Chapter One

It’s a calm night, and natural sounds come from the dense jungle. Crickets and birds sing together in the distance. An okapi eats peacefully until suddenly it jumps and runs deeper into the jungle. Strong, fast steps disrupt the calm night. A man in his fifties runs for his life. His hands hold something inside his shirt. He is lost, but there is no time to waste. He needs to decide what to do.

He breathes quickly and heavily. He stops by a tree to rest for a second and catch his breath. With no warning, an arrow hits the tree. He looks at the arrow. He hears them coming. He starts to run again, escaping his surroundings as fast as he can. He runs and runs through the dense jungle when suddenly, he comes to a clearing and reaches a dead end. He is trapped between the jungle and the edge of a cliff. He walks toward the edge. He looks desperately at what lies below. He sees an open ocean in front of him and boulders taking the crashing waves at the bottom of the cliff.

He turns around. He stays still, waiting for them, thinking this must be the end for him. He holds the object tightly inside his shirt. Suddenly, a large group of indigenous natives, their bodies covered in green paint, emerge from the jungle and stand between the man and the cliff. They prepare their arrows and point them at him.

The man sweats profusely. He believes it’s not the time for him to die. He looks right and left. He desperately places his right hand inside his shirt. He takes out the object. It’s a green emerald tablet that has ancient symbols carved on it. The tablet is thick and almost as big as the man’s torso. He holds it above his head and threatens to throw it into the ocean. All of the natives put their weapons down and kneel on the ground.

“Let me go,” the man says in the natives’ language. “This doesn’t belong to you! It belongs to all of us. Let me teach this secret to all humankind,” he continues. As the man talks, the natives start to sing in their own tongue. It’s the song of their ancestors. It’s like they are praying to them.

“Please. We need this,” the man pleads with the indigenous natives.

Members of the group start swaying in their places. They sing louder and louder. As they sing, the tablet starts emitting light. The man looks up and sees the light. It’s beautiful. The tablet shines brighter and brighter. It looks like a big, bright emerald square. The ritual song grows even louder. The man doesn’t understand what is happening. Suddenly a gust of wind blows the tablet out of the man’s hands to the bottom of the cliff.

No!” he screams. He watches the tablet as it falls, and just before it hits the rocks, a big wave comes in and swallows it. It’s like the wave was placed there to catch the tablet. The man can’t believe the tablet has disappeared, just like that. He cries bereaved.

The indigenous natives stop singing. They stand and walk peacefully back into the jungle. The man stands still, looking at them with tears in his eyes. One native stops, turns around, and looks at him.

“You are not ready. When you are ready, the tablet will be there for you,” he tells the man in his native tongue. He turns back and disappears into the dense jungle.

“The end,” says an old man sitting on a bed as he closes a small book, a book that looks as old and weary as the man reading it. The old man looks at the two kids who are peacefully sleeping in the bed.

“I love these boys,” the old man says to himself. “They always fall asleep before the end of my stories.” The old man smiles at them. “But I know they enjoy them.” He looks at the old book with nostalgia.

He kisses the boys on their cheeks, stands up, and turns off the lights.

“Tomorrow will be another great adventure,” the old man says with excitement. He walks out of the bedroom and closes the door.

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