(Disclaimer: I own nothing from The Lost World nor am I making any profit by writing this other than the enjoyment. If you read please leave a review. Constructive criticism welcome).
Ned Malone sat on the small rise with his journal in his lap. He and Veronica had decided they wanted a day alone together. They had told the other explorers they would be gone from the Treehouse for the entire day and should be back by nightfall. The journalist found himself wanting to spend more and more time alone with the blond jungle girl. Sometimes he wasn't quite sure of his feelings for the girl. At times he felt he loved her more than life itself, while other moments he loved her like a sister. He wasn't sure how Veronica felt about him either. Ned thought she was fond of him but didn't know if she felt the same way toward him.
For the moment Ned was content simply to spend time with her and enjoy her company. They had found a small open field to sit and watch the sunrise. There was a small stream nearby and Veronica was kneeling by the edge cupping some of the cool water in her hands. Ned had already given up trying to describe the beauty of the sunrise, the blue sky. He found himself watching Veronica instead. When he glanced at what he had written, he saw he had been describing her instead. A smile came to his lips as he stood and went over to her.
She looked up and smiled at him as he approached her. There was a hint of mischief in his eyes but before she could stand, he held his cupped hands over her and suddenly pulled his hands apart. Cool water splashed on the bare skin of her back and she jumped with a startled cry.
"Oh, you are just asking for trouble, Ned Malone," She laughed as she kicked water at him.
A moment later the young couple was engaged in a full water battle. Both were soon completely drenched but laughing heartily. Ned took a step back to get a hard kick at the water, but his foot slipped on a submerged piece of wood and landed hard on his rear. For a moment he sat still but then he started to laugh.
"That was graceful," he said as she offered a hand to help him up. But instead he pulled her down beside him and kissed her.
For a moment, Veronica was surprised but then she returned the kiss. When their lips parted they gazed at each other for a moment. Each was lost in the other's eyes. The loud roar of a T-Rex interrupted the tender moment and they glanced in the direction of the sound.
"Sounds like it's heading this way," Veronica said as they got to their feet.
Ned hurried back to the rise where he had been sitting. He collected his backpack and his rifle then the pair headed toward the jungle canopy. He glanced at the sky and saw the clouds beginning to form.
"Looks like we're in for a good storm as well," he said. He looked down at himself. "And maybe we should dry off."
"There's an outcrop of rocks nearby," Veronica said as they started walking. "They should provide shelter until the storm passes."
Ned followed Veronica to the shelter. They both gathered some dry wood for a fire. He dug out the tin of matches he carried in his pack and started a small fire. They had just made it to the shelter before the storm let loose. Rain was coming down heavily along with forceful winds. The storm was strong and fast moving.
The T-Rex they had heard had stomped past the shelter without even noticing them. Veronica rubbed her hands together as she sat by the fire. Ned was a few feet away exploring some carvings in the wall of the rocks. He took a piece of wood from the fire to shine more light on the carvings.
"I'm pretty sure this is Latin," he thought aloud.
Veronica was watching him. "You have a gift for language as well as Marguerite?" she teased.
"No. But my parents were Irish Catholic. They left the church when I was young but my mother insisted I should at least know a little Latin," he laughed a little. "Now I wish I had paid better attention."
But he set the light down so it would shine on the writing. He took out his journal and began to copy the writings. Veronica shook her head. She looked out at the entrance to see the rain was still coming down. Her thoughts kept drifting over the past few weeks. One adventure or misadventure after the other had befallen the explorers. There'd been few breaks in between to just relax along with taking care of chores. This day alone with Ned was one Veronica would make certain to enjoy. Both were relaxed and Ned had been so spontaneous with the water battle and the kiss. This was a side of him she hadn't seen in some time. She wanted to see more of this.
She looked back at the journalist to see he was still writing in his journal. He was following along the wall, slowly writing down everything. For a moment his hand hovered over three words. After copying the letters, he tried to pronounce the words.
"Rex, I know is King, but Presbiter Johannes," Ned read aloud, his face tightened with thought. "I've heard that before."
Veronica came over to read the words for herself. "Rex means this was the name of a king."
Ned kept repeating the name. "Presbiter Johannes," he breathed then his eyes widened. "Prester John?"
He tried moving farther into the cave as the writings went farther in talking the entire time.
"I read about him when I was a kid," he said, his excitement growing. "Heard about Prester John in school along with Marco Polo and all the explorers. Cook, Ulysses, Magellan."
"Was that besides all those penny dreadfuls you are always telling me about?" she teased him. "You actually read something educational?"
"Hey, the dreadfuls were very educational," he replied. "I read those along with any newspaper I could get my hands on or what I could afford. Hey, there's an opening here."
With his reporter's curiosity in full control, Ned tried to squeeze into the opening. He was just able to fit.
"Hey, it gets wider back he…," his sentence was cut off by a sudden curse and a stumbling sound.
"Ned?" Veronica shouted as she neared the entrance.
There was silence for several minutes and Veronica called out again. She was just about to try going through the opening when she heard movement. When Ned finally stepped out, she could barely keep the smirk off her face.
He looked even wetter than before, but was covered in a fine, sticky white substance. He was covered in it from head to boot. As he looked at her he suddenly sneezed sending a small cloud of the white material into the air.
"Sorry," he mumbled. "It's a dead end."
"What is this?" Veronica asked.
"I don't know but it smells worse than a wet raptor," He complained trying to wipe the material from his face. He sneezed again sending some of it in Veronica's direction.
"Smells worse," she said, wrinkling her nose in disgust. She led him back toward the warmth of the small fire. That was when she saw the smatter of blood at the corner of his eye.
"What did you do?" she asked as she reached into his pack for a clean handkerchief. She carefully dabbed at the blood.
"Oh, that," he said as he flinched slightly. "I tripped on a rock and hit it. It's throbbing but it doesn't feel too bad."
"It's not deep," she agreed as she finished wiping the blood. She shook her head and started laughing. "You need to start wearing a hat or a helmet."
"Very funny. Ha, ha."
He glanced to the entrance of their shelter. The rain had finally stopped but he had no motivation to move. He suddenly felt tired and his throat felt sore from whatever the white powder was. His head was throbbing a bit and he sighed as he lay down on the ground.
"Are you alright?" Veronica asked as he lay down.
"I just want to close my eyes for a few minutes," he answered as he closed his eyes.
She eyed him for a moment. She took the cloth in her hand and poured water from his canteen.
"You shouldn't go to sleep if you hit your head," she warned him. She took the handkerchief, wet it with water from his canteen, then she wiped at his face.
"I won't. Just let me close my eyes a few minutes."
(Okay, that is the end of the first chapter of this new story. I'll try to have more up as soon as I can. If you read, please leave a review. Constructive criticism welcome.)