The Grand Finale

For the 'Hidden power' competition. Criticism and advice welcome!

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1. One

Hidden deep in the bowels of the Amazon rainforest, standing at the bank of the great river-sea itself: a little wooden hut nestled amongst the majestic trees. From above its location is completely invisible, shrouded by the dense fluffy green tree tops. On the ground, from any angle besides head on from the river, its existence is also questionable. The hut is small- roughly the size of a Wendy house- but well-fortified, with thick, homemade concrete smeared between the nooks in the wooden structure. It has no windows and the door is a large rusty sheet of corrugated iron. Why no night time predators have not torn the flimsy thing off and broken in is a mystery- in truth, why all the animals of the jungle skirt around the place as if the very soil is cursed is also a mystery. But never the less, a mystery that the inhabitance of the hut are blissfully unaware of.

They’re not the usual trekking type- the kind that are weary of the jungle and all it holds- or infact the adventurous type. To be honest; the people of the hut look as though they agree that adventures are only bearable when watched from the safety and comfort of a couch. No: these two people are running. That’s the most plausible explanation for their self-inflicted isolation despite their inexperience of living in the wild, and must be the reason behind the premature lines of worry that are etched deeply into their faces.

The woman is a thin, creamy white body, the humidity making her sallow, and punching her under the eyes with black sleeplessness. She wears her hair up in a knot upon her head, the tips of it still bleached but the rest long returned to its original colour-she should have cut it off, it only gets in her way, but perhaps she takes comfort in its length; as if she plans to hide behind it again one day. She is not young, but not old either- and certainly not old enough to be the mother of the remarkable creature who sits beside her, absorbedly washing the pile of berries intend for supper.

His skin is a faded sky blue, though much smudged with dirt and grease, and unlike his dull companion, he has four muscly arms instead of two. Perfectly symmetrical and not at all freakish looking, his arms and hands and all twenty fingers work in quiet harmony, now pealing the clean berries. He is sensible enough to have cut his jet hair short, exposing a thin sheen of sweat gathering at the nape of his bare neck and running like a graceful river down his naked back (no t-shirt has more than half the correct amount of arm holes for him).

He shivers and tips the berries into a crudely crafted wooden bowel, which he then sets on the ground in front of him with finality. The woman then adds the unappealing but clean roots that she dug up that morning. They eat in silence. It’s not until the bowel they share has been scraped clean that the boy speaks.

“You know why we have to go back.” He resumes the argument that resulted in the stony silence he’s only just broken. “We can’t live like this forever.”

“We have to.” She snaps back instantly. “you’ve no idea what it took me to get you here alive in the first place.”

“Mum” he tries calming reason into her. “No one’s trying to kill us. We’ve been through cities before. No one really cares what I look like.” It’s true, the woman has dragged this boy all over the world since he was born, running and running and never staying in one place for more than a week. But the last part isn’t true, and they both know it. Still- the uproar he caused when a human crowd was near was never bad enough to provide an explanation for why they had to live like fugitives on their own planet.

At this the woman breaks down completely: “Don’t you dare! Don’t pretend that you don’t know  everyone on this godforsaken planet are monsters! ‘Oh, mums gone off one again’” She whines “You know nothing! Grow up! This perfect little world of yours where people smile and hold doors open for each other doesn’t exist! You can look at me like you think I’m crazy all you want, but they’ve tried to kill you before and they’ll do it again!” her voice tails off towards the end into a high pitched squeak that even the monkeys would have a job contending with.

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