A 23rd Century Girl in the 20th century -- Chapter 5

              A 23rd Century Girl

in the 20th Century

                                     Chapter 5
                      By Starla Anne Lowry



“We should be leaving just as soon as Dr. Ledbetter makes all the arrangements,” said Lizzie Jane. “Come with me.”
Linda followed Lizzie Jane to the woods behind Uncle Jed’s farm. George, the young gorilla, jumped up and down when he saw the young ladies headed his way. Lizzie Jane and Linda were wearing shorts with a bow hung around Lizzie Jane’s neck and a quiver of arrow on her back.
“I assume that George taught you a little about playing in the jungle?” Lizzie Jane meant the sentence as a question.
“Yes, a little. Why?”
“From what information I have gathered from Dr. Ledbetter, his group did not go very far into the jungle, so there is no telling what surprises it will hold. I want my daughter to be prepared, so George and I are going to teach you a few things that will come in handy to survive.”


“Like swinging through the trees?” asked Linda.
”Yep, and how to shoot a bow and arrow,” replied Lizzie Jane. “Granny Ruth is bringing her six shooter – me, my bow and arrow – do you know anything about self protection?”
“Yes, we were taught Begei.”
“What is the world is that?” asked Lizzie Jane.
“Japanese Martial Arts – Budou, which is hand to hand, sword fighting, bow, and also Judo. You will learn more about the martial arts in the next few years. A lot of kids will learn the basics.”
“Okay, let’s check out your skill in the bow and arrow.” Lizzie Jane placed an arrow in the string of her bow. “See that small scar on that tree?”
With quick aim, Lizzie Jane hit the target dead center. “Now, let’s see what you can do,” she said as she handed the bow to Linda.
Linda place an arrow in the proper position, pulled back on the string and – swoosh – she split Lizzie Jane’s arrow from the end to the tip.
“Wow, I don’t need to teach you about archery. How is your swinging from tree to tree?”
“I did well in acrobatics.”
“Show me.”
Linda climbed up a tree and quickly leaped from limb to limb and tree to tree, sometimes swinging with her arms and sometimes landing on a limb with her feet.
“Well, looks like you are prepared,” admitted Lizzie Jane. “Do you always climb a tree that slow?”
“Yes. We never climbed trees in school,” answered Linda.
“Okay, then we will work on that. You may have to scamper up a tree like a monkey.” Looking at George, Lizzie Jane said, “No offense, George.” George just stood there a somewhat confused upon hearing his name, the word. (The word, ‘offense’, was not part of his limited vocabulary.)
“I am not looking for problems – just want to be prepared,” explained Lizzie Jane. “Keep in mind – you and I may have to protect or rescue Granny Ruth in case she gets in a tight. She has no business going with us, but I think she got more ornery in her last days.”
Linda nodded her head, not understanding the meaning of ornery or what the word, ‘tight’ meant either, but figured out the general idea after hearing it used in a sentence.
“If you will teach me how to ‘scamper’ up a tree, I will teach you some martial arts. How about that?” asked Linda.
Doctor Ledbetter contacted Doc Brown. “We are ready to go. I have all the necessary paperwork. I will send a plane to pick up you guys and fly to South America. From there, we will travel by helicopter. Are you going with us, Doctor Brown?”
“No, I am afraid not. I had planned to, but I believe I will be needed here. I am the only medical doctor in this area, you know.”
“Well, I don’t usually ask for this, but I understand you are a religious man. Will you pray for us? I am starting to get concerned because I thought I never was going to find a local native to go with us who knows something about the jungle. There is something out there that is scaring people and I don’t know what it is. Whatever it is, it has the bluff on the natives of that area. I am almost to the point of backing out.”
“That is up for you to decide, but Lizzie Jane and Linda will be disappointed if you do,” answered Doc Brown. “They want to look for something that might shed a light on Linda and what happened after she left.”
“I know. I am curious, too. Well – just pray for us. We need all the divine help we can get,” replied Dr. Ledbetter.
Bags packed with pants and shorts, along with some other necessary supplies, and the weapons to which each person was familiar, the family sat under a shade tree sipping lemonade and watching the skies for the sign of a plane. It had not taken much work, but Uncle Jed’s pasture had been leveled enough for a light plane to land. Jake and Josh were discussing the world’s situation and seem to have it all straighten out (at least for them) when Aunt Maudie exclaimed, “Here it comes!”
The expert pilot sat the two-engine plane down with what seemed to be a perfect landing for the country folk – the pilot thinking it should have been better. Lizzie Jane and Linda hugged Uncle Jed and Aunt Maudie’s neck, receiving their best wishes. Lizzie Jane, Jake, and Linda boarded first with George holding to Linda’s hand. Next came Ruth and Josh.
Waving good-by with a handkerchief, Aunt Maudie watched until the plane was out of sight. Turning to Jed, she said, “I am worried. Those kids don’t have any idea of what they may be getting into. It could be worse than it was when they were there.”
“Or better,” said Uncle Jed. “Let’s hope for the best. Come on. You know the Lord has been with Lizzie Jane this far and I don’t think he will desert them now.”
“Oh, I hope so,” said Aunt Maudie, wringing her hands. It was not difficult to see the worry and heavy heart in Aunt Maudie. She and Jed loved Lizzie Jane so much and had grown to love Linda just as much. Well, she had the other kids to see about – the ones that Linda had rescued. They were in school and had not been informed about what was going on.
After fueling a couple of times, the group arrived at the first leg of their destination – an airport where a helicopter and a native guide were waiting. Doctor Ledbetter had to present his papers and the passports to some men who appeared to be governmental officials. A translator was present to relay the messages and, after a few words (evidently to clear things up), Doctor Ledbetter informed the group that it was okay to board the helicopter.
Upon boarding, Doctor Ledbetter introduced the pilot, “This is Joe.”
“Any problem?” asked Jake.
“No, I just had to assure them that I was not going to take away any relics. They will probably search us when we get back,” answered Doctor Ledbetter. “Also, they had questions about George. It took awhile, but I convinced them that he was a pet.”
“If we get back!” barked Josh, staring at Ruth with that ‘what do you mean getting us in a mess like this?'. 
“Now again, I want to emphasize that we are going into unexplored territory. Last time our group never got beyond the clearing where we found the bones of the T-rex,” explained Doctor Ledbetter.
“We know – and we came as prepared as we could. We all have the weapons that we are accustomed to,” said Lizzie Jane. “Hopefully we won’t have to use them.”
Looking down at the jungle, Ruth said, “Sure is a big place. If we had to come through all that when we came from Kansas, I don’t believe we would have ever made it.”
“We came through some awful rough territory,” replied Josh.
“But nothing like that – Look!” insisted Ruth.
No one questioned the time, but there seemed to be enormous mileage being covered until finally Doctor Ledbetter said, “I think that is it,” pointing toward an area where a few small bushes were growing. “It’s not as much of a clearing as it was, but I believe that is it.”
“Well, according to the bearings you gave me, this is it,” replied the pilot.
“Well, set her down, Joe and let’s see what we can find,” answered Doctor Ledbetter.
Joe landed in a small area that still seemed cleared and the group departed. They busied themselves unloading what they had brought – a few backpacks and their weapons. Lizzie Jane had obtained an archery set for Linda, as well as a hunting knife and one of the spears that had been retrieved from the savages. Linda had agreed that the spears were unusual for cave dwellers when she discovered that the weapons were prepared to come apart in the middle so that it they could be carried in a quiver.
“Joe is not going to stay with us, but we will be in contact by radio if we need anything and when we are ready to come back,” explained Doctor Ledbetter.
“But suppose the batteries run down?” asked Jake.
Doctor Ledbetter smiled. “You wind it up,” he said, pointing toward a handle. “It doesn’t need batteries.”
“Modern inventions!” exclaimed Jake.
Doctor Ledbetter smiled again. “They have been around for quite awhile now.”
Linda smiled, too. To her, that type radio was an antique. In her time, communications were much more advanced.
The group watched the helicopter as it ascended. Suddenly, a huge bird like creature flew into the blades and the helicopter began its spiral decent downward and crashing.
Dazed and attempting to get away from the helicopter in case of an explosion, the pilot crawled out as quickly as he could. The bird like creature swooped down, captured the pilot in its claws, and quickly flew away
The native guide, after viewing what had happened, manifested his fear by screaming and running, zigzagging across the clearing. The other winged creature swooped down and captured him, also flying away in the distance.
Doctor Ledbetter looked around at the group, still staring at the sky in shock. “We had better get out of here. Those things, or more like them, may come back looking for us.”
Quickly determining the safest route, the group rushed to the edge of the jungle. Feeling a little safer by not being in the open, they considered their problem.
“What was that?” questioned Josh.
Linda spoke up. “I think it was a Uetzalcoatlus -- a pterosaur -- a prehistoric flying reptile named after the Aztec god Quezalcoatl. It was supposed to have lived in the late Cretaceous age. Supposedly it was the largest pterosaur that ever lived. Some had a wing span of up to 13 metres.”
“I think Linda is correct,” agreed Doctor Ledbetter. Turning to Linda, he asked,” Where did you learn that? Are schools that much more advanced?”
“Yes, I think so.”
“Why didn’t you shoot it?” Josh asked Ruth.
“Are you kidding? That thing was out of range before I could ever get to my gun, but I am putting it on right now,” she said as she searched her backpack for her gun belt.
Lizzie Jane turned to Linda. “We had better get our weapons, too. That is one bird that I never saw when I was here.”
“Me neither,” agreed Linda.
The girls armed themselves with their bows and quiver of arrows. the spears Lizzie Jane had confiscated from the savages and their hunting knives. Doctor Ledbetter loaded his rifle. Josh had brought a six-shooter, too, and Jake had brought his shotgun, since that is the only weapon he ever owned.
Lizzie Jane shuddered. A similar thing happened the first time when she was trapped on the island with two other girls. They had run to the jungle without looking back, but had heard the men scream who had kidnapped them.
Linda looked worried. Lizzie Jane said, “Don’t worry, hon. The Lord took care of us last time and He will again.’
“But last time we escaped thought a time warp – through a fog and this was an island. This is not an island anymore and there isn’t a fog to create a time warp,” answered Linda.
Doctor Ledbetter spoke. “We don’t need a time warp now. Since this is not an island. it has become connected with the mainland. It will be a long journey if we have to walk, but we can make it. Besides, we still have our windup radio-telephone.”
Ruth spoke next. “Yep, we can make it. I have faced a gunslinger, kidnappers, Indians, and survived a tornado. Josh and I traveled for mile through forestland, over hills, through valleys, across wide rivers, and we are still around. I think Lizzie Jane, Linda, and myself have proven that we are rough girls and can face anything.”
At that statement, Linda remained quiet, but she wondered in her mind if the savages were still here as they were 1,000 years earlier. What she did not know was that Lizzie Jane and Ruth was as uncertain as Linda regarding their survival. They had bragged about their accomplishments in an effort to ease Linda's fear.
Doctor Ledbetter spoke again, “It is a terrible thing to lose two men like we have today, but we were not prepared to do anything about it. It was over too quick. We need to concentrate on our mission and find the cave where the giant gorilla and George lived and see if there are anything that could supply more knowledge on the past – and future.”
Lizzie Jane looked around. “As near as I remember, we have run in the same direction that the girls and I ran last time – so, the narrow valley should have been in that direction.” She pointed southwest. “But remember, there were a lot of huge creatures in the jungle.”
The group started out in the direction Lizzie Jane had pointed out. Doctor Ledbetter and Lizzie Jane led the way with Linda and Jake close behind. Ruth and Josh were next in line with Josh glancing over his shoulder often, not wanting anything to sneak up.
They had gone a few hundred feet when Lizzie Jane pointed out a huge mat with something intertwined similar to ropes. “That is a huge spider web,” she said. Pointing upward, they saw a spider the size of a German Shepherd. “Well, at least I know some things haven’t changed,” she added.
As they walked along through the bush very carefully, Lizzie Jane began to notice smaller animals – smaller than the ones she saw previously. Remarking about that, Doctor Ledbetter said, “Maybe things are catching up with modern times.”
The snakes were not as large, but still large enough to keep a safe distance. Lizzie Jane began to gain some hope that the giant savages had disappeared, giving way to modern man. Although no sign of humans could be seen, there was a strange sensation that they were being watched from the thick bushes. Even George had stopped walking and began swinging among the trees. Lizzie Jane began to think along the same lines as she did before – she had never known of gorillas swinging in the trees until she met George. Was that an unusual feat for gorillas of modern times?
From a limb, Lizzie Jane suddenly noticed that George was jumping up and down and pointing. She perceived that he was trying to warn of danger ahead and relayed that to the group. Everyone made sure their weapons were ready as the group slowly eased on through the bush.
No one had a chance to fire a shot as human-like men rushed out and grabbed each person around the arms, prohibiting movement of the upper body. Lizzie Jane quickly determined that, although they looked savage enough, they were not the giant savages she once knew.
They had been surrounded by a huge number of these man creatures, so Lizzie Jane motioned to Linda by shaking her head not fight back at the present time. She was afraid with Linda’s knowledge of hand-to-hand fighting, members of the group could be harmed. “Just play along with them for now,” she whispered.
Much to Lizzie Jane’s relief, none of the weapons were left behind, but were picked up by the man creatures and carried along with the captives. Keeping a cool head, Lizzie Jane studied the captors as she was pushed along.
They seemed to be a cross between the ancient savages and modern man. Perhaps they were descended from the savages -- maybe not as violent – maybe more. At least they took their captives alive. Lizzie Jane was not sure if the savages had done that. She remembered that they had taken her friend alive – the one Lizzie Jane had rescued in the darkness of night. She had imagined that the savages were cannibals – wondering she and her friends were to be included in someone’s next meal.
Lizzie Jane looked at their spears. Did they break apart in the middle?
Yes, they did! Truly these people, although smaller, were descendants of the savages! There wasn’t any doubt in Lizzie Jane’s mind. Her thoughts turned to ways of escape to be accomplished in such a manner to not harm any of the group. She was sure that Linda was thinking the same thing.
One thing in Lizzie Jane and Linda’s favor – When attacked, everyone had dropped their weapon, having been grabbed so quickly and without warning, but, having a primitive mind, the captors had overlooked one little detail: Lizzie Jane and Linda still were still wearing their belts with a scabbard attached. 
Each scabbard contained a hunting knife.
--To Be Continued
All persons are fictitious and any resemblance to any person, living or dead, except historical figures are coincidental.
Copyright 2008 by Starla Anne Lowry


This Is Getting Better All The Time

This story is taking on aspects of the Lost World or The Land That Time Forgot. It will be interesting to see what you have cooked up next.
May Your Light Forever Shine

What do I have cooked up next?

You know what?

I have no idea.


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