As much as I fear eerie dark nights and dense forests, I found myself in a situation with both. Trapped in the middle of the dense rainforest of Nyungwe in the middle of the night was horrifying, to say the least. Our bulky four wheel drive vehicle, finding no other apt time, decided to break down right there and then. It’s one of the nights hard to forget. All the paranoia, anticipation and the adrenalin rush still gets me to never want to be in that situation again, no matter how many times optimism brushes it off along the lines of “spirit of adventure”.
In hopes of going for a peaceful time at the serene place, this situation was beyond our expectations. My cousins and I were as excited as new tourists to a place; looking forward to relaxation, trekking around, going on the canopy walk and hoping to sip tea while watching the sunset by the end of the day. That was the plan at least. The perfect plan.
While returning from a nearby town that we visited as the evening got darker, we found out that our accelerator was not working. We were one hour along into the car ride back to the hotel from that town. We had thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, but realisation always kicks in when you think of the negative. We did not have anything but processed food and two bottles of water which was enough for the night, but we still had no way to go back to that town or move forward. We did not know anyone and had no contacts of any mechanics that could help us. There was no petrol station or any establishment nearby either.
Things might have looked better in the morning, but then as it got darker, no one would be willing to come and assist.
Panicking and trying to get a hold of a reception to call someone, I seemingly did the job of hyper ventilating for everyone else in the car. Everyone else was scared beyond doubt, but sanity at the moment seemed to be the better option. We decided to just tone down our attempts to make the situation better, when it obviously could not get better right then.
Now, the only problem was waiting a whole night to do something. The night got darker and the weather got chillier and the sounds of the forest that seemed perfectly normal during the day got creepier. There were no street lights. We couldn’t leave the car. The only source of “light” was the moon, which looked brighter than usual. Everything looked worse than it seemed.
It was like one of those scenes in a horror movie where it’s time for the chainsaw murderer to come out. Exaggerating the situation gave us even more chills, like the cool weather and the wind wasn’t doing enough. Different sounds that we could brush off during the day seemed to get the best of us right then. The rustling of the trees and the sounds of the shaking branches and even the shadows of the forest caused us to flinch and cringe each time. Trying to do our best to brush it off, we were the only sources of our comfort. At least, as much comfort as you can think of in that situation.
Giving up before we knew it, we drifted off to a disturbed slumber. That was until roaring wheels and a bright yellow light flashed our way. Paranoia getting the best of me, I thought that maybe it was the chainsaw murderer. Maybe it would just pass by. Or, maybe it was help. Pondering on that last thought, the rest was a blur of monkeys, phone calls and bulky vehicles.