The following is a short passage from my recently published Kindle book, The Memoirs of J.W. Bresee: 1897-1906; these memoirs are a fictional set of adventure stories written from the perspective of John Wesley Bresee at the changing of centuries. If you go to the Amazon Kindle store, you’ll find this excerpt in the book’s free preview.
“I jerked awake; I had no idea how long I had dozed off. The rain must have put me to sleep. But there I was, my back still against the tree, knees scrunched against my chest and my arms wrapped around them, sitting in a thick nasty mud and surrounded by darkness. What woke me up? I heard the sound again – a faint screech in the distance, almost like a baby crying. Was that the jaguar that Pedro warned me about? I remember hearing stories from the west; people said that a mountain lion’s cry sounded like a child weeping in the night. I stood up and remembered that I needed to go uphill if I were to make it back to camp, Pedro’s warning that the jaguar was a nocturnal hunter in the back of my mind. Fortunately, the rain had finally stopped and I was only surrounded by a thin, rising mist.
“After an hour of forcing my way through the thick undergrowth, I realized that I should have made it to the river by that time. I tried to shake the inevitable feeling that I was lost, but it was slowly sinking in. I had gone in the wrong direction. I decided to wait until the sun rose before moving again. Being able to see my surroundings would help me figure out where to go.
“A few hours later first light hit the canopy and began to slowly burn off the misty haze that grew during the darkness. Looking around, I did not recognize anything. I was a complete mess too. My pants, along with my shirt, had been torn in multiple places, and there was dirt all over me. Trying to moving my right arm, I only felt a burning sensation on my shoulder. Looking at it, I must have cut it on something pretty badly during the night. In the back of my mind I held out hope that it might heal without becoming infected, but I knew that would not be the case.
“What a night! I had hoped that when I woke up I would be back in the tent with my friends and that all this would have been one bad dream, but that was not the case. It was a horrible night and now I had to deal with it. I prayed to God for some kind of miracle.
“Even though my compass was long gone, I could still get at least the cardinal directions by looking at the sun. It might be my last hope of figuring out some way to get back to the river and returning to Pedro and my fellow missionaries.
“I wandered the Amazon rainforest for what ended up being a week, although it seemed much longer than that, before I made any type of human contact. The cut on my shoulder only got worse and became infected. Puss filled boils formed around the cut after my second day on my own. By the third day I felt illness taking control of my body and my mind. I wrestled with thoughts of what might have happened to Pedro and the missionaries. Somehow I expected that Pedro and the other missionaries searched for me, but I was hopelessly lost nonetheless. I hoped that my friends would make it to the Sewinga tribe and that they would welcome them peacefully. On the fifth day I was drifting in and out of consciousness and wandering aimlessly around the jungle when I had the strength to walk. That was the last day I remember.
“From the bits and pieces of the story I was able to put together, it was most likely May 30 when I first made contact with the Tuhghu. In actuality, they found me. In one of my few lucid moments, I remember leaning against a tree, barely half awake, when a young woman threw a stick at me. She probably wanted to see if I was alive. Judging on how I must have looked, I do not blame her. By then my right arm had become completely immobile. I thought for sure it would have to be amputated just like they amputated my father’s leg. I prayed for mercy from God. Mercy came in the form of this young woman, barely clothed and barely five feet tall. She had finally made her way to me; she began shaking me and speaking a language I did not recognize. That was the last moment I remember.”
Enjoying The Memoirs of J.W. Bresee: 1897-1906 so far? Download the entire book for your Kindle or Kindle app for only $5.99: http://www.amazon.com/The-Memoirs-J-W-Bresee-ebook/dp/B008LWHB60/