We've been walking for about two weeks and the change was so gradual I didn't even notice it. Don and Ibola live here-ish and I think even Simone picked up on the sheer wrongness faster than I did. We walked long enough to get through the woods several times. Maybe we were going in circles, I honestly couldn't tell. The sounds of the forest kinda fill your head to the point where I started blanking things out. The noise left a lot of time for awkward silence, with Don and Simone occasionally bobbing into the distance. He turned to Simone as the most competent/masculine in the group, myself being "useless" and Ibola "overemotional". This only made things more awkward, as there are more layers of awkward between myself and Ibola than I dare contemplate. He and Simone walked ahead and whispered together in hushed tones.
I asked Simone what they'd been talking about. She told me that Don thought that it was "trop silent" (too quiet). I was dumbfounded by the statement at the time, not checking my privilege or my ignorance. The jungle at that time was one of the most alive places I'd ever been. She shook her head and said she thought the forest was changing too. The days went on, and I honestly didn't see anything changing. We were still covered in bugs by day and eaten alive by mosquitoes at night.
We were paused by Don for the first time last Tuesday. Don gestured to Simone and the pair of them walked ahead. Ibola and I sat in a clearing awkwardly, left dumb and deaf to the other one's thoughts. Ibola stood up suddenly and left me alone with the silence. The idea of the silence hit me as Ibola returned. She held a red flower in one hand and some kind of dead rodent in the other. I knew by her expression that she hadn't killed the rat. It was tied up with its own intestines and its eyes were bulging out of its hand. Ibola and I locked eyes.
He buried the rat and burnt the flower, finishing up just as Don and Simone returned. Simone told me that she thought "we found the kids. Or at least the place they might be." We followed Simone and Don down the path they made in the woods, and came to an overlook above a vast expanse of jungle. A massive, greasy black pyramid pushed its way through the matted jungle, covered in vines and plants. It looked like it had been abandoned for millenia. Lining its sides were grotesque statues of something that my mind slips away from like a scared child.
We spent another four or five days getting closer to the pyramid. This place buzzes, but it's not alive. Nothing but insects. The dead animals are getting larger, but most of the time we come across unidentifiable bits of bone and ichor. We've slept outside the wretched place for the last few nights, trying to find a way in. The footprints lead up to a blank slate of wall, and I have no clue how to get in. In any case, I doubt we'll have much internet if we get inside-- this is the first time I've been connected to a satellite in weeks.
Hopefully will be able to write again later.