Chapter 1
Josh woke suddenly, a heavy sweat gathered on his brow and dripped down his face. Confusion settled in, he glanced around the in dark, unable to make sense of where he was. Surrounded by the night, and the lack of vision that accompanied it, he struggled to see anything to tell him where he was or how he had gotten here. He tried to stand, his legs ached to the point of paralysation and he was forced to resume his position, sitting back down on the hard, dirt ground. A painful sting erupted from his neck, he grabbed at it. To his surprise, he felt the smallest of holes, about the size of a pin prick, causing confusion to bury ever deeper in his already dumbfounded mind.
“What happened?” He mumbled wearily, the strain in his voice was noticeable. It seemed even the most menial and everyday actions were a heavy burden on his lethargic, attenuated mind and body. It was several minutes before Josh realised that he was propped up against something hard, leaning back on a slight angle. With the caliginosity of the night, Josh was practically blind. The dead quiet made his ears useless, and he was left to rely upon his last useful sense. Touch. He reached back, feeling at the hard object his back was leaning against. What he came to realise made his heart stop, and his stomach dropped right down to his feet. He felt queasy, and anxious as his mind ran in circles at the possibilities of what had happened. Hard wooden poles, surrounding him. He was imprisoned, a hostage in a dank little wooden cell. Josh closed his eyes hard, hyperventilating, frantically trying to recall how he had got into this position, who had put him in here, and why. The nauseating feeling he had just moments earlier, released itself in a physical, tangible form. Dry moisture erupted from his mouth, sending a wave of burning pain up and down his throat and oesophagus. The sound of his gags and dry retching echoed loudly. Trembling, he continued heaving up nothing, bursting blood vessels in his face. His eyes were watering, he collapsed onto his side, gasping for air, eyes still dripping with painful tears, and throat still searing in agony. He felt his eyes slipping back into his head. Before he could mumble any last words, he was unconscious in his wooden prison.

The taste of dry, bile was still in Josh’s mouth when he recovered and regained consciousness. He coughed and spluttered all over the place, spitting frenetically, blood splattered on the ground from his mouth. He stood up, his legs were slightly stronger, and could just hold his weight. He clung onto one of the wooden bars which kept him imprisoned, standing slightly huddled over. It was slightly lighter, around early morning, sunrise was not far off.
“Look who’s up...” A dark, ominous voice whispered to Josh.
“Who’s there?” Silence. Nothing responded, except a slight echo of Josh’s words. He stood up straight, squinted his eyes, trying to pierce the darkness in the direction of the voice. Josh stood motionless for a minute, still scanning the darkness for the voice. He knew one thing. A deep feeling in his gut told him this was the man who had put him in here. A disgruntled moan escaped from Josh’s lips as he tried to walk forward. He felt something tug around his ankle, pulling him back, making it unable for him to walk any further. This was the first time he noticed he was bound to the cage, which he could now slightly make out the shape of in the early dawn darkness. Josh pulled and fought against the restraints, aching every square inch of his body, fatiguing him to the point of immobility. He collapsed in a heap on the floor, sweat poured off his face, his breath was short and wheezy, and every inhalation caused a deep stabbing pain between his ribcage on the right side of his body.
“Tut tut tut.” The voice clicked his tongue in consequential disappointment. “Trying to escape are we?” Sarcastic retort escaped his unseeable lips.
Josh attempted to pose a single question, “why?” but his weary voice box would not allow any more speech. A shrill laugh pierced the quiet morning, it was malicious and evil. Fear was driven into Josh’s stomach, as he realised he was in a position of great weakness, a position he was not used to being forced into. The sun seemed to take days to rise, Josh waited, now sat upright, mouth shut, eyes open, ears pricked, waiting for the next sign of the man who had him here. He took in a large breath, forgetting the pain in his side, he spluttered and coughed and winced in agony, his eyes poured out tears of pain, and he fell to the side, gasping and panting for air. His attempt to relax was definitely in vain, as he now trembled uncontrollably, still paralysed on the ground.

After approximately ten minutes, Josh began to regain muscular control once more. His fingers and toes twitched, his eyes darted back and forth, his mouth open and closed like a fish out of water. Rays of sunshine were now starting to peak over the horizon; it was now light enough to see. Josh was able to see past his cage, and into his captive zone. Dense, jungle area surrounded all Josh could see in front of him, still unable to move; he could not survey the rest of his surroundings, nor look for the owner of the voice. Spasmodic movements in his main skeletal muscles began to erupt throughout his body. His biceps and pectorals began to tense and relax in a shivering type of movement. His quadriceps were doing the same, causing his knees to buck back and forth. From the outside, it appeared Josh was having a fit. The laugh echoed out once more, sending even more shudders down Josh’s already quivering body. After a few minutes of humiliating laughter and uncontrollable muscular contractions, Josh regained total control of his body, though his muscles ached and cramped constantly. He turned towards the direction of the laughter, and met his captors face. His hair was shaved near to the skin, making his forehead appear rather large. His nose had a few kinks in it; it was obvious it had been broken many a time. His mouth was thin and lips pursed, and only when he laughed did he reveal yellowing, chipped teeth, with the odd black gap of a missing tooth. His jaw was thick and neck long, a thin yet toned body stood a fairly tall six feet and two inches. But was the most noticeable feature, was his eyes. A deep green, filled with emotion. They stared, wide and large, growing insanity had wearied them, not leaving Josh’s own eyes, staring deep into him. The deep glare penetrated more fear into Josh’s mind, yet they were hypnotising. Like an eclipse, known to be detrimental to look at, yet fixating and tempting to stare into. After a moment, the man took his eyes off Josh’s allowing him to concentrate his surveying sight elsewhere. No other man or animal was present, spare a few bugs and lizards, and this brought no comfort to Josh. It was this insane man, in a hostile natural environment.
“Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place.” Thought Josh as he looked around at any sort of path through the dense jungle which surrounded him. No path or road could be seen, just the thick foliage of the trees which seemed impassable.

It was now light, and Josh could see the trees and the surroundings he was trapped in. Though the captor was back to being unseen. Silence filled the slight clearing in the jungle, all but the happy chirps of native birds going about their business. Josh was standing; his strength had nearly completely returned. He gripped the wooden bars, and shook, trying to dislodge or snap one. It didn’t budge. He took a few steps back, ran and kicked the bar. It slightly shook, but was barely flirting with snapping or moving out of place. His strength quickly waned, and he was fatigued once more.
“Still tired, eh? “ The voice called out again. Josh spun on the spot, searching for the man. He now realised the accent behind the words was not of any English speaking country, though he could not pinpoint where it was from.
“Show yourself!” Josh yelled out, these were the first words he spoke without his voice giving out. “Coward.” He added. The bushes began to rustle and shake, and then he saw, emerging from the shrubbery, the man who had kept him here. His dark complexion which silhouetted against the jungle was now visible, as he stepped out into the morning sun. He gripped a rather large knife in his right hand, and dangled the keys in his left. He laughed with a dominating cackle, which made Josh’s blood chill. He realised once more that this man was in complete control of their current situation.
“What do you want?” Josh spat.
“Oh, you will see.”
“Answer me properly!”
“You are not in any position to ask anything of me, Josh.” The man yelled loudly. Anger was now present in his usually calm voice. He was beginning to lose his cool.
“Let me out of this cage and I’ll show what sort of position I could put you into. You’re nothing.” Josh antagonised, spitting at the captors feet. The jingling of the keys stopped. The man stood, surprised at this flurry of anger being spoken at him. He sprinted the few steps up to the cage and grabbed Josh by the scruff of his shirt. He pulled him up against the wooden bars, keeping Josh immobile and off balance. Pulling the blade up, he gingerly brought it up to Josh’s face, stroking down his cheek with the sharpest point. The cold metal made Josh shiver. Goosebumps erupted on his skin.
“I could cut you right now and no one would find your body.” He said with a thin smile.The wind picked up, the trees swayed and danced once more.
“You dare to threaten a man with a knife? Pfft.” He spat, “you have no authority here, Josh.” He threw Josh back, causing him to lose his balance, and sent him sprawled on the ground. With one slice of his large blade, the cage was cut open.
“Let’s see how you fair.” The man said, gesturing and taunting Josh to make the first move.

Strutting back and forth, the captor stayed ready, eyes fixated upon Josh, waiting for him to strike. Josh hung back, flicking the pieces of wood in his hands, testing their weight against his own muscular force.
“Well, come on!” The captor taunted at Josh impatiently. But he hung back, patiently, still twirling the wooden poles in his hand. He kept pacing back and forth, his arrogant impatience was building. The knife’s long blade glistened in the now late morning sunshine, as it stayed ready for any attack. It was extremely long, sharp, and kept in perfect condition. Before long, the captor lost his patience, launching himself at Josh, blade first, ready to pierce his flesh. Josh knew this attack was coming, he calmly stepped to his left, spun around, bringing one of the poles to the side of the captors side, directly impacting his ribs. He dropped; stunned that he had been made a fool of, gasping for air from the impact.
“How...” He paused, taking a short breath, unable to fill his lungs with the air he so desperately longed for. “My name is Kai, I own this jungle. I own your life!” He screamed at the top of his voice, finding air which he did not have. He lunged forward, catching Josh in the side, opening a small wound. The deep redness of blood began to soak into Josh’s white, ragged clothing. He grabbed at his side, dropping the smaller of the two poles, and stepped backward in defence. His eyes glistened with pain soaked tears, but he blinked them away. A large burning angry fire built up in Josh, starting from his stomach, and spreading to his limbs and his heart. He leaped forward, striking Kai on the top of the head; he landed behind him, spun, and gave him another strike directly on the back of Kai’s head. Kai dropped; his unconscious body was unable to soften his fall, as he hit the ground hard, with a loud thud which echoed around the still quiet jungle. Surprised at what he had just done, Josh stood, dumbfounded, staring aimlessly at the unconscious body of Kai. It took him a few minutes to come to grips with what had happened. Panicked, he thought hard about what Kai had said. His words echoed around Josh’s head, “the king of the jungle.” Josh pondered hard on this, coming to the conclusion that Kai was not alone. His blood was trickling out of the thin wound, slowly, leaving the smallest trace of his path, as he ran further into the density of the jungle, hoping to not run into Kai or any of the jungle men associated with him.