2 Years Later
Somewhere out in the Amazon
Out in the far reaches of the Amazon Rainforest, dozens of men and women are trekking towards
a treasure. One which holds a promise of riches to live out a full life and dare say a second. It is
midday and the temperature is scorching hot. Aggressively pushing beyond 95 degrees, the
temperature is far from ideal for a long expedition. Yet, these men and women are not only devoted but determined to reach their prize. Surrounded by lush green pastures north, south, east and west, they continue on marching. The forest is brimming with life. Home to over forty-thousand plant species, three-thousand freshwater fish species and more than three-hundred and seventy classifications of reptiles, it is the embodiment of mother nature. As the men and women march forward, you can hear the melodic sounds of birds, the grunting and squeaking sounds of emperor tamarins and goeldi monkeys.
Suddenly, a man sporting brown camo pants, a white shirt, a machete at hand and a very dense backpack says in an South American accent: “Minha Amiga, how do you know this Planeta Proibido survived the fires?”
“Amiga, they say the plant is the heart of this forest. It can survive any disaster.” replies a man wearing a black t-shirt with a thick accent as he leads the trek.
“And how do you know this plant will do what you claim it does?” curiously questions a middle aged woman with brown silk hair.
The man leading the trek wipes the dripping sweat off his forehead and narrates with a dense accent: “Once, I was coming from an expedition out of Chile and ended up in Bolivia. I was paid to retrieve a special plant for someone. While in Bolivia, I stayed at this cidade pequena – very small country town. While there, rumors of a witch doctor who cured all types of diseases traveled to my ears. I wanted to see for myself, so I went to look for her. She lived in this remote side of the small town where people visited her only if they were dying and needed a cure. Outside of that, everybody was scared of her.”
Unexpectedly, someone from the group interrupts him and asks: “And you were not afraid of this witch?”
The man leading the trek regains control of the conversation and replies: “Absolutely not Minha Amiga! I do this my whole life. So, I went to see her and she turned out to be very, very old. Older than one hundred years if I had to guess. She had all types of plants in her house. Plants I have never seen before. Some of them even looked alive, like, they were moving. She told me of the Planeta Proibido. She said it cures HIV. She said if I ever found it, I should bring her a heart.”
“A heart?” replies a man.
“What do you mean a heart?” inquires the middle aged woman with silk hair.
“Yes a heart. She said the Planeta Proibido all have a heart of their own. Apparently, the plant has provided life to this forest for many years.” explains the man leading the trek.
“This is madness!” exclaims another man. “Nobody told me we were searching for plants with hearts. What the fuck kind of shit is this?” he further adds.
“Amiga, you said you only wanted to be paid right? Well, here is your chance my friend.” states the man leading the trek.
“Did this witch tell you anything else? How does she even know about it? Has she used it before? And are there any repercussions if we remove this plant from the ground?” wisely asks the woman with silk hair.
“She said the plant has been around way before her ancestors. She said once her ancestors used it to cure a deadly plague which almost wiped out her people.” replies the man as he continues to march forward.
“You didn’t answer the last question.” points out the woman with silk hair.
“All she told me was – careful of what you forcefully take from mother nature. She has an unpleasant way of returning the favor. That’s what she said when I translated it to english.”
Upon hearing the witches revelation, everyone pauses and stares at one another. Suddenly, the sense of adventure and excitement slowly dissipates from their bodies. Completely frozen in place, they deeply ponder within. Out of the blue, the sound of a macaw shakes them out of their paralyzed state of mind. By the time they all turn around, they notice the man in the black t-shirt had slightly left them behind. Panickingly, they all sprint ahead to catch up.
“C’mon my friends, we can’t slow down. I can’t slow down. We are on the clock. The Planeta Proibido is waiting.” states the man leading the trek.