Project Biotica: A Survey of the Island - Day 2
Raptorverse | Dark Sci-Fi | Photojournalistic Series
Day 1 | Day 2
Previously on “Project Biotica”:
Charles Gharib chartered a fishing vessel to return to the island he was evacuated from all those months ago due to the lab breach. He met and stayed with the local tribe living on the northern coast as he prepared for his journey south. Charles discovered strange anomalies around the village, but it only increased his determination to uncover the truth of what happened. ~ WM
Day 2: Return of the Storm
07:33 - I’ve been awakened by thunder. It is my first morning on Natus since the evacuation. It feels strange, like I’m not supposed to be here, like a mouse accidentally finding its way into a kitchen cupboard full of cheese. Everyone else in the cabin is sleeping. I hear faint snores emanating from their loft upstairs. I suppose I should get up before they do to make it less awkward.
07:58 - Surprisingly enough, the storm held off from reaching the island overnight. But now the black clouds loom above as if waiting for the perfect moment to unleash their fury. Yet, all is quiet except for the sound of the waves and the occasional rumble of distant thunder.
08:03 - Men are gathering near my host family’s cabin. I must go see what’s happening before I grab my things and depart.
08:15 - I’m inside the cabin now. When I approached the three older men, they began yelling and screaming. I tried to calm them but they wouldn’t listen. Their shouts woke the family, although I’m sure my hurried footsteps and hasty packing didn’t help the situation. I’ve finished packing my bag, and the family is confronting the group of men.
08:16 - I’m ready to leave. The family appears to be telling me that they don’t want me to leave, neither do the men outside. I’m not sure what they thought I might be doing here, but it was never my intention to stay with them. I must make that known somehow.
08:17 - They don’t understand. Hauata is sad, hiding behind her parents. I feel terrible for the confusion and turmoil I’ve caused.
08:25 - I’ve left them. Unfortunately, in a rather embarrassing manner. Half the village had been alerted to my departure and several of the village elders seemed to warn the others to return to their homes. Is it because of the storm? I’m not exactly sure, but I’ve managed to break free from them and now I walk the beach alone. It’s beginning to rain.
09:10 - What had once been a drizzle is now a downpour. Luckily, my jacket is waterproof and has a hood. I’ve also managed to place my backpack underneath the jacket which makes me feel utterly ridiculous, but it works.
10:31 - The rain was too much. I’ve stopped to rest underneath a large-palmed tree. There’s a cleft in its roots that provides ample safety from the inclement weather. I had resisted logging my observations over the past hour due to the sheer amount of rainfall. Despite my phone being “waterproof”, I’d rather remain on the safe side and avoid any unwanted accidents.
10:33 - This part of the island is new to me, so I can’t speak to what has changed. However, there has been observable variations since the storm’s arrival. I’m hearing strange noises in the jungle, noises that resemble bird song, but not quite. There have been rustling of the bushes and things leaping in the treetops, but they are always just outside of view, and never within a moment of a camera shot. I can’t explain it precisely, but it seems as if the island has come alive since the rain began falling. It’s as if the water has activated the world around me.
10:42 - Natus island is about 9 miles long and 4 miles wide. So, in theory, I should have two hours of travel left to the laboratory. The problem is I can barely see where I’m heading. I fear I’m already off course.
10:44 - The rain sounds nice hitting upon the leaves above me, and although the thunder booms had shaken me as I hiked, it’s more comforting now in a way, like a child in the womb hearing her mother’s heartbeat.
12:50 - It appears I’d fallen asleep. The tempest has mostly subsided and believe I can continue on my journey.
12:53 - As I got up, something scurried up the roots and trunk of the tree. It was fast. It shot through the air like a bat out of hell. I tried to capture it in a photograph but I fear you will not be able to distinguish its presence without my assistance.
12:56 - I’m only slightly shaken up by it. I didn’t see it, so I’m not sure what it is I should be afraid of. It’s likely a primate of some kind, those curious little fellas that played about in the fields outside of the lab. I’m certain I’ll see more of them as I venture deeper into the jungle.
13:01 - Then there’s this strange material that has been appearing in larger and larger quantities ever since I entered the jungle. It’s comparable to a hardened tar, but as it gets wet, it turns into a viscous liquid permeating the jungle floor. I may know what it is, but I need to see the lab first to make sure. If it is indeed what I think, then it is as I feared.
13:13 - I’m off. Farewell, tree. Thank you for your hospitality.
13:15 - It’s upsetting that I thanked the tree, but not the family that hosted me. Hauata’s distraught face reappears over and over again in my mind. I can’t shake it. I’m upset with myself, but what can I do now? My mission lies ahead of me, not behind.
13:49 - I’ve covered a lot of ground since departing the tree where I’d napped. The jungle has become thicker and more mountainous. I’m nearing the Helix Labs.
13:58 - I was correct. I recognize this region now. It’s just over the tree line.
14:32 - Damn. I was oblivious to my surroundings. Whatever had been watching me while I slept earlier must have been stalking me for I was attacked from behind. The sudden collision knocked me off balance and I took a rather disastrous tumble into a ravine. My phone screen is cracked, but I’m alive, thankfully. I don’t see my attacker anywhere.
14:43 - I’ve tried to walk but there’s a sharp pain shooting up my right leg. I struck a root sticking up from the ground on my way down the side of the ravine. I’ll have to sit for a moment and gauge my injuries.
15:07 - The rain has returned in full force. I can’t wait here. I must escape the ravine as it seems to be filling faster than it can drain like a bowl with a crack in the side of it.
15:41 - HOLY. I hope that last image uploaded successfully. Connection to the Helix Cloud has become spotty due to the storm. I’m out of the ravine after the painful climb. However, at the top, I discovered the first clear indication that things are much worse than I imagined. The creature resembled a bird belonging to the Corvus genus, yet it dripped with black tar and had dead eyes. Whatever it is, it’s unlike the lifeforms as we know them to be.
15:43 - I wanted more pictures but it regarded me, rendered a throaty squawk and departed the branch it had been perched upon to disappear into the canopy. I hope I do not see any other creatures of that nature, but I’m less than optimistic.
16:20 - My travel speed has become severely impeded by my leg injury. It doesn’t feel broken, but there’s a sharp pain in my knee when I put pressure on it. It has swollen quite a bit and the added trauma of continuous movement isn’t helping the situation.
16:36 - I don’t know how much more pain I can endure. I’m not as close to the laboratory as I’d imagined. I probably have another hour ahead of me. Although, that might’ve been the case before I was injured.
16:58 - I’ve discovered a cave. As much as I despise the dark, it’s a welcomed escape from the downpour. There’s not much else I can do until the storm subsides.
18:37 - The storm has intensified. It’s no normal storm. I’d wager this is a typhoon. Not out of the ordinary, but severely unfortunate timing. I won’t be able to travel during the raging winds and rain on a bad knee, plus it’s getting dark outside.
18:39 - I hadn’t noticed it before, but there are bones and scattered remains inside the cave.
18:40 - The bones resemble the anatomical structures of a primate, that or they are human.
18:46 - Definitely human. I’ve uncovered a skull picked clean of its flesh at the back of the cave. There’s a rifle buried under some rocks and dirt not far from the remains. The magazine is full, but I’m uncertain if the weapon is capable of firing.
18:59 - I now question whether facing the storm would be a better option than awaiting the return of whatever creature inhabits this den of death. It’s likely not a matter of if the creature returns, but when. And when it does, I hope to be long gone. If I’m not, then I’ll have to use the weapon. I give my sincerest gratitude to whoever perished in this jungle cave. Not only for their warning, but they’ve given me my best and only chance at survival.