24 - Timothy?

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The Narrator

"It can't be," muttered Alice after she beheld an anomaly, after discovering a pole which she remembered from her walk with boys and Sergio to the river Muchachita.

"How can this pole be so close to the river?" pondered Alice, as she saw the river being only three meters away from the spot where the pole was. It was an anomaly to her as the river was supposed to be quite far from the pole.

The hill on which she stood and saw the river, on the day she went there with Sergio, Timothy, and Kirt, had turned into an island.

La Muchachita had swollen up and she had swollen beyond imaginable proportions.

While she was observing the river, Alice was startled when someone behind her remarked in astonishment, "She's obese!"

"I can't believe that the rains could have affected her very much," commented Alice, looking at the then huge and wide La Muchachita.

The duo saw debris and trees being carried downriver. The color of the water was brown as if it was carrying a lot of sediment from a sediment buildup.

"Sergio was right when he told us that she can get really violent," Kirt said.

Alice didn't hear that statement, as she was observing a log being carried downriver.

Realizing that Alice didn't hear it, Kirt shifted his attention to some of the different objects being carried downriver.

"Why did you come here, Alice?" asked Kirt, after a while of them both looking at the swollen river.

"I saw you and Timothy walk out of the bus, and just wanted to see what y'all were up to," she answered.

"Oh," said Kirt as he nodded his head before realizing something that Alice mentioned in her answer. Realizing that puzzled Kirt asked, "Wait, what do you mean me and Timothy?"

"Didn't you creep out of the bus with Timothy following you and a lamp in your hand?" Alice said

As far as Kirt knew, Timothy didn't come with him. Kirt went to the forest alone to find the trail, so that the students could use the remaining resources during a walk from the camp through the forest to the highway to Roboré.

"I went out of the bus, but I don't have any idea of taking Timothy with me," said Kirt. He added, "Besides, how did you end up here if you went after me? I went in a direction totally different from the way to the river?"

"I didn't know where you went, Kirt. By the time I came down, you and Timothy were gone out of sight and I thought that the only possible way y'all could have gone was towards the river, perhaps to get some fresh air," said Alice.

Then, she thought something and asked, "But wait. You said that you went in a completely different direction from the river, then how did you end up here?"

Kirt said, "Alice I don't think it's wise to go out of our camp. The ankle-deep mud has flooded the forest floor, and I can't find the trail. On top of that, all the trees are lying here and there, after being uprooted by the winds. I couldn't find the trail at all. And searching for it using my mind's map, I only got lost. And somehow after walking without knowing where I was going, I ended up here"

"Where's Timothy, then? He must have followed you just like how I did," said Alice.

Taking in hand the lamp that he put on the ground for a while, Kirt said, "Let's find Timothy."

***************

3:30 a.m

"Why can't it just get any better?" said Felipe after the car had to stop in a traffic jam. After a long wait, help for the stranded pilot and Felipe had arrived in the form of a driver sent by the forest rangers to take Felipe to his operating base in the town of Las Taperas. He decided to visit the scene of the accident after taking some rest because he was stranded in the forest for a long time, before being rescued by the driver sent by the forest rangers.

Just when the car exited the Amboró Reserve and came to a town through a highway, another obstruction came Felipe's way. A bridge in the town of Mairana in Santa Cruz Department had collapsed, causing a traffic jam of trucks.

Things weren't going well for Felipe since the onset of the storm. When he thought he found someone who would help him understand the rivers, that person died. When he actually found another person who told him somethings, the person died after meeting him. When he was going on a helicopter, it had to make an emergency landing, and now the incident of what he called, "the stupid bridge".

Felipe only hoped that he won't die before even reaching the forest, seeing the way how things were going.

Worse than being stuck in the traffic jam was the driver's prattling. Felipe didn't want to talk with the driver, but, being polite, he just nodded his head, even though he didn't take to ear a word that the talkative driver was babbling.

Felipe just wondered when he would be out of there.

***************

Avanthi's corpse was infested with ants. It was a treat for them. Before the ants came, a jaguar that wandered through the forest did sniff Avanthi's body, but out of strange respect for the dead girl, the jaguar left the body untouched. The ants weren't as noble as the jaguar. They began nibbling away pieces of Avanthi's corpse.

Her blood had almost seeped into the ground completely. The ants were making their way into Avanthi's dead and smelly corpse through the open slash wound on her throat.

***************

"Isn't this the watch that you gifted Timothy?" asked Alice, taking a watch that she found on the forest floor while she and Kirt searched the forest for Timothy.

Kirt took the watch from Alice and examined it. It was a black, tough-bodied, digital watch. "Yes," said Kirt, surprised. He then worriedly asked, "If that's the watch, then where is Timothy?"

"I think we know where Timothy might have gone," said Alice pointing to the ground, after discovering something.

Kirt lifted his lamp and walked towards the place Alice was pointing to, to see what she was pointing to.

It was a set of footprints freshly imprinted on the mud and slush that flooded the forest floor.

Kirt looked ahead from that spot and saw more footprints.

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