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The Nest

The Nest

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Published by lyzrusso

They came across the deserted farmstead some time during the morning. The Brazilian sun came down at an angle, heating the red dusty earth just enough to be strenuous. Grey stalky clumps were all that was left of the grassland. Trees stood bare and bleeding, even their bark stripped off. The flowerbeds were bare. Not a single bird perched in the trees. A scene of devastation. They entered the house with caution. Rosa Lina Callas, her shaki field outfit prettily complementing her glossy blac

They came across the deserted farmstead some time during the morning. The Brazilian sun came down at an angle, heating the red dusty earth just enough to be strenuous. Grey stalky clumps were all that was left of the grassland. Trees stood bare and bleeding, even their bark stripped off. The flowerbeds were bare. Not a single bird perched in the trees. A scene of devastation. They entered the house with caution. Rosa Lina Callas, her shaki field outfit prettily complementing her glossy blac

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Published by: lyzrusso on Nov 29, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/10/2015

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The Nest
They came across the deserted farmstead some time during the morning. TheBrazilian sun came down at an angle, heating the red dusty earth just enough to bestrenuous. Grey stalky clumps were all that was left of the grassland. Trees stoodbare and bleeding, even their bark stripped off. The flowerbeds were bare. Not asingle bird perched in the trees. A scene of devastation.They entered the house with caution. Rosa Lina Callas, her 
shaki 
field outfit prettilycomplementing her glossy black cascade of hair and olive skin tone, scouted ahead.Denham Wolverhampton’s pensive gaze followed her. He wasn’t quite sure whether he ought to be protecting his petite native guide.Seconds later he knew he should have. Her scream rent through the eerie silence.Wolverhampton hurried to follow her through the house and found her in the kitchen. At least, what used to be the kitchen.There was nothing left on those clean white bones. One of the skeletons, indisjointed pieces, lay at the door, its hand still stretched out as though trying to reachthe handle. On and around the chairs in the breakfast nook lay the scattered bones of children. One was on the shelf by the window, as though trying to get to higher ground.In the pantry was the other adult – probably the mother – her bones mixed inseparably
 
with those of the baby. And in the middle of the floor lay the bones of the dog.Stripped clean. A dance with death. That was what had taken place here. Rosa Lina looked up atWolverhampton, the tall British scientist who had arrived to study what had happenedto this poor family. He was an entomologist, and while the obvious evidence of terror and devastation seemed to fascinate him, he was really here to study the habits of thathorrible hive – the Army Ants.“Once they start,” Rosa Lina told him, “they don’t stop. We avoid them when wehave enough time. If we don’t get the warning…” She shrugged expressively andgestured to the scene.“There’s a legend,” said Denham.“Ah, yes,” agreed Rosa Lina. If anyone should know, it was her. She was Mayan.“They say the army ants can be controlled with the Death Whistle. A whistle cut fromthe finger bone of a child who died by the ants. It is nonsense.”“The whistle is kept in the museum in Guaxupé,” Denham pointed out.“It is nonsense,” she repeated.Rosa Lina was the ideal travel guide for the mysterious scientist. She knew the landlike her own square patch of balcony in town. She had grown up here; but her Spanishwas excellent, as she had been picked out as the most intelligent in her class and hadreceived a merit grant in order to study at the University. She had picked languages,as she was a sensible girl and could see that tourism was a way to keep her mother and father, and several younger brothers, in moderate cashflow while the family battledon in their daily fight for survival. Their patchy hut at the forest edge had been tradedfor a small but nice suburban duplex.This assignment had come from the University itself. Accompany this scientist in hissearch for social insects, for his doctoral thesis. And like all Caucasians, he had thisfascination for the local superstitions. As though there were more to them than his ownvoodoo at home in UK – just because they were foreign to him.She led the way out through the back door, away from that terrible scene of annihilation. There was eerie silence; not a cicada, not a single grasshopper far andwide. The jungle lay green and unperturbed, but the usual symphony of birdsong wasgone. The ants had killed everything that moved.Where were they now? She led the way into the forest, against her own instincts.The mad scientist, highly thrilled that they were so close, pushed past her and followedthe trail of small skeletons – husks of insects, bird droppings, feathers where the antbirds following the swarm had become its next meal. Rosa Lina trailed warily after.

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