51 - Chiy'ara Nayra

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Next Day

Felipe Altamirano Alvarez Espadachín

The cases I received grew more complex as days went by. That morning I sat by my chair in the office, worried about how I would solve all the cases. Just when I had the feeling that I could soon close the Incasisi accident case, a new revelation about 22 missing children popped up.

Thinking about the complexities, I admired an ornate coffee mug that was on top of a bunch of papers, on my desk. I observed the beautiful painting of a tribal dance on the mug. Observing the cup which caught my attention, I stopped thinking about the cases that I had to solve for a while. Pilar, my late wife, used to do research in the tribal villages of Bolivia. In fact, it was she who gifted me the cup. I still kept it with me. As I took the cup and felt the ridges of the engraving with the tip of my fingers, memories of Pilar rushed through my mind as soon as my hands came in contact with that cup. I held the cup in my hands for a while, thinking of Pilar, until Pablo came into my office, and dispelled my thoughts.

"Señor, there is a man whom the tribesmen discovered injured mutilated but alive. They want you to come immediately. They arranged for transportation." Pablo adjusted his belt as he pointed to the door.

"Is it the same tribe...," I began.

"Yes it's the same tribe as that of Kantuta and Rina," he completed.

"Okay let's go. Get Luismar." I threw my bulletproof vest on and loaded my pistol. Then, I put a file that I took into the drawer before I put on my badge on my way out of the room. Pablo's tone revealed that it was something urgent that needed my attention. I felt like I shouldn't tarry in attending to this case.

In an hour's time, we were on the canoes going to the village. The men were rowing the canoes faster than usual, with the goal of helping us to reach the place as soon as possible. The behavior and tone of every tribesman who came to the station to see me revealed a sense of concern and anxiety. Something was definitely wrong.

It was 8:00 a.m. yet the thick rainclouds made it seem like it was 5:45 a.m. The man who rowed the canoe that I was on was sweating and panting as he rowed the little boat like a raging bull without rest or pause. The fleet of canoes my colleagues and I were traveling in, shot through the water because of the intense rowing. Looking at the bank, I could identify familiar sites that we passed by when we journeyed to the village for the first time. The thought of Amor's loss which was wrestled to the back of my mind by my worry about the other cases began to come to the forefront as I came closer and closer to the village. Where could Amor be? Was he alive? Did a caiman or jaguar eat him? I was disturbed.

When we reached the bank, I glanced at my watch. The time read 9:45 p.m. We rushed through a trail that went around a few hills before leading us to the hill on top of which was the village. The villagers were all gathered around something. Just when I saw them, a wasp stung me on my arm. I smacked it to death after it stung me. It seemed like a stray wasp. Recovering from the pain of the sting, I walked towards the person they gathered around.

Kirt Heinrich

Amor was gone! Amor stayed with us for a few hours after lunch before disappearing on the previous day. He didn't come for pats after that. Thinking that he was somewhere, we continued our work until the raft was ready and when it was ready, we hoped that we'd all leave the forest on this day, but we postponed our plans when we discovered that Amor was gone. He hadn't returned on the previous night after he stopped coming back for pats. We searched through the jungle but couldn't find a trace of him.

From early morning this day till about 11:00 a.m according to Shifaly's wristwatch, we completed a full radius of 3 km from the site of our fire, searching for Amor. We called his names as we walked that radius, to no response.

Felipe Altamirano Alvarez Espadachín

"Make way!" I yelled as I pushed through the crowd of villagers to reach the man they were surrounding.

It was an old man with numerous cuts on his body. He was drenched with blood. His right eye was blinded and bleeding from the sockets, and the wounds near his chest showed that whatever inflicted those injuries upon him had tried to slash his neck. He was bleeding from his mouth. His left leg was chopped off and the wound was infected.

Luismar ran and looked at him with shock, beside me. With Luismar translating, I asked the old man, "Who did this to you?"

The old man looked at me before he began breathing heavily. He shuddered, convulsed and shook violently, and screamed, "Chiy'ara! Chiy'ara Nayra!". Blood began pouring out of his wounds. He fell into another fit of screams, convulsions before he died. I was shocked at the old man's sudden reactions and death.

"Who is this Chiy'ara Nayra?" I asked the chief.

"It's what the Spaniards called 'La Negra'. She preyed on our children. Captain, it's better that you don't take this case of Rina and Kantuta now. She ate them. This man tried to go and rescue them, but he died. It's a force that humans cannot deal with." The chief's face had a look of terror.

"What do you mean we don't take this case? There are two girls missing. Where is this La Negra?"

The chief didn't say anything but looked with horror in the direction of the jungle at the bottom of the slope of the hill.

"We are going to take this case!" I said.

"You're not dealing with humans, sir. She is strong and she is a demon. None of the warriors of the Inca Emperor or the Spanish invaders could drive her away," the chief warned.

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