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from Assassinato Selva by Steven Smith

Copyright © 2019–2020 Imogen McKenzie

Chapter 4

The women now waited outside the busy bar, along with their guide in the form of the young man Federico Dos Remos.

Some locals were eying up the pretty young women who had graced their tiny village, and with eager eyes it made them feel rather unwelcome.

"What ya looking at fellas? How about I knock you last tooth out you scum bag?" Edith dropped her backpack and leaned over the balcony, pointing an angry fist at the men. "Leave it, Edith," Vicky tried to pull her Scottish friend back, but the big Scot was far too strong, brushing Vicky aside like an empty cardboard box.

The men seemed to relish her feisty attitude and spoke out in their native tongue, this only made Edith more furious, the fact she couldn't understand what they were saying was an even bigger insult.

"What are they saying?" Katie was curious to know what was going on.

Edith meanwhile now had Vicky and Keeley clinging to her arms, preventing her from leaping the balcony and roughing up the rude men.

After a short wait, the women packed and checked their own backpacks, supplying themselves with the items Federico had supplied courtesy of the company.

Two jeeps skidded to a halt outside, the first papping its horn three times. "Let's go, transport has arrived and we need to get out there and set up camp before dark."

They all hopped into the jeeps and wheel spun off through the muddy tracks, "We had a spot of rain yesterday, but it will still be okay once we get so far in. The tall trees protect the ground from getting too soaked," Federico explained as the jeeps trundled on.

Half an hour later the tracks came to a halt, literally going round and back on themselves. "Here we are," Federico clutched the shoulder of the driver and he slowed the vehicle down.

"Okay, as you can see we have driven uphill quite a way, and now the jeeps can take us no further. We need to hike through the jungle into the campsite clearing that is about ten miles away. It will take a few hours. But it gives us plenty of time to set up camp and get something to eat."

Federico nodded to the driver who then handed a small cooler box to his boss, Federico took out several vacuum sealed bags of chili-con-carne. "I got these for us to warm up, it is my family recipe. It will fill your bellies on our first night," a proud smile ran across his face, clearly happy to share his cooking skills with the expedition.

They all set off on the journey that would start their adventure getaway, the vast and remote South American jungle island was lush and green, its beauty had not been given justice from the website, Katie realised that it was far more beautiful than any picture on the internet could ever portray.

The long trek finally led them to a cosy clearing in the jungle, vast open space enough for more than the five small tents that they had with them. A small stream ran down the right-hand side of the site, and stones had been piled by previous visitors enabling a small fire to be made. Each tent was put up and they continued to settle down as the sky turned a beautiful deep orange as the sun began to set. Federico had opened the packets and was warming the amazing smelling homemade chili, once warmed through he poured the chili from the round metal pot and into five small metal containers, "Here, everybody takes one. Enjoy."

The mini meal was greatly received by all except Keeley, the youngster was cautiously nibbling small chunks from her spoon. The ferociousness of its heat was worrying poor Keeley, she wasn't much into spicy food. But, she was grateful for the warm meal regardless. Besides, it wasn't as spicy as first feared. There was heat but not the lip-tingling scorch of some of the meals Katie had prepared over the years.

A few more generous gifts arrived from the cool box in the form of small cans of ready mixed gin and tonic, a light refreshment for each of them, although Edith's drink barely touched the sides.

The group spent the evening chatting and getting to know their South American tour guide, and in turn telling him about themselves.

The night drew in and Keeley was first to get tucked up into bed, her dainty frame wasn't built like the others, who made hiking look easy with their past experiences. She was tired and turned in leaving the others to chat around the campfire.

Edith did her usual thing at the end of the night, no matter where they were Edith always seemed to want to wander off for half an hour, she stayed close but could be seen slowly walking around the far reaches of the camp, deep in thought.

Katie and Vicky continued their giggling and banter way into the night even long after Edith had snuck off into bed, and Federico bid them good night.

"Suppose we should get some sleep, it's another long walk tomorrow and I know that single gin and tonic is gonna give you a hangover," Vicky teased.

"Get lost, you're the lightweight Miss Duggan," Katie chuckled at her friend's little dig.

"Whatever, who had to sleep in my mom's spare room at my 21st birthday party? Was it a certain Miss Harrison? I thin...

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