The Diary of Professor Jayne
I should start by telling you that I did not score any points in the first round of the NYC Flash Fiction Competition for my story "Secret Shopper". But now onto Round Two.
This months assignment: Action/Adventure, in a Jungle involving Butterscotch Candies.
The Diary of Professor Jayne
Professor Jayne and Saul have found the long lost golden idol only to be turned around in the jungle as they try to return to civilization.
The key to their survival seems to hinge on a simple bag of butterscotch candies.
October 17th -
To say I fancied myself in the same category as Indiana Jones would be overstating my true understanding of being an archeologist. With that said, as I sit here in this lush green jungle holding a golden statue unseen by man in over a thousand years, I do remember why I chose this career.
We’ve already been here three days longer than I expected. I was certain we would have found this ancient ruin a few days ago, but I am not worried. Our food supplies are thin, and I’ve been tempted to tear open that bag of butterscotch candies, but I know that they are part of the payment still owed to our village locals who will help to us return home. My compass has us moving in the right direction and I expect to be back to civilization in two, three days at the most.
Legend of the idol always stated that finding it would not be easy but worth it. If you could find it, your life would change forever. Stories tell that people have returned empty handed while other do not return at all. But now I, Professor Richard Jayne have not only found it, but I will bring it back for the world to see.
Is it unmanly of me that I want to cuddle all night with this intricately carved statue? Saul just laughs at me every time he sees me gazing at this fiercely sculpted, muscular man covered with etched tattoos. I just can’t seem to help it. I have been on the hunt for this elusive artifact for half a decade and Saul only joined my journey seven months ago.
October 19th -
It seems as if we’re no closer to civilization than we were two days ago. Up at dawn, traversing over what seems to be the world’s tallest mountain is only the beginning of what has us off course and somewhat disoriented. Yesterday I woke to an uneasy feeling of being watched. When I spoke with Saul he calmly reassured me that we were surrounded by wildlife. He was certain that he heard baboons come unusually close to our camp. Something had rustled in the night and left the animals screeching. Saul is the jungle expert so when he tells me not to worry, I follow his lead. Though occasionally he likes to spin tales of cannibals and lost tribes.
We wound our way along a riverbed but had to veer off the path when the brush became unruly. Overgrowth and the sound of large animals continued to push us further west, away from where we needed to be. Even now in the middle of the day, it is as if there were something stirring the jungle creatures into a frenzy. Saul reminded me that deforestation has been pushing animals of all sizes deeper into the jungle. I admit, I fear waking to a tiger or a gorilla pinning me down.
It had been a close call when I tumbled down an embankment, but Saul was the hero who pulled me back to safety. A pounding heart and a few scrapes are all that I have to show for it.
October 20 –
Another night survived, though I slept little as I heard the jungle come to life despite the driving rain. Packed up, we are determined to find the village today.
October 23… I think…
I’ve lost track of the days now, we did not find the village as Saul and I hoped. The past days are a blur but I will try to recount them the best that I can. We left our camp and headed east vowing to stay the course no matter what stood in our way. Unpassable routes and wildlife with no fear of man were all on the menu that day. But what I hadn’t expected were the tall, caramel skinned women with tattooed faces carrying spears and wearing little more than animal pelts. Fierce does not begin to describe those who had appeared out of nowhere.
When they had finally chosen to make themselves known to us, they attacked. Forcing us to run for our lives till even Saul could not evade them. Tripping over thick greens and breaking through brush as the women seemed to stay on our trail wearing us down. We tried to fight, to talk and even beg but they overtook us. Beating us down till they bound and gagged us and dragged our exhausted bodies to their hidden village.
Two days later….
I feel I am out of time to tell you the entire story. They separated us, Saul is being held elsewhere. The clothes on my back and this journal are all I still have. They took the idol and the bag of candies from me. I can see them from my cage here, sitting around a small camp fire enjoying the candies like some fancy delicacy.
That idol was something I thought had not been seen by humans in centuries. I was wrong. This tribe of women had seen it, created it, planted it. I think I have it figured some of it out. These women are of the same complexion and have the same tattoo designs as the men in the village, they are of the same tribe. The men perpetuate the legend of the idol. Telling Westerners to bring butterscotch and other creature comforts as payment for directions to the treasure. Those of us fit and smart enough to locate the idol are then captured by the women and brought back here, enslaved for reasons I have not yet figured out. Is it simply amusement or is there something more sinister coming. Could Saul’s late night tales of cannibalistic tribes be true?
I am not sure how long I am fated to live. But I venture to guess it is related to the number of butterscotch candies left in the bag.
** The results of Round Two will be in about a month. I'll keep you posted. Any thoughts you have on this submission, I'd love to hear them.**