Five years later,
Karza the Jungle Dude angrily watched the poachers from the trees.
The island’s location was supposed to be a secret, but obviously someone, he didn’t know who, had blabbed to someone on the outside, and now the island was going to pay the price. There were many flora and fauna on the island that would be worth a lot of money on the black market, either as pets or as skins. He was determined NOT to let that happen.
They came armed with guns and other weapons, ready to find whatever they could. They came from all corners of the globe, as poaching is sadly a lucrative profession that draws on the scum of the world. It’s better to see people of diverse backgrounds working together to help improve our world, and not to blight it. It’s a sad, sad, irony.
Some of the poachers looked towards the tree. Karza retreated back into the brush and the poachers shrugged and moved on.
In the years since he’d came to the island, Karza had grown from a wannabe jungle kid into a fully-realized jungle hero that Tarzan could be proud of. And not just Tarzan, but the Teo were, as well. The boy they’d adopted had found his calling in life; to live in the wild, protect and serve it, and return to nature like humans once lived.
However, somethings didn’t really change.
He was, after all, built like a gymnast or swimmer, not a bodybuilder like so many inaccurate pictures of Tarzan. And he wasn’t that big to begin with! Though Bruce Lee, CM Punk and Manny Pacquiao are all pretty small, so having a big mass of muscles like AHHH-NUUULLLD or Hulk Hogan is utterly meaningless, especially if you have skills.
Obviously, he had not only learned how to survive, but he thrived in the wild. He subsisted on what the jungle provided, as well as Teo Tribe meals on occasion. He was like an adopted son to the tribe, not a god (which is probably what you were expecting) and of course they would be happy to feed him the finest meats and vegetables.
He wondered if the poachers were the only ones who knew about the island. If they were, he could just capture them and bring them to the Teo for a trial. Better to deal with them than to let them go and tell people where they are. He stroked his smooth chin, his brown eyes wandered around the area. They weren’t going anywhere and it didn’t look like they were going anywhere for some time. He had plenty of patience that he developed living in the wild. He could wait.
As mentioned earlier, the jungle boy was a jungle man now. He was built like a gymnast/swimmer, but he wasn’t exactly the Nietzschean ideal Ubermensch. The Ubermensch is actually someone who doesn’t care for common morality, would prefer to be his own God, and spreads this morality to those around him. Besides, ol’ Freddie hated the Nazis, so it’s not like Karza’s some nazi wet dream, which he isn’t by the way.
The boy known as Kyle S. Anderson was gone, replaced by Karza of the Jungle; culturally Teo, he worships the gods of his adopted tribe, and has fully acclimated to living in the jungle. His brown hair was shoulder-length and unkempt, his skin was still tanned and he wore his loincloth, a symbol of his rejection of modern civilization.
And he also had a mate; a girlfriend.
He heard a bowstring being pulled back next to him. A young woman was aiming her arrow at the poachers. Karza reached out to gently grab her arm. She wasn’t happy about this, but he gave her a stern look.
“Relax, Julie,” he said.
Julie scoffed. “Whatever,” she said, loosening the bowstring.
She was Julie Vidic, a young, very intelligent and very beautiful woman from Northern California. Like him, she was 23 years old. And like him, she was a transplant. Although, her situation was a bit different. Mainly, she didn’t come here by accident.
She came as part of a scientific expedition right after graduating college at the University of California-Berkeley. The expedition had gotten the coordinates of the island, and in an attempt to beat the poachers, universities from around the Pacific Rim agreed to send staff members, as well as graduate interns to the island to study it. Julie heard about this and jumped at the opportunity.
One incident of losing the group on a trek and a rescue by Karza later, her destiny was chosen. She fell in love with both him and the jungle island, now given the codename “Greystoke”, after you-know-who, deciding to stay and become a jungle girl much like Jane Porter/Parker, or Shanna the She-Devil.
Of course, she also had a bit more of a sense of humor about the whole situation, often making cracks about her attire, her lifestyle and how her degree had turned into “A degree to become a jungle girl”, among other things. Now Karza wasn’t annoyed by this, in fact, he loved her in part because of her sense of humor and sarcasm. It made things far more interesting.
“Look at those bastards,” she said. “I want to wring their fucking necks.” Didn’t mean the young spitfire could get a little… hasty.
“NO,” he said firmly. “We have to wait.”
She had taken a bit to being a jungle girl with gusto, to say the least. She did have a background that involved martial arts, as well as an uncle who often took her camping and her father was a big fan of Tarzan, so it’s not too surprising that not only did she embrace the whole idea, but she got used to it pretty quickly, and it almost came naturally to her.
“I want to get them NOW,” she stage-whispered.
“I hate it when you’re impatient,” he said.
Julie’s brown eyes looked over at him and narrowed. He long brown hair was tied up in a braid that went down to the middle of her back. Her skin tone was also tanned and freckled from being out in the sun, and it was covered by what she often referred to as “standard-issue” jungle girl attire, an animal skin bikini and loincloth. Like Karza, her body was toned, but remained slender.
“Okay, slowly draw the arrow,” he whispered. Julie drew the bowstring back and pointed it at the one bald, American-sounding poacher holding a sniper rifle. Closing her eye and partially sticking her tongue out, she took aim at the poacher. Karza raised his hand. “NOW!”
She let the bowstring go. The arrow struck its target, propelling the man forward. Julie grabbed another arrow, nocked it into the bowstring, and let it fly. The man had turned around, and the arrow struck him right in the chest. Julie pumped her fist as the man fell down.
The other poachers quickly ran to investigate, and in the meantime, Julie removed the quiver from her shoulder and placed it on the branch. The couple stood and each grabbed a vine. With a mighty jungle call, the two swung down from the trees at the bewildered poachers, kicking the first ones they came across.
They landed in primal stances. Karza calculated that they had a few seconds to really take the poachers out before they realized what the hells was going on. He lunged at one of them, tackling the guy like he was one of the Blue Bombers. He jumped around, keeping himself a moving target for the poachers. He really did look like Tarzan. And then he tackled another one and threw him to the ground.
Julie had grabbed a Bowie knife and lunged for one of the poachers. A quick punch the jaw would be enough. Pinning the man down, she bound his arms and legs before another poacher rushed in with a knife. She grabbed his arm and pushed upwards, her bare feet digging into the dirt. She pushed forward and a kick to the solar plexus knocked him down so he too, could be taken care of.
Karza wrestled with a poacher. The man was much bigger than he was, which made it all the more difficult. Still, the Jungle Dude had a few tricks of his sleeve. He slipped his foot in between the poacher’s legs. When the poacher wasn’t looking, he kicked the man’s legs out from under him and pinned him to the ground, putting him into a sleeper hold.
Julie had finished tying up the last of the poachers when one pulled out a gun and pointed it at her. Instincts kicked in. She ran right up to him, lunged and tackled him before he could shoot her. They fought over the gun. Julie snarled like a wild beast, twisting the man’s arm and wrist. He screamed but he did not let go of the gun. That is, until Julie twisted his arm hard, forcing him to drop it.
The poachers were taken care of. Except for one. Karza finished tying up his stooge and noticed some footprints in the dirt. He looked up and realized the man was getting away.
But in the distance, he could see something he didn’t want to see; grey. And it was a familiar one, too. He looked away.
“Shouldn’t we go after him?” Julie asked.
“No,” Karza replied. “The jungle will get to him.”
“Dramatic,” she quipped. “Ah, well. He’s predator bait.”
“Yep,” said Karza. “By the looks of it, he won’t last long. Especially without his gun.” There were 4 poachers accounted for. There were 5 guns on the jungle floor.
The poacher desperately ran from the scene. He tripped over a root, but kept going. He could see something in the distance getting closer. Relief filled his mind. He could hide here! Those savages were crazy!
He raced up the stone steps into the middle of the square, where he stopped and took a breather. He had no gun and no knife. It would be difficult for him to survive out here—
He heard a sound. He forgot that he didn’t have a weapon for a moment and tried to find it, but he realized how stupid he looked. His skin jolted and his spine tingled. He had to get out of here. NOW.
He turned and ran. But that was all he could do before he was killed.
Though they were certain the poacher would not escape, Julie was convinced that it was better to be safe than sorry. And so she likewise convinced Karza to investigate. They carried the poachers, after having unbound their legs so they could walk, and gagged their mouths. Julie had also retrieved her bow and quiver.
As soon as she spotted the ruins, the anthropologist in Julie—she had graduated with a degree in anthropology—came to life. Her eyes lit up. “Oh, my… ruins!” she said while barely able to keep her excitement in check. She babbled on and on about how beautiful they looked and how she just wanted to inspect them so badly.
But something welled up in Karza that sent a shiver down his spine. “Julie,” he said. “I don’t think we should go in there.”
Julie stopped before she even reached the steps and she turned around while accidentally throwing the poacher to the ground. Her inquisitive expression told Karza that she was not just confused, but several other adjectives that fit the feeling. She could see something in his eyes, but she didn’t know what it was. Okay, she knew what it was, but she didn’t know why Karza was feeling it.
Just to make sure, she inched her bare big toe towards the steps and—“STOP!”
“Are you okay?” she asked.
“Yeah! I mean, why wouldn’t I be?” he asked.
“Oooh, trouble in paradise!” Julie’s poacher hostage said, earning a kick from Julie.
“Well, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen you like that,” she said.
“No, I’m not!” he lied.
“Karza,” she said. “Stop lying.”
“Look, that poacher’s not going to last long without weapons,” he said. “We should just—“
“Karza,” she said. “They’re just ruins. Why are you so afraid of them?”
It occurred to Karza that he had neglected to tell Julie about the ruins; how he was knocked out and woke up in front of the village, and that those ruins specifically were said to be cursed. But how? How could he tell her?
“What’s wrong, sweetie?” she asked.
“We should be going,” he said.
He was persistent. And once he turned around to leave, that was the end of it. Julie didn’t say anything, except an order to the poacher prisoner to come along like a good boy.
But the poachers were not thrilled one bit about this. Being captured by two people dressed in the animal skin bare-essentials is kind of humiliating, or so their facial expressions said. Usually, on DevArt, it’s the bad guys who get the upper hand, but here it’s not the case. This is no exploitative fetish crap, this is an actual story. And besides, poachers DESERVE to get their asses handed to them for illegally hunting animals, driving so many species to near and absolute extinction, throwing ecosystems into chaos and making our world much more miserable.
“I can’t wait to see you bastards get what you deserve,” said Julie. “We got pristine, unique wildlife unlike any on Earth. You see that cat there?” she pointed to a small cat about the size of a medium-sized dog. The cat slowly blinked and looked away. It had tufts on its ear like a bobcat, but it had a tail, which swished about. “That’s the only cat species like it in the world. And it’s here on this island. “There’s no fucking way we’ll ever let you hunt here, scum.
“Crazy thing is, that cat’s technically not supposed to be here.”
Greystoke is unique because every single animal, except for the flying foxes, are all considered invasive species. Yet, it appeared that they had not only been here long enough to adapt to the place, they had formed a fully functioning and balanced ecosystem, including working food chains, from producers to apex predators. Insular environments typically do not have such biodiversity in fauna. For example, Jamaica only has two native mammals, a bat and a Jamaican Hutia. The rest are birds, insects, and reptiles.
Oh, they have those here on Greystoke, too.
Of course, there’s also the undiscovered, recently-discovered and once-thought-to-be-extinct flora and fauna that got the attention of anyone, especially poachers.
“Captured by a naked man,” said the apparent lead poacher. “This is humiliating.”
“It could be worse,” Karza quipped. “You could be dinner for a predator.”
The poacher rolled his eyes. He must not be pleased about this one bit.
“You’ve never heard of Tarzan, have you?” Julie asked. The poacher turned around to glare at her, which she simply chuckled at. “Oh, look, the unarmed bad guy is trying to intimidate me. Isn’t he cute, Karza, honey?”
“Adorable,” Karza replied.
“You two make me sick,” said Julie’s hostage.
“Why?” she asked. Because we’re practically naked, or is it because—”
“Because you’re too lovey-dovey,” said the poacher. Julie smacked him, but only because she felt like it.
“I think he’s jealous, Juju,” said Karza.
“Juju?” she replied.
“Yeah, Juju!” he said. “We need to give you a proper jungle girl name! Juju sounds perfect!”
“Sounds like something else,” she said.
“Where are you taking us?” the lead poacher asked.
“Right here,” Karza replied, pointing at the walls of the village. “The village of the Teo.”
The ruins they just came about had been abandoned for a long time.
Well, only by humans.
The poacher’s dead body lay on the stone street. Scavengers began to gravitate towards his carcass, as it was a veritable buffet. Flies and other insects had already descended onto his already-decomposing remains, and began the process of speeding the process up. In a matter of days, only a little bit of the poacher would remain. That’s nature for you. It’s pretty to look at, but let’s not kid ourselves; it’s pretty harsh.
Suddenly, the flies and other insects flew away. The man’s body began to stir. Slowly, but surely, the body stood up, stretched itself out and sighed. “Ah, what a fine body,” he said. “I haven’t felt this great in ages. Hmm, kind of wish it wasn’t so decomposed. And what ARE these linens? Am I really supposed to wear this?”
The body removed its clothes as it walked away from the ruins.