliminating any noise. I was feeling sort of good, you know? I was really happy about what had happened with Emily. I was feeling like nothing bad could happen to me, but of course there was no way I could have known. Bad things always happened to the wrong people. There was the sound of metal hitting the floor, a tin can or something.
Then I heard Ben.
A poem I wrote in high school came into my mind. I'm still self-conscious about my writing…and myself and anything that has to do with myself in general. Maybe one day I won't be like that anymore. Maybe one day I'll have all I need. Maybe one day I'll be able to breathe without any worry. Maybe one day it won't fucking hurt anymore. It gets harder with everything you experience.
It was called Bleed Butterflies. I don't remember how it goes, but everyone made fun of me for it. They didn't get it. They didn't understand.
I didn't get a chance. That's all I'd wish for, one chance. I guess I didn't deserve it and I didn't deserve any other chances either. Why am I the only one in my life who has ever gone out on a limb? Well no more. I'm not killing myself for this anymore. Someone can take a chance on me for a change.
Sorry for this rambling. Even after years pass by, sometimes the pain stays. Sometimes it never goes away.
"Why are you following me?"
I ignored it. It would go away if I ignored it. Something connected with the back of my neck and I felt something warm gently roll down onto my back. I turned around and saw Jack. It was Jack and I was bleeding. It was Jack and I was dying.
All I could manage to do was to smile. I smiled because it was genuine and I meant it. I smiled because a smile had helped me once. Never smile when you don't mean it. It just gives the other person hope.
I remember feeling like I was going to die. It's like opening your mouth to say something, but you can't think of anything to say. Everything is depending on you saying something…saying something will be the only thing to save everyone—say anything. Do it right now. But you can't. You feel so desperately pathetic in your attempts, but nothing comes out. I don't know, that's how near death felt to me.
"This is it. This is how it ends."
Ben was looming over me. It was easy for him to say, because he knew what it felt like. Just trying to breathe was hard enough. I had been there before in a different way, but it was all the same. My heart skipped a beat. Maybe it would be better just to let go.
Then I came to. No, I wouldn't give up that easily. I wouldn't stop until I was satisfied or until I knew it was completely impossible. Nothing is impossible, nothing is worth giving up what makes you happy. My philosophies change almost daily as you'll notice throughout all this, but I think people have to change. People's ideas must change. Shit happens and our thoughts have to evolve. Evolution is survival. I tell myself what I need to hear at any given time. It's how I survive.
It wasn't Ben who was looming over me, it was Jack. I remember opening my eyes and seeing his face being illuminated by the orange haze. I covered my eyes and tried to collect my thoughts. Was Jack Ben? Was I getting them confused? Jack could very well be my sickness.
"Get off!" Jack looked at me calmly and continued to pin my arms down. "Get the fuck off, I'm not fucking around!"
I was screaming at the top of my lungs until he released my wrists. I sat up and rubbed them, still frowning and panting. His hands were covered in blood. I glanced at him with my mouth wide and I felt a deep, deep feeling of shame. It was my blood. Would any of your friends, no matter how much they loved you, put their hands on your oozing dark red blood?
Jack would. He was a rare individual and I was an asshole. I'd never find anyone like that again. He backed up, nearly stumbling onto the ground, and continued to stare at me. It was the only time I ever saw Jack defeated.
It was also the last time I saw him for an entire year.
My head hit the deck and I stared up at the night sky. I don't remember how long I was lying there for, but the stars were spinning faster than you could imagine. It reminded me of car rides home with my parents when I was eight or nine. An hour car ride felt like at least three hours and I would lean back and gaze into the darkness out the rear windshield. I always felt tired and all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and fall asleep. That's what I wanted to do at that moment.
I felt like shit, I felt defeated, I wanted to give up. I made a promise I would get Emily out of there and we would go home. We'd start our lives in a new direction and I'd give up all that shit. I was done.
When I finally gathered the energy to get up, I felt my shirt. My blood had dried and I listened for any noise around me. You lie through your teeth. That's all I heard Jack saying in my mind. I saw him walking behind me, bleeding all over the place. But I wouldn't help him. I'm a fraud. I'm not at all what I seem. I thought the only way to make it all go away was to go back home. I couldn't deal with any more shit.
I saw his blood drip down onto the ground and form into different shapes. It oozed down into the yachts wooden cracks and it stuck to my shoes, so I couldn't move anymore. It crawled up my legs and up my pants until it was just about to touch my skin. I closed my eyes and forced it all to go away. When I opened my eyes the deck was covered with vomit.
I don't remember anything else from that yacht. No matter how hard I try, I just can't bring up anything else. I don't know how I got back. I don't know if Emily picked me up, but I guess she did.
I woke up on the cement with a taxi looming dangerously close to my skull. I felt the back of my head and forced myself to sit up. Emily was kneeling next to me, looking worried. Getting out of the taxi was the fat man with a white bandage wrapped around his neck, stained red.
It all happened so fast. I closed my eyes and the gun went off. It went off so close that my ears were ringing. But I wasn't dead. Emily's body collapsed to the ground and I couldn't breath. The fat man was getting away and all I could feel was the heat from the cement rising into my skin. My backpack was gone, but I didn't care. I had lost everything in less than a day. Jack, Emily, traveling…everything I had. Everything that I needed.
All I could do was run.
I ran away from the shouts of people calling for me. My entire life was about running away and it was going to continue that way for a while. When I was running, I couldn't feel or think. I didn't have anything to think about except for the aching feeling in my lungs and the burning sensation in my legs. I didn't have time to feel the aching in my chest and the strong desire to break down and cry.
I watched the world swirl by in different shapes and colors and the noises were blurred as people yelled at me. Part of me still thinks that I was imagining all of those voices calling for me, but they felt so real. The only thing that made me finally stop was the sight of a phone booth. I grabbed the receiver and called my parents.
That was the first time I cried in about three years.