The ringing woke me. I tried to turn over and slap the alarm clock into silence but I must have slept on my arm as it would not move. I mumbled an obscenity at the clock, willing it with my fuzzy, sleep-addled head to stop its infernal ringing – it was making the dull throbbing pain behind my eyes angry. I tried to lift my other hand to rub it across my temple but it refused to cooperate as well. The voices on the radio were odd and incomprehensible.
Except I had no radio.
My eyes snapped open and immediately I knew I was in serious trouble. For one thing the world was upside down and strange, half naked, half human figures swam sickeningly into view dancing on the floor which was where the sky should have been. I couldn’t move my arms and legs and every attempt just sent the crazy upside down world swaying and swinging about my head.
“Whazrapnn?” I slurred.
One of the half human things turned to face me, if the wild shaggy blur in front of me was a face, and said something in a language I didn’t understand. The others howled as he finished and he reached down into the sky and came back with a fearsome looking knife.
“Wzzyrgndo?” I said, my mouth full of cotton wool.
He came towards me. I lost sight of the knife. My nose was full of the stink of sweat and blood and fear. I struggled and thrashed around as he closed in on me. There was a terrible slicing sound and I felt myself go limp.
Nothing for the longest while.
Then a gasp. Soil and dirt was in my mouth and eyes. I spluttered and coughed. A foot cannoned into my unsuspecting guts and I retched hard. Hand grabbed at my arms locked behind me and pulled me to my feet. A bucket of cold, stinking water was thrown into my face and I retched more as I fought for air. My eyes opened and I could see the world was the right way up. My feet and hands couldn’t move and I realised they were bound. Hands behind me held my arms tightly, holding me upright.
Above me swing a rope with its end sliced through, I guessed I have been tied there and cut down. The world was dark; night time. Last thing I remembered was going to sleep after talking to Jeremiah. Jeremiah! I looked around as best I could but couldn’t see him. I appeared to be in a small clearing lit by a flickering. Apart from whoever was holding me from behind, one of my captors was stood in front of me, small and stocky with nothing on bar a loin cloth and grass fright mask fashioned in such a way as to resemble an octopus with an ape’s snarling face.
“Oo ar yu? Wa d yu wan?” I managed to say, my voice thick and far away.
The creature in front of my said nothing, only stared at me for the longest time before slowly moving towards me, pushing his hideous mask into my face. He barked and shouted at me and pushed me backwards. The hand holding me dragged me back up and my assailant span on his heel and set off into the darkness. A sharp poke from behind told me to follow him and I was half-marched, half-dragged into the jungle and, I feared, to my fate.
To be continued…