The Southern Cross

"The Southern Cross"

DIana Vance was tired of being the 5th wheel.   Suki had Joe, Dani had Chris, and every time she got together with either of them they happened to have a friend for her to meet.   She needed a break,  and fortunately she had an escape.  Doctors Without Borders needed a nurse practitioner for a 6 month assignment in South America. She was going to see the Amazon...

James Proctor spends his life living out of a suicase. He works for a high tech private security company.  Like his older brother Joe, his military training created his career. 

When a mixed up priest  accidently switcher the bride and groom and maid of honor and best man at the wedding rehearsal, Diana unknowingly marries James. When her clinic is taken hostage by rebels, James has to go south to find his accidental wife.  But who rescues whom? 



And now a preview of "
"The Southern Cross""

Diana woke with a strange man on top of her.  The huge man’s weight made it hard for her to even breath.  She tried to tell him to get off, but her face was mashed into his shoulder, muffling her voice.  She struggled, but he did not respond.  Panic set in, and with the boost of strength adrenaline gives, she managed to squirm out from under the body.  “Oh, Goddess,” she realized, “This is a body!”  She looked around and saw several other bodies strewn about the floor of the forest near her. 

“Okay,” Diana said out loud, “Lets take inventory here.”  She looked around at the forest and listened to the sounds of wildlife all around her.  She looked up at the sky, and saw the starry night shine back at her.  She looked at herself, and found that she was dressed in shorts and a tank top.  She touched her face, and found her glasses.  Thank god she had these.  WHy wasn’t she wearing her contacts?   She never wore glasses anymore.  It had been years since she had to worry about glasses, and she was glad that hers had survived whatever happened.  

All around her were bodies in camouflage military clothing. There had to be six, no, eight bodies.  She glanced up at the sky again, and noticed that the stars were wrong.  There was no Big Dipper.  She saw the Southern Cross.  She was south of the equator, so none of her familiar stars would help her. 

She looked around again, and saw nothing new.  “What the hell am I going to do?” she thought to herself.  She had some survival skills as an avid camper, and she knew about herbs and plants from her own personal studies, so she might be able to survive this.  What to do and in what order was the biggest problem.  She had to think.  She had no experience with something like this, nothing to draw on; well nothing real at least.  She had been a role-playing gamer for years, and she had had characters in similar situations before.  What would her favorite character do in a situation like this?  

Lets see, step one, look around and assess immediate dangers.  Nothing but her is alive here, so there is no immediate danger.  Something in the jungle could wander in, so she should think about either staying here and making a fire, or finding a safe place for the night.

Step two, inventory what you have, and loot the bodies.  She was wearing shorts, a tank top that was covered with blood, and sneakers.  She had her Amethyst pendant, her watch and her glasses.  Not a good start for surviving in the jungle.  She looked around. Could she really search a dead man’s pockets?  Hell, she really needed to take a set of clothes.  Could she strip a dead man and steal his clothes? She really should feel stunned or sick even thinking about doing this, but she did not. Her medical training helped her see the body as a thing, not a person.  

She started going through the bodies, grabbing things that were in their pockets and hands, and piling them in the center of the small clearing.  When she found a dead woman among the group, she surprised herself by being able to take her clothes off the body and adding them to the pile. 

She had a pretty good supply of jungle survival items, and two more bodies to go.  She might get out of this after all.  She went to the next body, checked the rear pockets, then rolled it face up.  She gathered the items from his pockets, and started to rise when she saw his face.  The name “James” popped into her mind.  Something inside her reacted like she had been impaled.  Her breath drew in on its own, and she cringed.  She recognized him, but could not remember where she knew him from.  Her hand seemed to move on its own, flattening out and lightly rubbing his cheek. He moved his head and nuzzled her hand.

© Steve Stone 2012