Short summary of part 1 of The Inescapable:
An Introvert Jack goes to a remote island for a 7 day excursion with 7 of his friends. He meets Maya on the first day, a cute red haired girl who introduces herself to Jack and they end up becoming friends. The Verilyn Islands are a pair of a small and a large island. The large island is a tourist destination while the smaller island is banned for public as it is supposedly habited by a cannibalistic tribe. Jack and other 24 members in his group will spend 6 more days on the island.
Jack wakes up hungry next morning, walks out of his tent to find out he slept a little too much. Almost all of the group members were out there sitting, chatting and having breakfast while he stood near his tent like a ghost. Some were eating out of a plate while some seem to be eating out of boxes, lunch boxes, Jack thought. The excursion while termed “Camping”, allowed people to carry their own food. For the ones who did not bring any food, the camp had made arrangements for the same. Jack only agreed to join the trip when he was told that he didn’t have to go hunting for food. He saw people grabbing servings from a big pot near the camp fire which was still burning on what was left of the woods from last night. He started walking towards the pot.
“Hey buddy” he heard some girl on his right shout.
The entire time he spent with Maya last night immediately flashed before his eyes. He was ecstatic. He turned to his right calling out, “Hey Maya”. He was in for a surprise.
“Julie, it’s me Julie you idiot”, Julie was one of Jack’s friend who came along. She was clearly upset about being called Maya.
“Oh sorry Julie”.
“Who’s Maya?” She asked angrily.
“I’m Maya”, a voice came from behind Jack. Maya was facing Julie and standing behind Jack with 2 plates in her hands. Looking at Maya, Julie calmed down. She had a liking for her immediately.
Jack turned around.
“Hey Maya, this is Julie. Julie this is Maya” standard introduction.
“Nice to meet you Maya, I’d love to stay and chat but those guys are waiting for me. I’ll let you guys catch up, see you later”, she walked towards the others from the gang, she winked at Jack while leaving.
“It was nice to see you too, Bye” Maya smiled at her and then turned to face Jack.
“So, Mr. Lazy bones, want to grab a bite?” She offered one plate to Jack.
“Is this for me?”
“Well yes, who else is here?”
Jack remembered that Maya was alone on the trip and he was the only person she had actually talked to. He immediately realised that Maya’s reference was actually to the present situation, there was no one standing near them in any direction and felt embarrassed but did not let it show.
“Thanks Maya. Let’s sit there on the log”, Jack took the plate and pointed out the same place they sat last night.
Jack and Maya sat down and talked about how the snoring kept them awake or woke them up from time to time at night. They laughed and chuckled.
“I think our boy is in love.” Julie announced to her gang looking at Jack. She was enjoying watching Maya and Jack having a good time. The gang of 8 had been friends since they were kids, and now Julie had the opportunity to present her golden discovery to rest of Jack’s best friends.
Everyone looked at Maya and Jack, but decided to ignore them after a short glance when Julie said, “Let them be guys, don’t stare”. It was an unspoken rule to always do what Julie says. No one else had that much authority in the group.
It was time to go to the mountains for rock climbing. On the way people were murmuring about how they did not want to go because they wanted to relax rather than exerting themselves. While walking Maya chose to walk with Jack and his friends. Jack introduced Maya to all his friends, Rubin, Aneta, Mike, Nancy, Steve, Emma, and finally to Julie, once again.
“So Maya, what do you do for a living?” asked Mike.
“I am a producer at Channel 9”
“Cool, Rubin here is a producer on BBC”, Nancy joined the conversation.
“Oh, do you have to use the forced British accent while talking?”, Maya asked Rubin.
“Totally, and it’s annoying” Steve reported instead of Rubin in British accent.
The conversation went on for more than an hour till they reached the bottom of the mountain. Maya had heard everything about Jack’s friends by now and she was struggling to match the faces with names and the professions with people. She started making mental notes.
Rubin is a producer for BBC like me. Rubin is the blond guy and the tallest among all.
Aneta, Julie, Emma and Nancy work at a restaurant part time and are studying geology. Thank God for that, else I could never remember who’s who. They all work at the same restaurant and are in the same class. Aneta is blond and wears glasses, Emma is a brunette and wears glasses. Julie and Nancy are both blonds and I cannot distinguish them from clothes as well, damn it red group t shirts. I need to find the difference, but maybe later. Oh wait, I found it, Julie’s shorts are blue, Nancy’s are brown. Good for today to say the least.
It’s so hard to keep up with them.
Mike is an auto dealer and Steve is a software engineer. Mike is a red head like me so it is easy to spot him. Steve is the typical nerdy looking guy with glasses. Done. I know all of Jack’s friends now.
She already knew that Jack lived with his parents while he was studying. He didn’t want to have a job, and lived off his parents money. He was 26 and stopped working after 23 to study. It bugged her a little but after being an intern at Channel 9 herself at 27, she was not supposed to judge. She had just got promoted to producer right before this trip. She was anxious to know what Jack studied though.
“Jack, what do you study?”
“Study? He just sits at home”, replied Steve.
Jack looked at Steve and paused for a moment. He then laughed it off.
“Yes, I sit at home. I am doing my doctorate”, Jack replied “And my dad makes enough money to allow me to sit and be lazy” he continued and began laughing again.
Maya did not know how to react. She was perplexed but eager to know more.
“What is your research on?”
“What can a guy who doesn’t go out much research about?” questioned Steve, who now stood in front of Maya and waited for an answer.
After a lot of thought, Maya gave up. “I don’t know” she said sadly.
“Let it go guys” Jack came for the rescue. “I will tell you later Maya, don’t listen to these morons”, he looked at her and smiled.
“Okay” Maya relaxed. Enough knowledge for the day anyway she thought.
The guides mentioned that the people who do not want to climb the mountain can choose to stay with another guide at the lake. About 15 people did not want to climb the rock which shocked Jack’s gang and the guides as well. It meant that Maya, Jack, his friends and one more guy were the only people going up the mountain today. The ropes were already in place from previous weeks. The loner 10th guy introduced himself to everyone as Henry. They started climbing. Jack was going first and Henry was the second. Behind Henry was Maya. Jack was unable to keep his eyes off Maya, besides being pretty Maya was a sweet and caring person. She had told him about how she was volunteering at senior citizen homes and orphanages, and that she loved helping people. Lost in thoughts, Jack did not hear the shouts from the guide to Stop looking down and keep climbing.
Jack realised that he had stopped climbing which had caused a sort of traffic jam behind him. Jack reached the destined spot where they would all regroup again before climbing further. All other 9 members and the guide were shortly there as well. Jack was in the far right corner of the rock while Maya sat on the other side, she was talking to Henry. The rock was too small to have any space left to walk once everyone was up there. Jack’s heart began racing as he saw Maya talking to Henry.
“That feeling my friend is called jealousy”, it was Nancy from his left.
“What?” Jack heard her but did not want to acknowledge it.
“You are looking at that girl constantly. Right now she’s talking to some other guy and you are feeling insecure. You are jealous”.
“Shut up” Jack snapped at Nancy and began climbing again.
“Hey Jack”, Steve called.
“Maya’s calling you”
Jack immediately turned around to look at Maya who was still talking to Henry. He turned back to Steve in anger and saw that Rubin, Julie, Steve and Nancy were laughing hysterically on him. The guide asked people to regroup and start climbing further. After 5 hours, a lunch on top of the mountain and a rappel downhill the team was walking back to their campsite. Once again all 25 had regrouped but there was just one problem. Henry was walking together with Jack’s group. Jack maintained his composure and kept talking to his friends and Maya from time to time, however ignoring Henry almost all the time.
Back at the camp once again Jack sat down on his spot alone staring at the fire.
“Cool climb right?” Maya asked as she sat next to him.
“What’s up with you, you seemed a little lost coming back?”
“No, nothing like that. I am fine, just a bit exhausted”.
“Oh okay”. Maya replied unconvinced.
After a while of silence. Jack decided to start talking.
Jack thought hard, he wanted to ask her out. He did not have the guts to do so however managed to utter:
“We should go eat dinner”
“Yeah sure, let’s go. They are serving a pie today.”
“The Dinner, it’s served there” She pointed out to the other end of the site. “Let’s go eat”.
Jack knew his was a poor choice of words. Anyone in Maya’s place would have understood the same thing. He decided to ask her out some other time and got up to go for dinner.
“And Jack” Maya called
“I will go out for dinner with you when we are back” Maya replied with a smile.
It took a moment for Jack to realise what had happened. When he did figure it out, he couldn’t stop smiling and blushing. Maya grabbed his hand and said,
“But now, let’s eat. I am hungry”.
Jack followed Maya.
Day 3 and 4 went on quietly as they spent the days exploring the inactive volcano on the island. The inactive volcano was about 400 feet deep and they had to go down on a rope, abseiling. It was the most beautiful site anyone had ever seen. The volcano featured various colourful minerals fused together to form an architecture more marvellous than anything man-made. The gang took thousands of pictures.
On the 4th night, as Maya and Jack sat by the fire which was now the routine. They held their hands together and were staring at the fire, quietly. It seemed they had talked about everything they wanted to and tonight was the night of silence. Maya slowly rested her head on Jack’s shoulder and gently held his hand with both her hands. Jack did not move.
Maya finally broke the silence.
“You know Jack, this is a good time to kiss me”
Jack was once again left astounded. He had been longing to lock lips with Maya but was waiting for their first date which was due next week. He knew by now that he had serious feelings for her and possibly she was the one but he still did not feel like rushing it.
He turned his head towards Maya and they kissed. Their first kiss felt timeless. Nothing could come between them now. Love was in the air. Jack and Maya were enjoying their romance under the moonlight when the silence of the night was suddenly disturbed by a crackling sound. Maya and Jack looked around. They could see no one. The crackling sound seemed like the one made when someone walks over a dry wooden stick and breaks it. There were plenty of such sticks in the jungle, it was infact impossible to walk silently. Over the past 4 days they had seen boars and some snakes no other animals. The guide did mention that there were wolves on the island but they never really came to the camp site. No one knew how the wolves made it there, there was no theory. They scanned the woods curiously and saw nothing.
“Maybe a boar” Jack assured Maya and himself as well.
“Yeah” Maya nodded, yawning.
“We must sleep, it’s late”, Jack replied yawning as well.
“Bye Jack Good night”. She kissed Jack and walked towards her tent.
“Hey Maya” Jack whispered.
“I was jealous of Henry the other day. I am sorry.”
Maya almost laughed out loud. “I know Jack, everyone in the camp knows that”.
“Yes, everyone knows. The group of friends you call your Gang, has not been quite about it”.
Jack put his palm on his face, and gasped “Oh No”
“Oh yes” Maya now laughing harder. She continued, “And one more thing”.
“There’s more?”, Inquired now completely embarrassed Jack.
“Henry is gay”.
“Oh my God. I thought this only happens in movies, I feel stupid.”.
“It’s okay. I liked it. Goes to show you care”. Maya came back to Jack, kissed him again.
Jack walked back to his tent shaking his head in disbelief and murmuring “I am such a moron”.
Both Jack and Maya did not see the 3 men standing in the woods staring at them while they were scanning the surroundings for the source of the crackling sound. They were invisible to them because it was too dark to see them, they weren’t wearing any clothes so they blended perfectly with the darkness of the distant woods. The men then returned inside the jungle once Maya and Jack were back in their tents.
The next morning the guides announced that the tourists were free to walk around and explore the island but they should be back by 5:00 PM. They can carry the lunch with them. They were also instructed the obvious “Do not Litter”.
Jack, Maya, Henry and rest of the 7 friends of Jack were all standing in a corner discussing their plan for the day. Jack could not look Henry in the eye. Maya decided to do something about it.
“Henry, you never told us if you had a crush on one of the guys here”
Jack’s ears twitted as he heard those words. He looked at his friends, they were equally confused.
“Oh Maya, the guy I had a crush on turned out to be with you” Henry replied snorting and laughing.
The ice breaker had worked. Jack had mustered enough courage to apologise.
“I am sorry Henry, I was, you know… ”
“Jealous?” Henry completed this statement.
“Yes”. Jack looked back to the ground.
“It’s cool man. I was jealous of Aneta when I found out she was Rubin’s Girlfriend, after of course I was over you”. He winked at Jack.
Once again everyone started laughing and Jack joined them as well.
“Wait, what?” Maya was in awe. “No one ever told me. You 2 are even sleeping in different tents. I need to know the story right now”.
Everyone realised that they had never told Maya about Rubin and Aneta. They all laughed.
Steve finally assured Maya that she will know it tonight from him after they are back.
“For now let’s focus on the exploration” Steve added.
“Okay”, replied Maya clearly upset. Jack kissed her on the forehead and whispered in her ear, “I will tell you the story while we are walking”.
“So where do we go today?” questioned Nancy
“Let’s go West” Mike and Steve chimed together.
No one had any other plans so decided to go West as well. 10 out of 25 people in red group were going to west of the jungle. They started walking. Jack looked at his mobile device for the first time since he had come to the island. A little monitor in the side said
Total tourist trackers: 75 Active 0 Inactive
Total Guide trackers: 6 Active 0 Inactive
There were 3 flags on the map, red, blue and green marking the camp locations.
He saw 10 red tourist trackers symbolised red “T” walking away from 65 other tourists, he decided to keep an eye on the device continually to ensure safety. Maya was walking next to Jack. She noticed the device as well.
“Don’t worry, we’ll be fine”
“Yes we will be” replied Jack.
He had not discussed with Maya about the uneasy feeling he had been having since morning. He was worried. He was worried about the wild boars and the snakes. An hour went by, they were now completely away from everyone, Jack was constantly looking at his map, keeping an eye on the sea side so they don’t get lost.
Maya and Jack still walking together behind everyone. They saw their friends laughing and chatting while walking ahead of them. Jack kissed Maya. They were smiling at each other when they heard it. The sound came from behind them.
“Stop”, Jack Shouted.
Everyone Stopped. The silence was frightening. Everyone heard it this time. Crack came the sound of the wooden sticks breaking. They looked towards the direction of the sound. Nothing. Then they heard it again. From their right. Crack.
The Group came together.
It got close from all sides. They were soon surrounded.
To be continued:
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