You walk to the edge of a ravine. You look down, but all you can see is sharp rocks for hundreds of feet and twisted vines crossing to the other side. You hear the sound of rushing water, but aren’t sure just how far down it’s sounding from. You knew the indigenous child ran this way and you saw it go down, but where? It didn’t shriek or scream or scramble like the way you would think a child falling to its death would have done. You must be missing something.
You stand as close to the edge as you can. You’re shaking and your stomach feels as hollow as the never-ending chasm in front of you. You saw the child run this way, you knew you did. You kick some loose rocks over the edge and watch them bounce off the razored edges and quickly fall out of sight. You kick again, harder, and watch the rocks ping to the other side before falling to their own pointless doom.
The ping echoes through the sound of the rushing water and as you slump down in defeat, an idea strikes you. Images of Tarzan and Jane fly through your head as you shake it. You hear your graduate professor laughing at you when you explained you could find the last indigenous tribe of Peru on your own and have them let you study them. You think back to that night last week, when your tour guides found where you sewed the last of your cash into your sleeping bag while you bathed in the river. You take a deep sigh and stand up again.
Your sense of defeat transforms into a sense of grim determination. You start grabbing the sturdier-looking vines from the trees over your head and yanking them. The first one falls on your head with a tumble of small leaves and what you’re sure are deadly insects. You yank another, but it looks too short. Third time’s the charm, you think as you gaze up. You size up a long vine as thick as your wrist. You give it a strong tug and it bounces back vibrantly. You wrap the vine around your forearms and take a running start.
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