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I woke up in the river, shivering and wet. A knot on my head, a terrible thirst. I drank until I could hold no more, then stood and began to follow the river downstream, hoping it would lead me back to the beach. Back to the others. To safety. Although I certainly had nothing left to fear. All that could happen now was that they kill me.

As I walked downstream I tried to remember what had occurred, what had transpired in the night, but the images were muddled and seemed too fantastical to have been real. I decided that I had eaten some hallucinogenic mushrooms while in the forest, and had imagined, if not everything, at least the most outlandish parts of what I seemed to recall. It was not improbable that I had stumbled upon some natives, and that we had some kind of exchange, but not of the sort that flashed on the screen of my mind when I closed my eyes.

After some time walking I heard noises ahead. Something coming upstream, quickly. I heard splashing and the rustling of underbrush. I stepped up onto a low branch hanging in the water and tried to hug myself against the trunk of the tree. My eyes were still playing tricks on me, for I saw Carlos the Liar running up the river towards me, but he was flanked by two other dogs, each as large as Carlos. Their eyes glowed red in the darkness, and their long canines flashed an evil yellow. They had my scent and made for me at a dead run. But as they grew closer, they resolved into a single figure, and by the time he was at the base of the tree looking up at me, it was only Carlos. No red eyes, no flashing teeth. Relieved, I climbed down from my perch and patted the dog on the head. I grabbed his coat and shook it back and forth, laughing. Carlos tolerated my attention, but quickly pulled away and headed off into the jungle. I followed the beast, and within a few minutes I was back with my comrades. I thought about waking them and sharing my tale, but I was so exhausted that I simply lay down in the sand by the dying fire and closed my eyes. I fell into a deep sleep, untroubled by dreams.

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