Charlie of the Jungle

written by: Olivia Chapman

First Chapter: The Final Countdown

Once upon a time, in a place where the smell of rotting plants and mud was so overpowering that I had to cover my mouth from throwing up, was a boy named Charlie Wonka. Charlie was a young man, probably between the age of 15 or 16 (he was not aware of his exact birthdate), with brown shaggy hair and piercing blue eyes. The village he had just been visiting was under attack from the ferocious creatures of the land that were chasing after him...

Charlie had been traveling solo for a long time. His mother died during childbirth and his father decided that he wasn’t going to stay around. The village that he was born in decided to raise him as a tribal child. A tribal child is basically an orphan. They are raised within the community until the age of 9, when they reach this age, they can decide if they want to devote themself to the tribe or take on the world alone. To some communities, this may seem insane, but to Charlie and his peers it was the way of life. His life.

Charlie chose the second. He was always a troublemaker, staying out later then curfew or talking back to his tribal mother(s). But Charlie couldn’t be contained. He needed to run. He needed to be free from the restrictions that his community put on him. Charlie was also holding onto a secret. A secret that could get him and the people he loves killed.

Now back to the original story. Charlie could not stay in a village more then for a few days without the creatures showing up, or the people starting to talk. They would gossip about his eyes that seemed to glow brighter as the moon comes out. Or how objects just seemed to disappear.

As Charlie takes a step, his feet sink deeper and deeper into the spongy green moss covering the ground. He is afraid to move. There’s barely enough light to outline the winding vines that drape from tree to tree. He knows that they are getting closer and closer to finding him, but Charlie has one skill that they don’t. He has the ability to travel 24/7. Charlie had a special talent that he had kept secret since he was just a young boy. He never sleeps.

Charlie peered out into the now destroyed village with anguish. He could not believe that they had gotten so close to him. He had heard them slip into the back of the inn, and only had mere seconds to escape. He grabbed his few belonging, opened the window, and escaped into the dark night. When he finally reached the outside of town, he decided to finally look back and see if anyone had followed. As far as he could see, it was clear. That was over ten minutes ago. Now the village bright with red, yellow, and orange flames shooting out into the sky.

As Charlie walked on and on he got used to the sounds of the water and the insects constant chirping, but he jumped when he saw footprints in the muddy tracks where he had been walking. He realized that he had been walking in circles for the last hour with the jungle all around him. For the first time in his life, he believed that he was lost. The traumatic events that had happened the night before had messed with his mind. Charlie had become careless, a mistake that he could not make. He had been leaving a path, and now knew that they couldn’t be far behind him.

About the Author:

Olivia Chapman grew up in northeast Iowa outside the small town of Clermont. She has three sisters and a brother. Her ambition in life was always to become a writer. After graduating from NFV High, she plans to continue her knowledge of the language arts in Colorado. This is her first short story of 2014.