Finally, today was Sunday! I was going to the jungle with my friend. Nobody except us knew about that. We were going to have some fun. I had heard that poisonous snakes were found in the dense jungle. I put the gun which I had got for my eighteenth birthday in my bag with some food, fishing rod and snake venom antidotes. Skipping college to go on a hunt would be just amazing. I went to the kitchen to smuggle some more food and a pocketknife into my bag pack before my mom woke up. I opened the kitchen window and cold and fresh air filled my lungs. The crepuscular sky had started to become blue. I picked up some Doritos and Chips’ Ahoy and fitted them inside my already stuffed bag. I wrote a bye on a piece of paper and left it on the sofa.
I was just going to turn the doorknob when mom’s voice came from behind, “Why are you going early and where are you going wearing these clothes?” I turned and faced mom nervously and with all the nerve I said, “We have a fancy-dress competition and I have been told to come early with the getup of a hunter. That is why I am going early.” This was the first time I had said a lie to my mom, and I did not like it at all. She pierced her eyes straight into mine and stared for 20 seconds before breaking the eye-contact. “Ok then”, she said, “Bye and take care.” With a silent whisper of “Thank God”, I left my house. My friend Dave’s house was just three blocks away and he was eagerly waiting for me in his lawn. “Ready?” he asked me.
The way into the jungle was a very silent one. We could hear the chirping of birds and even the roar of a lion (I think, but Dave said it was a tiger’s). On our way to the jungle, we planned what we were going to do. We would first go to the Central Jungle Pond which, as the name suggests, is in the center of the jungle. That place was filled with snakes, fishes, and toads. We would then kill some snakes, fish out some fishes and come to the outskirts of the jungle where we would roast the animals (except snakes which Dave will take as trophies) and eat them. We could then come home safe and sound by the evening. This seemed like a good plan.
Within half an hour we reached the point from where the jungle started. I took my gun from my bag. The sun was still not completely out. The leaves were covered with dew. I could identify the weeping willow, the English oak, the maidenhair tree, and the Sycamore maple.
There were many more types of trees, but I did not know their names. There was no straight way going deep into the forest. So, me and Dave hastily but quietly started going via the zig-zag way. My sixth sense started feeling something which made me run faster, but I had no idea why. After some time, I heard the beast before I saw him.
Behind me I could hear the roar of a tiger and I could hear footsteps coming close. Unfortunately, hunting a tiger was not on our list. I started running and loading my shotgun at the same time. I looked at the tiger, it was catching up and I took aim. When I was almost going to press the trigger, I tripped and the tiger leaped over me. I closed my eyes and tried to find the gun which had fallen. Suddenly I heard a WHACK and then Dave said, “RUN, what are you waiting for?” I opened my eyes and was glad to see that the pudding face of the tiger was no longer leaning on me.
I stood up and picked my shotgun, took aim and shot. The birds on the trees fled and the tiger roared his last roar. Now, the only thing that filled the jungle was pin-drop silence. Slowly, I went towards the tiger and touched its face. The tiger was dead as a doornail. We could not take it with us because it was at least two hundred lbs. We left him there and started walking again, my heart still pounding, trying to come out of my chest. It was strange to see how Dave was looking after I had shot the tiger, his confident face had an aghast look, as if he had seen a ghost. Looking at this, I asked him, “What happened?” He looked at me and I thought I had seen fear in his eyes. “Umm… Ah…. Nothing, just a little tired after that incident.” A clear lie, I could easily know. We were friends since we were 4 years, and I had gotten to know that his eyes usually twitch when he lies. I had no idea why he was not telling the truth, but I decided to drop the topic.
The sun was high up in the sky when we reached the pond. The blueish water, the shadow of the trees and the cold air made the place heaven-like. The pond was full of life. I could spot turtles, fishes and what not. It was as big as a cricket stadium. Dave and I took out our fishing rods and sat on the marshy land to fish. Dave had volunteered to bring the bait, which was slimy earthworms. With a look of disgust on my face, I attached the unlucky earthworm to the hook. Throwing the hook in the lake is my favorite part. I am a shotput thrower, which makes it easy for me to throw it in the middle of the large pond. I just had to hope there were no flesh-eating piranhas in the pond.
After approximately an eternity, I and Dave had caught ten fishes, with me in the lead with six fishes, none of them being piranhas. We had killed three snakes. I had caught three Bluegill fishes, two Fathead Minnow, and one Green Sunfish. We were ready to eat. Lighting a fire in the jungle is perhaps the most difficult part if you have forgotten the lighter. I had wasted so much time to look for the wood pieces that the sun had started setting. We quickly roasted the fishes and ate them by adding a bit of salt and pepper. Dave had even bought some oil and breadcrumbs I would call this delicacy as roasted finger fish. We had finished eating and were stuffed. The plan had been successful but with some surprises. The hunting day was over, Dave was back to normal, and it was time for us to go home. The sky was darkening, and we had walked for almost an hour, we were somewhere in the middle of our way back but unfortunately hail started falling from the sky. We started running but it was of no use, we both were badly injured. We spotted a cave and ran in it. It was scary looking from inside, but I did not pay much attention because Dave’s arm was bleeding.
We both slept because we both were tired. Sometime later I woke up because a water droplet fell on my face. It was four in the morning and the hail had not stopped! I started scanning the cave and I saw, grass and light from the turning of the cave far ahead. I woke Dave and told him to come with me. We quietly but hastily went over there. In complete silence, I could only hear my clock. Tick, Tock, Tick… My lower jaw dropped as I faced the most beautiful jungle I had ever seen. I could see many birds but could hear nothing and I had no idea why. Nothing! My watch had stopped! I went forward and I felt a rush of air. Suddenly I could hear the birds, millions of sounds reached my ears. I saw a WAIT WHAT? “A dodo? It went extinct right? Why is it there?”, I asked Dave. No, no, I am dreaming, I surely am.
He was stunned too. Suddenly, walking towards me, I saw a Mammoth? I rubbed my eyes and checked again. It Was a Mammoth!! So huge. The ground was trembling as he was walking. He was at least thrice as huge as an elephant. We dived out of his way, so we would not become stamped lunch. “What was that?” Dave asked as we heard a roar loud enough to burst our ears. Standing in front of us was a skyscraper sized Tyrannosaurus Rex. We ran to the bushes. Thankfully, he did not spot us. His focus was on the mammoth. We watched as the mammoth struggled and its last trumpet echoed. I closed my eyes and decided to focus on something other than the devouring of the mammoth. Opening my eyes, I realized that the bushes I was hiding in had many beautiful flowers. These flowers, I had seen them in my biology book. Extinct species.
It was a Cosmos Atrosanguineus! It was beautiful. The red petals, the Chocolaty smell, now I knew why it attracted the extinct California Condor. Oh no! We had to escape before it came. I had already realized that this was the world of extinct animals. I pulled Dave and yelled, “RUN BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!” Up high I could see a bat-like figure, but I just ran without looking back. Around me I could see human eating plants which lunged as we ran. I spotted a Saber-tooth on the hill, running so he does not get smashed by a herd of Indian aurochs stampeding their way through. As we were running, I checked my watch, and was shocked to see that the watch had started rewinding. The bird was not following us now. The sky did not have a Sun but was still bright blue. This was a magical world, full of extinct species. We had made a major scientific discovery! “We should tell everyone about this place, it is amazing!”, said Dave.
“Do not even think about it, we don’t want these animals to get extinct again.”
I could understand that he still wanted to, but I finally managed to convince him. We had to find a way back soon. The watch was still moving anti-clockwise. “But how are they here? And how are so many animals living in the same climate?” He said. “I think I might have an idea; this was the only place animals lived on while they were hunted in other places. They remained safe here due to no human interference. For example, Dodo and mammoth: over millions of years, evolution has taken place and because they have no other safe place, they started to live on a symbiotic relationship” We ran back to the place where the cave started. Back in the cave, we decided to run back to our home and make another excuse to our parents. It was morning already; the sky was still dim, and my clock showed 5 in the morning, now working perfectly fine. The hail had stopped. 1 day and 10 minutes ago, I had left my house. I reached home in 20 minutes because we were running. It would be good to be home and mom would be very worried. I rang the bell and mom opened the door. From what I could judge, she was not worried at all.
“Back here in ten minutes? Did you forget something?” She asked. I had time traveled while I was in that world and this must be the reason my watch was moving anti-clockwise.