Melanie felt the weight of something or someone on her body. She tried to focus on where she was. Her eyes opened and she wondered why the world looked tinted red. As she pulled herself up a little, a flash of light blinded her for a moment. The flash was long enough to bring it all back to her. The plane was falling from the sky. The storm that had come out of no-where. And now... she remembered and knew what was on top of her. She looked down and screamed. She was looking into the open, dead eyes of Bobby Turner. Shaun's father, the man that her daddy said was little more than an Oliver, asking for more soup and that would never be more than a peasant, had protected her with his body. He had died to save the life of the daughter of a man that saw him as nothing more than a worker.
"You were wrong Daddy, very wrong. What else were you wrong about?"
There was a stirring in front of her. She saw Shaun waking and her heart sped at the thought of him seeing his father laying dead on her. She tried to push his body off of her but the man was too heavy.
"He won't hurt you! He never would have hurt you!" Shaun leaned over and slowly lifted his fathers body from Melanie's. He carried him to the open cockpit where the pilots had been before the crash. Melanie watched him as he stepped out into the Jungle that surrounded them. "Are you coming Princess or do you want to be carried out too? I think my family has done enough for you today."
His words pierced her heart and she saw the tears that flowed from his eyes. If he only knew how she wanted to make it all go away. She wanted to bring his father back and run to tell her father what a mistake he had made in judgement. She instead said nothing. She stood up and followed Shaun out of the plane. She watched as he laid his father down gently on the ground. He stood and stared down at him. She remembered a blanket on the floor of the plane. The plane smelled of fuel and sparks jumped all around her. She didn't care.As she entered the front she heard Shaun call out.
"Melanie, don't!!! That thing is going to explode! Get out of there!!!"
She didn't look back nor did she stop. She ran inside and grabbed the blanket. She could hear the snapping and buzzing of the electrical units in the plane. She got out and went to Shaun. She opened the blanket and slowly draped it over Bobby's body. She stopped to place her hand on his chest and then stood. As she turned towards Shaun, the plane exploded into flames. The blast tossed them both to the ground. Shaun wrapped his arms around Melanie until the debris stopped falling around them. Slowly they stood up.
"What are we going to do now?"
"Well Princess, it looks like we wait to see if this thing had an SOS signal or we walk to try and find help. There is nothing here for us to find refuge in so we might as well walk."
"Well Brianiac, in case you haven't noticed, I am not exactly un-scathed! I have cuts and bruises and my legs hurt. We can stay here and wait for daddy to come save us."
Shaun stared at her in amazement. "None of this fazed you, did it Mel? You walk away like you were privileged and just should have lived! Well you might not have been here right now if not for my father!!! You are really a piece of work! And to think I could fall in love with you!! Amazing!"
Shaun's last words grabbed her inside. She was sure she had heard them correctly. She wanted to hug him and tell him she loved him too, but that would show weakness. She just could not do it. instead, she turned the opposite as she always did.
"Go soft, go broke, Melanie!" Her fathers words of wisdom again.
"What makes you think you would ever have someone like me, Shaun Turner? I am a little out of your league, don't you think!?"
Her heart hurt just saying those words. She wished she had just said nothing. His words hurt even more.
"Hell, Mel... you are even out of your own self's league. Stay or follow, I don't care anymore. I am going to look for some help." As he walked into the jungle, she waited for only long enough for some unknown creature to scream from the tree-tops. She followed quickly behind him.
They had walked for an eternity, it seemed when they spotted a tiny shack in a clearing. There was a fire going outside the shack. A large kettle hung over the flames and something boiled inside of it. The odor was like the smell of a bar-b-que at home, Melanie thought. She was starved and hoped who-ever was inside was friendly enough to feed them. As she stepped into the clearing, Shaun grabbed her arm. Pulling away she turned to him with a scowl. "What do you think you are doing, Mister!? Let go of me!!"
"Use your head Mel! We don't know who is in there! They could be unfriendly!"
"Unfriendly? You watch to much "survivor" or something. I will tell them who i am and they can contact my father. You can be Mister scared if you like." She pulled away from Shaun's hand and walked forward. A man stepped out of the shack. He seemed as surprised to see her as Melanie was to see him. he was dressed in worn out clothing and wore no shoes. His face was painted with red and blue and he appeared to be very old. He stared at her and then smiled, empty places in his mouth where teeth should have been. Shaun watched from the trees for a moment.
"Do you speak English? E-e-e-en-n-nglis-s-s-h," Melanie repeated slowly. The man smiled again at her.
"We have known your words for a long time. You are welcome at our home." He motioned for her to sit on a cut tree stump. "We have been waiting to see you come to us. Everything has gone dark and we prayed for a Princess to come to us. Now, you are here."
Melanie smiled at him as Shaun watched from the trees. He was uncertain what this man was talking about and wanted to know more before he revealed himself.
"Well you have your Princess. All I need is to contact my father and let him know where to pick me up. Do you have a phone nearby?"
Suddenly the trees moved all around the shack. One by one, men looking like the first one emerged from the jungle, some younger than the others but none that looked older then what had to be their leader. Melanie stepped back away from the approaching men. Fear now filled her face. She turned to run back towards where Shaun had been. The men surrounded her as she tried to run.
"You must not go away from us. You have been sent to us from our Fathers. We saw you fall in a fireball from the sky and knew we had been heard. We shall replenish our people and take back what was always ours again. No one will take you away, Princess."
Melanie screamed and called out to Shaun. She had wasted her scream though. She looked up and saw Shaun being pulled from the trees by some of the men. He was struggling to free himself when more of them shoved him to the ground and held him.
"Oh God, Shaun! I am so sorry I didn't listen to you. I swear I didn't know!"
"It's o.k. Mel. We will get out of this. Just stay calm and don't upset them."
Shaun felt a hard object hit his head. He went down to the ground again. The man that was their leader stood in front of him.
"So, the darkness sent it's own to take her back from us! We shall show them we are stronger than them. Our magic will make us strong and our princess will make us new, younger men to win back our land. This dark seed will go before the people tomorrow night and then we will decorate our Princess. Call the women to make her beautiful. And the dark seed... tie him to the jungle tree to await his return to the bad place.
"We do have a fix on their last known contact, Sir. But shortly after the signal was sent, we lost it all. As best we can tell, they went down in a hostile area of the jungle."
"Hostile!!!??? What the hell does that mean!? My daughter is out there and someone better find her. Get their people to look for her until we get there!"
"It won't be easy, Sir. They are afraid of the jungle people."
"Afraid!? You tell them they don't know afraid until they have messed with Johnathon Kendall! Tell them that!!!!"