Ana felt the eyes watching. She knew the natives had to be close but nothing physical betrayed their presence. No rustling leaves. No pause in the symphony of forest life. Yet an irresistible energy called her to lay bare the secrets of the forest. Up ahead, an ancient leafy serengueija tree summoned her stare with an unexplainable power. Its colossal system of a half-dozen trunks and gigantic branches rose into the canopy and exuded a dark, primal power. When she peered into its shadows, a shiver passed through her from head to foot. She felt stripped, naked, her very soul open to the invading eyes.
“Do you feel the stares, Paulo?” Ana finally asked, breaking the silence.
“Yes, Doctor Ana,” Paulo replied. “They have been watching us for the last twenty minutes.” He slashed at twisting vines entwining the serengueija trunks and branches.“They must be in the trees but do not stare up at them.”
A few minutes later, they burst into a clearing slashed into the forest by the pirate cattlemen. Ana casually covered her brow with her hand to protect her vision from the assault of the punishing tropical sun. A ring of trees circled the open area, covered in new-growth brush and charred stumps. She felt the roil of nausea tug at her gut in the face of the obscene attack on the heart of Nature.
Instantly she felt the tug of hidden eyes, this time from the soaring trees in the canopy on the far side of the clearing. That a human could ascend to such heights seemed impossible, yet Ana was sure someone watched and waited. The nausea was quickly replaced by butterflies of primordial attraction deep in her gut.
Suddenly the brush to the left burst into life as something rustled quickly in their direction. The snorting and ensuing sounds indicated the possibility of a large animal. It was daylight and panthers were generally nocturnal hunters. The animal approached with a rush.
Paulo dashed in between the unseen creature and Doctor Ana. He held the machete up for the attack. There was a loud squeal and the animal’s charge suddenly stopped. Paulo waited. The grasses were silent. He cautiously moved and chopped at the grasses toward the last known location of the animal. He found it.
Ana followed very close behind. She gasped at the sight. A very large tapir lay in the grass, dead, with a single, long arrow protruding from its chest. At that moment the realities of her expedition and group responsibilities hit her. Ana felt dizzy.
Bob Nailor; Jack Franklin (2012-08-28T04:00:00+00:00). Ancient Blood (Kindle Locations 636-655). Damnation Books LLC. Kindle Edition.
Call me old fashioned, but I like my vampires to have some menace to them. I want them to be villainous and I want to be afraid of them. Continue reading
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