Episode 13

The next few days flew by. Excavating in the hot sun was draining but rewarding. They found even more relics this time around and with their proximity to the baths, they enjoyed reprieve when needed. Even with the beginning of the fall season just hitting Selvadorada, it was still unbearably warm. With the recent rain storms, the warmness mixed with heavy humidity drew more of the jungles inhabitants out in search of higher, dryer ground. Occasionally though, a cool breeze would take up residence in the area, providing even more respite from the heat.

    On their last day, they laid out all of their findings in attempt to determine what they could easily get back to Selvadorada and what they would have to leave behind.

“Well most of our food rations are gone, we should be able to carry back 80lbs worth of relics between the both of us?” Wyn was crouched near their organized pile of objects, counting and weighing each piece carefully as best she could. 

Gustavo stood beside her eye’ing their findings as well. “I think we should take everything that we can. Anything with big cracks or chips we can leave.”

“What if one of the dinged up cracked pieces is actually a rare relic?” Wyn retorted, looking up at him from her lowered position. 

They might be fake. Neither of us can authenticate anything. I’d rather bring back shit that’s not all crapped up,”Gustavo answered picking up a old ceramic plate while twirling it in his hands giving it a once over. 

“M. I guess.” Wyn mumbled. She wanted to bring everything with them. They had found 15 pieces total, but due to weight and space restrictions they only had enough room to bring by approximately 10.

Over the next hour they organized and prioritized the objects, finally landing on the 10 that they would be bringing back with them to be authenticated by Mathias.

“I love being out here but, damn I am ready for a cold shower and some TV,” Gustavo stretched his back, aching from bending over.

“I could be out here a few more days,” Wyn quipped, packing up the last couple of items into her bag.

“Really? Well, I will go back and you can spend a few more days out in this wonderful wilderness huh?”

“Awe your trying to get rid of me already???” she teased, throwing his unraveled sleeping bag towards him.

Gustavo caught it easily with a huge grin on his face, “Your the one who said you could spend a few days. To be honest, I am getting tired of being bitten by every bug under the sun. These mosquitoes are fuckin killin me,” he replied swatting at his arm. 

Wyn giggled. The bugs had definitely gotten worse since the rains started, so she could agree with him to a point. But still. Being out in the wild felt like home. “Alright well. We have nearly everything packed. You ready to head back?” she asked surveying their campsite one last time. 

“Yeah. I need some real food, and real bed to fuck you on,” he grinned widely.

“Oh you don’t like making love on top of two slippery sleeping bags, under the full moon? With the crickets and other night insects singing around us? I thought it was kinda romantic.” 

Gustavo paused and looked at her amused, “I can be romantic anywhere sweetheart. I’d prefer no bugs though.”he walked up to her wrapping his arms around her waist before pulling her into a long needy kiss.

Wyn broke away reluctantly, her body was on fire with want but they needed to be leaving in order to get to their checkpoint by dark. 

“Down boy. Later,” she giggled giving him a peck on the lips. 

Gustavo groaned, knowing that they only had so much time. “Alright, but when we get to checkpoint. I think I need some lovin from my girl. It’s been like. A whole ass day,” he sighed dramatically.

 Wyn grinned, saying nothing but making sure to swing her hips a little harder as she walked past him. 

“Babe.” he called after her. 

“What?” She turned back in his direction and saw him standing there staring.

“Nonono. I just wanted you to slow down for a sec. Your ass has been looking real good with all this hikin I just wanted to admire for a second,” he winked at her. 

Wyn sucked her teeth and kept walking, feeling happier than she had for a long time.

They made it to checkpoint before dark. Quickly they set up camp, and although they had the intentions of messing around but their hike had tired them out more than they anticipated. They both fell asleep half naked in their tent. The next morning Bronwyn awoke early. So early that the sun hadn’t even risen yet. 

The moon cast a silvery light on their tent, illuminating it only slightly, the noises of the night were starting to fade as the beginnings of bird songs started to fill the air. Gustavo was sleeping soundly beside her, his arm wrapped around her lower body pinning her close. Wyn leaned back and watched his relaxed face for a moment, before kissing him on the lips gently. 

Being in a relationship again was weird. Being in a relationship with him was weirder. Wyn thought back to their first meeting, how exasperated with his arrogance she was back then. Now she knew so much more about him, and found herself liking him more and more everyday that passed. Part of her was still scared that things would change when they got back to the real world. She liked this little bubble they were in, here in Selvadorada, and a small part of her felt like this was as good as it was going to get. It was like she had to enjoy it before it went bad and he got distracted by other women on campus or worse. 

Wyn tried to push the increasingly anxiety riddled thoughts out of her brain, instead trying to focus on the present. They still had over 10 miles of hiking to go before reaching the trailhead, and it smelled of rain in the air. Wyn hoped that if they left early enough, they would be able to avoid the soaking rains that threatened to turn their hike into more than they bargained for.

Unable to move, Wyn simply laid there, daydreaming,  and her mind returned to thoughts of what life would be like when they got back to NU. She was missing her family, and her friends. 

For a split second she thought about Han, and the ….thing that they had. Only for a moment she felt as though she abandoned him and their friendship, but quickly turned the thought out of her mind. She still wasn’t sure if she had forgiven him. Ultimately, none of what happened with Han mattered. She couldn’t change anything, and now she was involved with someone, Han needed to be the furthest thing from her mind. Still she wished she had found her phone, so that she could call her family, check on her parents and Amara, Jasmine and Billie. For a moment her heart ached with longing for the folks she left back home. But even though she missed them, she wouldn’t have given up this opportunity in the world. Things ending up on a positive note with Gustavo was simply icing on the cake.

A few hours later, Wyn re awoke, not realizing that she had fallen back asleep after waking up a few hours prior. She was alone in the tent, and could hear Gustavo outside. He was singing, his voice muffled slightly by distance. It was an unexpected sound and she wondered if he did this often. Suddenly she heard him curse loudly,

“Ay mierda”. Quickly Wyn rose and emerged from the tent.

“Hey, you alright?” she asked eyeing him up and down. 

Gustavo suddenly looked up startled while brushing his bicep with his right hand. “Uh. Yeah. I just got bit by something,” he said with a half annoyed tone. “These fucking bugs. I’m so ready to get out of here,” he complained, scratching at the bite. 

Quickly Wyn made her way over to his side, “Don’t itch it!” she instructed, turning him so she could see the bite clearly. It was small, with what looked like two small pin sized marks. The area was red but not swelling. “What bit you?” she asked concerned. 

“I have no idea, but it fuckin hurts,” he grimaced, reaching to scratch the bite again.

“Don’t itch it! It will spread the toxins and make it itch more leave it alone,” she fussed over him. “Do you remember what it looked like?”

“I don’t know. It was black and orange I think. I dunno what the fuck it was. It’s probably fine. Another goddamn mosquito” Gustavo answered, grimacing in attempt to keep from scratching at the bite. 

“Let’s just hurry up and get outta here.” Wyn looked at him cautiously hoping it was nothing serious. Quickly they finished packing up camp and began their 10 mile hike back to the trail head.

They were about 4 miles into their hike. The ground was soaking wet, slowing them down more than they anticipated and causing them to expend more energy that they had planned for. Gustavo was tired, but he felt absolutely exhausted and his arm was killing him. They had kept up a pretty fast pace despite the hardship of the trail, but quickly Gustavo found himself falling behind Bronwyn.

Try as he might he just couldn’t keep up, his legs felt sluggish, and he was unbearably hot. Normally the heat of Selvadorada didn’t bother him much, they had been out in the elements for so long that the heat was no mind…but now? He was boiling. 

“Bronwyn. Hold on. I need a break,” he called after her. 

Wyn stopped and turned towards him with a questioning look on her face. “Are you o–” her face immediately showed concern and she rushed over to him. “Do you feel ok? You look….green.”

Gustavo shook his head, feeling even more exhausted than he had a few minutes ago. “I’m tired. I need to sit for a second,” he mumbled in reply. Slowly he made his way over to a tree stump and lowered his body onto the ground. Sighing as he relaxed into the a seated position.

Wyn was on him in the next moment, pressing the back of her hand against his forehead. “Gustavo your burning up. Do you feel ok?” alarm was written in her eyes. 

“Uh. Yeah. I’m fine. I just need to sit for a second,” he answered and eyes fluttered. A moment later his body slumped forward, hitting the mossy ground with a muffled thud.

“Gustavo????” Wyn was immediately distraught. His breathing had slowed and there were large green splotches were starting to appear all over the exposed parts of his body. Wyn checked the bite wound and noticed that it had started swelling.

“Shit shit shit shit shit,” she chanted, looking around before ruffling through her backpack for her first aid kid. Frantically she searched for anything related to insect bites. Only finding aid geared towards cuts, scrapes and potential broken bones. With no idea what had bitten him, terror began to overtake her. 

“Gustavo?????” she called again, checking his forehead which was now damp with beaded sweat. “Baby. Please answer me???” she leaned over his frame, praying and hoping that he would say something. Anything. His eyes were shut tightly, he merely mumbled incoherent words in response to her.

Quickly, Wyn pulled their map out of his backpack, they were still about 6 miles away from the trailhead, and she wasn’t sure how much time they had before whatever was affecting him got more serious. Wyn wracked her mind, she didn’t know many herbal remedies, and he was far too heavy for her to try and carry to the Ford. 

Suddenly she remembered the cell that Mathias had given them. Leaving Gustavo’s side only for a moment she rummaged through her bag to find the gently used phone. After powering the device on, she spent a moment waiting for it to boot, hoping that there was some sort of cell signal. There wasn’t. 

“Shit!” tears began to cloud her sight, and she tried as hard as she could to not panic, but she could feel a heavy sense of anxiety settle over her chest. She looked over at Gustavo who was still laying on the ground, mumbling and sweating, the bite mark on his arm now swollen two times over. Wyn tried frantically to remember what she learned in her herbology class back in sophomore year, however her mind was clouded with alarm and she couldn’t think clearly. 

For moment she merely stood there looking down at her increasingly sick boyfriend in a daze. Suddenly she heard the muted sound of a phone ringing. Startled she looked at Mathias’ phone in her hand confused, it wasn’t ringing…where was that sound coming from???? 

Wyn closed her eyes to listen closer, the noise sounded close by. “Gustavo’s phone!!!” she exclaimed out loud identifying the sound and rushing over to his side to search through his backpack and pockets. She found it, half charged in his back pocket, ringing softly. There were no bar’s indicating service but the phone was indeed ringing. Wyn answered quickly before the ringing stopped.

“Hello!?” she nearly shouted into the phone. At first there was no response, a moment later a woman’s voice came over the phone. 

{Allo? Gustavo??? Is this not his cell phone????}. Even though Gustavo would translate for her and had begun teaching her a few words of spanish here and there, she had no idea what the woman was saying, instead talking over the accented voice. 

“This is Bronwyn! Gustavo…h-he…something is wrong!!! He’s been bit by something,” her voice cracked with worry, and she heard the woman say something in response, although she could not understood what was said.

A moment later a child’s voice came on the phone, “Hello?” it sounded like a little boy, “Who is this??? Is this Gustavo’s phone?” the child asked.

“Yes! It is. This is Bronwyn. Who are you???” she asked quickly, trying to move the conversation forward before the call dropped. 

“I’m Diego. My mommy wants to talk to Gustavo,” he answered.

Wyn breathed a sigh of relief, “Diego, does your mom speak english????? Gustavo is really sick, I need to talk to her,” she heard the little boy speak to the woman for a moment, then come back to the phone, 

“Not enough. I translate!!!! I’m good at translating my teacher said I am the best in my class,” he answered cherrily. “Why is Tavo sick?” he asked. 

Wyn sat next to Gustavo on the ground, her heart was beating out of her chest. “I don’t know. He got bit by something,” she heard him repeat what she just said to his mother in the background.

 “What kinda bug was it?! I know about all the bugs in Selvadorada” the boy boasted.

Wyn felt conflicted, on one hand, the kid sounded incredibly cute, but she was worried about Gustavo potentially dying and didn’t really care to much about a young kid who fancied bugs. Diego asked a few more questions, which Wyn answered as truthfully and patiently as she could. 

“OH! I think that is a Black Caravan spider, those are really dangerous…..is Gustavo gonna be ok?” he asked, his voice growing small and sounded even more childlike than it had a few moment earlier. 

“I don’t know. I can’t get him to a hospital. I don’t know what to do,” she confessed, feeling silly for confiding in a child.

“Mommy knows how to make medicine!!!!!” she heard his muffled voice again on the other end of the line mixed with the voice of the woman she had heard earlier. 

A moment later the woman picked up the phone, “Bronwyn. Mi amor. Gustavo speak about you. He sick?” her voice was soothing, and calmed Wyn’s nerves a tiny bit. 

Her english was extremely broken, and it seemed like her son was giving her words one at a time to repeat while he translated. 

“Yes! He got bit by some spider! I can’t get him to a hospital right now, we are out in the—” suddenly she heard the call drop. “Fuck fuck fuck,” she mumbled standing quickly to move to another position. “Can you hear me?!??!?”she spoke loudly into the phone.

 The woman’s voice broke through the silence. “–Si Si. Bronwyn? Need bark of cashew y bone dust,” she stuttered, trying to pronounce the words that Diego had recited to her.

“Is that it??” Wyn asked frantically.

“Si – Si, Y. Ahhh. He drink.” she answered, worried clouded her voice. “You find? Boil, he drink,” she repeated. 

Wyn nodded absentmindedly, looking around her. They were surrounded by what seemed like hundreds of plants.  “Ok. Okay.” she mumbled, absentmindedly scanning the area for the plants that the woman had mentioned. Not hearing a response on the other end of the line, she pulled the phone away from hear ear only to see that the call had dropped. “Shit,” she said out loud. Her eyes moved to look down at Gustavo, who was still sweating profusely.

It felt like Wyn’s heart started beating even more intensely, panic began to set in, and she moved to his side quickly to elevate his upper half. After making sure he was somewhat alright, she set off to find the ingredients that his aunt had mentioned. She wasn’t even sure she would find those ingredients. So she prayed to any and every deity that she thought would listen.

It felt like she had been searching for hours, and nothing. It was quickly growing dark, so she tried to hurry, looking high and low. After what seemed like another eternity she felt a warm breeze waft past her, rustling the leaves beside her. Wyn made no note of it and kept walking and scanning her surroundings. 

“I’m not ever going to find this. Please. …..God? La Madre? Anybody???” she said out loud, tears had begun falling down her cheeks as she began to feel as though she failed. Gustavo wouldn’t make it and she would have to head back to Selva, alone and heartbroken. So distraught, she sat where she stood, covering her eyes with her palms, heavy sobs emanating from her chest.

Suddenly she heard a noise. Her name, coming from the West. Wyn looked up alarmed, was someone else out there with her? First glance said no, but as her eyes surveyed her surroundings, she felt that same gust of wind earlier, rustling leaves loudly in her ear, sunlight glittering into her field of vision. She stood still for a moment, listening, hoping that someone was near who could help her. But deep down she knew that it was only her and Gustavo out in the jungles. 

Another gust of wind swirled around her, blowing leaves, sticks and other foliage into her face. And then she saw it. A tree stretched tall into the air suddenly began to bend dramatically towards the earth. The leaves rustled again. She looked closer and noticed that the tips of the leaves were all pointing south as was the trunk of the tree. “What the hell?” she said to herself, letting her hand rest on the rough brown bark. As soon as her hand met the fleshy bark of the plant, she heard whispering…it felt familiar, the voice did anyway. A mix of her name and other words in spanish that she couldn’t understand, but somehow in her heart she swore that the voice was saying to go where the tree was pointing. So she did.

After a more than a few yards, Wyn came upon a large tree with golden colored fruits hanging from its branches. As she approached, it was as if the tree shivered in anticipation. She placed her hand on the trunk of the tree and again heard whispering, her heart telling her to pluck some bark from its surface. She tried to used her nails to start removing chunks of bark from the face large tree, but her nails were short and the rough texture prevented her from getting a good grip with her bare hands. 

“Fuck,” she mumbled, tears started welling up in her eyes again as she clawed desperately at the tree. Then suddenly she remembered, the knife she had found a few days before. Quickly she felt around in her pockets. Ever since finding it she had made it a point to keep it somewhere nearby, it had become useful in their word days and she had begun to cherish the item. Her hand groped her side pocket and she felt the hilt of the blade. 

“Thank god…or goddess? Ugh, whoever you are,” she breathed, removing it from its enclosure before placing the blade on the trunk of the tree. Apologizing profusely, she was about to tear off nicely sized pieces of bark. 

“I’m sorry. I need this. Thank you,” she mumbled, showing appreciation for the bit of life in front of her. Once she had collected a satisfying amount.. She stood underneath the tree, hoping for another gust of wind, for more plants to point her in some sort of direction. This whole situation was making her feel unhinged and anxious, and she was itching to get back to Gustavo. Where the hell was she going to find bone dust? Then a thought occurred to her, they had found several bones on their last dig, she had fussed with Gustavo about keeping them hoping that they were authentic, even if the thought of them potentially being human remains was a bit creepy. They were in Gustavo’s backpack.

Wyn ran back to where Gustavo lay, now in a puddle of sweat. Quickly she opened the section of his backpack that held the relics they had acquired the day before. Lo and behold there were the bones that they had found along with the walkie-talkie that Mathias has given them. Wyn pulled the items out of the bag, and went searching through her own equipment to find a small metal cup and a mostly empty canteen of water. 

“Fuck, I need to refill this,” she mumbled to herself, dumping the ingredients she had found into the small vessel with the remainder of the water. Hurriedly she built a small fire, placing the small cup in the burning embers hoping that the water would boil and quickly. She pounded the bones and bark into a chunky powder using a heavy rock then added it to the boiling water. 

As she waited she tinkered with the walkie, attempting over and over again to get a call to go through. It seemed as if it were sending a transmission, but every time she spoke there was dead silence on the other end. In a last attempt she made a final call, giving her coordinates. Hoping that someone heard the message and would make their way towards them.

Sitting next to Gustavo she started stroking his cheek. His skin still felt feverish and he was mumbling under his breath, incoherent words that could have been english or spanish. She wasn’t sure how long to boil the ingredients so she tried to wait as long as she could before removing it from the fire to cool. Once it was tepid enough, she lifted Gustavo’s head into her lap, opening his mouth just enough for the liquid to pass through his lips. He drank deeply, coughing occasionally as the warm drink slid down his throat. When the cup emptied, she sat there, holding him.

Desperate she started to pray to whatever god would listened. Slowly her words began to gravitate towards La Madre, the deity that Gustavo’s family worshiped. What else could she do? She didn’t believe, she wasn’t even sure if he believed in her, but it felt right, and so she continued.

One thought on “Episode 13

  1. […] A massive thunderstorm has hit Selvadorada. Selenis wakes up from an odd dream. Read more… Bronwyn occupies herself with Gustavo away. Selenis and Mathias make an appearance. Read more… Bronwyn meets Selenis Chadda. Mathias is caught in a bind. Gustavo gets ready to head back to Selvadorada. Read more… Bronwyn hasn’t been answering her phone, and Han is desperate. So he puts a plan into motion.  Read more… Han heads over to Eric’s place. Gustavo gets a phone call as he heads back to Selvadorada. Read more… Gustavo makes it back to Selvadorada and finds Bronwyn fast asleep. Later that night they head out on their first “real” date. Read more… Wyn and Gustavo reach their destination. Read more… Mysterious happenings at the Chadda Farm. Read more… Wyn and Gustavo continue their game of Truth or Dare.  Read more… Selenis makes home and runs into a surprise guest. Read more… Bronwyn and Gustavo visit Mathias. Read more… They head out on their second excursion and find a glorious sight. Read more… Bronwyn and Gustavo encounter some terrible luck. Read more… […]


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