There was something different in the jungle today. A small capuchin monkey crept unnoticed through the canopy above the strange hairless creatures that shuffled noisily, clumsily, below her. She wrinkled her nose in distaste- they reeked- and climbed higher. One of them began to make strangely melodic noises so she stopped to listen. She knew that they were communicating somehow yet she couldn’t understand them as she could the other jungle animals. She followed them a bit further. They moved slowly.
The capuchin grew bored quickly and left.
Inside a small wooden crate carried by several people from a nearby village, a small girl lifted her head as she sensed the monkey. She tried to see it through the boards that made her prison but it flitted out of reach.
She sighed sadly and curled up at the bottom of the crate.
She was a scrawny creature, thin and malnourished, her olive skin seeming stretched over her gangly limbs. Her black hair which should have been thick and wavy hung in lank, greasy clumps down her back. She was young, about ten or eleven. She didn’t know her exact age as she didn’t know her birthday.
She was feeling sick from the swaying motion of the crate and wished that the people who carried it would stop so she could stretch her legs and get some fresh air.
She didn’t know where she was; she had been put in the box that morning, before the sun had risen and the dawn chorus had begun, and her carriers had been walking ever since.
She was nervous but she trusted her carriers - they were from her village, her home, after all - and she could feel no dangerous animals around, like jaguars or pythons, therefore, with nothing else to do, the girl curled into a tight ball and fell asleep.
Her entourage stopped at noon. The box was set down with a jolt that was neither gentle nor rough, waking the girl. She sat up, rubbing the sleep from her eyes, and waited for her carriers to open the crate.
After an hour of waiting and trying to see through the boards of the crate, she began to try breaking the box open but it was far too strong.
Alone, trapped in a crate in the middle of the jungle, the girl curled up and cried hopelessly.
A jaguar nearby was woken as he heard the child crying.
He was hungry - a hunt earlier in the day had been unsuccessful - and so, hearing a creature in distress, he padded away to investigate.