Suddenly, an explosion tore the quiet night. Silver saw the young Indian
standing rooted to the ground but there was no sign of Miller. Grabbing the
Aguaruna by his shirt, he asked 'Where's my friend, Patchen?'
replied that he didn't know. Then, there was a searing pain in Silver's leg.
Silver realized that he had been shot. At the speed of lightning, he dived
into the water and headed for the bank opposite.
Thinking that the Indians were after him, Silver swam through the chilly
water. Controlling his fears, he forced himself to think clearly. The swift
current carried him downstream. He struggled to catch his breath upon
reaching the bank. Blood trickled down his leg. Ripping a vine from a tree,
he tied it in a knot above his wound. He wanted to rest but he heard shouts
across the water. He knew that the Indians were coming after him.
Like a stalked animal, he was forced to flee. Where could he go? Suddenly
he remembered that he and Miller had stopped at a military checkpoint just
the day before. It was about four miles upstream. He knew that in his
condition, he will not be able to swim against the current so he decided to
hike it. Silver moved upstream. There was no trail to follow. He fumbled
along, crashing through tangled vines in near-total darkness. Thorns cut
into his back, shoulders and ankles but he dared not cry out. He had to swim
across two or three streams and was trembling with cold.
When the terrain began to rise, every step was an effort. He ran into
another mass of vines. He pushed them aside and charged into a clearing. He
did not progress far. Less than 15 meters away, he saw an Aguaruna armed
with a shotgun. Realizing that the Indian will definitely spot him if he
turned, Silver bolted back into the jungle.
Silver ran parallel to the river until he came upon a well-worn footpath.
He thought that this would lead him out of the jungle. He proceeded along
the path. Then he heard footsteps. He ran some distance off the path, lay
down and pulled some ferns around him. He remained in his hiding place for
almost an hour. He remembered another military checkpoint on the map. It was
downstream at Oracuza. He had not the faintest idea how far it was but he
knew that it would be easier and quicker to float downstream with the
current than to go upstream. He made his way to the river and began to swim
with the current. A mile downstream, he reached a clearing. He was trembling
from the cold. Dragging himself out of the water, he made his way to the
clearing. He spent the night under a palm.
At the first crack of dawn, Silver headed for the river and started
swimming with the current. Further downstream, he saw an Indian. Silver
considered asking the Indian for help. Although his instincts told him not
to, he had no choice. He was weak after having lost a lot of blood and he
could hardly stay afloat.
Silver had just escaped from death. Imagine that you are Josh Silver.
Describe your experience from the moment Patchen Miller was shot until you
were brought to the military base at Oracuza.