Henry and Adofo were trekking through the thick underbrush of the jungle. A flock of dragonflies glided over the stream they were wading through. Monkeys swung from tree branch to tree branch barking ferociously. They swung their bodies, and then float through the air grabbing hold of the branch on another tree. Henry was blinded by the sunlight that seeped through the moving branches, so he looked down. Humming birds hovered over wild flowers some stuck their beaks into the blossoms. The jungle was alive with vibrant colours. Some of the green leaves sparkled as dew dripped off of them, turning the red mud into a maroon hue. There was a rustling in the bushes and Adofo stopped, a wild hog jumped out of the bushes. The animal stopped and looked at the boys. Henry raised his spear but the animal turned and disappeared into the bushes.
They walked for hours in the stifling heat, even in the shade of the trees. Small bugs swarmed around making it hard to take a breath. They got to the top of a hill that overlooked a field of green grass and wild flowers. It was a kaleidoscope of colours that shimmered in the sun. They stood, spears in hand, machetes dangling from homemade belts. They walked down into the pasture and into a sparkling stream. As they walked, butterflies floated off the leaves of the flowers and fluttered around them. A heard of wolves ran past them, but they paid no attention to the two warriors. Adofo stopped puzzled that the animals did not attack them.
“This is like the Garden of Eden out here,” Henry said as he stopped behind Adofo.
“Keep your eyes open” Adofo said as more animals ran past them and disappeared into the jungle. Adofo still did not move as if hesitant to go forward. Fish swam up the stream tickling their feet. Henry jumped splashing water on Adofo leg. He turned around and looked at Henry,
“Lets go, but be on guard,” he said and slowly walked in the direction the animals went.
It was a perfect tropical day. Blue skies, white clouds that looked like the puff his mother used to put powder on her face. Adofo pressed on cautiously. He thought of taking a different route, but this was the fastest way to the Bokor’s village. They stepped out of the creek and got to the edge of the jungle. Adofo stopped still hesitant to go any further. Henry stood alongside him peering into the jungle. Sweat rolled down his forehead, and got into his eyes. He wiped the sweat from his eyes with the back of his hand and blinked as the salty liquid burned them. More animals went past them, Adofo turned to Henry.
Lets go,” he said tightening the grip on his spear. They walked into the dense leaves pushing branches out of the way.
They entered an area where the trees were as tall as twenty feet. Their branches did not start until about ten feet up the trunks. Henry stood and looked up at the trees, and then he walked over to one and hugged it. Its trunk was so big he could not wrap his arms all the way around it. Adofo walked up behind him.
“Lets go,” he said looking around, then walked away. Henry followed him spinning around still amazed at the size of the trees. They walked among the big trees for about fifteen minutes when Adofo stopped and sniffed the air.
“Smells like the flower garden my mother grew back on the plantation. She said we may be in captivity, but nothing should stop us from making the New World smell like home.” He said, Henry sniffed and smiled.
“Yes it reminds me of my mother’s rose garden.” He responded. They stood and looked around for a second; Adofo shrugged his shoulder and started walking. Henry walked backwards looking at a large cougar that appeared behind them. The animal looked at them, its yellow eyes piercing, its tongue hung out of its mouth. Adofo stopped suddenly and Henry bumped into him. Henry turned to see why Adofo had stopped, in front of them stood a clump of rose bushes.
“What is this?” Henry asked as he looked up at the rose bushes. They stood about seven feet tall and their stems were about five feet in diameter. The scent of the rose blossoms permeated the air choking them a little. They were not the only flower that bloomed in the giant flower garden. Hibiscus bushes as tall as the roses stood up, their orange and red blossoms shimmered in the limited sunlight. All kinds of animals mulled around as if hypnotized by the beauty and aroma. Henry reached up and touched one of the rose petals. Drips of water rolled of the pink petal and onto the palm of his hand. He turned to Adofo,
“This is crazy, maybe the evil spirits are playing tricks on us,” he said and looked around confused. Henry left the rose bush and walked ahead turning around as he did,
“Still this is beautiful,” he said, as he closed his eyes and sniffed.
“This seems peaceful let us relax a minute and have lunch,” Adofo said as he looked around cautiously. Cougars, mongooses, predator and prey moved around aimlessly. Henry heard a rustle next to him and he opened his eyes. The cougar he saw earlier stood looking at him.
“On second thought let’s keep moving,” Adofo said and Henry followed him.
They got to an area where the giant flowers changed species. One had bright red petals that glistened as if it had just rained. It was not tall, but its leaves and its core spread out on the ground in a circle about five feet in diameter. The cougar had followed them and had stepped on the plant. Suddenly the granular hairs on the petals wrapped around the animal. It growled and struggled, but the hairs tightened even more. Its head disappeared into the plant’s leaves then reappeared; its eyes were bulging as the killer plant squeezed its torso. The other animals began to stampede as the cougar roared and fought. Henry stood frozen with fear as the animals began to bump into him.
“Come on run!” Adofo shouted and moved towards Henry. A herd of wild hogs ran by ramming into Adofo. He stumbled backwards and yelled. Henry turned towards where Adofo had fallen. The stampede of animals ran into the jungle, and after the rush, Henry saw that Adofo had gotten to his feet but was leaned up against a tree struggling.
“Let go, Adofo screamed. He was entrapped in a plant, his eyes bulging as he struggled. It was bright red and sparkled a little in the light. A small hood like spoon dangled at the tip of its leaves. Adofo was stuck in a funnel like zone of the gigantic leaf.
“Damn possessed bush!” Adofo screamed. The hairs on the leaf were pointed downwards making it hard for him to get his footing. The lower half of the funnel was large enough to swallow Adofo into the plant. Henry leaped into action and used his machete to cut at the plant’s roots.
“Hang On!” Henry shouted. Adofo gasped for breath as he slipped further down into the funnel. Henry desperately swung the machete.