First Encounter

Night had fallen over the veranda. Rafa had awoken with Sofia fast asleep in his arms. It was now time to check the area, lock up the house and prepare for bed. It was vital to ensure a safe night. In the freedom of the rainforest, it was easy to relax and forget the dangers of living in such a beautiful and yet unpredictable place. Larger animals, such as jaguars were rare but accounted for as were large snakes such as the anaconda. Poison dart frogs were also, at times, brave enough to enter the enclosure. A semi circles of dry land had been cut to inhabit Rafa and his home, spanning over five hundred square meters. It was a duty and hobby, roaming his estate before sleep.

The thick, deeper vegetation surrounding the hut made all sorts of sounds. Some high pitched and beeping, clicks, rustles, snaps, crackles, hoots, caws and thumps. Over the years, the different reverberations had swelled into one noise that was familiar to Rafa. It had its own beat and bustle and had sharpened his ears to the point that he was in notice of any change to its nature both colossal or minor. As he passed the trees and bushes, Rafa was excited to hear a new call.

It was a bird. One he felt he had never heard in his life, and if he had, in his very tender years when he was unable to make such a calculation. He rushed over to the call that lasted for five squawks. Then a hush descended. Confused, Rafa knelt down and brushed away some of the low hanging branches. Something was glowing in the soil, not too far away. Then the squawks came again, this time louder and more aggressive. Rafa didn't move. The creature was agitated. Next came terrified screeching and a burst of activity overhead. Wings flapped and and the bushes were torn, dust kicked up as something charged back, away from the clearing and into the forest. 

Silence returned. Exhaling, Rafa moved into the trees, in somewhat more relief. He still couldn't identify the call of the bird. It was almost night and very dark, the moon was out. After a few paces, the glowing came back. Rafa saw it this time and tracked it, hovering over a submerged liquid in the soil. It was green and florescent. Glowing like a light. After years in the company of so many species of amphibian, bird, reptile and mammal and insect, Rafa had become accustomed to knowing what substances oozed a dangerous fluid. Confidence was a part of his make-up and Rafa was always willing to feel or even nourish the texture of the latest find. This time it was premature.

Rafa let out a cry as the green, glowing nectar burned instantly upon touch. He fell back, clutching his hand, two fingertips blackened and smoking, his flesh crisply open. His moan was cut short by the induced growl, no less than twenty yards away. Something. Some sort of beast was close. For the first time in years, Rafa was genuinely uncertain, even nervous of what was approaching. He waited still as the trees in front, taller than himself, began to shake. The creature was big.

The End

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