Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Day 2 - Matainui

We were awoken by the song of Ten Thousand birds passing overhead, it was unlike anything I had heard before. I was still ravenous I had not eaten since breakfast yesterday as I lost my lunch along with my bag, The day would definitely feel longer without food. "I am going for food" I announced to the group.
"Lets all go" Malik suggested. So we packed up our things and left our only feeling of safety behind along with our grassy clearance. We were heading South west towards the sound of rushing water, I was convinced that we could scavenge some grub from the rivers edge.

It took hours before we were crunching the shingles from the riverside beneath our feet. There was an enormous baron section lining the river. From the corner of my eye I spotted the figure of a girl leaning over scooping water from the river into a bucket. She was very familiar, Mac realised straight away that it was Madison from our class however she did not look like she normally did she was dirty and animal like, she was a dog with fleas, twitching every few seconds. We followed her into the buses as she fled the scene, red stains were cloaking the leaves on the floor of the bush. Madison must be bleeding severely.

We whispered to each other while tracking our target, it was not long before we had decided to propose an alliance between our two groups (I personally backed this idea as I was growing tired of the lack of company). We stopped in our tracks, we heard noises, human voices! This must be their campsite, after a heated silent argument Malik was overruled by his older counterparts to go first and propose the alliance.

They had heard us we had to give ourselves up...or run? but considering we had eaten no food since yesterday morning that would not be a good idea. Malik pushed through the remaining leaves and was met by four girls (Madison, Emma, Leah and Morgan) all armed and pointing their ferocious weapons at him. He nervously stuttered the words "w-w-wanna m make an ali-li-ance?" over about thirty seconds. However the girls did not need to hear anything, they had lowered their weapons as soon as they had identified Malik. "Malik" they exclaimed in unison and went on to hug him. It was at that moment Mac and myself revealed ourselves,
"where is my hug?" I said sarcastically.

We never actually agreed to join groups it just sort of happened. We sat around for a couple of hours discussing our stories since the crash. Nothing much had happened within their group...apart from Madison getting bitten by a giant mutated spider and the fact she was slowly transforming into one herself! It was not until about 11am when we actually decided to go exploring. We packed up our campsite it felt twice as scary as last time my senses were telling me not to, it was against every instinct I had. It seemed the campsite represented safety and we were abandoning it.We headed to the river planning to find something to eat. The girls had also not had anything to eat since yesterdays breakfast.

The walk was hard, we were trying to chop a new path through the wall of thick green and brown. When we made it to the flow of blue. It was crystal clear like bottled water and one thousand times as big, "I want to go over there and see what is so weird but somehow it draws me towards it" announced Madison. We waded into the shallow water, I started to wash myself off briefly, the spiny seeds from the trees were annoying my skin. "Does anyone want to come across with me?" asked Madison
"What across the river? are you mad! said Mac
" I will come"
"and me" replied Morgan and Malik and so it was decided Malik, Madison and Morgan would go over to the other side of the river. I was in protest I did not believe that the river was safe however there was no convincing the others they were setting their sights towards the other side.

They were in the water, crossing the strong currents, they had taken two backpacks with them two backpacks I would probably never see again. I was praying that they would be okay after the crossing, it seemed that bad possibilities were inevitable and unpreventable. This island brought bad luck when would it strike next?
The group was half way across their pathway to mystery when a couple of hundred meters down the inland ocean bubbles started to rise to the surface. They grew nearer and nearer, "What is that?" I asked
"I don't know but it can't be good for those guys" he replied aiming a trembling finger at the group in the water. It was a matter of seconds before the bubbles were surrounding the petrified asylum seekers. The bubbles revealed themselves to be Eels as thick as your thighs cloaked with the throthing water in which they thrived.
Malik's wounded hand must have opened up again and the blood must have triggered the eels vicious instincts.
Mailk drew the machete from the bag in which his life now depended on, He swung it aimlessly at the water. Foolishly he slashed his own leg in the process, the eels seemed to respond to the fresh injury and attacked once more. But with some help from myself and a 2 foot machete the group managed to cross.
We shouted across the river "we will meet you back here in 2 hours". The two hours were wasted, we sat around a tree in the heavy bush talking and sharing ideas and thoughts. "why don't we chop down a tree to enable us to cross the river?" I asked the group
"Yes ingenious" replied Emma. We swung our heavy sharp instruments at the tree being careful not to make it fall the wrong way. It took hours before I was able to shout something I had always wanted to say "TIMBER!". The mighty Kauri fell, with splinters flying everywhere I had them stuck in my torso and all down my legs with the odd one around my facial features. My face was scarred but I was quick to start plucking myself free of wooden pests.
We were all safely across the log waiting rather impatiently, there was moans and complaints blocking my obscure thoughts...Until "I think this is close to where we were supposed to meet"
"HELLO...Hello...Hello" these words were whistling through the trees. Slowly emerging through the shrubbery were the figures of Madison,Malik and Morgan.

Some time passed debating whether we should stay on the safe side of the river or cross and risk the dangers but we all agreed on crossing and so it happened. One by one we pushed our way through the ferns and tree branches. The world seemed so small when we were traveling in the bush our universe was confined and uncomfortable. We stumbled across roots and tripped onto each other many times. We were following the shore of a glistening silver river it was like someone had added a chrome special effect into a movie. We finally broke past the line of the trees and it was revealed, the reason the estuary was silver and glowing

Shimmering silver like liquid mercury aglow. It was so beautiful. It was a chrome Taj Mahal the architecture was a feat like nothing I had ever dreamed of. There were features seemingly holding themselves up and towers so high they had grown past the sun in the sky. We approached the building, it seemed to be some kind of labrinth or temple. As we stepped forward we felt a strange warm feeling growing over our bodies and as we peered behind ourselves we saw the bushes in sight dissappear and the air surrounding us morph around like someone had dipped their finger into a pool of water. "A forcefield...It must be somekind of protective shield" exclaimed Leah,
"How come it let us through then?" asked Mac
"Maybe someone is expecting us?" added Emma. What ever it was it was not usual.
The door was there it had a three finger lock, "why three fingers?, what human has three fingers?" said Morgan
"Who said it was human?" I rebounded back. There was a gasp throughout the group and then silence, "Who is going to open it then?" questioned Malik. I chose to fill the job in and reached out for the three fingered lock. WARM...SUDDEN COLD.

Where am I? stars and planets are shooting past my vision and curious sounds are bellowing against my eardrums, It sounded like a strangled cat the screech was deafening. Still I was zooming through space faster and faster my stomach was being pressed against my rib cage at the back. I felt sick, I was sick although once it had left my mouth it vanished into dust and floated off into the blackness. My space ship did not exist so how was I aliiiiive? I was falling and then the audio track changed to a calming voice. It sounded familiar.

THUD!!! I regained consciousness staring into the eyes of Emma, she was crouched over me pouring water from her bottle over my head. "Are you okay?" she asked. But before I could understand what she was saying she started explaining how the lock zapped me with purple rays that knocked me out and that the rest of the group had already left to explore the temple (or whatever it was). It took a while but I finally got the message as I was still dreary from my unpleasant experience.
I knew that I would not be able to follow the rest of the group up the track they had opted to use (apparently they had all climbed a long rope to a higher platform somewhere beyond the walls of the structure) in my state. Emma suggested I get some rest so I helped drag myself to a bare spot in the jungle like surroundings as my selfless companion set up a small campsite composed of: The tent, a small fire and some blankets surrounding the fire. We sat around the fire talking nonsence all night (well at least I did) until at last the fire went out and we retired to the safety of the tent. I finally ended up drowsing off whilst eating some rations we were left and memorising the tools and objects we had.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Return to Matainui Day 1

I have spent the whole week preparing and packing for the trip to Matainui. the bus ride was exciting, everyone was talking about the activities they were going to participate in once we got there. Kawhia Harbour...what a stunning view, my jaw dropped, the foliage and rocky shore was elegantly carved into the graceful oceanic scene.

It was previously established that we would be flying to the island on a Grumman HU-16 Albatross sea plane. It was amazing it sat calmly in the water rocking with the movement of the waves, how could something so enormous float? let alone fly. Everyone was buzzing (especially Marek he was literally bouncing off the walls trying to tip the plane over!). As we boarded the plane and handed our luggage over to Mr Woody I felt the ocean spray against my face, it breathed life into my senses. I took a deep breath of air and told myself that this trip would be the best of my life.

We were all aboard the king of all aquatic planes. I sat comfortably in my window seat whilst watching the rising and falling of the waterline outside. I was reminded of my family back home (this was the only plane trip I had been on without them) I started to ask myself the questions like; what if something goes wrong? and will I ever see them again?however I soon refocused my attention to the journey ahead when I saw what appeared to be the silhouette of Sam Brennan flit through the curtain separating the pilots and the passengers."That can't be true" I said to myself, although I did not see Sam from that moment on...

All of a sudden the engines started, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up, would it be this loud all flight? A few seconds later and...movement we were bashing the water off our bow or nose (whatever you would call it in this situation?) The plane was not a fish gliding, but rather an elephant using its sheer size and power to charge through the water. My seat was bumping now, in fact the whole cabin was shaking, the plane was pummeling misty water in all directions; I could see it flying past my window, obstructing any other view.

I could see clearly again we were flying slicing through the air. But sill the Humm of the engines was deafening, shaking my vision.

We were hours in flight, I was admiring the billowing sea below out of my small cabin window, It was still fresh in my mind the image of Sam entering the cockpit. What if he really was the pilot? I hadn't seen him since that moment.

What is that? I have never felt anything like this before it is like we have gone off the edge of the Earth. I am being lifted from my seat, I quickly slap on the heavy metal seat belt buckle. "I NEVER PASSED MY TESTS!!!" yelled the voice of Sam over the loudspeaker "WE ARE GOING TO CRASH!!!" he added. So that was what the mystery weightlessness was, now I understood why everyone as screaming, no, wait that was me! "AAAAAAHHHHH!!!".

All the lights went out! electrical failure! outside I saw fork lightning and black rainclouds. How could this be? the weather had changed so rapidly and it was forecast for sunshine.


We had crash landed, where? were we stuck? was I dead? the worst possible realities ran through my head.out of the window there was a spray of bubbles streaming upward, this could only mean one thing, we were losing air! We were underwater, we had to get out we were going to sink. I could see water leaking in, it was blurring the twinkling lights from the alleyway. The emergency oxygen masks deployed. Mr Woody then announced that he was going to open the door son that we could escape. A creaky thud sounded and the cabin was flooded, I struggled to swim against the push of the water, I had no time to find my bag. I feared I would never see many of my friends again. Filled with rage I powered deeper and threw myself out of the door. I was underwater, at least three meters deep, my lungs were screaming at me,it felt like my chest was being ripped apart. I felt light headed NO I was not going to die here and now. I swam up, desperately grabbing at the water above me but the weight of my clothes was overwhelming. I had seen the abyss below and was determined not to be claimed by its depths.

The remaining air in my lungs helped me float to the surface, I bobbed up like a cork coughing and spluttering water. I immediately started looking around for my group. I found Malik and Mac and we started swimming towards what appeared to be a mountain peak in the distance. "Wait ,Where is Asser?" I asked
"there is no time" said Mac
"we can't just leave him" complained Malik but none of us stopped swimming. I suppose we just abandoned him along with all the rest of our things, he was now alone left to die at sea.

The thoughts of Asser haunted my thoughts. I was sitting on the beach now looking out at the tail of the plane poking out of the ocean, the rest was obviously under the blue death. "I wish we could get our stuff back from inside" I said to the remaining members of our small group "that's a great idea!" replied Mac.

Soon we were all in our undies and attracting a lot of attention. Malik was elected lookout and guarder of our gear. As we grew closer to the waterline we were approached by Josiah, Leon and Sam. "We are coming too" they said, I was not convinced that they knew what we were doing but we could use some help, I was willing to share the goods.

The swim was tiring, the waves felt like heavy metal shackles holding me back, it was like God wanted me to fail. Eventually we made it to the plane. Whilst swimming I had studied the plane and made the presumption that there must be an air bubble trapped inside the tail of the plane in order for it to still be afloat. We would be able to use this air bubble to breathe while retrieving anything inside the belly of the beast (if there was anything at all). Mac went down first, it felt like an eternity until he resurfaced, we had already sent Leon down to help him out. Mac revealed he had a bag I immediately recognised it was his as it had the neat yellow stitching down the left hand side. He told us that there were many more bags down there and apparently the heavy cabin door had been ripped off its hinges leaving a nice big opening for anyone to get in and out.

I went down next, I hated it it reminded me of the crash, the sound of being underwater was like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. I was soon through the door frame and racing to the haven of air above. I was at the mercy of the sea... but it was soon over. I could breathe again, it was like sucking in all the great feelings you have felt in your life in at once. Leon was next to me but he said nothing, below I could see murky blotches floating inanimately, they must have been the bags. I took a deep breath and duck dived, I grabbed the first bag I could see... "Pssst Crrrr Rrrrip" What was that noise it was very eerie. I looked back and "oh no" my bag had deployed something, wait it was a parachute bag and I was trapped and going to die all because of my own seat, once so comfortable and exciting now taking my life. All the adrenaline rushed through my body, it gave me strength and I ripped the parachute free.

Once back from my traumatic experience I held onto the side of the plane for dear life, I felt like lead, too heavy to float. Me and Mac decided to swim back. The swim back was much harder the weight of the bags was unbearable. Although the swim was only 100m it felt like an eternity. The golden beach was my drive, I could see people from all corners racing to the shore over the dunes of powdered sand.

What have you got? What was in the plane? Were there dead people? the questions were burying me. Soon Sam and the others arrived back looking somewhat like an episode of Baywatch. Mac was quick on the scene "we deserve a share of yours, it was our idea" he ordered. Without question Josiah handed over one of the parachute packs, obviously trying to avoid a fight.

It had been hours since the crash and the blue sky was slowly losing its battle with the blackness of the night. The three of us had stopped in the light bushes to set up camp. There was a small clearing of long tall grass. It scratched us and gave us small wounds as we swung our machetes around with haste. Soon all the tents were up and we were all wandering around doing our own thing. Malik was sitting on a Ponga tree stump repairing the torn parachute with a nail and some nylon wire, I was gathering dry wood for our hungry fire and Mac was aimlessly swinging his axe at a Rimu tree that appeared to be hundreds of years old, usually I would have protested but given the situation I didn't care much what happened. The rustling of the leaves and the swing of the axe was the only sound existing in the forest now until... AAAHHH! Malik had slit his thumb with the nail the blood was staining his clothes hot red. At that same moment one million birds all I had never seen before came out of the trees filling the empty sky with a rainbow pattern.

The night was sleepless. I had had no food and the sound of my rumbling stomach was overpowered by the rest of the chaos around me, scurrying, flapping and grunting were all being generated from sources around me. But what sources?