Staring at the Sky

Photo property of Cheri Lucas Rowlands (www.dailypost.wordpress.com)

Photo property of Cheri Lucas Rowlands (www.dailypost.wordpress.com)

Well, here it is. I didn’t think this would be how it would all end, but I can’t say that this is unexpected. I brought this upon myself.

I’m the one who jumped.

It was just supposed to be another day of fun in the sun, hiking through the trees, swimming in the shallows, and enjoying the company.

The day started off with Jess and I tying the laces on our boots, staring in each other’s eyes. She packed up our lunch, and I grabbed the waters. We’d heard about a trail by some locals that let out onto a secluded beach where we could have a picnic and a moment alone.

I don’t think I’ve seen more beautiful colors in all my years.

The blues were so bright, the greens so vivid I didn’t think it was possible. Back in the states, it’s hard to find a place so untouched by modern civilization. Jess couldn’t stop taking pictures. Every few seconds I could hear a click, letting me know she’d found something she would always want to remember.

That’s the photographer I’ve grown to love. This vacation started out as a week trip on location for a shoot turned into a month long romance with a new city. I’m still not sure just where we are, only that it took three different planes, a few boats, and hours and hours of hiking to get to where we are. She keeps telling me she wants to build a house here, to make it our vacation destination, but I don’t know how to go about that.

She keeps saying she knows a guy who knows a guy, but we all know how that ends.

Our hike took a few short hours over some tough terrain that we didn’t expect. It opened up into a private beach, but one that was already inhabited. We’d entered a world we should have never come across. The world you only see on the news or hear about in passing. I made Jess keep to the shadows, to move slowly and quietly back the way we came, and while she was backing up, she stepped on a twig, alerting those around us to our presence. I was the only one visible, so I stepped out of the tree line.

I tried to distance myself from Jess, and hoped they hadn’t spotted her. She stayed where she was, and on my only glance back in her direction, I waved her back, hoping she would go get help. Two men ran up and grabbed my arms and dragged me out in the open towards the house. Large crates littered the sand along the shoreline, men in black stopped and stared while I was unceremoniously dropped in front of a man with a balding hairline and expanding waistline.

He spoke in a language I couldn’t understand, which only seemed to piss him off. He slapped me across the face with the back of his hand, his ring scraping a bloody line across my face. The blood slowly leaked down my face, a little settling in the corner of my mouth. I tried to wipe it off, but my hand was caught, and I was once again manhandled. This time, I was taken back through the trees. There was no sign of Jess, and I can only thank my lucky stars that she got the hell out of dodge.

We took a different turn, going down a path I couldn’t recognize, and I tripped over everything in my path. My captors didn’t seem to care, as they’d just haul me up and push me forward. After what seemed like hours but was probably only a matter of minutes, the scenery opened up to a cliff. I guess they really do get rid of all loose ends and witnesses. Maybe I could survive the fall.

It seemed like this was a regular occurrence with these people. Like random locals stumbled upon them all the time and they knew just how to get rid of them. A guy holding a large gun prodded me in the back, pushing me closer and closer to the edge. My toes hung over the edge, and as I stared into what I thought would be my death, I couldn’t help but feel like this could be a new beginning. What was going to stop them from just shooting me in the back? Nothing.

And so I jumped.

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7 thoughts on “Staring at the Sky

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