The plane shuddered as it hit the runway, bouncing, leaping upward. Trying to get back off the ground. A reminder of that old pilots’ maxim – each landing is just another controlled crash. A heat-mirage danced above the tarmac, obscuring the jungle that pressed tight against the airport, pierced by jagged-toothed mountains – it was seductive, like a broken dreamscape, like the promise of adventure.
Or a warning.
And I’ve never been one to heed a warning.
Stifling heat rushed to meet us as the doors opened into the tropics, stifling heat and the droning buzz of the jungle. The canvas walls of the Immigration and Customs tent bowed and sagged beneath the weight of the sky, as steam poured from the heavy bronze engines, stitching and entwining itself into the blanket of heat already overwhelming.
I scowled. The amatuer beuracracy of the Glorious People’s Republic of Val Verde was skilled in only one thing – corruption. This was going to take some time, I knew, as I mentally compiled an itinerary of those items I’d be happy to part with in order to escape to my hotel.
Then I saw her. Tall, without being lanky, brunette and curvaceous – just how I like my women. I cocked my hat, and put my best half-smile on. I wouldn’t mind the wait with her inspecting my luggage, let her deliberate over each and every contraption – after all, foreign girls make the best lovers. “Are you visiting the Glorious People’s Republic of Val Verde on business or for pleasure, sir?” she asked, in perfect English, the hint of a British boarding school underlining the obvious sarcasm as she mentioned the Communist government’s latest name for the country – it would change again within the year. I was tempted to answer with my usual ultimatum: Perhaps a mixture of both, if you’d be so kind, my dear, but she cut me off, interrupting. “Or are you here to aid with the further destruction of our history and culture, Dr Grady?”
This is the first part of The River of Crawling Death, a serial that I’ve just decided to start (and it’s a choose your own adventure story!) I started writing it for Chuck Wendig’s latest Terrible Minds challenge, which was a genre smasher…I got Men’s Adventure and Steampunk. I also used this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge word deliberate. Comments and criticism always welcome, and TUNE IN NEXT WEEK FOR MORE ADVENTURE!