Leave the World Behind

Welcome to The Jungle

I scream as I free fall from the sky. “Fuck No!” I yell as my body hit the forest ground. I groan, getting up. I was in a little pain, but nothing felt broken. How was that possible?
I let out another scream as I look down at myself. Instead of seeing my normal chubby body, I saw a thin fit one. I was wearing a camouflage mesh crop top with a white sport bra underneath it. I had on black cargo shorts that end right after my ass. The vintage thigh holster that I had on went further down my thighs then the shorts. I had a gun on each of my hips and throwing knives wrap around my thighs. I noticed there was a small purse attached to the hostler. I open it up to see ninja stars. The only sensible about this outfit was the black hiking boots.
“I think I’m Cutthroat Connie.” I whisper to myself, in disbelief that I got caught in this damn game.
“Who are you?” A male high pitch voice yells at me. I look up to see a man standing in front of me. He was tall, dark, and handsome. He was dressed properly for the jungle with cargo pants, a gun holster, and a full shirt.
“I do not giving my name to strange man, even if I’m in a stranger’s body. Even, if it’s my dream body.” I felt myself to hyperventilate.
“Jenny?” He tilts his head to the side and whine out my name in a familiar panic tone.
“Spencer?” I tilt my head in the same manner. He nods his head. I ran over and throw my arms around him. “Thank god, if I have to be trapped in a video game it's with you.” I smiles up at him. He let out a scream when a bird flies over us. “I think we both got our dream bodies.” I laugh squeezing his biceps.
Two more people fell out of the sky. The small male got up, looking around the forest. He had on cargo shorts, vest over a shirt, with a bucket hat, and red bandana around his neck. He had a huge backpack on that look to weigh the same amount as him. “What kind of stupid-ass..?” His question died on his lips when he saw us. “Who are you two?” He pointed at both of us.
“Who are you?” Spence points back. I wonder if it was another one of us or a computer player.
“Who is she?” I point to the redhead who finally got off the ground. She was wearing light green cargo shorts like mine with a belt, maroon crop top with a leather holster, and some thigh high boots I would not mine borrowing.
“Who are you guys? Huh?” She glares at all of us.
“Okay, what the hell?” The man with the backpack moves forward to get pummeled by another person falling out of the sky.
“Oh my God, I am suing! What's wrong with my voice? Where am I?” The chubby old man panics on top of the smaller man who was squirming and demanding that he get off of him.
“You're crushing me! Get off!” Backpack yelling finally got through to the man. They were both able to stand up. The short man starts to look at himself and began to freak out. “What the hell? What happened to the rest of me? What is this? What is this on my back? What is this? Oh my God,” Instead of taking off the backpack to look at it, he ran around in a circle like a dog chasing his tail.
Spence and I share a look before turning back to the man. “Fridge?” He narrowed his eyes at him.
“Yeah, I'm Fridge. Who are you?” He questioned the man in his normal alpha dog tone.
He looked around at the rest of us connecting the dots together. “I'm Spencer.” He whispers, but we heard him.
“What? The hell you are. What is going on? Huh?” He glared at the man, tired of being fucked with.
“I think we're in the game.” I look around the jungle which I’m guessing was Jumanji.
“Sorry, excuse me?” Fridge asks, hoping he heard wrong.
“What are you talking about?” Martha or Bethany move forward to ask.
“Somehow, I don't know how… I think we got, like sucked into the game. And we've become the avatars that we chose. So it's me, Spencer, but yet I look and sound like Dr. Smolder Bravestone.” Spencer explains his theory of what was going on. It was a scary thought, but I had to agree with him.
“You're telling me that you're Spencer?” Fridge said in a high squeaky voice.
“Yes, yes, yes. That's it. Fridge, I'm Spencer. Which means you're Moose Finbar, it says it right there on your vest.” Spence points to the nametag. Fridge and I look down at his vest to see it right there.
“And Martha?” He points to the girl in the maroon top.
“Yeah,” She answers in a shaky voice.
“You're Ruby Roundhouse. And, Bethany, you're Professor Shelly Oberon. Only Shelly must be short for Sheldon.” He points from Martha to Bethany, who looked up finally noticing the rest of us.
“What are you talking about?” She waved her hands about. I realize my eyebrows, did she not notice her voice and clothes were that of a males.
“That makes you, Jenny.” Fridge points at me.
“Yes, I’ll be playing as Cutthroat Connie.” I put a hand over my speeding heart.
“Oh, my God. Oh, my God, he's right.” Martha pulls at her hair.
“And you...you're Spencer? You?” Bethany points at Spence having a hard time believing him.
“Yes. Guys, I'm telling you. I am Spencer. I'm... Aah!” He let out another scream at having a bird squawk somewhere around us.
“Yep, that's Spencer.” Fridge confirms it.
“So that means I… I'm...” Bethany point at her new form then ran to the river to look at her reflection.
“Wait, Bethany.” Fridge calls for her.
“Bethany, don't!” I warn her. We did not need her having a freak out.
“No!” She screams looking at herself before turning back to us. “I'm an overweight, middle-aged man.” She stares at us in shock.
“I have a tattoo. My mom always said she'd kill me if I ever got a tattoo.” Martha looks down at her arm.
“I have one too. Sometimes,” Spencer looked down at his arm. I look down to see that I also had three thick black lines tattooed on me.
“Wait a second. Where's my phone?” Bethany freak out as she pats herself down looking for it.
“Aah. Why am I wearing this outfit in a jungle? Tiny, little shorts and a leather halter top. I mean, what is this?” She slaps a bug off her stomach. She tried to pull her shirt down. The guys turn to check her out.
“We definitely in a video game, it’s the only place women dress like this in a jungle. I’m basically in my underwear.” I pull down on my short to find like Martha’s shirt it didn’t budge at all.
“I look like a living garden gnome. Where is my phone?” Bethany continues her search by looking to see if she dropped it on the ground.
“Who cares?” Fridge yells at her.
“We are in different bodies!” I point out that we had a bigger problem.
“It doesn't seem like the most pressing concern at this moment.” Spence put it to her nicely.
“Really? You don't think this would be a good moment to make a call or text somebody or change your status to stuck in a video game?” She screams.
“All I'm saying is I don't have my Claritin, okay? And I'm allergic to almost everything.” He looked around in paranoia that something was going to jump out at him.
“Oh no, you got allergies, Spencer? Huh? I don't have the top two feet of my body!” Fridge reaches over his head to emphasize what he was missing.
“Spencer, I don’t think Dr. Bravestone has any allergy so you should be fine. I’ve been short my whole life, it’s not that bad Fridge.” I roll my eyes at everyone priorities. But, then again I quite like this body. It was my dream body and I didn’t even have to work for it.
“You guys, this can't actually be happening. Maybe we're all in a coma.” Bethany said, hoping that this wasn’t reality.
“Together? We're all in a coma together?” Martha shut down her explanation.
“It's the only explanation. That old game machine must have electrocuted us, and now we're….” Bethany didn’t get to finish her sentence because a giant hippo came up from behind her and eat her. We scream as the hippo shakes it head tearing Bethany to pieces. Then like nothing the hippo sunk back into the water leaving only the hat she was wearing behind.
“Oh, my God! You better get in there and go save her.” Fridge turns to Spencer.
“I'm not getting in there! You get in.” He shook his head. I had no idea why they were arguing there was no saving her. We saw it rip her body apart.
“I'm not going anywhere. I got a backpack on. You don't get in water with a backpack. Everybody knows that.” Fridge pulls on his backpack straps.
“Oh my god, we can die in this game.” I ran a hand through Connie’s blonde hair to find that it was up in a high ponytail. I had two loose pieces of hair hanging on each side of my face.
A chime came from the sky and Bethany fell out of it all over again. We ran over to check on her.
“Are you okay?” Martha asks her. I looked her over to see she looks fine, she was still a middle age man but there wasn’t a scratch on her.
“That was so intense. I, like, can't even with this place.” She shook her head. I hope this was one of the games with unlimited lives.
“What just happened to you?” Fridge asks her.
“I got eaten by a rhino and then I fell, like, a thousand feet from the sky.” She explains.
“Yeah, that's what it looked like.” Spencer nods his head.
“That was a hippo. They're omnivorous. They're fast as a horse over short distances, and they have the bite force of 8100 Newton’s. How do I know this?” Fridge starts panicking at the random knowledge in his head.
“You're an expert in zoology.” I remind him.
“What?” He stares at me to go on.
“We can take on the traits of our character, that's good. Because, I don’t know how to use these knives but Connie must.” I pull out a knife from the holster. On autopilot, I swirl it around and throw it at a tree, nailing a falling leaf to it. “Wicked,” I smirk and went over to collect my knife.
“I'm still an old fat guy, right?” Bethany looks up at them.
“I'm afraid so.” Spence nod slowly to her.
“Wait. Why is everybody okay with this? I mean, she fell out of the sky.” Fridge began to freak out again. I roll my eyes, didn’t he get how video games work at all.
“Um, guys?” Martha points at the angry hippo that was charging at us. Spencer took off running.
“Bethany, get up. Bethany, get up. Get up!” Fridge yells at her. After she did, we started running. Another hippo appears in front of us with its jaws wide open, making us change directions.
A jeep pulls in front of us, making us stop to prevent from getting run over. I turn back to look for the hippos that were chasing after us. The driver honks the horn. “Ah! Dr. Bravestone! Welcome to Jumanji!” He greets Spencer and the doors to the jeep burst open. “Don't just stand there. In you go.” He waved his hand for us to come on. We share a look not sure if this man was a friend or foe.
The hippos roar behind us, making us run to the jeep. I made my way to the backseat to find that all the seats were taken. “Girl, just get in here.” Fridge pulls me on his lap. The jeep doors shut and the driver speeds off into the jungle.
“Dr. Bravestone, famed archaeologist and international explorer, known across the seven continents for your courageous exploits.” He looks over at Spencer.
“Oh shit,” I hissed as we went over a bump. Fridge had to wrap his arms around my waist to stop me from hitting the Jeep’s roof. Now, I know one of the disadvantages to being thin, you’re easy to throw around.
“Is there a seat belt?” Spencer looks around his seat of it.
“I can't tell you what an honor it is to finally meet you. I'm not embarrassed to say you're more dashing in person.” The driver ignored his question to flirt with him.
“Um, thanks.” He said, not sure how to take the compliment.
“Who are you?” Martha leans forward to ask him.
“Where are you taking us?” I lean back into Fridge, not feeling safe at all because this man was never looking where he was driving.
“Nigel Billingsly at your service, Ruby Roundhouse, killer of men, Cutthroat Connie, international assassin, welcome to Jumanji. I've been so anxious for your arrival. As you know,
Jumanji is in grave danger. We're counting on the six of you to lift the curse.” He sort of answers our questions. I count us as five, why did he say six.
“Curse?” Fridge looks at the driver who was once again looking at Spencer.
“What curse?” Spencer repeated the question.
“Excuse me. Have you seen my phone anywhere?” Bethany move between the drivers and passenger seat to ask.
“You’re still on that.” I roll my eyes.
“Professor Sheldon Oberon. Welcome to Jumanji. Nigel Billingsly at your service, I've been so anxious for your arrival.” He nodded to Bethany before finally facing forward.
“What's with this guy?” She whispered as she leaned back in her seat.
“I think he's an NPC.” Spencer looks the man up and down.
“A what? English, please.” Bethany narrows her eyes at him.
“A non-player character,” I answer, picking up some of the slang from hanging out with Spencer and his friends.
“He's part of the game. So anything we ask him, he only has his programmed series of responses.” Spencer further explains.
“Got it, it all clear now.” Fridge said sarcastically.
“Franklin ‘Mouse’ Finbar, welcome to Jumanji,” Nigel greeted him.
“It's Moose. It's not Mouse.” Fridge corrected him.
“No, good sir, I'm quite sure it's Mouse.” The driver smiles at him.
I turned around to get a better look at the nametag stitch on his shirts. “It says Franklin ‘Mouse’ Finbar.” I ran my fingers over it.
“Mouse?” Fridge pulls his shirt away from his body to read it better.
“Anthony, do you feel like a moose or a mouse right now? You’re a mini fridge.” I pinch his cheek.
He slaps my hand away. “I swear, woman...” He didn’t get to finish his threaten because Nigel explain his nickname.
“It’s a nickname given for your diminutive stature and adorable manner. I knew you'd be here. Dr. Bravestone doesn't go anywhere without his trusty sidekick.” This man was handing him devastating news one after another.
“Sidekick?” He exclaims.
“Ever since Dr. Bravestone rescued you from the clutches of a warlord in the jungles of Peru, you've never left his side.” He explains the back story.
“Right,” He scoffed, not liking the hand he was dealt.
“This is what happens when you think character choice means nothing.” I said smugly, causing him to pinch my side.
“Can we go back to the curse thing?” Spencer said in the high pitch tone meaning that he was freaking out.
“It's all documented in the letter I sent you. Perhaps you should read it aloud.” The driver looked confused at Dr. Bravestone cluelessness.
“I don't have a let...” He stops talking when an envelope magically appears in his hand.
“Whoa,” Martah let out as we watched with wide eyes at what just happen.
“Right, uh… Dr. Bravestone, I am writing to you regarding the desperate situation…” Spencer started to read the letter. “…in Jumanji. We need your help at once.” As Nigel voice mixed with Spencer, a light took over my eyes and it was like I was somewhere else. Physically, I could feel that I was still in the jeep, but visual I wasn’t. I was in a different part of the forest as a dirt bike speed past me. Men were cutting down plants to make away for a big cargo truck. They went by like I weren’t there.
“Whoa... guys?” Martha cried out. It let me know that I wasn’t the only one getting a vision.
“What the hell is going on?” Fridge wraps his arms back around my waist and he squeezes me like I was a teddy bear.
“It's a cut scene. A lot of games have them. It's like a little movie to tell you the back story.” Spence explain. I don’t know how he was so calm about this, I knew that too from watching him play the games, but it was still freaking me out.
“My name is Nigel Billingsly, Jumanji’s field guide. I was hired by your former partner, now nemesis, Professor Russel Van Pelt to lead a fateful expedition. You see, Professor Van Pelt had come in search of the fabled Jaguar Shrine, resting place of the sacred jewel of Jumanji. As you know better than anyone, the jewel was his great obsession. And after years of research, he believed that he had discovered its whereabouts.” He began to tell the story.
“Could it be? Have I finally found it?” A man stares up at a mountain that had a jaguar’s head carved in it.
“Van Pelt told me that he wanted to find the jewel in order to document it in his writings.” He explains why he helped him as we watch the man climb up the mountain.
“It's real!” The man moves the vines to reveal a gem that was the jaguar's eye.
“What I did not know was that he intended to take the jewel for himself.” Nigel said as Van use a pickaxe to dig out the gem.
The gem gave off green waves of light that made the man holding it close his eyes. “I found it. I found it!” The man screams out as the sky turns gray and lightning strike down.
“Legend tells that the Jaguar watches over Jumanji and anyone who dares to blind him will be consumed by a dark power. Van Pelt assumed dominion over all of Jumanji's creatures, possessing them, controlling them. And a terrible curse befell this once-placid land.” Nigel continues to narrate the story. Van was back on the ground, he opened his eyes to reveal that one of them was cloudy now. Rats ran to his feet as a vulture lands on his arm.
“I begged him to put it back, but once he had it in his grasp, he could never let it go. So I waited till they slept that night, and I made my move.” I watch as Nigel stole the gem from Van as he slept. He had to run when the vulture alerted the camp.
“Bring me that jewel! And slaughter anyone who tries to stop you!” Van yells to his man after firing a few rounds from his gun.
I blink my eyes, getting used to my vision of the present coming back to me.
“Right then, here you go. With the invaluable help of your associates, you must use your complimentary skills to return the jewel to the Jaguar's eye and lift the curse. I'm sure you'll want to get started right away.” Nigel hand the gem over to a reluctant Spencer.
“Actually, I think...” He tries to think of a way out of this.
“Good luck! The fate of Jumanji is in your hands.” Nigel said, making the Jeep’s doors open. I gasp along with everyone else, shaking my head. I did not want to get out of this jeep. “And remember the goal for you, I'll recite in verse: Return the jewel and lift the curse. If you wish to leave the game, you must save Jumanji and call out its name. Good luck! The fate of Jumanji is in your hands. And remember...” The man began to repeat himself. Spencer looks between Nigel and the gem as he got out of the car.
“He's saying the same thing over.” Fridge gave my hips a squeeze. I got out of the jeep with him following after me. The girls got out after as Nigel kept repeating himself.
“It's okay. You can handle this. In real life, people love you. You can hook up with anyone you want.” Bethany spoke to herself.
“Is that what you tell yourself when you're scared?” Martha cocked her head at the self absorbed girl.
“Can you not judge me for two seconds? I split up with Noah, I turned into a guy, and I cannot find my phone. I am allowed to be upset.” She broke down in tears. The girl really did amuse me, she didn’t add in that she’s stuck in a video game and has been eaten by a hippo.
“It alright, Bethany, I said the same thing to myself I just didn’t say it out loud. But, don’t worry we’re going to get out of here and you’ll have your model body back soon.” I rub the girl’s back.
“Thank you Jennifer.” She hugs and buries her head into my shoulder as she cried.
“Dr. Bravestone, here's a map of Jumanji. You must go to the bazaar and find the missing piece.” Nigel hand Spencer a map.
“The bazaar?” He took the map.
“Missing piece of what?” Martha tried to ask him. But it seems that the NPC was not program to answer that question.
“Cheerio!” Nigel yells as he started the jeep back up.
“You can't give us a ride to the statue?” Fridge throws his hands in the air.
“And remember if you wish to leave the game, you must save Jumanji and call out its name!” Nigel yells out the window as he drove off.
“You want to, uh, put this in there?” Spencer held out the gem to Fridge.
“No.” He shook his head, keeping his hands on the backpack straps.
“Come on, you're the only one with a backpack, Fridge. If people are looking for that, we don’t want it out in the open.” I glare at my stubborn ex from Bethany’s arms.
He let out a sigh as he took the gem from Spencer and shoves it in the backpack. “So what? We have a map. So now we're supposed to go and find...?” He trials off as he tried to remember where we had to go.
“The bazaar, I guess?” Spencer shrugs.
“So we return the jewel to the Jaguar statue, and then we go home. No problem.” Martha said, making it sound easy. But, from watching Spencer play video games I knew it was going to be more complicated than that.
“Why can't we just leave, stop the game, without doing all this stuff?” Bethany finally let me out of her embrace to whine and stomp her feet.
“We have to finish the game. I think… I think we have to save Jumanji.” Spencer said, before walking away to look off of the cliff.
“Damn, that is a man right there.” Bethany said, checking out Dr. Bravestone.
I chuckle as I walk over to my best friend. “Don't cry. Don't cry. Don't cry. Don't cry.” He was whispering to himself. I smirk, knowing this was why he moving away from the group to have a mini freak out. He slaps a mosquito that lands on his neck. “Ah...There are so many diseases out here. It's hot.” He whines.
I grab his hand and smile up at him. “Come on Spencer, this is your element. You got this.” I pull him back over to the group.
“You’re right.” He nods his head and leads us somewhere. “Okay, this is what I'm good at. Playing video games. It's what I do. It's literally the main thing that I do. Play a game like this, there'll be levels. In order to finish, you have to complete all the levels. Levels are going to get harder as we go along. We complete the levels...” I couldn’t tell if he was informing us how a game works or if he was ranting to himself.
“Do you even know where we're going?” Fridge stops, not wanting to take another step until Spencer gave him some answers.
“Kind of,” Spence shrugs.
“Kind of? Oh, that's good, then. We're in good hands.” Fridge looks in disbelief at his childhood friend.
“Where is the damn map, Spencer?” I snap. I thought he knew where he was going.
“Okay, the missing piece, I'm guessing.” He opens up the map, to reveal that a piece was ripped off.
“That must be what we're looking for, the missing piece of the map.” Martha points it out.
“The problem is there's nothing here.” Spence turn the map around to see if he was looking at the wrong side. Bethany and I move to his side to see what he was going about.
“I’m killing Nigel if I see him again.” I glare at the blank paper.
“What do you mean there’s nothing there? It's a map, just like he said. It's a map of Jumanji.” She points at the paper.
“Cartography,” Martha said in realization as she stares at Bethany.
“What's that?” She asks us.
“The study of maps, it was one of Professor Oberon's skills.” I took the map from Spencer and gave it to her.
“Oh, so you can't see this, but I can?” Bethany was surprisingly excited to be of use to others.
“The characters we choose, we all have certain skills. So there's got to be a way to access our...” Spencer pats himself down, looking for a list or something. He pushes down on his chest making a green box pop up in the sky.
“Oh! Wow.” Us, girls gasp as we look up at the box floating in the air.
“What'd you just do?”Fridge stares, not liking the unfamiliar.
“Strengths: fearless, climbing, speed, boomerang, smoldering intensity.” Spencer read off his list. He said the last one confused and then made an intense face as he stares off into the distance.
“What the hell are you doing?” Fridge broke him from his trance.
“What just happened?” He looked at us confused.
“Um, you just smoldered.” Bethany informed him.
While he still looked confused he read off the rest of his list, “Weakness: none?”
“How did you get the list to pop up?” I ask him.
“Well, I think I just pressed my enormous left pec.” He pushes it again making the list disappear.
“It's like the boob area. Let me show you.” Fridge reaches over to touch my chest.
“Paws off mouse, you don’t get to touch this anymore.” I slap his hand away from me. My eyes went wide when I realize what I said. I look around to see only Bethany caught on as she gave me a knowing look. Spencer and Martha were glaring at Fridge.
“At least press it in front of us so we know exactly how it works.” He stares at my chest.
To spite him I turn my back to him and push on my left breast, making a black box pop up with white writing. “My strengths are throwing knife, ninja stars, stamina, and speed. My weakness is animal fur. Well, that great in a jungle full of animals. There’s probable fur flying all around me.” I glare at my stats. “I wonder if I have any Claritin.” I open the small purse attached to the holster. “Nope, only ninja stars.” I groan.
“I’ll do mine next.” Martha said.
“Wait, I’ll get you away from the perverted gaze.” I jump in front of her to block her from the male’s eyes.
“Thanks.” She mutters. The game chimes and a red box pop up replacing mine. “Strengths: karate, t'ai chi, aikido. Dance fighting? Dance fighting? Is that even a thing? Weakness: venom.” She looks around to see if anyone knew what dance fighting was. I think I saw it in a Bob’s Burger episode once, but I had no idea if it was real or not.
The game chime again, we look over to see Bethany made her yellow box pop up. “Seriously, paleontology, what does that even mean?” She whines. Her strength was cartography, archaeology, and paleontology. Her weakness was endurance.
“Study of fossils, I think. That's kind of cool.” Martha tried to make her feel better about her skills.
“Says the gorgeous karate badass to the old fossil guy who doesn't have any endurance,” Bethany whines. From sitting next to Bethany in classes, I learned that a lot of the time she likes to wallow in self pity.
A pink box pops up after Fridge push down on his chest. We read his stats and they had to be the worst, he was the only one with more than one weakness. He strength were zoology and weapon valet. His weakness was cake, speed, and strength.
“I hate this game.” He grumbled to us.
“Weakness: Cake.” Martha read it in disbelief.
“It’s my weakness in real life, goes right to my hips and thighs.” I look up at his stats.
“You say that like it’s a bad thing, big thighs save lives.” He bites his lip and rubs his hands together. I look away blushing, he used to do that all the time before when I would make little digs at myself, he always would turn it into a positive. It was one of the things I miss most about him.
“Quick question, how is strength my weakness? Somebody explain that to me. And why would I need speed? Why would I need to be fast when I'm being chased by an enormous killer zebra or some shit in this dumbass hat?” Fridge went back to complain about his character.
“You're also a good weapons valet.” Martha point out.
“What does that mean?” Fridge asks her. We share a look saying that we had no idea.
“Well, I think it means you carry my weapons in your backpack, and you give them to me when and if I need them?” Spencer guessed. Fridge look so offended that he’s only use was that.
“You guys. The map, it's changing.” Bethany stares down at the paper.
“What's it say?” Spencer move to look down at the map, even though it would only appear blank to him.
“Okay, well, there's not a lot of information. But a minute ago, it didn't say this and now it does. It says, The Mighty Roar.” Bethany points down at the map.