Meltdown (Extinction, #1) by Paul Bryce by Paul Bryce - Read Online

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Meltdown (Extinction, #1) - Paul Bryce

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2)

Chapter 1

John squinted at the sun, adjusted his position on the wet rock and cast the fishing line back into the sea. He blew out a long breath.

Why had he not had a single bite in the last hour? The water off the island was teeming with fish, especially this cove, or at least it had been. John had been here by six am every morning since they’d arrived on the island and always caught something, but not today.

His stomach grumbled. He ignored it and looked out over the crystal blue waters. Something was different today.

John!

John craned his neck round, still holding onto the line. It was Terry, standing on the beach about twenty yards away.

John you’ve got come now, he shouted, waving his arms energetically before bending forward, his hands on his knees. 

John dropped his line and raced over, helping Terry upright. He was in a state, his chest heaving, shirt soaked with sweat and covered in tiny scratches. He must have ran all the way from camp through the jungle to the beach and that was no joke if you were Terry’s size.

What is it Terry? said John taking hold of both of Terry’s shoulders and looking him in the eyes.

Terry’s was still breathing heavily. Fat beads of sweat stuck to his forehead, saturating his shirt. Jane’s in trouble, he gasped, wide eyed.

John’s stomach turned over. He hoped this wasn’t what it sounded like. 

What happened? he said, gripping Terry’s shoulders hard.

She can’t breathe. Terry still gasped for breath. Something bit her. A spider I think. Her foot’s swollen up like a balloon. Look, you’ve got to come now. I think she’s dying.

John jerked away from Terry, his throat tightening. This was it. What he’d been afraid of ever since the tour company medic pulled out. 

John? It was Terry, pulling on John’s arm.

John shook his head but didn’t reply. His mind had taken him back to the 12th June 2013, one year ago today. He was in the ER standing in front of a wide-eyed, young girl lying on a hospital bed. Her hands were clenched white on the sheets, the tendons in her neck bunching like thick cords with each breath. John stood frozen, the plastic airway that could save her life limp in his hand. Then he jerked as a familiar surge of panic rushed up from the pit of his stomach and jolted him back to the present moment. He clenched his jaw, pushing it away.

I won’t let this beat me.

Okay, let’s go, he said to Terry. 

They turned back to face the jungle. Mostly it was a wall of green but there was a narrow corridor where the vegetation had been cut back.

When they arrived on the island, the jungle was so dense they’d had to hack through it to get anywhere. Terry and John had cleared a path from camp to the beach in the first few days. It was easier going now, but moving around still left them sweating like crazy, covered in tiny scratches and exhausted. 

John led the way walking through the marginally easier path they’d cut. Terry followed a few steps behind, already panting.

As they walked, John started to run through a differential diagnosis for Jane, but his mind had other ideas, and after a few minutes, he was thinking how he’d ended up on this island in the first place. It had been an impulse decision. He’d walked out of a ridiculously expensive Chelsea Rehab Clinic his father had paid for, straight into a pub. And after ten minutes sitting at the bar and looking at his reflection in the mirror,