I was thinking about our awesome time at scout camp when I heard a weird noise coming from the brown helicopter we were riding in. We started losing altitude. My stomach dropped. We were going to crash! BAAM! We turned and twisted. When we stopped we were upside down. I looked around everyone was unconscious but my best friend, Maxwell, and I. I could tell by his face he was scared half to death.
I said, "Maxwell, we need to get out of here. The helicopter might blow up and we need to get help for these people," I point to the unresponsive people.
He looked at me and said, "But it is almost night!" I looked out the window he was right the sun had already set. There was only a little light left for me to notice that we were in the desert, maybe we were over West Texas when we crashed. There were cactuses and sand everywhere.
We carefully unbuckled and got our scout packs that had our food and water.
"Where are we going to go?" Maxwell asked.
"Before we crashed we were heading Northwest. I saw a city out my window just before we lost altitude. I was sitting on the right side of the helicopter. So we need to go Northeast. We can use my compass. If we head that way," I point with my finger, "we should find the city I saw."
I know our best chance was to head to the closest city to get help for us and the other six people in the helicopter. I am guessing the city was 50 miles away. If we walked a 15 minute mile, then it will take us about 10 hours to get there.
I looked through our packs from scout camp. Sadly, we had used most of our water and food. But we had out tools and gear. Luckily, our flashlights were still bright. Maxwell and I started walking. Only a couple hours into our walk we heard a sound that sent our skin crawling. Pppt, pppt, arowwwww, arowwwww!
"What was that?" said Maxwell.
"That is a coyote." I had just learned about some of the sounds coyotes make at scout camp. I knew right away what we were hearing was a coyote's aggressive, territorial call.
We listen for any more noises. Then we spotted ten yellow eyes glaring in our flashlight's light. They were circling us. They seemed to be moving closer as we watched them. Then, without warning, one leaped at Maxwell. My foot was in its face before it reached him.
The coyote cried out in an almost a dog like whine. It ran out of our flashlight's range. The others seemed to follow the one I kicked, but we were nervous that they would return. It was getting really cold. So we decided to start a fire.
I got some matches from my pack. Maxwell and I gathered some sticks. We laid the sticks to look like a tent or teepee. But I knew a match would not be able to light a stick on fire so I looked through my pack. I found a paper with the map of our scout camp printed on it. I crumpled my map and put it in the middle of our tent of sticks. We were able to start the fire pretty easily. We found several huge tumbleweeds that we were able to break up to keep the fire going.
After I broke up another tumbleweed I looked over at Maxwell. I could tell he was tired. It was just past 11pm. I told him, "Max, you can go to sleep if you want to. I got this fire under control."
"Are you sure?" Maxwell asked.
"Yes. I am sure." I said. Within twenty minutes he was snoring quietly on the other side of the fire. As I stared into the fire I thought about home. I was thinking about my mom. She would be worried that we did not arrive home on time. My brothers and sisters will be sad that they will not see me again if we don't get out of this. My dad would be planning how to find us. I missed my family as I sat in the dirt.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw something moving. A rattle snake slithered in front of the fire between Maxwell and I. It stuck its forked tongue out of its mouth every couple of seconds. It was smelling the air. It is smell just the fire? Or could it smell us?
I was terrified! I hate snakes! And this one was huge! I would say it was at least five feet long. As it coiled up in the fire's light I could see the black and white bands next to the rattle. It was a Western Diamondback Rattle snake.
I know that a rattlesnake's bite can be very serious. The Diamondback is responsible for the most snakebite deaths in the United States. My plan is to wait until the fire burns down. Knowing the heat from the fire is what drew her to us. I hold still. I hope Maxwell holds still until the snake leaves. My dad told me once that rattlesnakes have night vision and they can become quite nasty when provoked.
As the fire burns down Maxwell started to move. He sat up and grumpily yelled, "Jaren, why did you let the fire burn down?" The snake's head whipped to look at Max and her rattler started to clicking. It almost sounded like the crackling of bacon cooking. Maxwell froze.
I slowly stood up, careful not to make a noise. I grabbed a stick from the dying fire. I quickly swung my stick at the pile of coiled snake between Maxwell and I. Its body flew through the air a few feet. Enough space was put between the snake and Max that he was able to jump up and get on the other side of the fire. The snake slithered away from the fire's light.
"Good job, Max. You almost got yourself killed." I was irritated. I could have lost one of my best friends.
"Sorry. I was cold. I didn't know why you let the fire burn out." Maxwell replied. "What time is it?"
I glanced at my watch. "It's a little after 1am."
Pppt, pppt, arowwwww, arowwwww! The coyote's call was close. Apparently they had not gone far. How long have they been watching us just outside the fire's light?
I threw some sticks and tumble weeds on the fire and blew at the coals. The fire started up quickly. I grabbed the same stick; I had used to hit the snake. Maxwell was looking into the night with his flashlight. He would catch a glimpse of eyes reflecting in the light every few feet. They had surrounded us.
They were getting closer as the minutes ticked by. In false bravado I lounged at one. It moved back, but then moved forward again. These guys were determined. I threw rocks and yelled. They did not seem to care. They tightened the circle around us.
I had an idea. I told max, "Stay by the fire." I charged the closest one to me and hit it on the nose with my stick. It ran away. While my back was turned to the fire, another coyote lunged at my back. I turned just in time to block it with a swipe of my stick. Another one jumped and bit me on the leg. I hit it hard on the side with my stick. I started moving back towards the fire while trying to keep the stick between me and the coyote pack.
I was just a few yards from the fire, but I was not sure I was going to make it back to it or Max. I had to keep my eye on at least six coyotes and swing at any that came too close. Just then Max came screaming toward us with a stick over his head. He started hitting bewildered coyotes in a crazy fit. Many of them ran to the sides creating a path for me to run to Max.
"Thank you for saving my life!" I said to Max. He gave me a nod. He was still concentrating on the coyotes. Max and I stood back to back near the fire. The coyotes seemed to be afraid of the fire. They kept their distance, but stayed within the fire's light.
I knew was only a matter of time before they got closer. I was wracking my brain. How could I get them to go away. Then the light bulb went on. I grabbed a burning stick from the fire. I threw it with all my might at the closest coyote. The others scattered. The one I hit was knocked to the ground. I grabbed my trusty stick and stabbed it into the side of the coyote, right where the fire had singed its coat. It made an almost human scream-like sound.
It was really hurt. It crawled away from us. The other coyotes followed it. I don't know if they left to help it or finish the job. I felt sick to my stomach. I was exhausted.
As I walked slowly the few feet back to the fire I glanced at my watch. That attack lasted only 20 minutes, but it felt like hours. How long could this night last? thththththththt sound ring in my ears and a bright light came up over a hill. It was a helicopter we jumped up and down and waved our hands franticly. The helicopter's spot light landed on us. We were saved! The helicopter flew over to us and landed nearby.
The pilot came out. "Are you guys lost? Do you need help?"
"Yes! Our helicopter crashed," Max said.
"There are people back there that need help too," I added.