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Survival

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Isla Nublar, 120 Miles West of Costa Rica

 

 

Jack Grayson tugged the collar of his yellow raincoat closer as he tapped at the pad in his hand, cursing as the rain water caused a barrier between his fingertip and the keys. He had been warned how suddenly the tropical storms could occur in this region but knowing about it and dealing with it were two different things. He wasn't used to field work, he was a hacker by trade, comfortable in an office behind a computer screen but this had been too good an opportunity to turn down.

Jack was relieved when he heard the voice of sub-pilot Dave in his ear. “Specimen collected and sent to the surface.” At last the mission was coming to an end.

Jack wasn't exactly in an enviable position, he was crouched before a mains control box which he had his electronic computerised pad linked up to, using it to hack into the system which controlled the gate to the lagoon. He was completely exposed to the elements and many unseen things roaming free in the shade of the trees.

Jack pressed his microphone closer to his ear so he could be audible over the storm. “Roger that.” He turned back to the waiting helicopter and called to them through the mike. “Air One clear for take off, begin tracking.”

“Copy that,” the helicopter's pilot retorted as the chopper's blades roared to life.

“Go! Go!” Jack urged impatiently as he waved them upwards. The rain was coming down fast and heavy, blinding him repeatedly as the wind turned its fall horizontal.

“Tracking on.” The helicopter lifted into the air.

With the helicopter away Jack suddenly became aware of how alone he was. Even the floodlights weren't much of a comfort, as they were mobile and designed to be set up in haste they weren't really that bright and stood so tall the light they gave seemed a little too far away.

Hearing an odd chirp and leaves rustling, Jack turned sharply to gaze into the jungle fauna with fear. Lightning flashed showing nothing but palm leaves as the thunder rumbled overhead. Jack swallowed hard, scorning himself for coming here in the first place. His sister Samantha would be spitting fire if she knew he was here, she'd rarely spoken about the place since the 2015 incident.

“Land One. Yes it is secure, we got what we came for.”

Jack filled with relief hearing the helicopter pilot's stoic voice.

“We're coming back to you, close the doors,” the co-pilot ordered him firmly.

Jack tightened the lead connecting his pad to the mains box before him. “Marine One I gotta close the gates, get outta there,” he ordered, trying to sound as stern as the guys on the chopper. They were proper mercenaries, with them Jack felt like a pretender. He was the tech guy, they were the guns and pilots.

“Understood, we're heading out,” came the cool retort from below.

Jack didn't envy the marine men, the thought of being down below so deep in dark waters with who knew what gave him a thrill of terror. Of course the irony was that they were dry unlike him. He swiped away some of the rain from his face in a futile gesture.

The pad suddenly started beeping loudly and flashed up 'SIGNAL LOST' in bold, red font. Jack felt a fresh rush of fear as he called out, “Marine One I need to close the gates,” he tugged his microphone close again, “confirm position. Can you hear me?” he queried, letting his frustration slip into his voice. “Are you out?”

He wondered if a technical error had happened, wouldn't that just be typical? Right at the crucial moment technology failed them.

“Marine One?” the co-pilot of the helicopter called out with more calm than Jack. “Guys?”

“Marine One I'm closing the gates,” Jack informed them firmly. It was glitch, it had to be and he had no time to waste on it. He activated the gates that led from the lagoon to the sea.

There was a loud creak followed by the sound of a warning buzzer accompanied by flashing green lights as the gates started to slide closed. Jack filled with relief, well at least something was working right. He wiped off some of the water from the pad, taking in the yellow message that confirmed the gates were closing, reading at 20%.

“Seriously guys I'm kinda exposed out here,” Jack called, letting some of his anxiety creep into his voice. “Marine One,” he said again in frustration, “confirm your route. Marine One! Confirm position, can you hear me? Marine One where are you?”

Hearing yells, Jack turned again, squinting as the white beam of the helicopter's light hit him in the face.

The mercenaries on board were shadows outlined in the dim red light that came from within the helicopter. They were yelling and waving but Jack couldn't make out what they were trying to say. He figured they were growing fed up waiting on the sub guys as well and blaming him for the delay.

Jack stood up, glared back at the men and shouted out angrily, “I can't reach them!” They continued to yell in unison prompting Jack to snap, “what?”

There was another flash of lightning followed by thunder, only this rumble sounded different to the ones before it. It was closer and lingered, almost like a growl. Jack turned round in surprise, facing blackness in confusion.

Fed up, soaked, tired and on edge, Jack turned back to the helicopter and shouted, “what is going on?!” He gestured to his headset pointedly. “I can't hear you!” Why weren't the using the correct communication, why were they shouting at him idiotically in a storm for Christ's sake?

Jack felt it before he heard it. The ground quivered beneath him as another growl came, this time mixing with the rumble of thunder. He yanked down his headset, not wanting to be hindered by it anymore and dared to turn around again but this time he moved slower, filling with dread at what might be there as he hoped for darkness again.

The lightning flashed, illuminating the nine ton predator that had sneaked up on him despite its huge physique. It towered above Jack, forcing him to crane his neck upwards to confirm he was really seeing what he was seeing. A Tyrannosaurus-rex was there in the flesh. Jack couldn't believe it, he couldn't even take it in, all that was filling his mind was fear.

Jack let out a scream and the beast lowered its head slightly to roar back, immediately drowning him out with its battle cry.

Jack tore the pad free from the mains box, turned and started to run, his eyes growing wide in disbelief as the helicopter took off, abandoning him to preserve the men already within. Hearing the sound of sparks behind him, Jack glanced back to see that he was being pursued as the dinosaur knocked over the mains box like it was cardboard.

Jack reached a hand up to his cap to push it down at the back so the visor was out of his face. He dropped the laptop without a thought, his gaze back on the helicopter as he shouted, “oh God please don't go!”

He ran as fast as he could as rain continued to pelt him. Twice he skidded on the damp slippery ground. He felt the light of the chopper as he entered into the beam that fell on the ground and he turned a desperate gaze upwards, it was so high.

A ladder dropped down and became Jack's sole focus.

The ground beneath him trembled as the ladder swung wildly back and forth in the wind. Jack stretched his arms out for it desperately, crying out, “please don't go!” The ladder evaded his grasp as it swung to the left out of reach.

“Oh no!” Jack yelled as he felt the tremors worsen beneath him and flailed his arms vainly. He felt a rush of heat behind him before there was a loud snap of powerful jaws.

There was an upturned jeep before him, a hindrance but perhaps helpful too. Jack dodged round the left side of it and sprinted on, all the while repeating, “no, God no.”

His feet skidded again in a large puddle and as he tried to right himself he glanced back in time to see the beast toss the jeep away with its powerful muzzle. He yelled again as he continued to run, awkward but fast on his feet, determined to stay in the light of the helicopter.

The white beam was as jittery as the ladder, darting back and forth as the helicopter tried to evade the Tyrannosaurus but keep Jack within sight, all while fighting to maintain balance in the ever worsening storm.

“No wait! No! No! No!” Jack screamed as he ran in a frenzy.

Jack had run out of road.

The ladder scraped over the stone steps leading up to the lagoon and Jack followed, not even thinking as he mounted the steps feeling that terrible rush of hot air on his back letting him know just how close death was.

Jack jumped as another loud snap of teeth sounded behind him. His hands grasped a metal rung as he hit the water up to his waist with a loud splash. The cold water barely fazed him as he was already in shock.

There was a much louder splash as the Tyrannosaurus pursued its prey into the water head first, its feet only just pausing at the edge of the lagoon. It raised its head and roared as it shook off the water in frustration.

Jack reached one hand up to the rung above, attempting to climb as the helicopter rose, bringing him up from the water. His hat was gone exposing his face to the elements and he struggled to see as the rain beat off his face.

He let out a weak laugh and dared to cry out, “oh yeah,” as he heard the Tyrannosaurus' roar of annoyance behind him. His respite was short lived.

The ladder tensed up and Jack felt himself drop down. He turned back in horror with another cry of, “oh no.”

He squinted in the darkness and the rain, his brain struggling to make sense of what was going on. His hands were still on the rungs, holding on tight despite them being slick with rain but yet he was moving down not up.

The beam of the helicopter shone onto the Tyrannosaurus and its mouthful of ladder.

Jack continued to cry out as the ladder was jerked back and forth mercilessly as the dinosaur tried to pull the ladder free. It squinted at the light of the helicopter in irritation and let out a snarl as it stepped back into the shadows, pulling the ladder with it.

Jack glanced up at the helicopter wondering why his companions weren't helping. He saw the red warning light flashing and glimpsed two faces, one of fear for him and one empty of emotion. He glimpsed the large knife in the co-pilot's hand and yelled, “God no!”

“No, no, no!” Jack stammered it over and over again, as he swung in the wind helpless like a fish on the hook.

He felt the heat again as the nostrils of the beast snorted close to his feet. The tyrannosaurs had chewed up much of the ladder, closing the distance between them. Jack couldn't look back, if he was going to die this way he didn't want to see his killer.

He screamed as his body swung back and forth rapidly as the predator pulled left and right. He was dizzy and nauseous with the movement but his grip never slackened.

He looked up to the mercenaries again as he saw the knife blade moving forward to the ladder. “Don't do it!” he begged.

There was a metallic snap and a jingle as the ladder gave way, snapping in two. The remnants were taken hostage by the Tyrannosaurus whilst Jack hung off the other half in disbelief. He dared to glance back and let out a yell of, “woo hoo!” He was free, he was going to live!

Jack laughed hysterically as the Tyrannosaurus gave another roar of outrage. He was almost delirious with relief as he clung to the ladder rung, his body fatigued by the energy he had lost just clinging on as the beast had swung him back and forth like a chew toy.

Jack looked up again and saw both mercenaries laughing and cheering as they urged him to climb. He wondered cynically why they didn't help, too caught up in waving their fists like sports fans to consider pulling the ladder and him up. Exhausted but eager not to show his terror, Jack waved one fist in the air in a show of camaraderie. He had made it.

There was a spray of water only it moved upwards instead of down, colliding with the rain as it rose up with a gigantic force of nature. Jack didn't notice it, it was impossible to feel the difference in salt water and rain water against his skin. He didn't even hear the roar as an ancient aquatic behemoth came up behind him, leaping higher and higher from the obsidian waters below, determined to seize what the Tyrannosaurus had lost.

Jack swayed, caught at an angle as the helicopter continued to travel forward and the wind pushed the ladder back. His weight carried the ladder forward again in a pendulum action and as the ladder became vertical again he felt the blow.

The teeth of the Mosasaurus snapped closed, appearing to the horror stricken men in the helicopter as devouring their poor companion in one gruesome bite. They couldn't see in the obscured vision of a stormy night that in fact the Mosasaurus had misjudged the position of its prey, knocking it from the ladder as it extended its mouth to feed.

The helicopter jerked back, losing momentum for a moment as the horrified pilot fought to regain control. The passengers were pale and silent, unsure what they had witnessed. What little they knew of the fallen park hadn't mentioned anything living in the lagoon. It was where something very important to Jack's employers had been hidden.

 

Jack fell at an incredible speed, plummeting hard into the icy salt waters of the lagoon. He spun through darkness, eyes wide and burning as his body turned and tumbled with the force. He only just resisted the urge to scream as he tried to right himself.

Suddenly, Jack was spinning again, moving out of control at a tremendous speed as the weight of the Mosasaurus send a huge force of energy under the water and a spray of water back into the air. If Jack had gone into hysterics as he had done on land he would have died, drowning as his lungs filled with water quickly as he screamed but Jack resisted the fear this time. He was a talented swimmer, he could handle this. It was a skill that ran in the family, one he had kept up after high school but never pursued professionally unlike his sister who had kept winning trophies whilst earning herself a doctorate in marine biology.

His yellow rain jacket hindered him and he fought to remove it as he tried to steady his body in the current all while searching for light that would tell him where the surface was. He abandoned the jacket to the lagoon as he felt his lungs tighten and burn.

He moved to what he hoped was up, taking strong broad strokes with his arms as he kicked his feet in unison behind him. He thought only of air, not daring to consider what predator might be attracted by the vibrations of his movement.

Up, up, up, Jack broke the surface, spluttering and gasping before he was almost pushed under by a wave. He tried to ride with the current, bobbing about unsteadily as he searched for the shore. He was relieved to spy the edges of the lagoon not too far in front of him and just a little to the right. He started to move, knowing he couldn't allow the current to pull him further away. He moved with a front crawl, taking short gasps in between, trying to simultaneously take in oxygen and expel sea water.

Lightning flashed again and Jack halted, staring ahead in horror. Crocodilian ridges poked up from the water as the leviathan of the lagoon propelled itself forward. Jack waited for the Mosasaurus to notice him as he drifted in the water and filled with a sense of acceptance. He was exhausted and beyond the feeling of fear now. He watched in surprise as the creature kept moving forward, oblivious to him and turned his head to see its destination.

The gates had jammed. The Mosasaurus was going for freedom.

For a moment Jack felt horror at the thought of the great predator escaping to the world but then self-preservation kicked in and he started swimming again. If it was out there then it was away from him.

Jack kept going, focused only on the shore until he reached the cement walls and climbed up the stone steps there, jumping up and grasping the wall above him before heaving himself over.

He rolled onto the hard damp ground on the other side and let out a gasp before he brought himself upright to his hands and knees and vomited up salt water.

A quiet groan of, “no” followed as he realised the helicopter was gone and he was all alone of an island full of monsters.