The jungle glade was hot and steamy, and the air was alive with sound. A tall, slender man paced impatiently, trampling the sedge as he walked around a small fountain of water bubbling out of the ground. He watched it with great interest, as it formed a puddle. He had driven many hours to reach this secret place in the Congo River wilds. He glanced around cautiously, listening and watching for anything out of the ordinary. Perspiration stained his khakis and he swiped the sweat from his forehead, messing his thick mass of graying red hair.
Suddenly, he stopped and raised his eyebrows. The fountain was now gurgling faster, and growing. A snarky grin rearranged his handsome face as he moved just beyond the brink of the encroaching water. He forced himself to relax, and closed his eyes in concentration; as he rubbed his arms absentmindedly.
A mysterious mist began to rise above the flowing water. The sky grumbled as weird clouds formed above the spot where the man stood. He focused a piercing gaze on the swirling mist, and grabbed at his stomach in pain. Suddenly, a sharp clap of thunder shook the earth, and the noisy jungle became quiet. The fresh fragrance of ozone filled the air.
“Thadeous?” A young voice whispered eerily from out of the mist. “Thadeous?”
“Yes. I am here, of course!” The man spat in annoyance, scratching at his chest. “Do you have what I want? Do you have the Zecucith?”
“Um-m-m, not exactly.” The young voice came hesitantly from the undulating mist.
The man’s voice turned to steel. “Why?” He paced and held his head as it ached. “I want an answer!” He bellowed.
“It’s not like I can bring it to you myself!” The voice quivered back tensely.
“You must find a way,” His voice was low with anger. “You have no choice.” Then, Thadeous’s voice turned venomous. “You know what I will do.” There was no immediate reply from the quietly undulating fog. “Are you sure you understand what I intend to do, if you don’t accomplish your task?” His tone was so chilling, that the mist started to dissipate in submission. Still, there was no reply. “You MUST find a way!” Thadeous roared.
“I understand,” came the tiny voice sadly from the thinning mist; as it slowly evaporated, and was gone. A slight beam of sunlight squeezed through the cloud canopy to illuminate the last shimmering remnants of the phenomenon. The water, that had been gushing just moments before, was retreating back into an innocently bubbling fountain.
Thadeous took a deep breath and squared his shoulders with arrogance. He was still rubbing his arms irritably, to ease the effect of the event. He cleared his throat and shook his head in defiance of the headache that was finally clearing. He paused for a moment, then he turned and trudged through the high grass of the glade, back to the Jeep. He yanked the door open and threw himself into the driver’s seat, as he reached for a handkerchief laying on the dash, and wiped the sweat from his face. He slammed the door shut and grabbed the microphone from the CB radio under the glove compartment and dialed in a frequency.
“Finch! This is Birdman, come back!” Thadeous shouted irritably.
“This is Finch,” a man’s voice answered. “Did you make the connection?”
“I‘ll ask the questions, Finch!” Thadeous snapped at the microphone. “Meet me at the mine!” He snarled into the mic. We are going to have to do some persuading on this end.”
“Got it. Is that all?”
“Yes! Out!” Thadeous sat quietly for a moment, as perspiration persistently beaded up on his face. He wiped it away again as he sneered, Now, my dear brothers, I will take what belongs to me!
He started the Jeep, cranked it into gear and headed back the way he came. Nothing was left behind, except the tiny fountain that kept a watery secret.