Time passed slowly that morning. The natives searched for hours before finally leaving, or at least that’s what John hoped they’d done. The sun was higher in the sky and began burning off the rain water that fell the previous day. Once again fog and steam started to form, leaving John hoping for a gentle breeze to disperse it.
His plan was simple. He would help Steve the seventy-five or so yards to the awaiting plane and take off straight down the runway. The airstrip sloped upward about five degrees, so he would need all the power the plane had. He nudged Steve, who less than alert.
“It’s time to go.”
“Huh? What’s going on?” Steve lifted his pale face, his glazed eyes trying to focus.
“I need you to be alert. There are very dangerous people after us. We need to get to the plane. Do you understand?” John spoke slowly, hoping the words would break through Steve’s clouded mind.
“Just help me up and I’ll race you there.” Steve sobered suddenly, as he clumsily labored to his knees.
John helped him and sighed in disbelief as his disoriented companion stumbled in the opposite direction. “I think you’ve been disqualified from this heat. Here, let me lead you.”
Both scurried to the plane. It was like a nightmare as John imagined the plane getting farther away. Finally reaching it, John shoved Steve into the passenger seat.
Running around the plane, checking for damage and remaining debris, he made a hasty pre-flight check. Satisfied, he reached to turn the power switch on-nothing.
“Oh no, what next!” John punched the instrument panel.
He immediately cut it off and back on. He heard the faint sound of the gyro and turned the key. Not enough power remained to start the motor. “Steve, Steve,” John yelled, shaking his buddy.
Jeffrey W. Bennett, is the author of Commitment-A Novel and other non-fiction books, novels and periodicals.