~ Prologue ~
The night sky threw a blanket of darkness over Céu do Mapiá. Out here in the Amazon, there is no light pollution; the darkness is thick and seemingly endless. Many animals lie deep within the rainforest; some waiting to be discovered, others hoping to remain a secret for the rest of their existence. That’s how the dragons wished to remain.
Dragons had lived outside human knowledge for many centuries in the depths of the Amazon Rainforest where no human dared to go. Those that did dare, and had come across these mythological creatures, had not made it back alive to share their discovery.
But of course, there were rumours.
The rumours of sightings were quickly shot down; as far as the community of Céu do Mapiá was aware, these rumours were nothing more than myths and wishful thinking. However, the village took precautions; children had curfews, noone was allowed to wander deep into the forests, charms were put up to keep evil spirits away and most of all, after dark, people hid.
Most people hid for protection, others hid out of routine. Sometimes a person wouldn’t hide at night in ignorance of what was advised. They wouldn’t be seen again.
Reverend Bets claimed God was testing their patience and dedication to Him. He said how those who went out at night were messing with fate when it should not be tempted. Others had their own ideas. They believed that those who stayed out wandered into the forests and lost their way. It was only until several months had passed did they really give up hope that the missing person was still alive.
As the last of the daylight was fading, people hurried back to their huts, where they locked their wooden doors before departing down trapdoors into underground hideouts. Underground it was a lot cooler than above ground, and people didn’t mind hiding down there in the summer. Night fell over Céu do Mapiá, and the animals claimed the little village their own; rustling and howling and calling to one another.
Deep underground, mothers reassured their children.
Meanwhile many miles away, a young man looked out of his bedroom window into the unknown of the outskirts of the forest. Blaze had lived in Boca Do Acre for many years and he had heard many stories from the locals when he first arrived; pleas from people to leave and to avoid the forests. People had tried to travel through the forest before and had never made it back. Some believed that somewhere in the forest there was a place so magical that it wasn’t worth returning to the city. Others had said that the jaguars that lurk the forests got them first.
Although there wasn’t a common story that everyone believed, one thing was for sure; noone knew what was definitely in the forests.
His dark eyes swept the murky river, illuminated by the lights of neighbouring houses. The night was still- perhaps too still. Something seemed out of place, but Blaze was tired, he couldn’t think. His mind was on work. He was the leader of the cities woodcutters, and they had received orders to cut down trees to the north of the city, on the other side of the river. Overcrowding was becoming a problem within Boca Do Acre, with the increase in tourism following the strange stories and sightings that appear from time to time. Blaze enjoyed his job, he was good at it, but the scale he had been ordered to deforest was massive. He had never attempted such a large area with his crew, but the pay was good and he kept his mouth shut despite thinking otherwise.
He began to turn away from the window when he glimpsed a dark shadow travelling along the ground, stirring his attention. He pressed his hand against the cool windowpane and looked up into the concealment of the night sky, wondering whether his imagination was running wild.
For a moment, there was nothing but darkness and clouds filling the sky. He stood rigid, unblinking, straining his eyes to focus. Something was up there. Perhaps a plane he wondered, but he couldn’t see any lights.
The moon broke through the clouds and cast an eerie light on the river. His heart was beating through his chest; his pulse was throbbing in his ears. He became aware of the silence as his senses sharpened. Something wasn’t right.
A dark silhouette weaved between the clouds.
What is that? He wondered as he pushed his face closer to the window. His breath steamed up the glass and he wiped it with his sleeve to clear it, to try and get a better view of what he had thought he had just seen.
However, the mysterious shape in the sky was gone. There was nothing in the sky. The clouds began to slowly stir back over the moon, casting the city back into shadow.
The lights flickered and Blaze turned around to watch as the lamp begin to dim and fade. Without warning, the lights blinked and went out. Everything went dark. Somewhere, someone began to scream.
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