Don't Wear Black in the Jungle
“It's dangerous out there, you know. There are snakes that dangle from the trees looking like just another vine, only they will scoop you up around your pretty little waist and crack your ribs one by one until your heart explodes. If you're not careful, you might not notice a spider the size of a dinner platter poking a hot needle into your dainty wiggling toes, pumping you with a venom that will have you clutching at your foot as the blood flowing through your veins catches fire and rages on as you whimper in your final moments. You might prefer that to losing your porcelain good looks to a dinner date that you'd just as soon refuse. But you'll find the tiger doesn't take no for an answer. Or you might just be lucky and clever enough to avoid those untimely ends. You're just as likely to find the air and time itself to be your undoing. Within an hour, the pantyhose that are silhouetting your perfectly shaped long legs, will be cooking them, soaking up your sweat, mopping up your precious bodily fluids. As your insides turn to dust, you'll become desperate for water, even flirt with the idea of wringing out your sopping pantyhose over your open begging mouth and swollen tongue. After all, the only thing your stockings are doing out there is giving you yet another unsightly run.”
“You really know how to talk to a girl don't you?” replied Dawn Meadows as she turned away from the view of the steaming canopy of the jungle from behind closed glass doors. Stepping away from the balcony, she even shivered as she stepped past a vent billowing cool centralized air conditioning, an ironic juxtaposition to the deadly humidity of the jungle outside. She walked over to the bed where the man still lay who had been describing the various grim ends Dawn would meet should she decide to take a stroll out into the dense, dizzying, deadly riot of foliage that steamed just outside the safety of the giant windows on the second story of the climate controlled mansion. The satiny black spaghetti strap cocktail dress that draped playfully over Dawn's slender moving figure, paired with the sheer barely black pantyhose that accented her long legs, made her something to die for. Just beyond the safety of the glass, it turned out that her outfit was just inappropriate enough to die for different reasons. If the thought cinched the young blonde's heart with fear, she did not reveal it in her smiling face, as she ran her hands through her hair, flirtatiously walking over to the bed and the waiting arms of the man she had been sharing the bed with.
The man in question, who romanced Dawn by schooling her in the various ways pantyhose could kill a girl when worn in the sweltering jungle, was Edwin Miller, owner of the lavish mansion that Dawn found herself in. A mansion that was built snugly within the steamy embrace of a South American jungle. The mansion was an architectural marvel in design, maintaining itself on a series of intricate generators. Additionally, due to the isolated location of the mansion, the only way in or out was by air, a heliport located on the roof. Such a structure cost a fortune to design, build, and maintain. Luckily, Edwin Miller was just such a man who had the kind of fortune to build a secret fortress deep within the jungles of South America. Unlucky were the people Edwin ripped off to amass his fortune.
Edwin worked in the investment industry, and while he was not high on the totem pole at his company, he made up for his lack in seniority with his clever dishonesty. His company was more of a grassroots champion for the small guy, allowing people who wanted to make investments but could not afford to work with the larger more reputable corporations. That being said, they were successful in gaining the trust of the many middle income folks out there looking for their non corporate champion. This moderate success, allowed Edwin to steal a sizable fortune from a company that was just small enough where he could get away with it, because he was smarter than they were.
Left in the wake of his theft, were the investors who had lost their life savings without the protection offered by the larger investment corporations. The beauty of Edwin's scheme was that it was never proven, and thus far, he had avoided criminal prosecution due to lack of evidence. And while he was proud of himself, he wasn't so certain in his luck that it would last forever, thus he took his fortune, and built his magnificent jungle fortress, like some smug villain out of a James Bond novel, where he could live out his days in peace, enjoying his amassed stolen wealth.
It was that very thought caused Dawn Meadows to meet Edwin Miller “by chance” and to insert herself into this life, and get herself not only invited, but flown to his secret jungle mansion. When she found out that he was getting away with a fortune while ravaging countless victims financially in his wake, she could not take “lack of evidence” as a verdict. Thus, she arranged a way to meet Edwin Miller seemingly by chance so that he would suspect nothing, and then charmed her way into his good graces until he would invite her the lavish paradise that he spoke of so proudly.
Dawn crawled onto the bed into Edwin's waiting arms, nuzzling up to him with a few playful kisses. He traced his hands down her slender bare arms, and the satin of her short black cocktail dress that moved across her body like liquid. He gently massaged the smooth sheer nylon that encased her long legs. She rested her head on his chest, her long blond hair spread out like a blanket on his bare chest. With her ear pressed up against his heart, she heard him heave a soft sigh, and she knew what came next.
“I have to get some work done,” he said, as Dawn knew he would. He gently scooped his hands beneath her head to remove it from his chest. She looked up at him with pleading pools of green eyes.
“No, stay for just a little bit longer,” she begged playfully.
“You know I would love to, but I have my investors, emails, correspondence that requires my timely replies,” he trailed off with his explanation. You mean the next group of people that you plan to steal from, thought Dawn to herself bitterly.
“Okay,” conceded Dawn in a girlish voice, allowing Edwin's hands to gently remove her cuddling body from his. With a smile, he tousled the top of blond head as she looked at him with a pouting face. Dawn smoothed her hair and tucked it behind her ears as she watched Edwin get up and stretch, adjusting the waistband of his pajama bottoms, and padding barefoot across the floor of his bedroom toward the door.
“I should only be a few minutes. I promise, I'll work fast. After all, you said we could... you know... tonight,” he smiled coyly. Dawn smiled back, folding her hands in her lap. Not on your life, she thought to herself. As soon Edwin disappeared from the threshold of the bedroom, she wiped away the disgusting feeling that lingered on her lips after she kissed the creep. Thus far, she had avoided having to sleep with the guy, but she understand the danger of the game she was playing this time around, and it was only a matter of time before she ran out of time.
Motivated by that fearful thought, Dawn limberly hopped out of the bed, and tip toed over toward a desk located in the corner of the room. While this was not Edwin's office desk, it did hold something very important at the moment. Sliding a drawer open, the intrepid undercover reporter pulled out a small memory stick and held it up to large green eyes, staring at it with a successful pride. “Gotcha” she said, congratulating herself. Located on the memory stick was a series of folders that contained a medley of files covering everything from financial records, dealings, and emails between Edwin and associates that he worked with during his illegal dealings at the investment company. The memory stick was just what Dawn needed to prove Edwin's guilt. In other words, Dawn had her story. It was time to get out of there.
She had been ready to go the night before. She had compiled the data on the memory stick in Edwin's office, but she had nearly been caught in the process, only narrowly escaping his office and ditching the data in a desk drawer in the bedroom. The close call made Dawn's heart pound with panic but she forced herself to calm down and maintain her act, all the while knowing she had the evidence she needed safe and ready to go.
Her escape was also prepped prior to the moment. Opening the closet door, she pulled out a laundry basket. On top was a collection of shirts, pants, and socks. Unceremoniously digging past these, Dawn pulled out a long self made rope tied off of a series of sheets. Taking one last cautionary glance at the doorway, Dawn pulled the homemade rope from the laundry basket, and quietly approached the glass doors of the balcony. With a wince, she opened them quietly, having tested and practiced their loudness before it was show time. Quickly tying one end of the sheets to the balcony railing, Dawn tossed the other end over the edge where it unraveled like one of the long snakes Edwin described to the ground floor below. Hopefully her ribs and heart would not become acquainted with one of those deadly beasts, thought Dawn with a gulp. With one last paranoid glance at the bedroom doorway to make sure that Edwin was not charging toward her in a betrayed rage, Dawn patted her hip to make sure she had the precious memory stick. It was tucked into the waistband of her pantyhose. What her satin cocktail dress made of for her sexy, it lacked in practicality. She had no pockets or anything practical for that matter more than her reinforced toe support pantyhose, and the fact that she had the good enough sense to pack a pair of black flats for shoes.
Dawn climbed over the balcony railing, and made her way down the rope of sheets. She did not take into account how difficult climbing actually was, and the strain it put on her decidedly skinny, weak arms. Grinning and bearing it until she got the ground below, Dawn let go of the sheets, and put her hands on her knees taking deep breaths, trying to get her stamina back. Before long, her own fears got the better of her, and she forced herself to toughen up, and get away from the mansion as fast as she could. It would not be a good idea to be nearby when Edwin realized that she was missing, and worse, when he discovered that she had been in his business files.
Initially she moved quickly through the jungle, motivated by her escape, but also inspired by the fact that she had her story. It was no secret that Dawn Meadows was born from the unimaginable wealth of her departed parents, but as a reporter for the Rose Tribune, she had found a calling above and beyond just telling stories. Something came over her in a strong desire to use her career to shine the light of justice on those who avoided it within the shadows. This story was no different, only that her undercover work was putting her in more danger than usual.
This very fact was becoming far more evident with each passing minute. The winds in her sails began to falter with each heavy dew sodden leaf that she brushed out her way. A heavy blanket of humidity seemed to fill up every breath of air, and the riotous growth of foliage seemed to relish in it, growing proudly, strongly, with domination. If the humidity had a partner, its wife was the vindictive heat, jealously attacking Dawn's impractical outfit for a jungle outing. The black satin dress that normally glided over her slender curves, now stuck uncomfortably to her body, slick with sweat. The pantyhose that made her long legs the center of attention in every room she entered, was met with the worst of the wrath of the jealous heat. They acted as vampires, sapping her strength, drinking up every drop of precious fluid that kept Dawn's body alive. Reaching the point of over saturation, Dawn felt her precious bodily fluids pudding around her stocking clad toes, horrifically trapped in her dress shoes. Edwin had not been hyperbolic in his descriptions of the jungle. Without a source of water, she would be die of thirst within the hour.
Patting the memory stick that was stuck safely in the waistband of her pantyhose for reassurance at why she was even on this crazy adventure, Dawn leaned on a tree, sighing in exhaustion, while stepping over a fallen log. She was panting like a dog, there were leaves stuck all through her previously gorgeous blond hair, and a sheen of steamy dew glistening on her little black dress. Her slender limbs trembled to support even her modest weight, and the adventurous reporter began to wonder if she would be able to survive her current predicament. The temptation to sink down to her knees was overwhelming, like an offer of a sweet candy. Dawn thought for a moment that she might take up her own head on the hallucinatory gesture, when she thought for a moment that she heard the feint sound of something very important. Straining to listen, she held her breath as a drop of dew slipped off the end of her earlobe and plopped onto a large flat leaf. There was no mistaking it, the clear, ringing, heroic sound of moving water, a shining in the darkness!
Shaking her head at the heat induced delusions of lying down, Dawn pushed herself toward the destination of the sound, and as if the world was making itself up as she walked, the jungle just opened up with no warning. One moment, the leaves hugged her like a green shaded ocean, the next, she was in the open, and the sudden bright light caused her to put a hand up to her eyes, squinting and seeing red spots. As her eyes slowly adjusted to bright light of the open air, Dawn saw the occasion for the break in tangled foliage. She was standing at the edge of a ravine, a very deep one at that. On the other side was a sight that Dawn would mark down as one of the most glorious she had ever had the pleasure to gaze upon. A magnificent waterfall flowed with powerful health, pumping a life giving blue into a small lake. The sight was almost too much to bear. Her body yearned with almost dizzying greed for the elixir just beyond the ravine.
There were two trees, one on each side of the wide ravine, each with the end of a gnarled vine tied around them, forming a single rope that ran over the yawning ravine. It was the only way across. Dawn looked dubiously down the cliff. The drop was so far that it was impossible to gage distance, only that a mix of jungle and rocks waited at the bottom in what was certain death to anyone unlucky enough to fall. Looking back up at the vine that ran across the ravine, Dawn saw her path to the life restoring water. It was a 50ft path by her eye's best guess. Describing it that way made it sound ridiculously easy, until gravity and a long screaming fall entered into it.
Any thoughts of being reasonable or calculating logical courses of action were submerged in the drunken yearning for the raging flow of the precious waterfall. Before her mind knew what it was doing, Dawn's hands had taken hold of the the vine after only the most ceremonial of tugging tests. Holding tightly with her well manicured hands, she pulled legs up and crossed her nylon clad ankles together, locking herself into place. Inching like a worm, she eased over the first few feet that thankfully still had safe ground beneath them, before edging out over the cliff and over the very far drop below.
Gravity oddly felt stronger over the long drop, even if it was only in her head. The open yawning drop seemed to pull with desire at her flowing blond hair, and the hem of her short black dress slipped up thighs and over her hips, humiliatingly revealing the dark top of sheer black pantyhose, and the panties beneath. The embarrassment was enough to fool Dawn into looking down to make sure nobody was seeing her immodesty, and the results were a mixed bag. If she was relieved to know that no one saw her exposed backside, it was overshadowed by the intense fear that seized her heart like a violent fist at the view of the long way down. Ridiculous or not, gravity gripped and pulled even harder on her long flowing hair, and the hem of her dress.
Paralyzing fear was not the only foe of Dawn Meadows, hanging precariously over the dizzying ravine. As she inched her way across, realization set in that she had not taken the time to properly calculate her own strength. The mixture of heat and nervousness left Dawn's well manicured hands slick with sweat that she just couldn't help. Add to that, it was getting harder to keep her knees together, and while she was a mere slip of a girl, it was still too much to ask of her crossed ankles, and slick palms to support. It was when Dawn peeked forward to see how much further it was to the other side, and then back the way she came to see if that was any more promising, when her stomach clenched with an unspeakable dread. Her overextended, trembling limbs lacked the strength to make it across, and they apologized to the whimpering young reporter that they would not be able to make it back either. Dawn stopped her inching, and hugged the vine in defiance at her predicament for as long as her shaking limbs could stand.
Her knees burst apart as they slipped from the vine, pulling her ankles with them, and she couldn't suppress the scream from her lips when her shoes slipped from her stocking clad feet, dropping like pieces from a doll far far below. After the panic induced from this, and the lack of support from her long legs, it was not long before Dawn's slick fingers could no longer maintain their grip on the precious vine. First her right hand, then the violent burn in her left arm devoured the last of her waning strength. With that, Dawn dropped, the vine springing up, free from her weight. She reached for it begging in the first moments as her eyes opened wide with terror and a scream rose from the bottom of her stomach, rushing up her throat and out her gaping mouth.
Dawn's mind was a confusing flash of thoughts as she desperately tried to make sense of so many things, realizing that she only had mere moments, and how to organize a lifetime of thoughts when there's so little time. The result was a tangled mess, as the muscles in Dawn's body tensed in anticipation of the landing below, when confusingly her fall came to a lurching halt, only to feel herself being pulled in the opposite direction, then almost as quickly, she began to fall again, then more slowly, pulled back up. Fighting the terror, Dawn opened her eyes out of curiosity. Immediately, she saw the same very long drop below her and she immediately shut her eyes again with a horrified whimper, but she wasn't falling. Summoning another scrap of courage, she reopened her eyes and touched her hand to her face, noticing the pressured sensation of feeling all the blood rushing to her head. As the panic and fog of confusion receded from her mind, Dawn noticed that she was upside down, dangling from a branch that had grown out from the cliff some ways down. To her amazing fortune, as she was falling past, the toe seam of her pantyhose had snagged on the branch and held her there, bobbing like a rubber band.
The ridiculousness of her good fortune washed over her and made her giddy, mostly due to all the blood rushing to her head. Dawn put her hands together and said a prayer, thanking God for reinforced toe pantyhose, and the support they provided when women needed it most! If she were allowed to make it out of this, she would never buy the cheap brands again. Dawn was staring skyward finishing her prayers, when she felt a sensation that filled her with a new dread. While her reinforced toe were making women proud across the world, her slick legs inside the sopping nylons were slowly sliding out. Dawn could do nothing in her dangling position besides whimper as inch by inch the porcelain skin of her long leg slipped from the sheer black nylon sheath. First her right leg, then the left.
Dawn dropped down down down, screaming until she had no breath. The wind felt oddly refreshing on her newly bare legs, but this was of little comfort as she fell to her untimely end. Her pantyhose billowed lazily in the wind, snagged on the branch far above.
Dawn's untimely end left Edwin Miller to get away with his terrible crimes, and nobody to know what had become of her, a once intrepid reporter and champion of justice, now years later, discovered by archaeologists, a scattered pile of bones, and a mysterious, ratty pair of nylons, billowing in the wind on a cliff branch far above.