Underground Amazon

By Romeu Martins
Translated by Ludimila Hashimoto
Picture by Tom Banwell

Percy Fawcett told me he still felt he’d die in the Amazon. If I didn’t find a way to help him, that would be the day: the young explorer would be sliced by the man hired to guide him in the forest. Torres was a slave hunter before slavery abolition in Brazil. I never trusted him, but did not expect the bastard would blow up the tunnel right after he left the cave, leaving me unarmed and isolated. Thanks to a helmet I survived the landslide.

Rocks blocked the cave mouth, leaving just a gap through which I saw the traitor threaten the boy outside. A damn time for J. Neil Gibson to come up with the idea of the expedition! The American became a millionaire when he was young and found gold in the Amazon. But he wanted more. He used money to get the English adventurer to search for new precious resources under the jungle. Now the Brazilian slaver was doing the same, using a knife instead. He was forcing the boy to tell him the location of a diamond streak.

How did I get myself into this? Luckily or not, I met Gibson two decades ago. I had just entered the Brazilian police and saved his life in Rio. My reward, twenty years later: he decided to take me on the expedition. He is a U.S. senator, influential in the court of the Brazilian Empire, so I came against my will. Everyone calls me John Steam. Not my real name: my mother delivered me in a steam train in England. I am Fawcett’s fellow citizen, but I came from a village called Wold Newton, whose only memorable event was a rock falling from the sky, 45 years before I was born.

The thought of the meteor gave me an idea. The explosion had disarmed me. Except for the underground exploration helmet, I only had a pickaxe. Not enough to break through the rocks, but I had my tricks. The engineers had added an oxygen canister to the helmet so that I could breathe in closed environments. Though it was not the case in the gallery, the accessory would be useful. I took it off my back, detached it from the hose that connected it to the mask and placed it in the hole.

Without that opening I would be in the darkness if it weren’t for the electric candle adjusted to the helmet. Thanks to the artificial glow I could lift the pick and strike the safety valve on the canister. Not enough. Just caused sparks that would have pierced my eyes, if it weren’t for the goggles. Torres had certainly heard the clap. My second blow had to be precise.

So it was: the seal was opened and the compressed oxygen released. As if it were a Chinese rocket, the canister took off. My makeshift projectile only stopped after breaking the assassin’s spine. Percy Harrison Fawcett’s omen of death in the Amazon would have to wait.

3 comentários:

vvb32 reads disse...

Excellent! Thanks for this sweet piece!

Romeu Martins disse...

Oh, thanks for your sweet comment!

Leonardo Peixoto disse...

Não sei se já fiz essa sugestão pra você , mas já pensou em juntar as histórias de Cidade Phantástica em um livro , semelhante a Aventuras do Vampiro de Palmares ?