CHAPTER ONE: EXTRACTION
Early one morning, while mapping the high country wilderness area, the geodetic survey team made their way to a rocky outcrop. Their goal was to try to have the region designated as an international biosphere reserve in order to protect it from human contamination. The deadline for their report left no time for interruptions. Approaching the outcrop, their efforts were brought to an abrupt halt by loud, intermittent screaming somewhere close by.
The responding echoes made it very difficult to locate the source.
“What in the name of Hell could that be? It’s creeping me out,” one man said as he shivered in reaction to the sounds. The screams sounded more animal than human.
“Don’t want to find out,” said another as he nervously looked around.
“I’ll call the ranger station and let them take care of it. We don’t have the time to find out and it’s their problem anyway.”
Once alerted, the ranger station instructed the survey team to remain where they were and observe any activity at a safe distance until someone could get up there to investigate. They contacted their supervisor to explain where they were and why. After hearing the nerving screams in the background, the supervisor just grunted his response and hung up. The men settled in waited.
It was late afternoon when a park ranger made his way to the men’s location on horseback. The screams agitated his mount, so he tied it to a tree a good distance away in order to keep it calm. After a quick briefing by the men as to what occurred, the ranger located where the screams came from. He very cautiously approached what appeared to be a cave entrance. He turned on a flashlight with a diffuse filter in order to ascertain what or who was in such agony. The last thing he wanted to do was startle the poor creature and have in panic or become aggressive. The ranger’s response to what he saw was a combination of astonishment and horror. He quietly backed out of the cave entrance and immediately radioed in for a medevac helicopter. He then proceeded to empty his stomach against a nearby boulder.
After he cleaned himself up, the ranger returned to the survey team, thanked them for their time, and sent them on their way. Though curious about what he may have seen, none of them wanted to know. The screams were just too unnerving. They were glad to be able to leave and quickly did so. They ranger then walked down to his horse who was showing signs of nervousness and calmed it while he waited for the rescue helicopter to arrive.
Because the cave’s location was in exceptionally rough terrain, the 4 EMTs had to rappel from the helicopter. They already wore their personal protective equipment, and carried everything they needed to perform an emergency extraction. The helicopter was waved off and but remained on standby until needed.
The EMTs stopped when they heard the screams. Looking at each other, unsure as to what could make such soul rendering sounds. The ranger briefed them as to what to expect when they entered the cave. Cautiously and as quietly as possible, they examined the entrance before they entered.
What they found appeared to be a male figure curled up in a fetal position. His body was covered in a thick layer of something that reeked intensely of putrid smelling filth.
“The ranger didn’t tell us about the stench,” grumbled one of the men to.
The male was shaking uncontrollably. As soon as he stopped screaming, another one began somewhere deep within him. As it gained strength and burst passed his clinched teeth, the screams filled the cave with anguish almost inhuman in its intensity.
He did not feel the needle stick. However, a small part of his mind was distracted as he became aware of serene warmth slowly permeating his body. As it flowed through him, the horrors that held him captive slowly faded and were gone. He let out a low, sad whimper and his body became still.
His unbearable stench spurred the men to work fast. After a quick exam, they could not find any open wounds or exposed fractures. One of the men left and returned with a Sked rescue stretcher, sheets and a blanket. They covered the Sked with a thick layer of sheets, gently laid him down, and covered him with the remaining sheets and the blanket. After lacing him in, two of the medics returned to the cave to see if there was anything that could help identify who he was. While photographing the area, they found two items of red clothing, one item of white and a sword that had obviously seen better days. They wrapped what they found in a couple extra sheets and fastened the bundle next to the still form. Because of the unique circumstances surrounding the unconscious figure, soil, rock, biological, and air samples were carefully collected. While calling the helicopter back, the lead medic briefly discussed the male’s condition with the pilot. A cable was sent down and attached to the Sked. Slowly it was hoisted up and clamped onto a helicopter skid. The medics were next. Once buckled in, the helicopter turned and flew to a pre-arranged rendezvous location.