Wood didn’t get much sleep that night. Actually, most of them didn’t. No surprise there. They were huddled in tighter groups than before, often casting fearful glances at the jungle.
He stood closer to the jungle than any of them, his makeshift blade hanging loosely, easily in his hand. He wasn’t entirely sure such a weapon would be of any use against something as big as that thing out there obviously was, but he had to try something if it came back.
Footsteps alerted him to someone approaching his position. He turned briefly. It was muttering boy, who was staring fixedly into the trees, his eyes wide. “You seem awfully calm.” The boy said.
“Most predators are just like dogs. They get excited by fear.” Wood answered.
“You deal with stuff like this often?”
“Not this big.”
“So you a hunter then?”
“Something like that.” He could tell that the young man was starting to relax. Apparently he’d needed someone to talk to. Wood looked at him more carefully. He looked about the same age as Xander, maybe a bit younger. He was skinny, with short dark blonde hair. “Robin Wood. Ex-High School Principal.”
“Daniel Reed. Novice Reporter.”
“You should get some sleep Danny.”
Reed gave a short laugh. “Yeah right. I mean, you’re right. We’ve all had a big day. But I don’t think I could sleep.”
“Try anyway. I promise, if anything’s coming, I’ll give the alarm.”
Eventually, sunrise came, and with it, a lessening of fear. Even though he knew that there was no reason to suspect that there was less danger in the daylight, Wood was no more immune to the relief that sunrise brought.
“And what a sunrise.” He thought to himself. “Never seen one quite like it. If it weren’t for the monster, this wouldn’t be so bad.
Behind him, people were starting to discuss the events of the night before.
“Maybe it was a Dinosaur.” A big guy suggested.
“I doubt that.” Another said.
“Whatever it was, it wasn’t natural.”
“Yeah,” came one reply. “It sounded like the Iron Giant or something.”
“Isn’t there an old Indian legend about a big spirit or something?” Daniel asked.
“What, the Wendigo?”
“Yeah that’s it.”
“Uhm, we’re a few thousand miles south of Wendigo territory.”
Wood turned from the ocean, wondering whether he should put in his two cents. Should he tell them he suspected it could be a demon? Maybe something LIKE the Wendigo? They’d probably just think he was crazy.
“Hey,” the man from the day before was approaching him. “You get any sleep last night?”
“Little bit.” Wood said. “You’re the doctor right?”
“Yeah. Jack.” Wood shook his hand. “Listen, I’m gonna go look for the cockpit, see if I can find the transceiver. If you’re feeling up to it, I’d feel a lot better if someone were looking after things here.”
Wood looked at him for a moment. The day before, Jack had been running all over the place, tending to the wounded. All the while, he’d heard later, with a wound of his own. And he’d never lost his head. Good, they’d need people like that in this situation. Meanwhile, Wood had walked around in a daze.
“Why ask me?” he said finally.
“I watched you for a bit last night. Everyone else was on the verge of panic when that thing came by, you weren’t. You seem like a level headed guy.”
Wood nodded. “I’ll do what I can. Good luck out there.” Just as Jack was turning away, Wood called to him; “Hey, if you see anything, ANYTHING, run.”
Doctor Jack, Charlie, and Kate headed into the jungle, and Wood started doing what he could. He organized a group to start sorting through baggage, looking for individual people’s bags, and piling all the unclaimed luggage together for future use. Once that was completed, he ducked into the shade created by the fallen wing and lay down.
The night before he’d been relieved by a young dark skinned man, and had managed to doze a bit, but like many, he’d been too worried to sleep. Now, his hand wandered again to the medallion hanging from his neck, brushing his thumb across the stone in the center.
“Okay,” Willow explained, handing the Medallion to Wood. “It’s done.”
Wood nodded, looking from the necklace to the bags under the red head’s eyes. “Have you slept at all?”
“Yes. No. A little. But these are really important, and besides it’s not like I haven’t pulled all nighters before, and don’t worry I didn’t use magic to keep myself awake, I used coffee and sugar which after a while just gave me a headache and if I stop talking I’ll fall asleep so I’d better tell you how it works.” She took a deep breath. “Rub the gemstone in the center, and my mystical glowy orb thingee-“
“Is that a technical term Will?” Xander asked.
“My Orb of Remulsa will show us where you are and what’s happening. Then with the help of our friendly neighborhood Devon Coven, we can have backup to you, or get you out of there lickety split. Night.”
Kennedy caught her has she collapsed backwards. “I told her she should have paced herself.” She said.
Four times now. This made four times he’d tried to use the “Slayer Signal” as Andrew had dubbed it. And nothing. He was still here. No help had arrived. He had a number of ideas why. The Orb had been smashed, either in a battle, or Andrew had stumbled into it. Willow and everyone else who knew how to use the damn thing were dead, or for whatever other reason, not able, or available to help. Or there was something about this Island that was blocking reception. In any case, no help was coming. They were on their own.
“Hey, Mr. Principal!”
He woke with a start. He hadn’t meant to fall asleep. He shaded his eyes and saw the ace reporter standing over him. “What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Oh I don’t know that anything’s wrong per se,” Daniel said. Thunder rumbled in the near distance. “Just thought you might want to seek better shelter before the weather turns nasty.”
Soon, everyone was running for shelter. Wood and Daniel found themselves crammed under the wing, the biggest piece of debris, which therefore provided the best sanctuary against he storm. Wood watched as a few others merely huddled under a tarp. He couldn’t help noticing the older bald man, who so far hadn’t budged from his perch on the beach, was not seeking shelter against the storm. He was obviously enjoying the rain. As was the young man who’d taken over the watch from him the night before. He was at the edge of the crowd under the wing, his eyes closed.
Then it came. Their visitor from the night before was back, bellowing it’s strange, train-like cry.
The survivors huddled closer together, and even the younger rain enthusiast retreated under the protective canopy. “Aw c’mon, he complained under his breath. Don’t make me fear the rain.” One of the young ladies in the group wrapped her arms around his waist in a very familiar way.
Just like the night before, whatever it was merely made it’s presence known, then receded into the forest. There seemed to be a collective sigh of relief, though Wood was worried.
“Hey,” he asked the crowd in general. “Did Jack and the others get back yet?”
“Not yet.” The big guy said. “Hope they’re okay.”
After maybe half an hour, the rain petered off, then stopped.
“So,” a scruffy looking young man said. “What now?”
To Be Continued…