18 BOAT RIDE
The little outboard motor forced the boat upstream through the unusually placid river. Teplan’s uncle sat at the back of the little boat with one hand on the motor’s handle and the other steadying himself on the metal trimming of the hull. Facing backwards, Teplan and Terah sat clumped together on the middle bench of the little boat and stared in astonishment over Uncle Ian’s shoulders at the men on the shore who were now running back through the forest. Calmly, Ian guided the little boat in the open river. Teplan and Terah felt the exact opposite of calm.
“What did you spray at that guy?” Teplan asked.
“Bug spray! I guess it works on big bugs, too!” Ian chuckled. “His eyes will sting for a while, but don’t worry, he’ll be okay. By the way, it’s great to see you, Teplan! And your friend, too!”
“Yeah! It sure is! Especially right now! I haven’t seen you since Christmas Break. What in the world are you doing here? Oh, and, this is my friend, Terah.”
“Hi Terah, nice to finally meet you - I know your parents. And I figured you’d be wondering that… I got back from the rainforest yesterday and today I was at the local office when I saw that you two were in trouble. So, I called your mom to find out where you guys were. She said you had gone to the river. Then I called a friend who lives in the area, borrowed her boat and came to help.”
Teplan stared at his uncle blankly; he could not believe his ears. “Trouble? Why are we in trouble?”
“You’re in trouble because you trespassed on private property — with high security, I might add. And, whatever you recorded must be very important. We, The Planet Earth Protectors, monitor that very pig farm. We believe that that farm is a major contributor to pollutants in the area, but we haven’t been able to prove it beyond a doubt yet. We’re working on it. Anyway, when their alarm went off, we intercepted their video feed and it showed two intruders shooting a video. Then, the faces of the two intruders came on screen. And, would you believe it? Your two faces popped up! I couldn’t believe my eyes! The barn security went on high alert and they’ve been combing the area searching for you two ever since!”
Teplan and Terah wore blank stares like a mask on Halloween, while scrambling to review the day’s events in their minds.
Ian continued, “Luckily for you two, they didn’t notice you had trespassed until later. It wasn’t until their back-up team reviewed their video that they saw you two. They ran a search on your faces and found out your identities. Those men in the three trucks, the same ones from the shore just now, want the video you have and will do almost anything to get it. So, I came to help.”
Neither Teplan, nor Terah, spoke.
The water splashed on the sides of the little metal boat as they chugged their way up river.
“Where are we going now?” Teplan asked.
“We have to get you guys home. I borrowed this boat from a friend of mine, so we have to return it first. She lives just up the river here.”
Teplan thought for a minute, “So, the sludge we saw in the river this morning is from that big metal barn?”
“That’s what we believe.”
“Why don’t we go to the police and tell them what’s going on?”
“Unfortunately, we don’t enough evidence yet for the police to do anything about it…”
He looked behind them a few times to make sure no one was following or watching and then gently turned into a boathouse that seemed to come out of nowhere. One of the two doors of the boathouse was open and Ian pulled inside. To Teplan’s and Terah’s amazement, there, standing inside the boathouse on the edge of the wooden dock, was Marney.