As thirst takes over my mind, I hear a noise that doesn't fit with the rustlings of the jungle. I pause and the melodic noise continues. Is that... is that a flute? I must be dreaming.
I clasp my knife in one hand and move cautiously toward the sound. It stops and I wait, crouched, for it start again. When it does start, the music comes from behind me. Confused by the trees and the bird calls and the scamperings, I whirl around, unable to source the haunting melody floating through leaves and greenness that surrounds me.
Rapid footsteps approach the area where I stand and I duck behind a massive fern, peering out cautiously and already feeling like a forest animal myself. A boy no older than myself appears in my sight, walking down a thin weaving trail that I had not noticed in the murky lighting. He is followed by a lady, a burly man and an almost child-sized, wrinkled woman.
"Another has landed," the old woman says. "But he has dropped no supplies."
"Bastard. Idiot. Moron," the man curses into his beard, anger and frustration easily readable on his features.
"Now, Bernard, you have no proof he is any of those things. We know only of the terrible things he has done to us, not of his intelligence level or heritage. Say not of what you know not." The little woman scolded the lumberjack and it was like watching a chipmunk scold a bear. I almost laughed. Almost.
"Of course. Sorry Mother."
"Now where is the child?"
"Child, Mother?" The lady asks, her voice lilting and pleasant.
"The child who landed. A girl of about Milo's age, if I'm not mistaken." The woman rubs her knobbly hands together and cackles a little as the boy, Milo, perks up.
"You know what I wish Mother? I wish you could use your powers to get us out of here," Bernard says.
"Powers? Only the power of observation. I saw her fall to us. And as I have previously said, we are not all here. We cannot leave until all have joined us."
"Is she the one Mother? Is she the last?" The lady's voice is soft, hopeful.
"No. Two more. Two more. Two more and then we can begin our journey.
I fidget behind my leaf, the pain in my stomach getting worse as my thirst claws at it with icy fingers. My eyes watch Milo as he runs a hand through his hair, toffee coloured, says my tired, thirsty and now hungry brain. His questing eyes are getting closer and closer to finding my hiding spot.
"Found her." His voice is soft as his eyes find mine. He points me out to the others and I see no point in lurking any longer. I stand and remove myself from behind the fern.
"Come child." The old woman says. "There are others who would wish to meet you."