Welcome to the 4th instalment of Matica’s Dreams by Gigi Sedlmayer. I now have a category called, Mini Series in the column of this blog, and in case you’ve missed any, the whole series to date can be found there.
That night Matica had another dream.
I was walking with Aikon around the plateau, looking for nice things. Suddenly a flock of colourful, red, green and yellow screeching macaws flew over us. We admired them and stared at them. Next Aikon ran laughing after them but soon stopped because they were faster than he was. I ran after him, wondering where they came from. Never have I seen a flock so close here to the village.
Then I stopped and looked around. ‘Aikon, where are we?’
Aikon turned on his heels. ‘Oh my, I have no idea. Look at the huge trees. We are in a sort of wilderness.’
‘Yes, that’s a rainforest, you know, that Dad and I went through. But there is no rainforest here on our plateau. So, where are we? And how could that be?’
‘What is happening to us?’ Aikon asked.
‘Since we started to run after the macaws, it seems to me as if we went through a vortex or something.’
Aikon shrugged his shoulders. ‘What’s a vortex?’
‘It’s like a whirlwind, or a black hole, you know, going through something like that. And when you come out of the other end, you are in some other place as it seems we are now. And now we are here, wherever here is. Come, we have to find home again or we have to find that black hole again to go back home.’
Aikon was suddenly very quiet, wondering if something like that really had happened to us. But then he said, ‘How can we go back? Where is back?’
I grabbed Aikon’s hand and slowly we wandered back, where we thought back was. But we were still enthralled to see the big trees and listened to the noises in the rainforest.
I slowly lost all sense of time and direction.
Hand in hand and not really looking where we were going, only listening to the different sounds and admiring the huge trees, lianas and the soft ground, Aikon suddenly stopped me by stepping in front of me.
‘What is it?’ I asked him, but at the same time I saw it. We nearly wouldn’t have seen it because no sun was shining on it in the dark rainforest, so it could dazzle us. It was hanging between the branches of two trees and it was only about half a metre in front of us. A huge, black spider was sitting right in the middle of its web, watching us.
‘Oh, wow!’ I yelled out. ‘It’s like the other one we encountered, now a long time ago. You remember?’
‘How can I forget that? Never, but look at the size of that one. It’s nearly four times as big. And look, the spider is watching us, thinking of catching us, thinking what big prey we are.’ Aikon went a step closer, stretching out his hand. The spider turned and stretched out its first long pair of legs to grab his hand.
‘Aikon!’ I yelled and yanked his arm away. Then I pulled him around and we ran on.
Coming to a little clearing, we nearly stepped over something else. First it looked like a log, but then the log moved and growled at us. It was a puma, eyeing us, growling.
We both stopped breathing and since I still had Aikon’s hand in mine, I pulled him closer to me, thinking, I have to protect him. I’m the older one. But how can I do that? I’m smaller.
If we would be taller, the puma would run away, but since we are smaller? Well, what will it do?
‘What can we do?’ Aikon whispered.
We stood there, both frozen by now, not really knowing what to do. The puma licked its flews then kept its mouth open, showing its long, white, dangerous looking, ready to tear us apart teeth. It whipped its tail and growled.
Aikon then turned to the left and the puma turned its head and body to the left. Aikon turned his body to the right and the puma turned to the right.
And there I could see that she was pregnant. My mind yelled out, It’s the puma, the pregnant puma I had already encountered several times flying over her with Talon, and Tamo is watching over her so the ‘you know who’ won’t get her. Well, well, now she’s threatening us. Will she succeed with eating one of us?
No, why, don’t think like that. She won’t. Help will come, or she’s getting bored watching us since we are not moving. And we won’t move. So, she has no reason to attack us. But it’s good to see, she still has her cubs. I long to see them.
Aikon then said between his teeth what I was thinking, ‘Whatever we do, it would follow us. It must be hungry. Hey, what about Tamo?’
‘Shhhh,’ I hissed, ‘stop it. I have to think. Tamo can’t see us here between the huge trees and he wouldn’t come down here anyway. The trees are too close together. His wings are too big.’
But Aikon insisted, ‘Of course he could. I was thinking all the time about him. He’s the only one who could rescue us. He could scare it away. Remember, we are connected with him.’
‘You thought about him? Well, to tell you the truth, I was thinking about him too. But how can he land here? By the way, the puma is a she. And she’s pregnant.’
‘How do you know?’
‘Look at her. She has a fat tummy, right?’
Aikon looked back at me strangely. Then he asked, ‘Do you know her?’
I grabbed him harder. ‘As a matter of fact, yes, I do. I have encountered her several times before. But not like that. With Talon flying over her when she’s strolling through the jungle. She always spits at us and roars at us.’
‘Wow, and you never told us.’
‘I didn’t want Mum to get worried, because I would love to see her cubs. I told Talon, and he will tell me when she has them so we can see her cubs.’
‘Wow, Mat, I would love to see them as well.’
The puma mum sat on her rear, still watching us and growling at us. Sometimes it sounded more like a rumbling deep in her throat, like thunder from far away. She also licked her flews often.
I was still thinking what to do and, not coming to any conclusion, only thinking of Tamo and for that matter if Tima and Talon could help us, I heard a very familiar, loud screech coming from the sky not too far off.
‘How does he know?’ I hissed again as we looked into the sky, wondering how he knew that we were in danger and would need his help.
‘Remember,’ Aikon shushed, ‘you told us that Elcano said that we are all connected. That is the connection we have to them. They just know.’
The screech came closer.
The puma stood up and lifted her head and roared out loudly into the sky.
Tamo screeched back. It sounded like a battle cry. And then we heard him flying deep over the canopy of the forest, rustling the leaves as if he was pulling the branches and leaves away or apart to come to us. His big body made a darker shade over the canopy, blotting out even more of the brightness. His wide wings brushed over the leaves as Tamo tried to penetrate them to come down. He constantly screeched that battle cry, louder and more threatening.
The puma looked up at Tamo and, seeing the big shadow flying over the canopy and his loud warning screeches, roared out loud. Next she was looking at us and prowled a
few steps closer to us as if she was considering fighting us and to eat us, or to lose us and go away. She showed us her ferocious, long white teeth. Her brown eyes glinted as she watched us. Her yellow-tufted tail twitched and whipped.
Next she lay down, waiting to see if Tamo would come down further, threaten her.
Tamo found a clearing where the trees were further apart.
Flying down and slapping the branches of some trees with his flapping wings, he landed right in front of the puma, looking very impressive by not folding his wings to his body, not letting her come close to us, still screeching that battle cry.
Surprised and in awe at how Tamo was protecting us from the puma, Aikon and I stood frozen. We could only watch Tamo. We had never seen Tamo doing something like that. Not even I had ever imagined he would do something like that. But here he was saving us from the puma mum, or giving her a lesson never to attack humans.
Either way, if she had decided to attack us and eat us or not, she got up and, hissing and spitting at Tamo, the monster bird for her, she tried to pass him. But Tamo stood his ground by spreading his enormous wings out even more, as much as it was possible between the huge trees and so pushed the puma backwards, away from us, screeching at her.
Suddenly, she must have decided to let us go. Tamo must have been too much for her. Abruptly she turned around and prowled away. We saw her tail disappearing between the undergrowth and then she was gone.
Aikon and I relaxed as Tamo, folding his wings to his body, came to us, kissing us on our cheeks. ‘Thank you Tamo for saving us from the puma mum.’
Tamo screeched once more then he flapped his wings. It nearly wasn’t possible in the small space, but somehow he managed it. He ran in the narrow space of the small clearing under the trees and was soon airborne, flying between the trees, rising up and was swallowed by the trees and up into the sky.
We ran home. It was very easy now, as if the rainforest wasn’t there at all. I made sure that Aikon wouldn’t tell anyone anything about the puma because if he does, we won’t ever see the cubs because the Indians would hunt her down or she would fall into the hands of the ‘you know who’.
We agreed it was best not to mention her to anyone.
Waking up with a jolt, Matica sat up, wiping her wet face with her hand. Sweat was running down her face. Was that true? Did that happen? she thought disoriented. She looked around and looked at her brother sleeping soundlessly next to her bed. She couldn’t see him as it was pitch-black in her room, she could only hear his regular and quiet breathing. She shook her head. Not true. Good. And then she noticed that she was sweaty all over. She threw off her blanket to cool down.
Resting her chin on her pulled-up knees, Matica whispered so as not to wake up her brother, ‘It was a dream. I know that much. But what a dream that was.’ She pondered about her dream. Attacked by the puma mum? Why did I dream about something like that? I never thought about that, that she could attack us, even when we visit her with Talon when she has her cubs. But again, she still had them. Will something happen before then? Will I encounter her, with Aikon?