Question 5: A cold hand grasped his wrist as he slumped to his knees. Write a story which includes these words.
This story is based on Question 5 above.
A Miner’s Story
The gold-bearing plateau of the Guiana Shield is every miner‟s destination. But many times, it is also their doom. The rainforest holds a hellish hatred, a demonic grudge against all intruders, and batters them, strangles them, and eventually, destroys them. Amazonia is no place for man, and here, nature reigns supreme. The men trudged through the mud, in the sunken crater, somewhere in the middle of nowhere. All around them were trees, in excess of fifty metres high, ferns, creepers, moss and lianas. The world of vegetation was grey-green, alien to mankind, as the early morning fog hung low among the ferns. This team was here, for gold, but man cannot tame nature. All of their faces were haggard and mud-streaked, clothes were torn with dried blood in dark spots, and their rifles and digging tools already rusting with moisture were on death row. They had a fouled compass, no medicine, and half of the original eight-man team was lost; dead, in the middle of nowhere.
Carl Royston shook his head and cursed under his breath. He was a young miner from one of the villages in the mountains, but he looked twice as old as he was now, as the men lethargically stumbled through the perpetual gloom in the barely penetrable rainforest. He glanced at Lewis, his number one rival. Lewis was a big, burly, bearded buffalo of a man. Lewis stared at him and scowled as they moved deeper into the bowels of the forest. Carl hated Lewis with all his heart, for reasons he chose not to remember. Now they were together, members of the same team in the heathen jungle.
“Hold up, rapids,” was the call from Mason, up ahead.
A cascading torrent was before them, foaming white water thundering around jagged black rocks on the riverbed. Funny, he hadn’t heard it before. Carl brushed it aside. He had a fever anyway. The rapids sounded as if the floodgates of God had opened, especially from so close.
“It’s okay, boys,” Mason, the American prospector said.
“We’re crossing in a minute.” Carl hated Mason‟s accent. Why couldn‟t he speak like the rest of them? He stepped closer, to the edge of the water. From here, it sounded like a bullet-train tearing through a tunnel at three hundred miles per hour. He stared across the water that swirled with unearthly gyrations, to the opposite bank. Fifty feet of raging water, from bank to bank. His head hurt, and everything swam before his eyes for a while, and he felt nauseous. The tumult didn’t help much, and he staggered.
“You okay?” Lewis’s voice came. Carl glared at him and snarled.
“If I was …” He began, but Mason cut him short. “Okay men, let‟s cross.”
The next few seconds flashed; then he was knee-deep in foaming water. The rapids unleashed their full fury, and spray flew, and Carl felt himself stagger under the assault, and foundered. A cold hand grasped his wrist as he slumped to his knees; water, foam and spray flew as the big man, Lewis, hauled him over to the other side, to safety.