I dont own em and I havent made a plug nickel off em. This is my answer to Setchetis January Challenge.
A New AU for a New Year
Okay, here 'tis: write (or rather, *re*write) a movie or TV show as starring our favorite seven guys. You MAY NOT use an existing AU, you must create your own. (Yes, that does mean you can't just have ATF Team Seven join forces with Walker, Texas Ranger - a crossover is not what we're aiming for here.) You can do the whole thing or just a teaser so long as all Seven are used. Sounds daunting I know, but sit down and watch a few movies or a couple hours of cable and I'm sure you'll come up with something great! I wont mention until the end just what AU this is. 1/21/01
A Bad Day
A little white rafting was supposed to be good for the soul. A group had set off in rafts together earlier that morning they were together by the luck of the draw seven individual men backgrounds and personalities were as diverse as their reasons to be on this adventure. The kid JD Dunne still in college had come to try something new, a break from the halls of academia. Vin Tanner was a drifter who done a bit of everything from bronco busting to bounty hunting lived on pure adrenalin this added to that rush. Nathan Jackson from the big city was a free clinic doctor in dire need of a vacation what better way that to get away from it all. Josiah, a lay minister had signed up to get in touch with life and nature. Wilmington and Larabee had come on the trip together it had been Bucks idea a change of scenery was needed for Chris who after three years still had dealt with the tragic loss of his family. The last minute member to the group was Ezra Standish, an enigma obviously sorely out of his element when he showed up the night before in an Armani suit and three hundred dollar shoes. Some how he had managed to properly outfit himself in the wee hours of the morning. The itinerary had them setting out on the water at 6 a.m. They would set up a campsite 5 miles down river with the gear they had carefully loaded aboard. The four rafts set off down the river.
The canyon they were paddling down was beautiful, the morning was warming up as the sun made a steady climb over the horizon. For the most part the trip had been devoid of conversation each man wrapped up in his own thoughts. A single rock fell from a sheer stonewall and quickly followed by another and another as the earth trembled. A magnitude six quake shook the canyon as the rafts were propelled down the rapids. The first three rafts made it through the white water before the ground seized a crevasse cracked open under the rapids causing the water and ultimately the raft with the seven aboard to plunge a thousand feet below. Another massive jolt deep within the earths crust had caused the gaping crevasse to close up.
Tanner was the first to come up and he did so spitting up vile combination of sand and water frantically scanning his surroundings for the others. The man in black, Larabee was just off to his left face down in the water. Vin slogged through the water, quickly turned the man rewarded for his effort when Chris spat out as he coughed up what he has swallowed.
The sodden blond just nodded as he tried to catch his breath in between bouts of coughing. He sucked in a wheezy breath before he asked.
Dunno, you okay cause might be best if we start looking for him all of them
Larabee nodded and accepted Tanners outstretched hand. Together the pair waded out of the river for the first time noticing their surroundings this wasnt the canyon. They were standing amongst an odd combination of tropical trees. Hell even the sky looked strange. The others were nowhere in sight as they scanned the sandy bank a terrifying loud roar filled the air the ground shook with increasing intensity. The trees rattled then parted revealing a very large pissed off DINOSAUR charging right at them.
Chris and Vin did the only thing they could do given their situation they ran for the nearest cover they could find a stone pylon. Well within its dark confines as the beast roared outside Larabee ran a shaky hand over his face.
That was a god damned T-Rex
Sure the hell was no pregnant Texas size jack-a-lope The Texan smiled at his companion and introduced himself. Vin Tanner
As suddenly as it began the angry bellows stopped as the hungry creature stalked off in search of an easier meal. The occasional distant shriek would echo through the air. Once the Grumpy T-Rex departed the two looked around the strange room. A lit pedestal with an assortment of colorful crystals stood in the middle. From the way it was set up looked like a bizarre chess game. Although intrigued by this discovery they had more pressing matters like finding out where the other five men that had been in the raft with them were.
His feet were flying barely touching the rocky ground as he fled his pursuer. Dunne was almost out of breath, his lungs burned but fear kept his lean legs churning underneath him. He took another quick peek over his shoulder he hadnt lost the creature. JD really wished he had paid more attention in science and history class since he hadnt now wasnt the time to find out if that thing would eat people. A split second later he plowed into a large warm movable object when he slammed full force into an unsuspecting Buck Wilmington.
The dark haired youth was beyond hearing at the point. He frantically struggled against Bucks hold on him managing to get a few good kicks before Nate Jackson stepped in to help. The dark skinned man almost lay bodily atop Dunne as he and Buck fought to restrain him. Reality slowly dawned in JDs mind and he stopped fighting allowing himself to slump down.
Oh my god
The words were gasped out as he gazed at his rescuers.
Dont worry Kid thats a brontosaurus, a definite plant eater.
Im okay Im okay...
The young man sagged a little more under Wilmingtons grip as he tried desperately to calm his breathing.
You sure, Kid?
Yeah not its every day I get see overgrown reptiles.
Well, Im sure thats not the only one so we best get moving.
The calm voice came from Nate Jackson as he was scanning their surroundings for any more surprises. JD allowed himself to be pulled to his feet by Buck and the trio headed back towards the river in some hope of finding the others.
A lone gray haired man was slowly treading across the forest floor. The trees were tropical, which didnt seem possible because this morning he had started out rafting through a canyon in the Southwest, nowhere near a jungle. Yet Josiah Sanchez was standing sweating amidst a tropical rain forest. A strange cry filled the air it was like no bird he had ever heard before when Josiah looked up he was surprised to see
No it wasnt possible
A pterodactyl soared on the thermals above him.
Ive stepped back in time. Shaking his head at the revelation he trudged on.
A still sodden figure on the shore had caught the interest of the one the local inhabitants. The hairy brown long-coated bipedal simian-like creature was intrigued by his find. The pakuni although young had already been taught to fear reptiles, this beast was not like anything he had ever encountered before. Not sleestak, but not pakuni either, for it wrapped itself in strange skins and only had hair on its skull. The pale skinned beast was neither dead nor alive it lay unmoving as young Cha-ka poked at it with a stick. The earth trembled slightly under the young pakunis feet. The big hunter reptile was in the area, so with strength that dwarfed his three-foot height Cha-ka dragged the limp body towards the safety of a burrow.
The disoriented feeling of being pulling along the rocky ground greeted Standish as he drifted towards consciousness. His dazed green eyes cracked open, unable to focus on the strange little being that dragged him into the earthen den before passing out again.
The ground shook as a lone Tyrannosaurus began picking its pace, as it smelled prey in the vicinity. Sanchez had felt the thunderous approach and headed for the nearest shelter he could find. Scaling a large tree with surprising agility for a man of his size. Josiah moved until found a comfortable perch out of reach of the large reptile. Watching the scene play out below him as the beast stalked after easier prey, a small hairy creature and its desperate plight to drag a human form into the rocky crevasse. The T-Rex let out a frustrated bellow unable to reach the food.
The sight that greeted them up ahead caused a smile spread across Tanners face as he trudged along the riverbank next to Larabee. Three figures laden down with wet camping gear were walking towards them. A rare grin tugged at the older mans face as he too saw the men. No one uttered a sound instead they warily made up the distance between them. No need to draw attention to themselves when they were unprotected and out in the open.
Buck whispered when they were close enough.
Hey yourself ya see the others?
No not since we went over the falls and hell where are we?
And when are we? There are some unusual critters here
Vins easy Texas drawl brought a smile to more than one face.
Got that right, I dunno about yall but theres an old stone temple back through the trees a bit may want to set up camp there til we figure out whats going on.
Buck squinted up at the sun as he spoke while wiping the sweat from his face.
Sounds like a plan
The five headed off towards the tree line.
The call of a lone pterodactyl echoed through the evening sky, a man sat high in a tree his muscles had cramped up painfully hours earlier. Sanchez had waited patiently for the Rex to leave. Only after tentatively stretching out one leg then the other did he slowly climb down. Listening carefully to his surroundings he descended to the forest floor, his eyes never truly leaving the small out cropping of rocks. The creature hadnt re-emerged neither had the human. Once on solid footing Josiah jogged towards the small opening and looked in. Huddled tightly in a corner was the wary little being gently petting the unconscious man. Standish, if he recalled correctly, was bleeding from a nasty gash on his head. Crawling forward the big man startled the pakuni and it clutched the limp man tighter.
No need to fear Josiahs voice was calm and steady as he spoke trying to reassure the frightened creature. I need to tend to him He motioned towards the lax form. Unable to understand the meaning of the words Cha-ka did recognize the intention and relaxed his grip. Josiah inched farther into the tight space gently grasping Ezras chin with his hand. The younger man face was pale and cool to the touch. Touching two fingers from his other hand to the damp neck was Sanchez reassured by a steady pulse. When he released the hold Standishs head lolled back against Cha-ka while he reached back and tore off several pieces of his shirt. Taking the strips of cloth Josiah tightly wrapped and bound the jagged wound.
After a few awkward attempts the big man managed to extract Standish from the burrow, they couldnt stay here just wasnt safe but the question was where to go. The small hairy being tugged on his arm and pointed towards a direction in the west. After a moments contemplation Sanchez hefted the oblivious man over his shoulder and followed the ape-like being.
The sun had just set and the moons were hanging low in the twilight over the horizon. A blazing fire brightly burned at the entrance of the ancient temple the men talked quietly savoring a light meal of campfire fare around its warmth and security. Agreeing on one thing that this sure as hell wasnt earth. The three crescent moon glowing overhead confirmed that much. But where exactly they were couldnt be discerned that easy, it was almost like they fell victim to a plot of a bad movie.
This is like that flick you know the one Island on top of the world.
A bleary eyed JD said just before he popped a charred marshmallow in his mouth.
Nah there was cute cave babes in that and I aint seen neither hide nor hair one of them.
In the flickering light Buck smiled over his tip cup of coffee.
Still was on earth though sides kid, didnt those folk like go to that place in a sub... we just fell through a water fall and ended up here
The quiet words came from Vin as he sat next to Chris grinning like a cat. That smile disappeared quickly when a loud rustling came from the trees and all five men were on their feet in an instant just in time to see a lumbering form burst through the brush. The large definitely human form was running all out heading straight for the temple straining under the weight of the man had slung over his shoulder and close at his heels was a small hairy creature. A moment later only twenty yards behind Sanchez following in a predatory pack were a pack of bi-pedal lizard like beings. The bounding creatures were closing the distance as the unlikely trio bounded up the stairs. The shrieking pakuni was knocked down only a second before Josiah was. The big man lost his grip on Ezra and the dazed man tumbled down the stone steps.
Tanner and Wilmington lit torchs and charged towards the hissing creatures swinging the flames at the stalking creatures scaring them off the fallen men. The effect was brief and the sleestaks circled around again before they charged at the Texan. A sudden flash from above Vin sent them howling away as a flare grazed one of them. Only after the pack had disappeared into the trees did Vin look back to see Larabee standing on the top step with a smoking flare gun in his hand.
Cha-ka had taken refuge behind an exhausted Josiah who had slumped down to a seat on the steps. Nathan was nearby checking on a bewildered Ezra. Buck and JD were busy stoking the flames of the fire even higher.
What the hell was that?
Those were sleestak
How do you know that?
This little being behind me Cha-ka called them that. Saved Standish from being lunch and led me here. rumbled Sanchez and the pakuni chattered at the mention of his name. Larabee frowned it was bad enough they had to deal with dinosaurs by daylight. Seems that they wouldnt be safe no matter what time it was.
A loud Aw hell broke the relative quiet as Jackson shoved smelling salts under Ezras nose. His eyelids snapped open, his green eyes roving around before he tightly scrunched them close against the painful throbbing that had settled behind them completely ignoring Nates questions and muttered. Am I dreaming?
Afraid not The low chuckle next him had him cracking his eyelids open again. A broad smile was plastered across the dark mans face as he quietly spoke. Thats it want to answer my questions now?
No The softly drawled word was barely audible.
Okay you get some rest The confused eyes were closed before Nate had even finished saying the words.
He okay? Larabee tipped his head in Standish direction.
Gotta concussion and a nasty wound in his scalp which Id like to stitch up in the morning as far as being okay we are a long way from a hospital so only time will tell
Not the answer he had wanted but Chris had to accept it for now. A glance to his left revealed the young pakuni curled up next to the slumbering Josiah. Beyond them his old friend was having a in depth conversation with JD about whether or not brontosaurus were living in the hidden depths African jungles as portrayed in the movie Baby. Vin was off to his left smirking.
Feeling like yer in the Land of the Lost, Cowboy?
More like the Valley of the Gwangi
Well figure out what ta do in the morning
Yep that we will.
Shortly after the sleestak had retreated, Chris and Vin set out on a recon through the immediate area inside the temple by torchlight. One surprise attack was enough for one evening and none of them wanted another one anytime soon. They left the others behind at their improvised campsite.
After searching through the muddy gear Nathan had almost given up on finding what he was looking for. Spying a small plastic container that housed a basic sewing kit amid the sodden clothing Jackson smiled as he tapped the case on the spool of fishing line he had come across earlier. The blood from Ezras head wound wouldnt stop flowing, the pressure bandage wasnt working, and there was no other choice except to stitch it up tonight. Nathan looked around the camp as he un-zippered a sleeping bag and carefully laid out what he needed on a relatively clean towel.
Josiah could you help me bring him closer to the fire? The big man got up from where he was stoking the flames, grabbing Standishs legs as Nate lifted under the injured mans shoulders. The pair quickly settled Ezra back on the dry sleeping bag. Although as a man he was out of his element, his long ingrained medical training took over as Nathan began to clean up and stitch the jagged wound. Even ignore the little hairy beast the observing his every move. Cha-ka was hovering close by watching the entire procedure, reassured that the dark one would help the pale skinned beast he had become attached to.
Not trying to rationalize how it possibly got there Tanner slogged through shallow water of the underground river guided by the flickering light of the torches towards their prize. The missing rubber raft had been snagged in the roots of an ancient toppled tree with a good portion of the missing camping supplies still with in its confines. Together the pair managed to haul the still river worthy vessel onto dry ground and immediately set about checking through the sodden supplies trying to salvage what they could. Within twenty minutes the gear was sorted through and they were headed back to the entrance of the temple.
By the light of the bonfire the group had decided it would be best to move to deep underground across the river they had found what they believed to be a better site to set up camp. A simple stretcher was built to carry Ezra through the broad rough-cut tunnels that ran beneath the ruined temple. The young pakuni had shied away from going underground but Cha-ka overcame his fear when he understood he would lose contact with his pale creature. Instead he cautiously trailed them the entire way, never farther than a dozen feet from the stricken man.
The tunnel that the men had been traveling through opened up into a cavern onto a natural ten by fifteen foot ledge off it a stairway was coarsely cut into the stonewalls. Rough steps led down to their gray raft, bobbing in the river a line held it staked to another substantially smaller stone platform.
The others were ready to cross over to the platform on the other side of the broad underground river. The ancient aqueduct cut a course that spanned the bottom of natural cavern before disappearing into an arched channel at the far end. Nathan and Buck had finally stepped onto the rocky ledge setting their burden down.
Nate looked over Standish again. A fever had developed and the potential severity of the concussion itself worried the physician because Ezra continued to remain disoriented and confused. His only solace at the moment was at least the man was only sleeping. Jackson grimaced as he carefully checked the wound before rewrapping the improvised bandage around Standishs head. The crudely stitched gash was still weeping blood. There was little he could do about it now at least the bleeding had slowed. As they approached the edge of the cavern subdued man started to come to life again, he had awakened several times during the jarring trip through the tunnels. A slight shifting in position signaled his return to the waking world just as JD had taken up a position to the side of the stretcher. Nathan patted him on the shoulder before stepping away and headed towards down the stairs to speak to meet Chris when he came back with the raft grateful for the young mans silent offer to help. Buck, Josiah, Chris and Vin were already heading across the subterranean waters.
Standishs eyes opened to a blurry world a soft groan slipped from his lips.
Hey how you feeling? The quiet words finally penetrated Ezras addled brain.
Good Lord Ezra pulled back as the pakunis hairy silhouette suddenly appeared in his field of vision.
Ez this is Cha-ka remember he saved you from being a Dino-snack
Were going to cross the river soon
Yeah the others reckon itll be safer
JD wasnt looking at Ezra instead he watching on, as Vin climbed up the slippery stairs on the other side and didnt notice Standishs frantic movements as he pushed himself off the stretcher. The young man only turned when he heard a soft thud behind him just before the torch went flying off the edge its retreating light abruptly choked out in the river below. Heavy shadows were cast from the torch Nathan held on the ledge beneath them as JD desperately tried to catch the disoriented man before he hurt himself scrambling across the stone floor in the dim light.
JD, are you okay?
On the waters Nate was torn stay and wait for Chris to return or find out what was going on above him.
Yeah Ez he decided to go for a walk and knocked out the torch.
You need help?
The young man didnt answer Nathan. He was slowly approaching Ezra who was pressed up tightly against a wall when he heard something that sounded a little like scratching across smooth stone coming towards them. The odd noise rapidly grew in size and intensity as it neared.
A dozen pairs of eyes reflected in the weak light.
Nope, not an it but a definite they.
SHIT!!! Ez come on we have to get to the water
The single word was almost lost in the din. JD made a move to grab the bewildered man latching on his sleeve but the cloth was roughly tugged from his grasp as Ezra finally found his legs and was retreating into an adjacent tunnel moving away from the sleestak. JD went after him. Cha-ka skittered around the open ledge for a frantic moment cowering under the predators gaze unsure what to do. In the end deciding to follow his pale one into the darkness rather than face the rapidly approaching horde of bipedal lizards. Their numbers had grown to twenty squirming beings trying to push themselves through the small opening.
Whirling around the flames in a desperate attempt to fend off the creatures Jackson took one last look towards the opening where JD and Ezra had disappeared and made a decision knowing he was hopelessly out numbered, threw the torch at his attackers before he dove into the bone chilling waters and began to swim.
Chris met him half way across the dark river pulling the exhausted man into the raft. He gazed in dim light to where he had left Standish and Dunne while listening to Jackson harsh breathing. The last sleestak paced side to side on the lower ledge its large luminescent red eyes bored in their direction unable to cross the murky depths let out a loud hiss before darting up the stairs following the wake of its pack.
Panicked and disoriented Ezra crawled his way down the dark passage unaware that at some point during his flight it was gradually growing lighter as he neared the end of the tunnel. Nor was he aware that JD was no longer trying to hinder his escape instead the youth was supporting him as they rapidly moved feeling their way along the smooth walls in the dark. His strength gone Ezras legs gave out and he fell to a heap on the floor too exhausted to continue any farther.
When Standish crumpled to the ground he unintentionally dragged JD down with him, the young man was now drenched with the sweat of his exertions and panting as he lay on top of the fallen man. Small furry hands insistently pulled at his clothing, the pakuni tried to tug him up off Ezra.
Okay okay Were the only words he managed to get out before he heard the rapid clicking of nails across the smooth stone tiles they were coming. In a last ditch effort a worn out JD together with little Cha-ka began to slowly drag Ezra across the floor as the sleestak bore down the tunnel. A feeling of dread spread through Dunne as the reptilian hisses and grunts grew louder and louder.
A desperate look around revealed that they were at the mouth of another large cavern. Vulnerable and in the open with the nearest avenue of escape was a grotto that lay fifty feet away and easily six off the ground JD continued hauling the barely conscious Ezra towards the opening.
The sleestak charged as a twisting mass out of the tunnel as the desperate trio struggled towards their destination. Circling around the two humans and the pakuni forcing them to stop in their tracks.
One of the lead creatures lunged forward only to be sent sailing as a bolt of light slammed into its chest killing it instantly. The second burst rapidly followed the first striking another charging sleestak sending it cart wheeling into three creatures stalking behind Dunne, who was now bodily covering Standish as the energy bolts flew over his head. Within five minutes the bipedal lizards were either dead or had dispersed into the myriad of tunnels.
The extended stretch of silence had JD lifting his head up off of Ezras back and gazing around the strangely illuminated cavern, his eyes searching for his rescuer. He saw a being wrapped in a long dark hooded cape covering up any recognizable features as it stood in the cave he had hoped to seek refuge in. The cloaked figure brandishing an awkward looking weapon gazed at him for a moment then disappeared into the shadows. The sound of voices jolted JD from his reverie and he shouted out to them.
WERE IN HERE
The words echoed as they reverberated through the space. The young man breathed a sigh of relief when he saw a torch bearing Chris Larabee step out of the tunnel followed by Nathan. Dunne pushed himself off the oblivious Standish. Little Cha-ka was pressed up against the younger man. The doctor jogged past the hard looking blond to check on Ezra.
Too tired to do anything else JD nodded he response to Chris question.
How about him? Can he can be moved?
Larabee spoke to the back of Jacksons crouched figure as he held the light overhead as the other man checked Ezras pulse, carefully looking and feeling for any further injuries. Shaking his head in disbelief.
Would you believe hes just asleep? Damn other than the fever is a bit higher than before he isnt any worse than he was earlier.
Then can we get out of here? Chris asked as he glared at the dead sleestak. Now wasnt the time to question their presence. He and the other were still in the open and far from being safe.
Ezra was hoisted between Nathan and Chris supporting his limp body as the hauled him back through the tunnels back to the river. JD slowly plodded behind with the little pakuni grasping tightly to his one hand, a torch held high in the other lighting the way.
The Morning After
When it rains
Not a gentle spring shower
But an unrelenting deluge
The undercurrent in the ever-changing river of life
A small fire splayed long dark shadows over the immense cavern floor. After the last encounter with the Sleestak no one could rest comfortably fearing that at any moment the creatures might return. They had stopped to recoup and they set up meager campsite with a fire blazing at its center. Across the flames a fevered Standish slept on oblivious warmly cocooned in the few blankets, the group of men had managed to salvage them earlier from the shore, with the pakuni curled up at his side, Nathan remained close by. Chris and Vin kept watch on the perimeter there no sense repeating what happened while trying to cross the subterranean river. The camp remained for the most part quiet there and the conversations dwindled as the night wore on.
In the early hours of the next morning, the fire had burnt down to a fine ash. The flames from several torches barely lit the enormous cavern as the men hustled together gathering packing up their supplies. An earlier expedition by Chris and Vin had revealed a way out of the subterranean cavern, a vote had been taken and it was agreed that it would be best to return to the dense forest even though it was dangerous there was a ready supply of food and fresh water. With Standishs health deteriorating there wasnt much choice left the man hadnt fully regained consciousness since their hair-raising plunge into the strange world. His condition was all the more frustrating because he kept trying to wander off leaving Nathan little option but to physically lash the man to litter because they had to get moving.
Hours later they were breathing in fresh air underneath the warm sunshine on a large plateau densely populated with tree that overlooked the valley. Not exactly where they had intended but a short scouting trip through the surrounding area Chris and Vin discovered the source of the underworlds river. Josiah accompanied Buck scavenging for fresh fruit while the others stayed behind re-establishing the base camp close to the waters edge.
With his pack almost full with a variety of what he hoped were edible fruits Josiah shook his knap-sak and zippered the flap closed. He cast an eye towards Buck who was dropping the lasts few finds plucked out of a nearby tree in his own bag. Sanchez was about to call out to Buck when he saw Standish barefoot and sweat drenched hair standing less than ten feet away staring at him with blood from the head wound freely flowed through the make shift bandages down the side his face. Wilmington by that time had noticed his presence as well.
Ezra? Josiah quietly called out as he slowly tried to approach the sick man, but Standish bolted away from them charging erratically through the dense brush with the two men in his wake desperately trying to close the distance between them.
With a speed the belied his age and size Josiah raced after Ezras fleeing form. Leaving Buck far behind as he followed Standish through a break in the undergrowth watching as the other man sprinted across the flat bare rock not slowing as he strode into empty air and plunging from his sight.
An icy terror seized his heart as Josiah watching Ezra run off the cliffs edge. Fearing the worst he jogged towards the gorges rim carefully peering over the side. The sight below of a mans twisted body snagged on a small crag jutting out from the canyon wall had him shocked and amazed at the same time. He screamed out to Buck and hoped the man heard him.
A stray thought tittered at the back of his mind.
Lord, Im getting too old for this.
His fiftieth birthday was an old memory Josiah grimaced at the passage of time when he began to lower himself over the edge. With a tight grip on the thick vine he began to climb down to the rocky outcropping. He needed to know for himself that Standish was okay and called down to the man.
You all right brother?
Relieved when he saw a minute nod. He carefully climbed down and crouched down carefully over the still form. Gently easing him over onto his back causing the younger mans head to loll onto Josiahs boot. The former missionary was shocked to find Dunne at his feet instead of Standish
There was a quiet groan as dark lashes fluttered open to reveal dazed brown eyes and JD tried to sit up only to be firmly held in place by Sanchezs open hand.
Dont were a little high up for you to be fighting us son
The bewildered gaze went pass Josiah and took in the valley that lay below. Reality slid in as the young man acknowledged the forty-foot drop to the lush forest that lay just inches away. Realizing he was alone with the gray haired man.
Dont move you hurt besides the arm?
The young man shook his head as the older bent over him on the small out cropping opening up several buttons on JDs shirt and sliding off his belt.
Im gonna slide your arm in here The younger mans screwed up in pain as Sanchez slipped the injured limb in between the flannel cloth and boys trembling belly before securing it in place with Dunnes belt.
Can you stay put while I get some help? Josiahs voice rumbled out and echoed a few times before JD quietly nodded, his own voice had failed.
How had he managed to do this to himself?
JD squinted his eyes as he watched the big mans climb ascent. The young man was relieved but was still felt like a fool because he had he been unable to avoid falling off the side of the cliff all while a badly injured Standish quietly sat there keeping him company. His very presence bewildered the young man. There was so much blood coming from the jagged head wound, the stitches had split open, JDs feeble attempts to help the man were hindered by his broken arm and inability to move for fear of falling. Dunne let out a deep thankful sigh when Josiah finally reached them earlier he frantically looked for Ezra but the man had disappeared from his side making him wonder if he had dreamed it all.
Twenty minutes after Buck and Josiah had pulled the semi-conscious young man back onto solid ground a silent agreement was made and there was no mention of what happened to Standish after they tended to Dunnes injuries. The trio was trudging back towards camp through the jungle with Josiah carrying JD cradled in his arms.
Its okay kid relax
Buck tried to reassure the young man and he in turn had to strain to hear the softly spoken words.
Stupid lizards The syllables came out skewed. I fell and Ez was there kept me company Neither man could say a word nor were they sure what exactly JD meant. Both Buck and Josiah had peered over edge of the gorge but couldnt see a thing through the dense growth of trees that butted against the steep rock walls.
Dunne had finally fallen silent when they had gotten the camp in sight after muttering through most of the thirty-minute trip back. No one was there. The still warm ashes of the campfire had been trod through. Cookware was strewn across the site and the litter that Standish had occupied through most of their journey was tipped over the blankets haphazardly flung to the side. Josiah stood there for a moment stunned and was heart sick over the implications of the empty camp as he helped Buck lay the injured young man down in a makeshift bed.
They had just got JD settled when they could hear the others voices as they approached the area. The quiet conversation was broken by a well-rehearsed response from Nate.
No you cant even stand let alone walk
Both Buck and Josiah looked up in the direction at the same time and were momentarily stunned when they saw a blanketed form being carefully carried between Chris and Vin. Although the man was still pale and soaked to the skin, though it didnt seem possible Ezra Standish was very much alive. Nathan Jackson closely followed the trio as strode into the camp and was the first to notice the others.
What the hell happened to you guys?
We were about to ask the same thing but it can wait until after you check on the kid he took a tumble off a cliff busted his arm A relieved smile crossed Bucks face as he spoke.
Ez? Dunne woke and was coherent enough to ask about Standish unable to see the man had been carefully returned to the makeshift stretcher a few feet away.
Hes laying over there Wilmington patiently answered lightly patting the bewildered young man on the thigh before moving out of Nathans way.
Oh JDs roving eyes finally locked in on Ezra before Nathan steered his gaze upwards by gently turning his head and began asking the long practiced list of questions as he carefully examined the young mans injuries.
Vin had taken a protective position next to the slumbering form of Standish, a gesture of comfort on his behalf. They had stripped Ezra of the wet clothes and the man slept once again cocooned in blankets next to the fire. Jackson had just checked on him, genuinely pleased that his temperature had come down considerably, he smiled and stepped away to do the same for an exhausted Dunne.
What happened with Ezra? Josiah starred down at the southerner the mans face was partially hidden under a thermal blanket.
About an hour ago he seized went completely rigid, scared the crap outta Nate cause his fever was so high figured a dip in the river would help bring it down After a bit he started talking like the kid was there with him .
Brother I think he was His words rumbled across the small camp.
Their quiet conversation had caught the attention of the others.
Josiah what you talking about? Larabee finally spoke up the entire situation was bordering on bizarre.
Hell we wouldnt have found JD if we hadnt been chasing Ezra Buck shook his head and answered before Josiah had a chance to.
He was with us Chris knew he was just restating the facts.
Yeah and the kid said Ez kept him company after he fell The mustached man thoughtfully rubbed his stubbled chin.
But thats not possible he was here Nate joined in not completely sure he wanted to accept what the other men were implying.
But after Josiah had finished relating the terrifying tale of chasing a bloody Ezra through the jungle that ended with the southerners plunge off the cliff side and that the bizarre twist inexplicably led them to Dunne. The truth strange as it was plain for all to see.
Lord works in mysterious ways
The four other men silently agreed with as they all in their own way gave thanks all the while wondering what else lay ahead in the strange new world they landed in.
Seven Men on a routine expedition
Met the greatest earthquake ever known.
High on the rapids it struck their tiny raft
And plunged them down a thousand feet below.
To the Land of the Lost.
To the Land of the Lost.
To the Land of the Lost.
When they look all around
They can't believe the things they've found
Now they need to find their way
Theyre lost find them
Living in the Land of the Lost
Living in the Land of the Lost
Thanks to Sid and Marty Kroftt for creating that campy Saturday morning T.V. classic Land of the Lost
The River-A bad day continues