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We’ve got to finish the “Tree of Life”! Oh well, if we don’t finish before the end of April, we can always continue on…
My mouth was shaped into a very small ‘o’. I had to be at least halfway between where I started and Rítamáta, and definitely too far away from that un-named village. I knew where it would be, certainly, but how can one get there if one doesn’t have a way?
The sun was high up by now, noon at least. I trotted down the dusty road, occasionally fearing that the grass over growing it meant I had wandered away. It seemed that the path was somehow highly used in some places, and in others, barely used at all. What was going on here?
I continued onward, glad of the bottle of water. However, that bottle didn’t last too long, and I was already hungry. What’s there to eat in the mountains? There was a group of prickly pears over towards the slope up the mountainous road, and they were supposed to be edible.
“What can I cut ’em up with?” I said aloud, “I’ve got to get it off the cactus to eat it.” Quickly glancing around the roadside, I soon found a pretty sharp piece of granite and began to saw a paddle of the prickly pear off. It was delicate work because of the spines. Once the whole thing was cut off and the prickles pulled out, the whole barge was on its way to my mouth when I remembered something: prickly pears have fruit. The paddle fell from my fingers, forgotten shortly, and I pompously prowled part-way through patch of purple prickly pears–try saying that three times fast without spitting. It was lucky for me that I found a large batch of ten or so reddish-pink fruits in the shape of pears.
“Yum,” I said, and bit in.
My slightly tasty meal didn’t last very long. Before the sun had moved a degree on a protractor, all ten pears were gone and I had only half my water left. I remembered that wild boars in deserts eat prickly pears for water, so I picked up the paddle I had de-pricklified, just in case. I also remembered that one of the Mesoamerican tribes lived in the jungle because potholes filled with water were everywhere–but I couldn’t remember which, of course.
When sunset came, I don’t think I got anywhere closer to Rítamáta, nor that Rítamáta moved any closer to me. Since I’d kept moving after dark, I was certain that the road lay somewhere far behind me, and that I was lost.
“This is perfect!” I said to myself aloud so the crickets could hear just how mad I was, “I’m lost, I barely speak Spanish, the road’s who-knows-where, and Rítamáta’s still who-knows-how-far-away! And where I want to go is even farther than that!”
I know it’s pretty stupid, but I kept moving, cursing myself. Everything was going as best as it could until the crickets stopped, and I stopped too. The silence around me was heavy–way too heavy for my city-accustomed ears. Then my city-accustomed ears picked up a crunching, rustling noise of something large moving through the brush.
Ohgoshogoshogoshogoshogosh, I thought, I’m in the forest now and it could be a bear or a jaguar or something!!!!!!!
Well, I nearly passed out. Since my entire body is city-accustomed, I didn’t think of taking cover under something safe. No, just like a dope, I stood right in plain sight, frozen to the ground, watching in horror as something came through the brush towards me–
Big cliffhanger time! What is it? What will happen next? Will she even get to Rítamáta or that little village? Will she even find the Tree of Life? Will it actually save her father???