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A short story by DEAN C. MARANDO

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13 June 2015


My Dear French friend,

A fourteen hour flight and no sleep. I am typing from the airport via my

Laptop. I was picked up by your friend Consuela Bravo. She strikes me as a very strong minded individual. She does remind me of someone I once knew. Consuela has informed me that after the coming seven hour bus trip, we are to leave on foot for the jungles of this very humid country, for it bears no trails or roads on our way into the middle of no-mans land. I will e-mail you again once we have arrived.

Father Mander


16 June 2015 - I have not slept for three nights. Amidst the travel, I have mostly been consumed by the daily updates in Father Stare’s journals. It seems that he struggled to teach the natives the ways of God. He used hand signals to communicate, what an arduous task. There are diagrams within this elaborate journal which should help me get a head start with communications.

I will not hesitate to work with these natives (The Quenaku people) until we locate the whereabouts of Father Stare.

I arrived a few nights ago in this green, wet and stinking hot country. Greeted by Consuela, I was taken by her, not by the beauty which radiates but by the confidence and very straight-forward approach. She is much younger than this blubbery old man but she seems to feel like a motherly and wise old figure, which is comforting in this derelict country.

I was notified by Consuela, that we must set out north to Triste. I was amazed not to see a trace of human existence along our journey. No buildings, houses or even retreats. We made camp as night fell. Consuela advised that at night the jungle turns treacherous;

‘We must not place any faith in what we cannot see here in the jungle’ She stated unknowingly without reference to my own journey and faith.

I smiled as I was too tired to debate about religion, plus I wanted her on side, the darkness of the jungle and the slow breeze had trees brushing with noises that culminate in howls, they sent shivers down your spine.

With the sun down, the fire we made gave temporary relief for the very cold conditions that followed. I kept warm diverting my attention to Father Stare’s journal using the fading fire as a source of light. I payed more attention to the back pages, there were drawn sketches of children with emphasised lines on their backs.

I woke to hear Consuela stomping out the last embers of the fire with her boot. I saw the brightest colour of blue I had ever seen in my life. Blue-tailed emerald birds native to this part of the world squalled together and flew north. They were beautiful, she caught me in awe.

They fly north, to the fruit trees.’ Consuela declared.

North! Our destination, fruit trees, human life. I was buoyant. The walk was taxing, but I did it all with a smile on my face. I saw butterflies which coloured the green canopy, snakes slithered away from us, I was happy to see snakes. About three hours in there was a running creek along our trail. I saw frogs and happily washed my face amongst them all.

We finally arrived. We opened what seemed to be an abandoned ten foot wooden gate.

Triste, where the sad people come to die’ Consuela uttered, how could she be so gloomy about this wonderful place I thought.

A then a feeling of complete and utter surrender came over me and I could sense it also in Consuela amid her mighty exterior. We walked up to the colossal pillars which up top held a rounded overwhelming arch that held up two gargoyles with broken wings. My attention was averted to Consuela’s superior forearm unmercifully pounding at the door, it creaked and fell off its hinges, hitting the ground vertically, we both looked at each other. The door then preceded to slowly dive to the concrete floor as a great gust of accumulated dust rose into a whirl in the air. I quickly scrolled through to the back of Father Stare’s journal. The sketch matched the big wooden gates, we were officially here. Below the page were directions, west to the river, 20 minutes on the pebbled trail to the Quenaku people.

Consuela makes me feel at ease in this eerie shack. We used the one room shelter for some well earned rest. I will set out tomorrow, she, will not.


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20 June 2015



I am terribly sorry that I inform you about the death of Father Ignatius Stare. It has been two whole days and still no response from you.

I am on my last battery as I have stupidly forgotten to turn my laptop off. Consuela has lectured me about these unholy devices.

The details of Father Stares’s unfortunate death will be delivered to you by letter along with my journal at the time of my leaving. I still have investigating to do.

I am sorry but this e-mail must be short to save battery.

Please reply soon.

There are no sign of the natives.

Father Mander


20 June 2015 - I am a servant of God, I won’t ever waiver in my belief. Twenty-seven years of first hand vision, the many atrocities and horrors I have encountered. The world suffers.

I suffer in grief. I found Father Ignatius Stare dried out 15km’s from the shelter we currently inhabit. The hideous crimes this man has been put through. I can’t bear jot down the savagery twice.

It is only right to question yourself and your beliefs when you see these horrors. I wouldn’t be human otherwise. I’ll have to take comfort in that for now.


Advisement: Please don’t allow this out. Ultimately do with it what you must, but it will help no one.

I came to find that Father Ignatius Stare had been brutally beaten then left to die in a hole in the ground. On his back he had two, twenty centimetre vertical cuts on corresponding shoulder blades. He looks to have been held captive and deprived water and food. There must have been little over one week from the beginning of the end from my summation. Contusions are prevalent mostly over his eyes and hips, both left and right sides.


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