I ran. Trees surrounded me. A screeching echo filled my ears. The sound of splashing water and shrieking pierces my ears. The trees faded into brilliant mist of turquoise that sprayed across my face.
Just then, a wet wing slapped me across the face. I spat out feathers in a huff. Not the kind of mist I was expecting.
“Pfft. Patcho!!” I gasp. Patcho’s my pet kingfisher. Annoying at times, but good company. He’s also been known to help me when I’m fishing down by the waterfall. Kiwi hops down onto my pillow. He’s not what you'd expect him to be. He’s a tree frog.
“Kiwi.” I warn him. He’s not allowed on the furniture. He looks guilty and hops down onto the carpet. “Oh, you’re pushing it today, Mister.” I say as I pick him up of the carpet and carry him to the huge rubber tree outside my window. Mia comes slithering down. She’s a boa constrictor, but she’s pretty much harmless. When I was 5, I saved her life. When she was a snake-let, she fell out of a tree, but I caught her. We’ve been friends ever since. As I come downstairs, I almost tread on a fuzzy ball, sitting on a step.
“Come on Spike, I told you yesterday. If you’re going to sleep on the stairs, you’re gonna get hurt.” I say as I pick up Spike. Now my arms are full. One tree frog on my head, one boa constrictor around my arms, plus an overweight capybara. I stagger down the stairs until Mia finally decides to use the railing. You may be wondering what a 17-year-old girl is doing along in the middle of the Madagascar Rainforest. Well, I was born in London. My parents were ecologists. People kept trying to steal their work, so they moved to Madagascar when I was 5 months old. I don’t remember much about New York, but Mum said it was a fake jungle made of concrete. It doesn’t sound good compared to here. Then, when I was 5, my parents went to research Niagara falls. They said they’d be gone for about a month, but two months after they left, I finally admitted to myself they weren’t coming back. I cried with Spike, Mia, and Patcho. How long for I can’t remember. But that’s how I met Kiwi. My eyes were so wet, I mistook him for a leaf to wipe my tears with. He still hasn’t forgiven me for that.
Time to start the daily chores. I check the traps and see that the land trap’s caught some mice, the tree traps have caught some crickets and ants, and some fish from the water traps. I serve up a breakfast for all of us. A banana and some cashews for me, leftover fish for Patcho, one of the mice for Mia, some dried reeds for Spike, and some crickets for Kiwi. We sit on the porch and eat, watching the birds fly by. Then I start the rest of my chores. I have a chart to help me, but I pretty much know it by heart. I take the zipline to the beach and collect the rest of the fish from the traps. Then I haul myself back up to the house and empty it all into the fish basket. I’ve professionally
trained everyone to not eat the food. I then grab my basket, head down the slide and go to collect fruit. It’s the perfect season for berries, as it’s the dry season. During the wet season, we all just sit inside, why the rain creeps down the leaves. Kiwi leaves us for six months, then returns. For him, it’s mating season. Sometimes I help him, but he was a runt, so he never gets a mate. He did once, but his babies didn’t survive. I made little graves for them and he wasn’t friendly until the start of the dry season. That’s why I dry most of the fruit so it lasts longer. Despite the emergent layer having its protective leaves, our house is spread over several trees on the canopy layer, so we don’t get much protection. And yes we have a roof, but it’s a hassle to do anything. Our ‘house’ is spread over several trees, with bridges in between. Kiwi insist on riding in my hat because he’s scared of heights. Yep. He’s a tree-frog, and he’s scared of heights. I go over to the working tree, where I lay out the fruit on the drying bench. It always get sunlight, that’s why it’s good for drying. Then I realize something isn't right. There’s mist coming from the beach. The mist I saw in my dream. A shrieking siren and screaming. I run down the ladder and towards the beach. A sudden splash echoes throughout the forest, when the realization hits me. My dream is becoming a reality.
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