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Wow. I seriously have to keep asking people here to confirm that what I just saw out there was real, and not just a bad dream or hallucination. But not only did everybody else see the same thing that I did, but the ones who have lived on the Island longer say they've seen it before! But basically, our group got attacked by what I can only describe as a creature made of black smoke! It happened just after Richard told us we were approaching the Temple's outer wall. We suddenly heard some really scary noises in the jungle in front of us, unlike anything I've ever heard before, and Richard turned to us and said, "Everybody split up, try to get to the Temple!" So Jim, Aldo and I took off in one direction, and I didn't even realize that Harper was behind us until the black smoke thing suddenly appeared in front of us, causing Jim and I to freeze in our tracks in disbelief at what we were seeing... Aldo had to grab both of us to make us run the other way... and then we heard Harper scream, and I turned around and saw her being dragged away by what looked like a tentacle-like extension of the black smoke! Jim and I instinctively ran after her to try to save her, despite Aldo yelling, "No, wait!" and then we saw the smoke thing drag Harper down a hole underneath the Temple's outer wall! Jim and I were about to climb down the hole, when Aldo caught up to us and said, "No, don't! She's gone, there's nothing we can do! Come on, we need to get inside the Temple!" So we figured Aldo must know what he's talking about and followed him into the Temple, where everyone else was already waiting for us.
Richard was surprised when Aldo told him that the smoke creature attacked us and went after Harper, because apparently nobody else got attacked by that thing. Those of us who have only been on the Island for three months were the only ones freaking out; apparently everyone else knew what it was. So Richard explained to us rookies that nobody knows for sure what that creature is or where it came from, but that our job is ultimately to protect the Island from it. Jacob supposedly has the ability to keep that creature in check, and we're simply safeguarding those means by protecting the Island's secrets from outsiders. I guess a lot of this is explained in that orientation guide that I never got around to finishing. But anyway, both Richard and Dogen (or at least his translator) assured us that we're safe from the black smoke inside the Temple. So I guess I now have a pretty big incentive for staying here!