16 | MY HEAD IS A JUNGLE

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I can't see.

My ankles are numb from the cold, blindly racing me through the shrub. I barely flinch at the branches whipping past me, adding another groove or graze to my skin. My breathing is shallow, echoing in my ears.

A roar pierces through the silence, stopping me in my tracks. As far as the eye could see: jungle. Silvery foliage glistening in the cracks of moonlight breaking through the trees. Usually alive with nocturnal activity, it was silent. I kept stumbling.

I felt a sob rising in my throat. My hands were without a gun or radio. I couldn't call for help. There were no roads to guide me. The ferries back to the mainland were leaving by the hour. For all I knew, all the ferries could have left by now. I could be the only living person wandering this island right now. Tears welled in my eyes.

"Owen," I choked. Silent. "OWEN!" I screamed. The flutter of birds echoed above me. A sob erupted from my mouth. "Anybody," I sobbed. Tears streamed down my face caked with mud, stinging the grazes on my cheeks and bruised lips.

I resumed running, stumbling over rocks and pathetically brushing branches aside. I may as well have been blindfolded.

My body fell to the ground with a thud, a wince escaping my lungs. I had tripped over something. I gritted my teeth, heaving myself up with shaking arms as my battered hands pressed uncomfortably against bitumen.

Bitumen.

I could just make it out by squinting my eyes. Pale yellow paint on the ground ahead of me. My stomach began burning with motivation.

"C'mon Laura," I seethed, pushing myself off the ground. My knees were buckling under the weight of exhaustion. "You can do this." A stifled cry pierced through the silent jungle as I pushed myself off the ground, stumbling onto the road. An owl cooed softly in the distance.

I could just feel it. It began trembling in my ankles and brought it to my senses. The rumbling of a car heading towards me. A soft glow gradually grew into a bright light, harsh against me eyes now used to navigating in the dark. The hum of the engine grew louder and louder. I stood cemented to the spot, dripping with sweat and caked with dirt. I gritted my teeth as the car came to a stop, ready to defend myself if need be. The person I least expected to see emerged from the car, softly slamming the door as he approached me. I took a step back.

"You stay the hell away from me," I croaked, my throat clenched.

Hoskins stood in front of the headlights, his arms held up in defense. His eyes were clouded with defeat, yet he still stood with dignity and wore an expression tinged with impatience. Even though the entire park had collapsed to the ground, he was still on a schedule.

His niece stood before him, stranded, alone and afraid in a jungle in the dead of night, and he extended a reunion that was unorthodox from sympathetic.

"Laura," he began.

I shook my head violently. "No," I spat. "Don't Laura me, how dare you-"

"-let me explain," he said, raising his voice. I stopped.

"This, was never my intention alright? I-" he said softly. "I had plans. Plans to take these dinosaurs off this island and use them for good. For what nature intended them to be. To be creatures that could be trained and help people. To steer our wars away from technology."

He took a step closer to me. "I never, ever meant for these dinosaurs to kill anybody. I had no idea I'd be putting people's lives at risk."

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. "How can you say that?" I seethed. "What the hell would you know about using things for good, about HELPING people."

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