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from Assassinato Selva by Steven Smith

Copyright © 2019–2020 Imogen McKenzie

Chapter 7

It had been a cold night, Katie woke and could see the condensation trickling down the sides of her tent, she could already feel the extensive heat pouring in from the outside, wrapping up warm during the night now backfired, as Katie was a rush with overwhelming warmth from the sleeping bag and blanket that she had draped over herself. 

Outside she could hear the strange and wonderful noises of the jungle, birds, and insects creating a musical alarm. The powerful beams of sun lighting up the tiny tent as Katie furrowed around looking for her bottled water, she needed to open up the tent or at least get out of it as the air was very dry. 

A quick gulp of water and Katie grabbed her boots, after giving them a quick shake she proceeded to put them on as quickly as she could, no need to tie the laces, she would be roasted by the time all that had been accomplished. 

The tent zip whizzed down without a snag, that was the last thing she would have needed in this blistering heat, the sun blinding poor Katie as she gasped for air, this morning sun was brutal, to say the least. 

The tree's had given little shade to the group's tents, lesson learned about pitching position for the next few nights Katie thought to herself. Shading her eyes with her hands she looked around, no one else was up yet. In fact, there was a tent missing. "What the?" 

Katie was shocked to discover the missing tent was that of the tour guide, it must have been done in a hurry, tent pegs and drabs of empty bottles and cans remained where the tent was pitched. 

Katie quickly tried to wake the rest of the group, Vicky was first to respond, a glassy-eyed gaze with hair shooting in a million directions greeted Katie from the entrance of the tent, "Why are you shouting? Seriously, Katie, it's like... way too early." 

"The guide has upped and left, his tent isn't here," Katie sounded panic-stricken as she tried to alert every one of the potential dilemmas. 

A loud groan could be heard, followed by a grizzly yawn that lasted a very long time, Edith was disgruntled at the fact she had been woken. "Which of you selfish bastards has woke me up?" Edith, of course, uncertain which of the three had disturbed her sleep. 

"Edith, have you spoken with the tour guide this morning?" Katie asked cautiously knowing Edith could well become super defensive. 

"What? No you crazy bitch, I was fucking sleeping until your dumb ass woke me with your whiny voice." 

"Fuck you, Edith," Katie snapped back furiously. 

Vicky bit her bottom lip, she knew if Katie swore, then she really meant business. She was not one to lose her temper or curse, but when Katie did, by gosh! Watch out! 

"I'll kick your scrawny arse ya dumb blonde," Edith remained in her tent but made a plausible threat. 

"The tour guide has gone, his tent and belongings have gone, he has disappeared overnight," Katie continued to explain the situation to the unaware group. "Has anyone seen him other than last night? Keeley are you in there?" She rattled the material of Keeley's tent. "Okay, okay, I'm awake," Keeley sounded grumpy. 

Katie continued to scour the empty area, hoping the guide may have left something behind to give a clue as to where he may have gone. 

Vicky was now zig-zagging barefooted out of her tent, still wearing pyjama bottoms and a blue vest top, she yanked a brush through her tangled hair, grimacing with each knot that halted the brushes path. 

"Maybe he went to find water or fruit from the jungle," Vicky gave a possible theory. 

"What, and leave us here alone? And why would he pack up his stuff?" Katie scowled in disgust at her friend's suggestion. 

"I dunno then, geez Katie, just like chill out or something," Vicky sat herself down cross-legged on the ground by the unlit campfire. 

"Yea Katie, give it a rest will ya?" Edith piped up and the zip on her tent slowly came down, she appeared from her slumber, raccoon-eyed mascara smeared across her cheeks. A long t-shirt embossed with some heavy metal band's logo across the front covered her dignity. 

"Are none of you concerned that the only person who can take us to the temple has now deserted us?" Katie seemed baffled that no one seemed to be bothered by his vanishing act. 

"Come on Katie, we are all experienced at trekking through wilderness and reading maps," Keeley pointed out that the group's annual trips were indeed about adventure and hiking through vast terrains. 

"Yea, maybe so. But this is a JUNGLE in South America. It's not Mount Snowdon Keels." 

"Look, just cause your boyfriend ditched you, it's not gonna stop us carrying on, it'll be fun. You know what fun is don't you Katie?" Edith chirped up in her usual sarcastic tone, Katie was about to reply but Edith interrupted cutting her off before any words could leave her mouth, "Or maybe not." 

"He's not my boyfriend Edith, keep your stupid remarks to yourself, you really aren't helping." 

Edith flipped her a middle finger and grabbed a pack of cigarettes from her pocket, she plonked herself down on a rock behind Vicky. 

"Giz a ciggie Ede," Vicky held out her hand, Edith acted like she hadn't even heard her and took a few long draws from the now lit cigarette. Vicky fluttered her eyes, "Please?" She said trying to be as cute as a button. 

"Bite me!" Edith snapped. 

Vicky gave a smirk and stopped brushing her hair, she then leaned forward and half bit Edith's thigh, 

"Hey! Get off," Edith jolted her leg away and snarled at the biter. "What? You said it," Vicky again fluttered her eyes and smiled at Edith. "Geez, have a damn ciggie, just stop being all weird on me," she tossed the box of cigarettes in Vicky's lap and stood up abruptly, Vicky joyfully grabbed the box and proceeded to light one up using Edith black lighter, which had conveniently been stuffed into the box alongside the cigarettes. 

Katie was still pacing and the worry in her eyes was clear for all to see, "What the hell are we gonna do? I think we should head back right away." 

Vicky inhaled the smoke as she began to speak, "Like Keeley said," exhaling the smoke as she continued, "We are experienced enough to handle this, you should have more faith in the gang hunny. That's your problem, you worry way too much." 

"Anyways, think of all the energy you'll save, now that you don't have to flick your hair back and forth for Federico," added Edith, the other two girls broke out into laughter. 

Katie was shocked by Edith's comment, and she quickly gave an angry pout, her eyebrows sunk down into a V shape. 

Keeley smiled across at her cousin, but it did little to comfort Katie's frustration and slight embarrassment. 

Over the next hour or so the group sat discussing their route to the temple, despite the lack of their tour guide. They estimated it would take a few hours to hike up and over to the open plan temple. The beautiful ancient landmark was well hidden in the massive jungle terrain, they all knew though it would be worth it, and it was, in fact, the last stop of the adventure getaway. After that, t...

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