Haustoria

I wrote a novella.

It is a fiction thriller with a strong focus on biology, ecology, botany, and pathology. It is, as the image suggests, a horror thriller (so not for the children).

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Here is the first chapter:

Day 1

We arrived at our destination deep in the Amazon. Our local biochemist, Alfonso, and the captain are ensuring when the boat is due to collect them and what frequencies to use for communications. It took them more than a week of navigating to reach this unnamed tributary that feeds the Rio Negro in the Amazon jungle.

Because we plan to travel light there was not much to unload. Brian, Cecelia, and Daisy, an entomologist, botanist, and ecologist are enjoying what would be the last cold drink in an AC room they will have for two weeks. While I, the team’s zoologist, am still trying to convince myself whether this is a good idea.

A month ago, instead of analysing my data, I was procrastinating in Google maps, when I found a 511 to 517 acres region deep in a tributary of the Rio Negro, Rio Ezequiel. This region had a subtle discoloration. My principal investigator almost dismissed it but out of curiosity, we searched through other satellite images of that region. They all showed a discolorated smear in the region. The institute was already planning on doing an expedition to classify new species in the Amazon, so it was reasonably trivial to change the destination.

After we disembarked the boat and faced the jungle with each of us carrying 120 litres backpacks we started to walk inland. Cecilia, our botanist, was paying close attention to the vegetation, we had planned to spend the first day walking and setting base camp rather than collecting data and specimens, but there was no stopping her looking for answers. At first glance, there was nothing odd about the vegetation.

We reached an area which we designated our base where we unpacked, set up tents, and relaxed. Brian and Alfonso were setting up a fireplace chatting about the weather. Daisy was rummaging through her bag and dramatically called: “Here they are!” extracting two zip lock bags labelled “FIRST-DAY” and “LAST-DAY” she immediately put the later in her tent. The bag contained five packets of concentrated beer “The best and only beer you will find out here”. To add to the mood Brian got a ukelele, in order not to waste space it was stuffed with socks and underwear, so it took him a while to set it up while we all drank warmish flat beer. Morale was high, we were all looking forward naming some new species, probably dozens of insects and a few birds. As field biologists, this expedition was the reason we spent so many years in university.

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