Saturday, 21 March 2009

Amazon Alert - Chapter 1

It was a hot afternoon in Vila Nova. It was too hot.
There’s nothing to do, Lucia said. Nothing exciting happens here.
I know, said Pedro. This town is too quiet.
Suddenly, Rosanna saw a boat on the river.
Hmm, she said. Very strange.
What’s the matter? Pedro asked.
Well, that boat is moving, Rosanna answered. But there’s nobody in it.
Lucia stood up. I’m going to tell my father. Something’s wrong.
Lucia ran home and found her father.
Come quickly! She said.
Her father didn’t open his eyes. I’m sleeping, he said.
No, you’re not, said Lucia. Please come with me. I think it’s important.
Lucia’s father slowly got up. ‘All right,’ he said, tiredly.
Lucia and her father went back to the river. He looked at the boat and he thought for a few seconds.
It’s very strange, he said. I don’t understand.
Some more people arrived. They all looked at the strange boat. Nobody could understand.
Wait! Lucia said, suddenly. Look carefully. There is something – or somebody – in the boat.
How do you know that? Pedro and Rosanna asked.
Look at the water, said Lucia. That boat is more in the water than the other boats.
Yes, very good, Lucia’s father said. I saw that too.
When they looked in the boat, they found a man.
Don’t look, Lucia’s father said to the children. He’s … he’s dead.
Urgh! And his face is yellow, Lucia said, moving nearer.
Who is he?’ Rosanna asked.
He’s not from this town, a woman said. I don’t know him.
He was a botanist, Lucia’s father said. He arrived here last week. He wanted to study the flowers in the forest.
Come on, a man said. We must go to his house. Perhaps we can find something there.
Look at all these books! said Pedro, when they were in the botanist’s house. There are thousands of them!
And maps, said Lucia.
And these letters, said Rosanna.
Letters?’ Lucia said. That’s interesting. Can you read them?
Er … no, I can’t.’ Rosanna answered. ‘Look. It’s a very strange language.
Does this help?’ Pedro asked. He gave Rosanna a book.
I think I can read it, Lucia said, slowly. It says: Today I found a new flower in the forest. I’m going to be famous at last!
So what happened? Pedro asked.
I don’t know, Lucia’s father answered.
Just then, they heard a noise. A man ran into the botanist’s house.
Quickly! he said. Quickly, come with me. There’s another boat. And another body!
I don’t like this, Pedro said.
They all went back to the river, and saw the body. Again, the face was yellow. But now there was a stranger next to the body.
I saw everything, the stranger said. You must all leave this town. You’re all going to die.
What happened? a man asked.
I was at Santa Cruz, the stranger answered. Your friend was in his boat. Suddenly, yellow smoke came out of the water. The smoke killed him. It all happened very quickly. I couldn’t help him.
At first nobody spoke. Then a woman said, He’s right! We must leave. It’s too dangerous here.
But Rosanna remembered the map in the botanist’s house. The stranger’s story isn’t true, she thought.
They went back to the botanist’s house and Rosanna showed them the map.
The stranger’s story can’t be true, Rosanna said. Look. He said that he was in Santa Cruz. But Santa Cruz isn’t near the river!
You’re right, Lucia said. We must tell everybody.
It’s too late, Lucia’s father said. People are leaving Vila Nova. They say it’s too dangerous here. They’re afraid.
Lucia thought for a few minute. What happened to the botanist?’ she said. ‘Where did he go? How did he die?
Perhaps this can tell us, Pedro said. Look. It’s another letter.
Give it to me, Lucia said. Hmm. This is what it says …
That doesn’t help. Pedro said. What was the place called?
It does help, Rosanna said. We can look at the map again! Then we can see where he went.
Look. He went to São Martinho, Rosanna said.
And I’m going to go there tonight, Lucia said. But don’t tell my father.
I’m going to go with you, Rosanna said. Pedro?
Pedro looked afraid. Isn’t it too dangerous?
You don’t need to come, Lucia said.
No, wait, Pedro said. I want to go too.
We can take my father’s boat, Lucia said. Meet me by the river tonight.
At midnight the forest was very dark. They couldn’t see anything, but they could hear a lot of strange noises.
Where are we? Lucia asked.
I think we’re near São Martinho, Pedro answered.
Be quiet! Rosanna said suddenly. What’s that noise?
They all listened carefully.
There are people in the forest, Lucia said. Men. And they’re very near us, too. Let’s go and look.
The three friends left the boat. Soon they found a clearing.
Look! Pedro said. They’re destroying the forest.
We must stop them, Rosanna said.
No. We must go and tell my father first, said Lucia. Perhaps he can stop them.
But is he going to believe us? Rosanna asked.
I don’t know, Lucia answered. Why don’t we take those keys? Ten he must believe us.

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