As I was getting into the darkness of the dense forest I couldn’t help but feel chills. Each step intensified my anxiety even more and increased my desire to retreat. Just a bit of light passed through the treetops and the humidity made me constantly slip. Whistles and rattles revealed perverse creatures crawling through the mossy trunks of trees, and swarms of mosquitoes prevented me from breathing.
When we really want something with great intensity there is nothing that can stop us. And if for anything I have been known all my life is of being a very stubborn woman. When something gets into my head I am able to take any risk. What’s more, I’m really addicted to the adrenaline that danger generates.
I started to accelerate the pace as the terrain became more walkable and the fewer branches allowed me to advance. In the distance I began to perceive more clarity which indicated that I was approaching my goal. My research didn’t clarify a lot, dozens of cases of people who had entered this area of the forest previously without having returned alive and whose bodies were never found.
What happened next I tell it according to the little I can remember because above me the branches of the trees began to shake with such roar and violence that I lost control over myself and in a carelessness I tripped on a thick root protruding from the ground and I felt over a ground level much lower than I was, making myself roll down the slope and getting myself right on the edge of a pit of which I could not see the bottom, and clinging to a branch I tried to climb as best I could to avoid the tragic outcome.
The legends of the natives that inhabit these lands speak of a reptilian god with scales of authentic gold that they have been worshiping and venerating for millennia. Many adventurers have tried before me to go into the forest to find this sanctuary, each and every one with a tragic end. They say that the rituals were celebrated each full moon in an esplanade in the middle of the clearing of the forest, dancing to the sound of drums and kettledrums and rattles, while the worshipers imitated the sliding of the sacred reptile jumping over thousands of snakes, vipers and serpents, in a festival of blood and sacrifices, while on the top of the solemn altar of silver, gold and diamonds, watched the scene the glorious golden reptile, god of the natives and of all the beings that inhabited the forest.
An altar of silver, gold and diamonds, an immense treasure and a golden reptile are nothing compared to the pleasure of discovering a place so mystical and full of mystery, and more important, a place that nobody has been able to reach before. For a woman like me, there is nothing more tempting than being the first one to achieve it. And here’s the irony, I was hanging from a branch in the mouth of a bottomless pit struggling to save my life and reach my longed-for destination safely. Fortunately, I was able to place my foot on a ledge to push myself, while I changed branches and managed to ascend. From there on it was easy, from branch to branch and from ledge to ledge. But not always everything is what it seems. And sometimes your sight deceives you and the branches are not branches.
Sometimes the branches are not branches. And they move. And they slide. And they whistle. And they stick their tongue out. And they have fangs filled of poison. And they make you fall. And the fall makes you lose consciousness. And then you do not remember anything. And you do not know how to explain to the police how you appeared floating on the riverbank near the town several kilometers from the forest. Nor where did you steal the four oak chests filled with jewels that appeared floating next to you. Nor why now the skin of your whole body is covered with golden scales.
Autor: Francisco González SOLEMNITY