He breathed so heavily. His heart raced. But that wasn’t the only thing racing. His legs carried him as fast as they could go, running as far away from this place as possible.
A giant green leaf slapped him in the face. He pushed some more leaves and branches to the side, escaping deeper into the jungle.
His name was Ray. Doctor Raymond Smith. But not the medical doctor. Although he did specialize in biology and anatomy. He was a scientist doctor. Fresh out of grad school. Took the first job offer he got.
He should’ve kept searching.
“You can run but you can’t hide!” called a male voice from behind the trees, somewhere behind him.
Ray ran deeper into the jungle. It was a decent size island. Less than 20 miles off the coast of Hawaii. A privately owned island. But he knew sooner or later he’d get to the other side. Once he got there, he still didn’t know what he’d do. He had to figure this plan out as he went.
The only way on or off this island was at their one and only dock, which was back the way he came. Ray remembered seeing a helicopter landing pad near their main facility too, but even if there were a helicopter there, he had no idea how to fly it.
The Hawaiian islands were too far to swim to. Maybe he could make a canoe out of a fallen tree or something, and use a makeshift paddle to slowly make his way to freedom. That was, if he could make it to a hidden beach somewhere, before they found him.
“Where are you?” mocked that voice again.
Ray had to stop. He leaned against a coconut tree, catching his breath. He had the worst cramp. He really needed to get in better shape, he thought to himself. Not that he was necessarily out of shape. But at this moment right now, he wished he’d been training to be an Olympic runner.
“Oh Doctor Smith… come out, come out, come out wherever you are!”
The voice was getting closer. He had to keep moving. He’d have to catch his breath later. He’d rest as soon as he found some place to hide.
Maybe an old lava tube cave in the mountains somewhere. Or maybe he’d find a really big banyan tree he could climb and hide up high in.
For a fleeting second, he thought about just giving up. Just surrendering. Facing his certain fate. Letting it happen to him.
It wasn’t exactly the life he planned. But … was all this running and hiding only delaying the inevitable?
No. He had to keep moving.
His muscles were on fire. His heart pounding against his chest. He looked around. He went for the deepest, densest, thickest part of the jungle.
He had to escape.
He just had to.
He ran for another ten minutes until he finally collapsed into some shrubs alongside a sparkling stream. His muscles refused to move another inch. They were spent. All strength and stamina gone.
He laid there, hidden beneath the frilly leaves, wondering just how closer his pursuers were. He waited, silently, breathing as quietly as he could. He listened carefully.
He heard the trickling of the nearby water. Birds singing. But footsteps? Any footsteps? Voices?
He apparently had managed to escape.
As he laid there exhausted, in too much pain to move, he tried catch his breath and slow his heart. He looked up through the giant green leaves above his face. The sun peeked through. It was so beautiful here.
But this tropical paradise had quickly become his nightmare. He thought back over the events that brought him here, to this very hiding spot in the middle of the jungle on some God-forsaken island.