Sample – I Was an Amazon’s Bride!

Amazon BrideSmall

 

June 8, 1872

A remarkable discovery! The same as last night and the night before, night brings us visitors. Last night, after a day filled with a hundred small marvels of scientific curiosity, we again gathered ‘round the fire to relax and share stories of our finds. Dreyfus and Peters were ecstatic over the discovery of unique bit of flora and talked both loud and at length. Unlike the usual thick-running sap, Dreyfus showed us a milky fluid that ran through the veins of the tree, giving its leaves a pale hue. It was less fluid than water, but far more than the usual sticky sap found in any known tree, at least to the best of my knowledge. Dreyfus is our expert and he confirmed that he had never seen the like.

Holding aloft his phial of white liquid, we were transfixed by it. Passing it around, I could swear that the sap gave off its own heat! Trent laughed at us, reminding us we would need to procure a more thrilling sample for our benefactors back home, who would doubtless be unimpressed by a new variety of tree sap. Still, our excitement was genuine and we postulated which quirks of Darwin’s theory would have produced such an odd color and consistency amid a thousand other varieties of plant which exhibited no such properties.

Our debate was cut short by our guides again moving to the borders of our fire and peering into the darkness. Amid the usual sounds of the jungle, we detected the clear movement of a larger creature. Trent, who held to his conviction that we were haunted by a jaguar or similar animal, lit a torch and joined Carville and our guides in examining the area where the sound was heard.

“Nothing here!” he called out, standing beside the much larger Carville.

It was then we saw the rush of movement, a flash of pale skin against the darkness of the jungle. We watched from the fire as Trent and Carville gave chase, darting across the camp to intercept our strange visitor. After several minutes, Carville and Trent returned, sweat-stained and panting, with no prize for their efforts.

“It was definitely a human being,” Trent stated, “and pale-skinned, unlike the tribes we’ve encountered thus far.”

The conversation around the fire turned to further speculation about the origins of our new friend.

Tonight, we were prepared, awaiting our expected guest as we ate. The conversation was thin, as our eyes were perpetually scanning the jungle around us for signs of movement and another sign of the pale skin that marked our guest’s appearance.

We hadn’t long to wait. Our quiet perhaps emboldened this stranger and we kept ourselves still as the sounds of approaching, carefully placed footsteps drew near. Carville had his rifle across his lap, turned in such a way that his hand rested against the stock, easily raised to a firing position with an economy of movement. Trent was the most agitated among us, and his entreaties that it was, in fact, a person of European or North American origins that he had seen issued from him in a steady stream.

Less bold, Dreyfus, Peters and myself kept close to the fire, even Dreyfus’ usually joviality tempered by our anticipation. The sound of the footsteps was nearer still, and I could have sworn I saw the flash of pale, bare skin flickering into view as someone moved among the trees and brush.

“You see him?” Peters leaned to me and asked, his voice low. “I wonder, Miles, if we haven’t seen something perhaps best left unseen.”

I dismissed his words, reminding him we were men of science and would behave in that spirit. If there was new knowledge to be gained from our visitor, I swore to have it.

I watched as Carville’s grip tightened on his rifle, his finger easing against the trigger. With a motion, he could have it aimed at the stealthy stranger.

While the rest of us awaited Carville’s rifle barking to life or another mad rush by Trent into the night, our guides retreated further and further from the rustling sounds until they could hardly be seen by firelight.

“Now!” Carville cried and I must confess a sense of elation as I sprang to my feet and joined the others as we hurtled ourselves into the foliage to flush out and capture our prey. The figure reacted swiftly, moving away from us, but we had caught him by surprise and now followed close on the heels of the stranger. It was Trent who caught up first, throwing himself at the visitor and clinging to his legs, sending him to the ground with a grunt.

I came upon Trent and Carville, Peters just behind and Dreyfus wheezing his way through the growth to join us. Trent sat on the ground, our mysterious friend trapped beneath him. Imagine our surprise when we learned that our friend was not only pale-skinned as the rest of us (our guides excluded), but a woman!

I will do my best to describe this beautiful creature. She must not have been over the age of twenty-five, but certainly adult. Her hair was loose and wild, spread behind her as she struggled to remove Trent from his grasp of her, the chestnut color of her locks only visible thanks to the torch Carville held. Her skin was tanned by the sun, but there was no disguising the light tone of it, nor the extraordinary pulchritude of our captive. She was lithe and strong, muscles evident beneath her soft skin. Her lips were full, parted in a growl, and the animal skins she wore did nothing to disguise a voluptuous frame. One of her breasts was freed of the hide top, and the fullness of it reddened my cheeks before I could turn my head for decency’s sake.

“A girl!” Dreyfus exclaimed, less inclined to disguise his prurient interest in the poor thing.

“Aye,” Carville said, kneeling beside her. “Wild, no doubt. Probably abandoned here years ago.”

The girl ceased her struggling as Carville bent to her, locking eyes with the brutish man. My heart squeezed in my chest as I imagined the fear she must have felt surrounded by strangers, hounded and trapped.

“Can you hear me, girl?” Carville asked, voice loud and commanding.

She spoke, but a language none of us could parse, even Carville with his familiarity with local dialects.

“What do we do?” Dreyfus asked, combing his bushy mustache with plump fingers. “Should we just release her?”

“She would hardly come back,” Peters agreed. “Not after the fright we’ve given her.”

“Don’t you see, lads? We’re her saviors, whether she knows it or not.”

We looked as one to Trent, who held the girl’s wrists loose in his grip.

“This girl must have been left here some time ago, just as Carville says. Somewhere in this world is a family hoping to hear from her. Whether her parents are lost in this infernal jungle or not, someone, somewhere knows who she is.”

“That doesn’t answer our question, does it?” I added. “Do we suspend the expedition to return her to civilization? We can’t keep her bound. Look at her. She’s terrified.”

“I can think of a thing or two to do with her,” Peters laughed. When he saw he was alone in his poor excuse for levity, he shrugged. “I suppose we take her back to camp for now. Get a night’s sleep and decide what to do with her in the morning.”

“Sound idea!” Dreyfus agreed.

And, thus, we brought the feral girl back to our camp. We secured her by rope and then found ourselves debating where she would be kept, if not outside under the canopy. It was agreed that I would be the one to host her in my tent given my background in the seminary. I presume I seemed the safest option. Her beauty was above reproach, and I admit I find the sight of her to be stimulating, but I also see the scared girl beneath the facade of carnal opportunity.

I speak low and soft to her, and she seems to have calmed some. She is given to song, a haunting and foreign melody that carries through the jungle. As she sings, I wonder what language the words are borne from, and how she came to know it at all. Perhaps it is simply the language of the lost, gibberish to all but the speaker.

To say this expedition has been an adventure would be to sell it short! I can only guess at what more may await us!

 

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