“Miss Elinor, we must leave at once.”
Elinor stood and smoothed out her skirt involuntarily. As if she had any need to look presentable. It was the last thing on her mind. She followed the soldier out. Captain Daniels, he had told her his name was. The numb feeling of shock hadn’t worn off yet and it was almost as if she was living outside of her body. Feeling nothing but intense nothingness.
Being a settler on this foreign island hadn’t been her first choice. Not initially anyway. She stroked a piece of damp hair away from her clammy face and tried to take in a deep breath despite her corset. She was fast considering losing the traditional dress in exchange for some more suitably convenient clothing that wouldn’t be so oppressive in this humid, drowning heat.
On a hunting expedition more than two weeks ago, her husband had gone missing and she had frantically been trying to garner help from those at the fort, to no avail until Captain Daniels came to her aid at the express disobedience of his commanding officer.
“I know that your husband isn’t just lost.” His belief in her premonitions had made her feel that she wasn’t going crazy after all. One’s husband didn’t just up and disappear into the forest without a trace, and for two weeks at that.
Much to the captain’s resistance, she had insisted on coming along on the expedition to find her husband. He could be hurt or in danger out there and there was no way that she would stay behind to have a corpse brought back to her. She had been through that once before and the loss of those ‘last moments’ was a heavy weight on her heart that dragged her down even more beyond the grief of losing that person in the first place.
An arrow flew by her head and Captain Daniels grabbed her arm and pulled her down into the dried leaves and dirt of the rain forest floor. The impact jarred through her body and a ringing in her ears made her dizzy until the sound of musket fire broke the daze and shattered her numbness. With frantic adrenaline, she crawled towards cover of some bushes as the awful sound of a shootout grew louder behind her. Drawing in deep breaths she tried to ignore the ugly cry of one who was wounded. She would tend to him once all of this died down.
Her hand stopped just inches away from a leather boot and she froze.
“I thought I told you not to come out here. It will be your undoing. The jungle isn’t a very forgiving place, my dear.” The sickly smooth voice caught her attention and sent a chill down her spine as she pushed herself into a sitting position on her knees and lifted her head. The commander of the fort stood before her, pistol in hand pointed directly at her. Now she knew why he hadn’t come looking for her husband as he should have. The betrayal of a man who had been tasked with her and her husband’s protection struck a hard blow to her heart. But not one so deep as the realization that she had fallen directly into a trap.
If only there was a way out. But Commander Driscoll was correct.
The jungle was an unforgiving place.
~What did you think of the prompt? What do you want next week? Writing encouragement or another flash fiction?
By God’s Grace,