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Zhandalee And The First Metamorphosis Enzo Lo Grasso Zhandalee is a fifteen-year-old dark-skinned girl who arrived from the sea to the land of Sicily at the age of two in the arms of a girl who used her last strength to deliver the baby in the arms of two fiancés who they found in that place becoming her current adoptive parents. But soon she will discover that she is not an ordinary girl: the dreams that disturb her sleep are not just banal nightmares but signs that will show her the way to her true nature. It was 2011, but she will be catapulted into a different time space from her current one. From there she will begin her adventure clashing with the wicked and self-destructive nature of humanity, her first metamorphosis will mark the first step towards her true identity. Everything between nature, magic, mystery, poetry, science, terrorism and Love, humanity will have to face the worst of its enemies, itself. ENZO LO GRASSO ZHANDALEE AND THE FIRST METAMORPFOSIS Translated by: Lisa Masoni Publisher: Tektime INTRODUCTION This story tells about an answer to an ever greater need of humanity, the need for LOVE, a love towards our fellowmen, a love towards what is around us, but above all a love for what we have inside each us, that thing that makes us different but that it makes us equally participate to the beauty of life, if we compare life to a wonderful ray of light we can define ourselves as one of the colors that compose it, like the rainbow. Telling the episodes of this adventurous story, these seem born by the fantasy, but then observing the reality, I saw that those episodes were real and tangible by who in his daily life pay a little more attention around him, at the end the fantasy is limited only to be a glue of truth, I have not invented this story, in practice it has been written alone and it worth being witnesses aware of certain truth, this truth many times is hidden from everyday life that makes us travel like a one-way corridor without doors or windows, reading this life experience for a moment you will have stopped, you will have created a door where you will come out of the corridor in the light of the sun walking surrounded by unspoiled nature, you will be happy to know that what you are living does not belong to the fantasy but to the lived reality, believe me... you will see that your life will not be the same of before… Enzo Lo Grasso FIRST INDICATIONS Sea of a beautiful day at the end of August, warm sea still full of emotions, the sun is about to set, the seagulls still in the sky spend their last trails, now there is almost no one on the beach, only people that go to their cars directed to the houses to close the beautiful day at sea. Everything has emptied now but on top of a high rock, where the waves crashing leaving sea dust in the air, a fifteen years girl named Zhandalee is sitting there. Zhandi, as her friends call her, is a dark-skinned girl, a sunny girl with a little bit moved hair and beautiful green eyes, from which the sea is reflected, acquiring a new life. She often comes to this rock after working in the antiquarian shop of her adoptive parents. She was adopted by a family who lives in this land of Sicily, her mother was dead in the sea that she loves so much, that sea that brought her and her mother from the mother Africa searching for a hope, but they told her that probably the boat on which they were traveling turned over near the coast and her mother, to put her in a safe place, landed on the bank, she put them in security and then she passed away with a thousands of questions. She could not remember because she was two years old, who rescued the woman were her current adoptive parents who that afternoon were on the beach for a romantic engagement anniversary walk. We think that Zandi also had a brother she never knew because he had been forcibly taken away by others who had been saved and then escaped out for fear. She wanted to do more but what we could ask to a two years old girl? Mr. and Mrs. Niversa did not know much about the child entrusted to them, before dying the mother barely said the name of the child and that of her brother Thiago, at first sight he can be said to be greater than her: at that time he must have been at least four or five years old, he was in the arms of a 16 years boy who brought him in his flight. According to the cry of Zandi and to the deeds of the woman, we were supposed to be her brother, at least the boyfriend hypothesized. The thing that they three had in common, according to the story told by Mr. Paul Niversa, was a similar necklace, each with a chain of white gold, the pendant was a kind of triangle but with a round side and a small red gold bear in the center on which was set a stone, brown for Zandi and blue for the mother. Paul and his wife Linda do not remember well that of the brother, but it seemed red. Zandi wore her and her mother's necklace, they got stuck crating a crescent with two blue and brown stone joined by the two little white gold bars, before she died she put her blue-stone necklace at the neck of Zandalee, after that event that woman, after a brief private ceremony, was buried in the village cemetery. Zandi often sits on this rock and stays there for a while, because she thinks that the mother's spirit is not dead but lives in the sea where she found the end of her earthly existence, she considers the sea as her mother, and she comes here to talk to her through her feelings, tells her about her day at school with her friends, her mistakes, but also her successes, and she asks for advice, on the other hand it often happens that the sea with an uncommon wave that breaks on the rock turns with the rays of the sun like a thick hand of small coloured droplets that caress Zandi's face, like the hand of a mother gently caressing her daughter's face.... She has this relationship with the sea... she knows that what she feels is not only the result of her belief in identifying the sea with her mother, there is something special that really happens every time she is sitting there, but she does not say nothing to anyone because it is hard to make people understand who is immersed in everyday reality there is also a way to perceive Love different from the common manifestations of affection known... It was already late, it is 7.30 pm, it was better to start going back home before evening, she took her belongings and she started walking. During her journey to home all her thoughts were focused on a dream that often repeats, and especially in the last week, every night always the same dream, but the night before she did an unusual one, in the latter she dreams of being in front of a door, an old door without a lock, from where it comes out light from all the perimeter fissures, she tries to open it but she does not know how, she despairs but nothing to do that door does not open, and after having dreamed this she wakes up with a thousand palpitations. It is a nightmare, her adoptive parents thought, but why do dreams torment this girl? Surely think it's a message, but for whom and for what? In the meantime Zandi is at the doorstep, he opens the door entering. --Hello mother, hello dad, I'm back -- --My baby, are you all right?-- the mother says --Ciao treasure-- Mr. Paolo replies Zandi greets with a kiss on the cheek of Linda who with her apron is busy to prepare the table for dinner, and a kiss on the cheek of Paul who reads his newspaper and he maybe not make little account of her. Zandi perceives it and she makes a smile, she leans the books on the ladder to remember to bring them up before going to sleep upstairs where she has her room -- Can I help you, mom? -- -- Thanks, set the table, everything is ready for dinner -- Here Paolo, Linda and Zandi are at the table, Linda looks at Zandi and says -- You have eyes a bit 'tired, have you by chance done that dream again?-- -- I actually did a different one, but anyway... -- She nods her head and at the same time shrugs as if to say that she's used to it. Paolo putting down his newspaper, puts a caress on his daughter's head and says -- All will disappear, it is only a period of stress, perhaps, do not worry -- --let's hope -- Zandi answers but she knows that there is something more than a simple nightmare. Finish dinner and after a piece of film sleep pervades the minds of our little family that decide to go to their rooms. Now all three are upstairs in front of the Zandi’s door. -- Please, do some good dreams this time – mom says --Maybe you can dream some numbers to play, ehehe," her father said. --I'll try,-- the girl replied with a smile, so her parents kissed her on the forehead. It’s night, all is silent, Zandi dreams. She is again in front of that old door, in alert sleep she watches under the knob, there are no cracks, how to open, but especially because in her there is this feeling of wanting to open. She is desperate about how to do, but nothing to do, she beats her fists on it but nothing. Suddenly her eyes are opened, and this is also a dream, the heart is in palpitation, but it is even more for Zandi to look around. She is up, she does not know where, lost, she has walked during her sleep, she is well, she is in the attic, she does not know how she is here. In front of her there is a white and dusty cloth. What does it hide? She pulls it down, and then she gets on her knees with wonder, it's the old door of the dream, leaning against a wall. What does it hide from the arcane? She looks at the knob, there is a strange design, then under the knob there is a crack for a key. But what can this thing mean? Now exhausted she decides to go down to her room, but as soon as she turns, her medallion from under the pyjamas starts to shine on the contours, with a light that moves throughout the jewel. She remains motionless from wonder, she was living something magical. She turns around shooting a sleeve on a piece of furniture and tearing a bit the pyjamas, she approaches the door looking at the knob, her instinct makes her take the necklace and place it on the knob, magic... the cracks start to glow with a blinding light. What is happening? The door opens some centimetre, here is the reason of dreams. She suddenly opens that door and a bright light invests her, making her lose consciousness. She opens her eyes, the sound of the alarm signals that another day is about to begin, the school awaits for her. She gets up suddenly, she is on the bed in her room, it may have been just a dream in the dream, and yes, she tries to convince herself that reality is now in her room. The necklace is in place around her neck. so it cannot be anything but a bad dream. So she starts dressing for her school day. As soon as she takes off her pyjamas putting it on her bed, her sweet eyes go on her sleeve, it is torn as in the dream. Immediately she run to the attic and she finds that door, the towel is on the ground, it has not been just a dream. Suddenly she opens the door moving the necklace on the knob but opening it there is only the wall of the attic... .. Her perplexity is interrupted by Linda --Zandiii, where are you? Come down, if not it's late for school -- -- Yes Mom, I'm coming down -- The girl comes down with a little of disappointment on every step. After making a skimpy breakfast she runs to the nearby bus stop for the school, the vehicle is there waiting with the open doors, she enters sitting without looking at anyone, remaining with the head bowed. The bus begins to move, but her thoughts are still in the attic. --Good morning, upset!-- Anna said (her best friend, when she saw Zandi) -- Do not you see me? But this morning you have a strange face! It seems you have seen ghosts tonight! --hinting a smile -- Anna,-- Zandi answered, hugging her – Last night was a bad night for me, I still have to realize what happened to me-- -- In my opinion you ate heavy and this led you to do bad nightmares, it is so, do not worry... .. ah here we go down that today that hag of science professor wants to question us -- Both took their knapsacks and got down of the bus setting off for the school which is a hundred yards from the bus stop. They immediately entered the classroom sitting down at the school bench they shared. -- Take the book!—Anna murmured -- The prof! -- --Good morning!-- The class greeted the science teacher -- Good morning guys, stay comfortable -- the professor replies, that as soon as she sat down she said: -- Today we had to question, but unfortunately for a mishap I could not prepare the questions for the interrogation. So today I will explain, but do not cradle that soon I will question everyone -- she added with an angry face. -- Then open on page 83, today we will talk about the state of South Africa and its gold mines -- Zandi opened the book and she turned over the pages waiting for the mentioned page, the number 83. As soon as it arrived she looked at it: there were several photos, one represented the South African state, another represented a mountain considered sacred from those of that place and in another one there was the image of the entrance of a gold mine located in the above-mentioned mountain and some people of the place busy to work. Her eyes began to see in the last photo some of the smudges, it seems that the landscape is moving imperceptibly, people were moving, suddenly the picture made a foreground on an old black worker who was at the end. He said: -- Please, help us, you are our hope, do not abandon us...-- Zandi petrified and then she threw the book in front of her suddenly, she shouted becoming pale and trembling. --What are you doing? Are you mad?—she reproached her --Did not you see anything? -- Zandi answered --No nothing, why what happened? -- - Have not you not see the photo of my book animating and speaking?-- Anna took the book placing it in the centre of the bench and she whispered with a sarcastic smile - Do you see everything is ok? Not sleep during the night make you funny jokes? -- - What is happening at the bottom? -- The teacher murmured --ah, you're still you, Niversa and Cordi, you know today I wanted to question you first, however, since I could not, tell me which of you have shouted, and I want to know it now! -- --It was me,-- Zandi said, getting up from the chair -- Well, Miss, for me you can also go out of the classroom, and you come back tomorrow with one of your tutors, ops, adoptive parents, remarking the word adoptive with a rather sarcastic smile. Zandi took her things and she went out of the class, guided by Anna's displeased look and by the satisfied one of professor. Miss Maltieri Elsa, the science teacher, during the first day of her arrival at that school, came across Zandi, running and bumping into her, she inadvertently dropped her into a puddle, making the whole school smile. Despite the girl's apology, she binds that episode to her finger and from that time she does everything to repay her ugly figure. Meanwhile, Zandi had returned at home and entering she find Linda busy cleaning up the breakfast table. --Have you forgotten something?-- Her mother said with a smile Then looking in the eyes, they repeated in unison --It is Maltieri fault...- - --Yes and tomorrow she wants to see you or daddy -- --Okay I'll talk to her tomorrow, because her methods are too severe for an accident happened a long time ago, it is good that she subtract the hatchet if not I will appeal to the headmaster! A day off is good for you... – she ended the phrase caressing Zandi on the cheek. - Thanks mum, I go to my room to rest, I take advantage of it because tonight I did not sleep well, I'll see you later-- and she fired her mother going straight into her room, she sat on the bed looking at the ceiling and focusing on the face of the book photo. She thought about what was happening to her, if she was going crazy or she was living a nightmare that would vanish. when she wakes up. After a while she turns to the side closing her eyes. She felt a sweet tingle on her hand, she opened her eyes. It was a colourful butterfly that had leaned on the back of her hand, she watched the alarm-clock and she saw that she had made 3 hours of regenerating sleep, she stretched, then she turned to the little animal still on her hand. -- Hey baby, are you still here? Are you not afraid of me? – nodding a smile. --You know I would never hurt you, I bet you hear it -- So the butterfly spread the flight over her head going out from the window. --Zandi, are you awake?--The mother called -- come to give me a hand for lunch -- --Yes, mom,-- the girl replied, going downstairs. -- Help me to clean the salad, as further the pasta you eat only that, my dear vegetarian, -- the mother said with a smile holding her a tray with vegetables --Mom, I wanted to ask you, which is the use of the old door that we have in the attic? And why is it there?-- --To tell the truth, that door is there since we bought this house, and it is there. Your father does not have time to arrange the attic and so it is there. Why have you interest in an object so old?-- Linda asked. --No anything, I went up to the attic to keep some old things and I noticed it, but nothing that, just curiosity - - Meanwhile, it was 13:00, they set only for them because Paul was not at home because his work sometimes forced him to stay out for the whole day, he had to go and look at an old picture to be able to insert in his shop, he was an antiquary. Between a chat and another, between one course and another, it was 15:00 and they hear someone knocking at the door. -- Mother, I'm going to open, I think that it should be Anna, we have to go to the centre together. She want to buy a jacket for this winter and she want my opinion -- --But it is not soon for the opening of the shops, they usually open at 4:00 pm -- Linda said ironically. --Yes, it is true, but we must also have time to eat a nice ice-cream -- Zandi answered opening the door. --Good morning, Linda, -- Anna saind coming in. -- Good morning, come on, sit down and take a sweetie waiting for Zandi to get ready to go out -- Zandi went to her room to prepare herself. -- Tell me what happened today at school between Zandi and Prof Maltieri. --Yes Linda, it was nonsense, I do not know the reason but Zandi throw the science book on the ground with a scream, the prof, that already does not frown at us from the time of the puddle, had a nice and good excuse to throw her out. But I do not know why she behaved like that, boh!, anyway I'll talk to Zandi -- --I do not know...-- Linda replied - She behaves in a strange way since a couple of days, maybe it is the age, however, we will see in the next days -- --Let's go, Anna – she greeted her mother with a kiss. While they were on the road, Anna asked to her friend: --Have you done that strange dream of your childhood, that of water and of the mirror? Tell me well, maybe I can help you to understand it -- --No, I dreamed a strange door, but nothing to do with that dream of the mirror in the water. I do them and I do them again but I cannot understand what they want to tell me, and I tell you the truth, the dram of the water makes me a bit 'more fear, but it is not the case to tell it – Zandi replied. --I insist, you're my friend, so starts...-- Zandi continued: -- In the dream I find myself immersed in the sea, but I do not miss the air, when suddenly I see my image reflected like in a mirror, but on the other side I am as small as when my memories begin with Linda and Paolo, then suddenly a strange figure divides us from above, and then I wake up.... We do not think about it anymore. Here there is the ice cream shop, let's go in. --" she concluded by de-dramatizing. They entered ordering a big ice cream for each other, for Zandi strawberry and berries and Anna dark chocolate and vanilla, with so much cream over. When they finished eating it between a smudge and the other it was 16:00, they cleaned their hands and mouth because they seemed to make up with ice cream. -- Let's go, the shop is open, before someone take the jacket I had seen, you know it was the last one,-- Anna said. They got in. As soon as they entered came in, Zandi had a strange feeling, she had never been there, that store had just opened with a new management, however she followed her friend who tried her favourite garment with the shop-assistant. --Do you like it?-- Anna asked. - You're very nice, it's good for you, and then it's not very expensive -- Zandi, however, was a prey to a strange sensation, if someone called her, fear whispers. So she left her friend with the shop assistant and she went to the origin of the sounds. When she entered in a department with furs, the sounds made deafening, sounds of help, she corked her ears running out, coming out she gestured to Anna that they would see each other later, explaining after the incident. Her friend could not follow her because she was finishing the negotiations for the jacket with the shop assistant. It was after 7:30 pm, the waves crashed on the rock, under the sun that was about to set, there was serenity, we could hear only the steps of a man who was going to the top of this rock, when he arrived on his words were: -- I knew I would have found her, my baby -- --Oh Papa, you are here,--Zandi answered, getting up and hugging him. --I arrived home from work with the van still loaded with goods, when I found mom and Anna busy to talk. After they explanation, I told them I knew where I could find you, I said them to be quiet, so I immediately ran here -- and they both sat to watch the sunset. -- What is it that worries you, my little, still here bad dreams?- - -- No, dad, it's not just those, I cannot explain, but do not worry, it's a moment I think it will pass -- --Ok but if these days are not going well, do you promise to talk about it to find a solution together? -- Paolo concluded. --Okay, I promise you! - she answered by resting her little head on his shoulder. So they both went home, during the voyage, Zandi asked what he had bought in the van, seeing packaged pictures; Paul replied that they were old paintings that he had at a good price as the value they had. They arrived at home, Linda hugging Zandi. -- You have made me very worried, both to me and also to Anna who was here waiting for you, she left a little while ago, -- the mother said. -- I’m sorry, mum, I will not do it anymore, forgive me,--the girl replied. – Zandi help me to download these paintings while your mother is preparing our dinner-- -- Certainly, dad -- And first the smaller pictures came down, one at a time very carefully, then they both took a big picture but they could not see the painting because it was covered by a dark sheet. --Be careful, my baby, because the canvas is very old and it crumbles if you make them whisk – Paul warned. Zandi was busy checking that the edges of the painting did not touch the walls, when her eyes attracted by the shirt, on the chest we can see two immobile lights, she did not want make the other understand something because that day a lot of thing had already happened, so she continued not caring of that episode. As soon as they had finished unloading all the objects they entered the house where there was a good scent that increased in Zandi and in her father still more hungry, and after having washed their hands they sat down at the table watching TV. It transmitted a documentary who talked about the pollution done by the man, and while she was eating her strictly vegetarian dinner made of vegetables, bread and fruit she exclaimed: -- It is not right that nature is so polluted, especially for such useless purposes, but they do not realize that we are only doing harm to nature and to ourselves...-- --You are right, my baby, someone should do something – Paul exclaimed. --Yes but the person who should be vigilant, make his own personal interests letting everything run. Unfortunately the good people are kept too far from these situations, on our own we must do all the possible to protect everything around us, earth, nature and our home. We are like drops in the sea but if the drops are so many they can make up the sea... -- her mother replied and continuing after a few minutes of pause -- By the way, changing the subject, It is 22:00, tomorrow you have to go to school, I must also come so I will say something to Miss Maltieri – -- Yes, mom, I brush my teeth and I go to bed, goodnight-- - Good night and sweet dreams – her parents answered. TEMPORAL SPACE JOURNEY She went into her room to go to sleep, it was a particular room because she had created it to her liking: she had put down a kind of thick green carpet simulating small grass, she then added on it some colourful cardboard flowers simulating a lawn, this lawn continued on the paintings on the walls on which trees and flowers were painted, the upper part of the walls was a blue colour like the sky, with some small cloud, its window was circular representing the sun, it was like being outdoors, the night was fantastic because as the light went out there were so many little phosphorescent dots that lit up simulating the stars and a bigger one round simulating the moon. It was a show of realism. she had done everything with her hands, except for the circular window that had been built by the blacksmith of the village. She put on her bed like every night thinking about tomorrow, looking to the simulated sky, she turned off the light. In the darkness she saw in the background in front of her, among the many lights, another light turn on. She fixed there her glance because it would have not turned on, it was a phosphorescent object like the others, so it had to behave like the others. She turned on the light and everything seemed as usual, she turned off the light again but she turned it on a second later: something had caught her attention. She jumped out of bed going toward the wall in front of her, she remembers of having painted a butterfly with her mother, and now it was not there anymore... Her glance froze thinking that the same morning a butterfly had leaned on her hand as soon as she woke up. She remember well it was the same drawn, but how was it possible? what was happening? Suddenly the light turned off... she closed her eyes for a few seconds then before she opened them again a wind shook her hair. She opened them again: everything was real, the trees, the lawn, she was not frightened, she saw again the light lit up, she went to meet this light and as she went along it became more intense, this light came from a hole on the trunk of a tree, when she arrived she was amazed: it came precisely from a lock in a door on a tree. It was the same door of the attic! Zandi knew how to open it but she was undecided whether to do it or not. Then she did not know how to go back and at this point she decided to continue, perhaps she would had have some answers about the strange things seen in the last days or about her two nightmares that tormented her night. So she took the pendant from her chest with the brown lit up stone placing it gently on the handle, the door opened a few centimetres, she opened it even more, everything was made of light, she was attracted by it, she immersed herself inside and the door closed. When she opened her eyes she saw only darkness, she could not make out anything, not even a slight hint of light. she tried to move in the dark but with wonder even this gesture was prevented. Incredible, she could not move a muscle, she was motionless in the dark, she did not know what to do. She could barely hear a voice from the darkness, it was an imperceptible murmur, it was a cry of a man a few meters away from her. But she could not see anything. She decided to shake vigorously to be able to get rid of that immobility. With immense amazement she saw that this agitation made her able to see light showing a light like some veins, more she moved and more those cracks of light were enlarged, after a while a bit of darkness moved away from her face, she could finally see, she was esteemed and incredulous at what she could see from that crack. She thought to be in a statue with her shape, placed on an altar in a kind of church lit by a myriad of candles, in front of her an old man praying crying, the old gentleman had not noticed anything yet, he could barely scan some words, it was a prayer addressing to her, asking for grace not for him but for a person very dear to him. Zandi continued to shake off that sort of skin made of a kind of chalk, with a powerful tug she brought down the upper part that covered her. At that point the man placed in front of her with a prostration glance, saw pieces of statue plummet in front of his knees. He raised his eyes seeing the girl shaking off more plaster and asking him for help. The man opened wide his eyes in a mix of fear and amazement, after a few seconds, started to scream running away, in the heat of escape he flew several times to the ground, but carelessly he continued his flight to get out of that place. As soon as he was completely free, she slipped on the ground from the four steps on which she was, she got on all fours raising her head and rolling up, she turned around, there was nobody. It was a kind of sanctuary, perhaps someone knew where she was. She thought in what way she had arrived there, she began to wander around trying to understand something, when innumerable voices presumably directed towards that place approached from the bottom of the sanctuary near the entrance. Immediately she hid behind the altar with a short run, remaining hidden she could see the centre of the room through a small crack. Unexpectedly she saw the main door opening, hundreds of people of all kinds and ages went in, half of them were armed with torches and from the upper part of the door we could see that there was night outside. In front of the crowd there was the old man escaped by fear. When they arrived near the altar, the old man showed the statue’s crocks on the ground, waving his hand. --You can see, the woman came out of the statue taking life, Look Look! -- The old man started. A well dressed man came out of the crowd, he stood in front of him exclaiming: -- Are you sure about what you're telling us, Mosi? Are you drunk as usual and you're looking for an excuse to get rid of the sacrilege you've committed? Surely you dropped the statue and now you want to escape from the penalty. Where is the girl you're quoting? I do not see anyone – He ended turning to the crowd. The old man, taking some crocks, exclaimed: --You have to believe me, I'm not drunk, believe me, Nassor, and you all too. I repeat, I was here praying under the statue, and she appeared answering to my prayers, believe me -- But the crowd expressed itself only with an incomprehensible murmur, Nassor ended it climbing the four steps next to the pedestal where the statue stood, he turned towards the crowd, and opening his arms he pronounced: --Silence! I said Silence! - and the crowd became dumb. --It 'clear that the old Mosi has told a lie, even if we can understand his despair caused by the disaster happened to his daughter, we cannot ignore this serious act of destroying the statue of our beloved deity. So as your tribe chief I ask you all, people of the Zebenjo tribe: do you believe in Mosi’s words? who believes in him raises his hand, who instead believes that this is a ruse to exculpate immense sacrilege that he has committed keep it down -- Nobody raised his hand, the crowd approached Mosi who at the same time knelt on the ground with a low incredulous face, unknowing why no one believed in his truth. The crowd began to shout at him phrases like: -- Ashamed! Now you will unleash the revenge of our dynamism caused by your affront -- - You are a drunk! How could you done a similar thing! -- -- You deserve exemplary punishment -- -- Doing so, you destroy our hopes – All these phrases were shouted as they approached to the poor old man, when he was surrounded by people, Nassor interrupted the crowd: -- Stop! Stop! Go back silence! -- the crowd slowly obeyed, then Nassor continued: --It is decided: Mosi will be imprisoned by the will of the community, he will be judged by the tribes' s wise, they will be the fairs to give him what he deserves.-- At the bottom of the crowd a small hand was dimly seen by Nassor, it was extended in the air, the crowd followed the look of their chief, and a corridor appeared among the people. Mosi now on the ground full of despair, looked at the corridor and with a glance from the bottom to the top he saw his daughter, his daughter Efia, she went on difficulty with the help of a crutch, she kept her eyes closed and with her hand stretched out in the air she exclaimed: -- I believe my father, he's never been a liar, he's a good man and he does not deserve you to treat him in this way -- She slowly approached his crying father kneeling with him and she hug him continuing to say: --Let him stay. If he says he have seen something, it is true and if he says he was not the one who dropped the statue, he says the truth -- --Yes, but where is the evidence of what he says?,-- a man of the crowd exclaimed. -- Look, here and there the answer to his action, I'm blind and I can barely move because of a witchcraft, otherwisa I'll help you finding the proof, but I cannot, You have to look for -- --There's no girl,-- Nassor interrupted calmly. --I'm sorry but he will be judged at the presence of the three wise men, they will decide what to do, it does not longer belongs to us, I'm sorry. Hey! you take him and lock him up, at dawn we will take him to the wise men. -- Meanwhile, Mosi turned to his daughter, hugging her and kissing her: --Why did you get out of bed, it's dangerous but what came to your mind? – While two men were taking him to lock him up, they were struck by lightning, they stayed like statues of salt, with a jump they knelt lowering their heads to the ground. People followed them like a sea wave, everyone were prostrate on the ground with the face to the floor, everyone except Nassor who was giving his back to the altar with Mosi and his daughter. The tribe chief frozen by the incomprehensible behaviour of the crowd turned as if he was a single piece, with him from the ground the old kneeling man turned himself. From the back of the a shadow of a female figure appeared gradually becoming most defined to the crowd, at the end the figure showed itself totally to the people. --Have you have seen I'm not a liar?, here it is she – Mosi interrupted the silence. --Yes, the old Mosi is right, he says the truth, I followed everything from here and I tell you that what he says is the truth. I cannot explain how it happened but he is not a liar – Zandi continued advancing cautiously. --Therefore it's true what you say, the prophecy is coming true now – He finished the sentence bending as a sign of obedience to Zandi, then he turned to the crowd shouting emphatically --Our deity shown itself to us, it is here to free us, finally -.the crowd was screaming with joy. Then the tribe chief turned to Zandi, bending and asking what she wanted. Zandi replied that she wanted to rest and be in peace. -- We host you -- Efia pronounced. Zandi agreed and together they pulled up the old Mosi and set out to get out of the temple, walking among the people prostrate towards them, the three people slowly moved towards the cabin of Mosi. As soon as they reached the old shed and having closed the fragile door made by straw with twigs of a tree, the old man rested his little daughter on the bed, and he prepared another bed to which it seemed that no one long ago rested the tired body. --Here, my divinity, I know it's very humble but I have nothing better to offer you – Mosi said with a bow. --Stop it! I'm not what you think, I'm not a divinity, I'm a normal girl and even if I do not know came here, I assure you that you are wrong, there will be an explanation to everything that at the moment I do not know-- Zandi answered sitting on a kind of stool. - Oh yes you are, we expected a sign and you are here, even if sometimes everything seems a case it is not completely in this way. I am now old I do not think about myself but about the future of the village and my family -- --But are you only two in this family?-- Zandi asked -- At this moment yes, but once we were not just two, we were a beautiful happy family, we lived thanks to the fruits of the earth, I cultivated the field with my two sons Oji and Sef the small Efia helped my partner Taja. The village was flourishing and peaceful, there are good people -- -- But where are we? Which is the name of this place? -- the newcomer asked. --We are at Zabenjo,-- the old man replied. --I know this, but which is the name of this land, of this zone? –Zandi said. -- Ah yes, this is called the land of Africa, but not Africa of north, Africa of south, and you will surely come from here because you speak our language, our a dialect is spoken by few people, only in these areas is used. -- I cannot believe it, I cannot speak any language other than Italian, maybe a little English but surely I do not know any African dialect. How is it possible? I do not come from here, maybe my origin, but I lived for thirteen years in a land far away from here, called Sicily – Zandi finished leaning her elbows on her knees and putting her hands between her hairs. --See, these powers do not belong to an ordinary man, only a deity possess these gifts -- the old man underlined. Then Zandi asked: -- Excuse me, tell me what happened to your family, to your village and why it is in these bad conditions? Maybe there will be a connection, because I saw you, in a kind of vision I had when I was at school, I heard your prayers -- The old man smiled, he sat down beside his resting daughter taking her hand in comfort and he began to tell: --We lived in peace, when one day some men came to our village talking a strange language, they got out of metal means of transport, they told us they would bring wealth and work, but we already had everything. They began building houses on the mountain sacred for us. We tried to prevent the desecration of sacred places but they did it by force. Even now they are eviscerating our land looking for a yellow metal called gold. They took possession of our happiness, my daughter drank the water rising from the sacred mountain as always, but drinking that water she has fallen ill and now she cannot see anymore and she limps. Now that water has become a bearer of death because they pour from their constructions malodorous liquids, fortunately we use water from the wells that allows us to drink without getting sick. The fields are not as florid as before, the plants died because of the smoke they give off. Since then everything got worse. One day my wife and I went to pick some fruit very far from here where we could find the good one not contaminated for our sick daughter, and we left her to our two children. So when we arrived to a quiet and full of fruits place we began to grasp filling our baskets, my wife heard a voices of a child coming from a crack where there was a kind of hot steam, in an inlet in the ground. She called me and we went to the origin of the voice, we did not see anything but we heard a murmur of a small child, when she leaned out she saw him: he was a little baby of a few weeks, he was naked, it was a mystery. My wife, smaller than me, entered in the crack where there was the baby, I felt something strange but she went instinctively, she arrived to the child, she took him slowly in her arms trying to go out with him, but when she was approaching me a blaze came from the ground jumping me back. Immediately I went back to them, my wife was clinging to a rock near me but she was dying, she barely was able to put the baby next to me, then she looked at me telling me to take care of him, and that she loved us, me and her children, and then she fell into the creek, I stayed with the baby in my arms shouting the name of my wife-. Mosi stopped for a few seconds to wipe away the tears and then he continued: -- The baby was strangely unharmed, I took him home in desperation, from that moment in my house the happiness disappeared. We did not know what to do with the child, we asked around if someone had lost a child but no one could tell us nothing, so we respected the last wishes of my wife Taja, we took the child with us and we chose together a name that began with the initial letter of my wife Taja: we called him Thiago -- Hearing that name Zandi jumped out of the chair, saying: --Thiago? Tell me Mosi, had him at his neck a necklace with a pendant similar to mine? -- she extracted from the shirt the pendants with brown and blue stone. Mosi open his eyes wide. --Yes, he had one like these, but he had a red stone set in .-- --When How many tome is passed from that fact? – Zandi interview. --Behh, about eight years ago,-- Mosi said. - And what did happen to the child and to your children? Tell me- - and the old man continued: --One day, the men who came usurping our land, arrived with great means and they destroyed half the village, my children defended our people, because they wanted to send us away to build a road for making their vehicles pass carrying the earth. They fought but they did nothing. They pointed a means to our house, out there was the little Thiago who played, his brothers stood before him to save the baby and they disappeared in front of the truck that had not stopped. In a moment there was a kind of deafening whistle and all the means caught fire inexplicably. The bad people ran away to call other men, they arrived here in hundreds with weapons looking for my children, but they escaped to the north telling people to warn me that one day they would come back, since then I have not seen them and never heard of them. At that moment I had gone with Efia to the three wise men looking for help to heal her, as soon as I came back they beat me because they thought I knew where my two children were, but I did not know anything, they destroyed my family -- the old man plunged into a continuous cry, Zandi tried to comfort him, staying close to him, then she said: --You'll see everything will go better,-- then she added after a brief pause: -- I thought for a moment Thiago was my brother, but it cannot be 'cause at this time he should be about nineteen years and not eight, but it is strange that he had the medallion, it is strange. – Zandi ended thoughtful. --Rest, it islate, tomorrow morning with a clear mind we will think about what to do, -- Mosi said with a paternal expression. --My father's right, tomorrow we'll see,-- Efia added. --I thought you were sleeping,--Zandi said, laying down. --Sorry if I'm not so much of company tonight, I'm very weak and the path to the church has tired me a lot, but tomorrow I'll recover a bit of strength to help you—Efia said. --You're right, Efia, goodnight! -- Zandi said. --Goodnight,-- the other two answered in unison. Mosi arranged the last things in his little house, then he closed the door putting him on his bed. The inhabitants of Zebenjo passed that night with a smile of hope printed on their faces, in fact we could smell a different scent that in recent times, the air of abandonment and distrust had changed, even the stars seemed more bright, those stars Zandi observed through a crack of a small window, in her mind still echoed many questions: why was all this happening and why right to her? From time to time the noise of crickets in the night was overwhelmed by the noise of large trucks, but the questions ended with the arrival of sleep. In the dream: Zandi fell into the water of the sea, after being oriented she saw from above a great confusion, suddenly she saw other people falling into the water at the bottom where she was, in front of her there was a child, she was herself when she was a child, like a mirror that reflected her in her movements but in another age. The tranquillity of the dream vision was interrupted by a great commotion and by 2 arms that take the image of her bringing her up to the surface. At that confused scene she wakes up. The morning…. --According to you, which powers can have a deity? -- Zandi's ears heard, while she had her eyes closed at the light of the morning sun. --SSShhh! Biko, you wake up her, you're always the usual little sensitive boy! -- a sweet female voice interrupted him. --She's waking up,-- Biko said --It's true, -- Ima replied turning to Efia. -- Good morning -- Zandi exclaimed sitting on the bed. -- Good morning to you – Efia,Ima and Biko replied. --Zandi, they are my two closest friends, they're called Biko and Ima, they're twins and they're about our age, I hope we did not bother you,-- Efia said. --No, you did not bother me, I'm glad to meet you,-- Zandi replied. --The pleasure is ours, dear divinity,--Ima said. --You will save us from the invader with your powers, I will help you,-- Biko added, interrupting the words of Ima. --Stop Biko, do not stress her with your speeches, I’m sorry, Zandi, he is impetuous but he is a good boy, sit here at the table among us and drink a bit of infusion that prepares my father with herbs, just in the morning my father came out to collect other ones – Efia ended. --Apologize him – Ima replied giving a black look to her brother. Zandi got up from the bed and sat down next to them at the table, she took a cup in which Efia pour an infusion, and tasting it she said: -- It's really good. Biko, I'm not the divinity you're looking for, I'm sorry, and I do not have any magic power, I do not know what I'm doing here and why I am here, I want to be clear, I'm sorry, I think there's a reason to explain the fact I am here and I'll have to find it. -- --Take some fruit, there is a lot, this morning they have brought it for each person of the village, they have brought it as a gift for you. you know, in these days it is difficult to see so much fruit because fruit trees keep dying, -- Ima said. --What makes plants die?—Zandi asked in a tone of curiosity and regret. --The invader, he's killing us all, he has come from hell and he wants to bring us all with him, but I'll fight him with all the strengths I have! -. Biko said battler. --Who is this invader, Efia? Is he the same your father told about last night? -- --Yes, he is him,-- Efia replied with resignation. -- But the trucks that I felt this night, where do they go?- - Zandi asked --Ah, you mean the vehicles with wheels carrying loam?-- Ima added -- I tell you – Biko interrupted her --They go to the sacred mountain, they dig tunnels underground, they pull out a bag of land that load it on these trucks, then they go down to the valley directed to the place where you cannot access, because there are very high walls, they enter in there and then they come out empty. From that place comes out so much noise and so much bad smell. I can tell you that the source that passes in the middle of this construction enters clear water and comes out stinking water with a horrendous colour, the same water that Efia drank for the first time, making her hill in this way. Even animals die, but unfortunately where the water is good, it is difficult to access for anyone -- --Can we go there?-- Zandi asked, -- but first I have to find a phone to call my father and mother in Sicily, they'll be worry for me not seeing me this morning, do you know where I can get a phone?— --What is a phone? – Ima pronounced. -- It is a thing that allows you to talk with people very far away, it is so little, -- Zandi said simulating the size of the phone with her hands. --I understood,-- Biko interrupted. –I know what you talk about, I saw it to the invaders when they came with the trucks, they used it to communicate with each other. Come with me, not far from here there is a house where we deliver the written letters, there must be one of those gadgets. -- -- It is mail, can we go there now?-- Zandi asked. --Yes, we can go if you want, -- Efia said. --Let’s go, please,-- Zandi said, rising from the table. They came out from the hut, they put Efia in a rudimentary wheelchair that she used when she had to cover long distances, but before starting Efia wrote on a piece of paper something and put it in Biko's hand saying: -- Put it on the table, so my father knows where we are if he come back before us -- -- Ok—He go to deposit it inside. --Are you not blind at all?,-- Zandi asked. --No, I see a little bad, I can distinguish things -- said Efia with a smile. --Sorry for the question,-- Zandi said. --Quiet, come on, let's go, --Efia said. Biko stood behind Efia to push the wheelchair and they began to walk. After about thirty minutes of road, they could see the destination house, it gradually became closer and closer, when they arrived in front of the gate Biko stopped. --Attention, there should be Yao, let's be careful – Biko murmured scrutinizing the inside of the house’s gate. --I do not see and I do not hear anybody here –Efia said then she continued.. -- Maybe it will be running around chasing someone or some passing animal. -- Who is Yao?-- Zandi said. --Yao is Mrs. Clara's watchdog,-- Efia replied. --It is good even if its size is so big to scare, it has never bitten anyone even if it always barks, and Biko has a great fear – Ima ended with a big smile to which Zandi and Efia joined smiling. --You laugh, but for me it is not a normal dog, it like a horse and with a bite it swallows us all even without chewing. However strangely I do not hear it, I think it is not here. Let's hurry up before it returns -- so very quickly he pushed the wheelchair inside the gate in front of the house’s entrance, the other two girls followed him just a few steps behind, as soon as they were in front of the entrance, they knocked entering. --Is it allowed? Can we get in? Mrs. Clara? -- Efia and Ima asked. -- Yes, who's so early riser to visit me?—Clara said. Clara is a about sixty miss, she came from England, she had been working there for about thirty years, her hair was white with curls, she was chubby and she was the only person who managed the correspondence in that area, she was very kind and she knew everything and everyone, thanks to her work having to do with many people, she had remained Miss but everyone called her Mrs. Clara in sign of respect. --Come on, but Why has not Yao announced you? Usually it makes himself heard when someone enters --Clara said, arranging a few letters in her desk full of envelopes to be fixed. --It must have come out, we did not even see it,-- Biko said. -- It cannot be, I have seen it through the window 5 minutes ago in front of its dog’s bed as always next to the gate -- Clara said getting up from the chair and heading to the window. --You see where it is, right there where I told you, why did not you see it? -- Clara added opening the window and calling Yao, it replied, getting up and barking, wagging its tail. --It is strange, ok it’s nothing, it will be distracted, after all age goes also for it, it is becoming old too, -- Clara said, closing the window and heading in front of the boys. Biko was speechless with a vague and unexplained look, it was the first time that Yao did not chase him. --I'm here, but who is your host? Wait, do not tell me, you are the divinity that all the inhabitants of Zebenjo are talking about. I do not know whether or not to believe to these rumours, in fact it has been the first news I received this morning. What's your name? And what can I do for you? -- Clara said. -- Mrs. Clara, my name is Zhandalee Niversa, I came here with them because I would like to call my parents, and they told me that here I could find a phone, I wanted to warn them that I am here and that I am well-- --Zandi, help me get up, I can stretch a bit my legs,-- Efia asked. --Come on, guys, come with me,-- Clara suggested. Together they went into the room behind the desk, and as they entered they saw a telephone near some stools on a small table. -- I put this phone here because when some family comes to phone I leave privacy. Zandi, give me the number, I ask the switchboard to connect with the phone of your parents' house -- Clara concluded. Zandi communicated the number expecting that Miss Clara succeeded in her intent, but after several attempts and various tests discussed with the operator of the switchboard Mrs. Clara closed the phone and turning to Zandi said: --Dear girl, I'm sorry but I have to give you a bad news: the number you gave me does not match the name you told me, at that house number, at that phone number does not live any Niversa family, an old gentleman called Cardelli lives there, are you sure about the number? -- Miss Clara asked. --Yes, I’m very sure, how is it possible?-- Zandi answered casually. - Be quiet, you will see there will be an explanation to everything, and everything will work out for the best, you must have patience – Efia said embracing Zandi and comforting her, then she added: -- The miss of the switchboard has done some mistaks- - turning the face to Mrs. Clara, the elderly lady not making notice of her gesture to Zandi nodded to the boys it was not wrong, then she sat down. --I have seen strange things but everything was comprehensible explainable. I have a strange feeling, something "magical" is happening, I have always been sceptical but in the face of the facts I cannot accept it, -- Clara said. - Which are these strange things? If you refer to the dog, it can happen that it is distracted and it not for this reason I have some kind of strange powers, I am a simple girl, do you want to convince of it?-- Zandi answered crying. - I was not referring only to the fact of the dog, I was referring to the fact that you can speak perfectly the English, my language of origin, and the dialect of Zebenjo so perfect that after thirty years I have not been able to learn here, can you explain this? I know we're in 1999, and believing these things sounds incredible, but the facts show the opposite,-- Clara said. Zandi stopped crying instantly and with a wide-eyed look, she turned her face to Clara. --What did she say? What date do we have today? Would you please repeat it? –Zandi asked. --Of course, today is August 16, 1999 -- the old lady replied, showing with her finger the calendar hanging on the wall. Zandi watched the calendar and ran out, she stopped her run in the middle of the small courtyard getting down on her knees with her hands on the ground and looked down. Immediately Ima and Biko ran behind her stopping at a few meters from her, while Efia and Clara watched from the door. Zandi felt licked hands resting on the ground, it was Yao who wanted to comfort her. She slowly raised the glance and she saw the big eyes of the dog looking at her full of love towards her, Zandi hug it giving back to its face a shy smile, then Biko arrived with a wary gaze towards the dog and gradually all the others arrived. --What's the matter with you? -- Clara asked in a loving voice. --Madam, in the place where I live today should be August 16, 2011. It is the year of my finding on the beach by my adoptive parents, I should be about two years old, believe it or not, I do not think I'm crazy, so what's going on? – Zandi answered getting up. --There is certainly a reason to all this, I do not think you're crazy, you're here because in my opinion you have to fulfil a task that you'll have to find out, and I think you'll find out very soon – Clara said tightening the girl to herself. --We do not believe you're not crazy too, and we're here to help you find your way, -- Efia said. Biko and Ima nodded and all five joined in one hug. After a few minutes Mrs. Clara told to the boys: --I have to go to my job now, later I will try again to contact that number and if I have news I'll let you know right away -- The four boys lined up with a smile waved goodbye and came out of the gate as they entered, while Mrs. Clara looked at them as long as she could see them and then she returned to her desk to continue her work. --Can we go to see where those trucks are going?-- Zandi said, breaking the silence between the boys. --Ok! -- Efia and Biko said, while Ima nodded. -- It's not very far from here, it's right behind that little hill -- Biko continued. -- But do not let us see, those people do not like to have intruders in the area,-- Ima said. After a few minutes they began to see the first trucks that came from another street in front them, they parted just above the hill where they had a good view without making any effort to climb, with a wheelchair it would be difficult. So they climbed slowly on the observation point laying down on the ground not to be noticed. From that point they could see the entrance of the large field enclosed by high walls with barbed wire placed above, they can see the entrance where the lorries entered, there was a large open gate, in the middle there was a bar that rose at the passage of the trucks, at the ends of the bar there were two armed men and another one in a sentry box that controlled documents taken from the trucks. On the backside behind the sentry there was a kind of greyish and malodorous little river that with a series of channels was rising in the source. --You see Zandi, they do not let strangers enter, that is the poison that they throw in our source, the same thing has reduced in this way Efia – Biko said in a low voice. --What do they do inside? –Zandi asked. -- From the land of our sacred mountain we get a yellow metal that they call gold, it is useless, it decorates the wearer, but it is expensive, because they are destroying our mountain, our trees, our life, -- Ima said. --Do someone try to rebel? -- Zandi said. --No one, they're all scared, only Demetrio tries to give them a hard time, but he's often punished, poor man -- Efia said. --Demetrio? And who is he? – Zandi asked. -- He is a boy who lives in the forest, he does not speak well our language, he lives wild like monkeys, he does not like live in the village, someone said he was born in the forest and he does not want to stay in another place, he is very grumpy towards everyone, and he tries to resist to the invaders, but his rudimentary weapons cannot do anything against them and at the end they hurt him, luckily he's a hard bone, not like my brother, -- Ima said looking at Biko. --I will do it too but I know when I cannot go any further,-- Biko replied -- Yes, your “further” is fear,-- Ima said. --Stop it! – Efia admonished. --Can we look for him and talk to this Demetrio?-- Zandi proposed. --What do you want to do?—Efia asked. --One man is not much but if we join we can do something,-- Zandi said, getting up and going down the hill. The others followed her, when they were all on the ground, Efia sat in the carriage and Zandi continued: -- If we find him, we can know something more about these people, what they do etc etc, he certainly knows more than what we could discover, he risked fighting and certainly he saw. --But he's inside the forest, there it's very dangerous, there are scorpion, snakes, leopards and black panthers, we will not get out of there alive,-- Biko said. --You are always the usual fearful,-- Ima said. ---Biko is not all wrong, no one dares to enter them since several years, and those who did not 'ever came back -- Efia added. - I know, but if I'm here it's definitely for a reason and I think if I'm holding hands I will not solve anything, and someone has to do something. Look, everything's dying, first he's going to die what surrounds us and then we will die. No one is obliged to follow me, after all I have nothing to lose. Tell me where I have to continue and I will go there, I will have five hours of light or maybe more, if everything is okay I'll be back when the sun has not set yet,-- Zandi said. -- The road is there! It starts right from those trees over there, from there you can get to the heart of the forest, but do you will really go there? -. Biko said. --Yes!-- Zandi said starting to move but she was stopped by Efia. --Stop! -- --Efia, I must go, maybe I'll find out the reason I'm here,-- Zandi said --I do not want to stop you, I'm coming with you,--Efia said with a smile. --Well, I come too,--Ima said. -- Me too, otherwise who will push the wheelchair? You are girls -- Biko said starting to push the wheelchair taking the lead of the expedition, the other two girls with a smile moved in that direction. After not even five minutes of travel, they heard a big roar and a cloud of smoke came forward on the road they were following, they accelerated their pace and after making a couple of bends they arrived at the scene, there was a dozens of people who watched, Mosi too. Immediately the boys approached the old father of Efia, they watched what everyone was seeing, from outside the enclosure where they were, they were able to see well the scene: there was a large pile of rubble that before were a house, there was a big bulldozer, the architect of this disaster, on the right side the fence had been thrown down by the entrance of the bulldozer, on the opposite side the thick woods began bordering to the plot of land of the unfortunate lord, behind the destroyed house there was another plot with a house near to the destruction, scattered near the mechanical means there were three soldiers armed with a machine gun, near the house a woman with her two young children watched her house destroyed crying in silence, her husband with Nassor (the chief tribe of Zebenjo) spoke with despair with one who seemed the higher than the three soldiers. --Father, what has happened? -- Efia asked. --Those bad people, those invaders have destroyed their home,-- Mosi said. --Why do they these abuse of power?,-- Zandi asked. --If I have well understood, another way must pass here to facilitate the arrival of trucks coming from the sacred mountain -- the old man answered. --Why does the general state allow them to do that? Should not it intervene? -- Biko asked --It cannot, because they are all corrupt, in exchange for gold they concede everything, they are selling our land to the stranger, they told me they are very powerful, this mine is managed by a very powerful international multinational -- Mosi answered. Meanwhile, the animated conversation of the soldiers was heard. -- Where will I go with my family? What can I bring them to eat? I had my field here, I cultivated it and with its fruits we lived in peace – the owner shouted crying. --Our street must pass here, we have had the concessions, so you have to go away --the highest soldier answered. --It cannot be that one morning you destroy a family, without telling anyone, and without an adequate compensation, this is steal –Nassor admonished in the direction of the soldiers. --Silence! Do not you dare talk to us in this way!,-- the second soldier replied, threatening with the weapon. --What problem is there?, he and his family can come and work with us, we will treat them well -- the first soldier answered looking at the others and bursting into a laughter. --Yes, of course, work 16 hours a day, whipped, for a cup of rice just to make you enrich with our stolen land – Nassor made clear. Meanwhile, Zandi began to feel a tingling that came from her chest. But it did not attract her attention, she made her way through the people present and she went in the middle of the dispute. Slowly everyone's eyes focused on her, when she was among the soldiers and the oppressed people .. --Why do not you leave these people alone? Why do not you make pass your road more distant lengthening a bit the way? - Zandi said warning to the soldiers. --Go away baby, these things for big people, go back to play with dolls--a soldier replied after a brief laugh. -- Someone should make you pay for it!- the girl said. -- Who? maybe you, insolent child -- the soldier replied pushing her and making her fall to the ground, and while he is trying to hit her with the butt of the rifle the soldier stopped saying: --Hey! But what is shining under your shirt? what is that bright led? Immediately from the adjacent forest a sort of boomerang came composed of ropes with two rotating stones that wrapped around his neck and knocked him to the ground, another soldier was hit by a dart on his neck and fell to the ground unconscious, the third man saw his companions dropped and threw the rifle into the air escaping, the bulldozer driver did the same.. Zandi turned towards the forest and from a thick tree behind a branch she saw in the distance the silhouette of a boy about her age, he was completely undressed except for the central part covered by a sort of garment that enveloped the abdomen until above his knees, it was made by small bright green leaves, he was not so dark, he watched Zandi for a few seconds and then he disappeared into the forest. The light of the medallion coming from his chest went out in the same instant, Zandi memorized the scene but she said nothing. Biko and Ima immediately came to Zandi. --Are you fine? – Ima asked. --Yes, I have nothing,-- Zandi answered, getting up. --That man was Demetrio, he's a smart guy, isn’t he?-- Biko added. In the meantime, Efia arrived with her father. -- You have risked a lot, you are unconscious even if you are a deity – Mosi admonished. Nassor and the family of the house approached. --You have a lot of courage, but if it were not for Demetrio I do not know how you would be now. We hoped you had some power after your magical coming, but maybe it is as we expected. However now the situation is more complicated because the soldier will report to general Kruken, furious. However I have to thank you the same. – Nassor ended shaking Zandi’s hands and she took the thanks of the oppressed family. --Now What it happen to them?--Efia asked to Nassor. --Do not worry! We will find a hidden place in the village, they will be able to stay calm for a while, afterwards I will find them a destination – the chief tribe explained. People were starting to leave but Zandi remained pensive with her gaze fixed in the forest. --What are you thinking?—Biko asked. --There should be a connection between the medallions I wear around my neck and the boy of the forest, but I do not know exactly,-- Zandi replied. --Let's all eat at my house,-- Mosi suggested. --When we have finished we will go to the three essays on the sacred mountain, they will be able to reveal something to us, it is said that they know everything and they are centennials. Now let's go with Mosi – Biko proposed. --It's right, let's do so—Ima confirmed. Zandi nodded and they walked towards the village of Zebenjo. Meanwhile, the soldier arrived at the mine field after passing the armed entrance, he immediately went to the command building, a sort of cube with countless mirrored glass also square, in front of the entrance there were two other soldiers that stopped him. --Where do you want to go, soldier,-- one of them asked. -- I had to inform the General Kruken about the order that had placed me this morning, a problem had happened -- the soldier answered without breath for the race. --It's ok, come with me!-- The military manat the entrance answered. They went together to the main hall where Kruken was with his three bodyguards. As soon as they arrived at the entrance of the hall, they found two other guards, the picket soldier said he should bring news to the general through the first soldier, then the one who was at the door came inside to announce and after having received the consent of the general he let them in. The general kruken was wearing a stiff red uniform with black trimmings, he sat in a sort of throne placed on a dozen steps, at his side there were three other small thrones, at his right and at his left, where the three chosen guards took place, all three wore a huge black cloak that covered their clothing, and they were seated according to their allegedly combative strength. As soon as he sat he beckoned to a waiter who brought him a glass of gold in a golden tray and while he sipped a drink... --What's wrong with my land?-- General Kruken asked, looking at the glass. The soldier was on his knees, he raised his head saying: --My sir, we have been attacked and we could not continue the eviction we had to do for the new road, we also lost two men -- --Who did dare attack you? Who did dare to interrupt my order? – Kruken asked with an almost surreal calm. The soldier realizes the answer he will give him will made him angry, so he starts shaking and sweating, the general understands and placing the glass in the tray and sacking the waiter gets up and approaches the window looking out. --Then?!?—Kruken pronounced with a dry and authoritative tone. --Mister Demetrio, he took us by surprise, forgive us,--the trembling soldier replied resting his head on the ground. --A little boy, a boy is opposed to me, a little boy opposes my soldiers, hahahaha -- and he exploded into sarcastic laughter, then turns seriously, stares at the soldier and says: --Stand up! - the soldier gets up and Kruken starts to turn around him, until he puts next to him and says: --Take 20 men, take the dogs too, go immediately to the forest, take his life or I will take your life—he ended to speak very calmly. -- My lord, I will not disappoint you -- the soldier made a typical salute, bringing his fist to the breast and then with a back he fired himself by closing the door. Kruken slowly approached his third guard who was sitting. --Sword, make sure he does not disappoint me – Kruken pronounced almost impeccably. Sword stood up nodding his head and he went out of the room from another door to the right of the throne. The general went again at the window and looking at the poor people who worked in desperate conditions, he turned to a lieutenant placed in the corner of the great hall: -- We have to increase the work turns, we have to obtain more gold for our organization, the president does not admit unforeseen, we must be the flagship so he will be grateful.-- --But sir, the workers are on their utmost, they are working 16 hours a day,-- the lieutenant replied weakly --Are you discussing my orders?-- He said in a warning tone and staring into his eyes --No, my lord, I'll do it now,-- the subordinate replied saluting and going out of the room, while Kruken watched from the window with a wicked smile. In the meantime, in the cabin of Mosi they were making preparations for the table, the twins had gone to their home to eat with their family, so there were only three, the good old Mosi was intent to control the cooking of the rice in a large clay pot heated on a fire just outside the hut, while Efia and Zandi were busy, Efia cut a little salad and the other set the table. --Zandi, can you help me to cut the salad, I find it a difficult task because I do not see very well and I to cut me, so I can then wash fruit --Efia asked with a smile. -- Sure -- Zandi answered. --I'm a guest, helping you is the least I can do -- and she began to clean the salad and cut it with a knife, but from her silent face a tear slowly descended. --What did you have Zandi? I did not give you some onions to cut -- Ima asked with an ironic tone, then she approached to her and with a serious tone embraced her saying: --What do you think? Have I said something wrong? -- --Preparing lunch reminds me of my family, you know I miss them a lot even if I do not see them for a few days, and the thing that makes me more sad is the fact I do not know how to return to them -- Zandi answered with a muffled voice. - I know what it means when you stay away from your parents, and especially when you cannot see them again, and it is like a part of you that disappears because we are their fruit – Efia answere. -- They are not my natural parents, they have adopted me, but I consider them as if they were to all intents and purposes, they are special with me—Zandi said. --What do you remember about your natural parents?—Efia asked. - Well, about my father nothing, about my mother, or rather what we think she was, I have just a few fragments, I was only two years old, she left me on the bank to my adoptive parents and then she turned off. I am very attached to her too, for me her spirit is in the sea, and when I want to talk to her I go to my place on the rocks and I talk to her. It is strange to say, but it seems the sea gives me an answer, and it is funny to say but I feel it inside me, and then after all that is happening to me I do not feel it anymore as a strange thing but a thing that is part of reality -- Zandi concluded by leaning the salad on the table. - But she was not alone, there was also a child, from what they told me he was taken away, he was bigger than me and I think he knows something, Thiago is his name and he had a necklace like mine but with a red stone – Zandi continued. --Yes Zandi, there must surely be a connection between the child who saved my mother and the child who was there with you, I'm not good at math, I can do basic things my mother taught me, and if you do some calculus, you're come back in the past, he should now be five or six years old and you two about, so if you go back to the place of the disaster, you could you see what happened, is it right? -- Efia told exactly. --That’s right! Efia, so I must immediately know what Demetrio has to do with this story and then I have to look for a means to take me to the Mediterranean,--Zandi said, lighting up her eyes. --Now we eat and then we will help you in all we can do – Efia proposed smiling. Zandi hugged her and she said only: --Thank you.-- --It’s ready, pass me the dishes, tell me how it is this time,-- Mosi said, entering the pot of clay with steaming rice. The girls took a seat at the table and passed the dishes one by one, the old Mosi filled the dishes overflowing, then finally he filled his one and after putting the pot aside he sat with the girls and they began the lunch. --I hope you like it, I do not know what food you usually eat, this is what we can offer you, the missionaries gave it because we do not have it every day –Efia said. --It 'very good, you do not have to worry, in fact I'm very honoured and honestly I do not know how to repay you for everything you do for me, -- Zandi said, stroking Efia's face. The old Mosi smiled but he said nothing and he continued to eat. When they were about to finish their plate of rice, screams were heard from outside, these screams became clearer as they approached to them, someone shouted the name of Zandi, she got up and those voices came to the hut, Biko and Ima came from their hut, running and entering. --What's going on, guys? Why are you running in this way? – Mosi asked with a worried face. --I came knew from my uncle who works in the base of the invaders that General Kruken sent 20 men into the woods to find and to kill Demetrio, if they find him it's over – Biko explained panting for the run. --We must find him first, we must save his life and I must know what he has to do with my coming here,--Zandi said. --We have to hurry, they've already left -- Ima added. --No, it is too dangerous because if the soldiers find you they will kill you surely, so do not go, -- Mosi said. --Also my parents have done me objections, but I will go anyway, because I feel that the future of the village is involved,-- Biko replied. --You can do what you're feeling, but my little Efia is better staying here at home, she is weak and it is very dangerous,-- Mosi said. -- But dad, I want to go with them, let me go – Efia asked. --Your father is right,-- said Zandi and Biko nodded. --It's decided: we'll go,-- BIko said firmly. While they are going to get out of the hut direct to the forest under the resigned gaze of Efia, Mosi grabbed the arm of Biko. -- Wait! –Mosi pronounced. -- Keep this, use it only if it's necessary --Mosi handed a cylindrical cloth to Biko with something inside, he took off the fabric and a scimitar was inside it, then he put a hand on Biko's shoulder saying: --I recommend you to be careful, those people have no scruples, if you find Demetrio, bring him here at the village and we will hide him. It will be very difficult, however good luck -- --I'll do it, thank you,-- Biko said. the three boys went out going with a fast step to the forest, while Efia and Mosi looked at them hopefully from the rudimentary window. Biko, during the way, scrutinized the weapon received, he looked at the drawings engraved on both the blade and on the handle, they were very thin tribal designs that adorned the sword in all its parts. --Are you able to use it? -- Zandi asked, -- looking you handling it, it seems you've never seen one before.-- --Sure, I've seen swords, when I was a kid I imagined fighting for fun, even with other children, but when things get serious, everything changes --Biko answered. --We hope we do not have to use it and solve everything using timeliness as a weapon,-- Ima added. Biko, walking, simulated a hypothetical fight in the wind to get familiar with the weapon. - We hope so, but in any case I want to get ready for the unexpected, and then you see, it's not so difficult to handle it, look! -- saying so Biko started a duel but with an accidental blow he overflow the head of his sister Ima who drew down appropriately, and he cut her a small lock of hair. --Ops! Sorry, my sister,-- Biko promptly replied. --It is better you keep it in its scabbard, otherwise we will not arrive in three to the forest – Ima reproached with a serious face. Zandi looked at both of them and they all laughed. --Where exactly are we heading?-- Zandi asked. - General Kruken's base station is located east of the forest, so his soldiers will leave from there looking for Demetrio, we would start on the west side in the hope of finding him first, and flee from the west part—Ima specified. -- My sister is born as a strategist, she has already elaborated a plan, even when we were little she was always like that, she was the mind and I was the arm- Biko added. --Have we some indication about Demetrio's refuge, to speed up the search?-- Zandi said -- No, no, no one can approach him, his house is the forest, who creates damage to the forest will receive his anger, he is very suspicious to everyone, and I think he will be with us too but we have to try – Biko explained. --So if he will attack us too, we should not be surprised, maybe he will think we are trying to catch him – Ima said. - I do not think he listed us as bad people, because otherwise he would not have defended us against the soldiers, his instinct is with us, I think -- Zandi concluded. --We have arrived, we must climb this clearing and there is a slide that will take us straight to the west side of the forest. Slipped sitting in balance if not we could hurt – Biko precises putting his sword with a belt behind the back and starting to climb on the clearing. Once he reached the top he offered his hand to Zandi and quickly pulled her up next to him, then he bowed and he did the same with his sister, when all three of them climbed Biko moved some bushes and revealed a beginning of the slide that started with a curve on the left. They could not see anything else, in the background they could see the forest much lower than where the three boys were. --Are we sure we'll live to the end?-- Zandi asked doubtfully. --Be quiet, even if it 's very much that I do not use it, we will not get hurt, I think, we must always keep the cenrte of the slide, staying in balance sitting down, it' s not difficult – Biko reassured. --Yes, Zandi, the bed of the slide is made of sand and a sort of moss that allows you to slide without making us ache-- - Come on, I begin, come behind me, Zandi – Ima reassured. But when she was about to position herself seated on the slide, about twenty meters far they heard a strange little noise and a dozen small birds flew up, the three looked in that direction, then Biko took the sword he had placed behind his back and intimated: --Who is there? Let's see if you do not want to be killed -- But no sound and no response came from the foliage, Biko advanced a few yards with his sword forward and cautiously to see if anyone was hiding, but he found nothing. -- Maybe it has been some passing mongoose,-- Ima said. --Perhapes your sister have reason – Zandi reinforced. Biko returned near the two girls and he put the swords in the scabbard, he remained a few seconds on the area from which that sound had arrived and then he stood as a third recommending the girls .. --Attention to the balance, otherwise you can hurt yourself- - --You think about you – Ima replied and she threw herself followed by a cry of euphoria, Zandi shrugged as if to say '' What doyou want to do? '' and she follow Ima. --Girls! – Biko pronounced and he threw himself down to the slide. The run of the slide for Zandi and for the other two was a wonderful and incredible emotion, they slipped sitting balanced on the moss that made them slippery like soap, they passed through colourful flowers of which some petals remained on them, they grazed small animals who watched them astonished, they immersed themselves in a thick and soft green foliage where they were caressed, until Ima and Zandi arrived at the end of the slide where a soft grass allowed them to roll for many meters in a joyful and fun way. They lay smiling, looking at the blue sky, under a tree on which there were two birds watching to the girls laughing, then they both looked at each other strangely flying in the sky. Ima abandoned her lying position sitting and shaking a little green foliage off her back, Zandi made the same thing a few seconds later. - It 'was beautiful, I had never tried an experience so amusement, even at the most sophisticated rides, we have to do it again in the future – Zandi pronounced cheerfully. -- But my brother, where is he? - - Ima said worried looking at the end of the slide, when immediately they heard Biko’s shout, it was not a scream shouted by the girls, it seemed a confused shout, in fact at a distance of dozen yards from where Ima and Zandi had arrived, they could see a great dustiness followed by branches and pebbles and some small animals looking surprised, from this dust the scream came falling to the ground creating a trail, after about thirty meters of pulley he stopped, the head of Biko came out from the vegetation, all dusty with dry branches in his hair and a pile of foliage in his mouth that spit out, then Biko looked at his arms and he saw some big ants starting to climb him up, he broke his eyes and screamed. --A formicary !!!!! -- He got up and after a few hundred meters he threw himself in a small pond nearby, the girls enjoyed the whole scene smiling, then they got up, they cleaned the rest of the body walking towards the pond. As they arrived near the shore - But where is your brother? Will he not be drowned,? -- Zandi asked. --No, quiet, Biko is a fish, he can swim very well,-- Ima replied. Biko emerged from the water and spitting out a fountain of water he said: -- I've seen it ugly! -- -- Were you not the boy who made us a thousand of recommendations? -- Zandi asked ironically. Biko coming out of the water replied: -- It was not my fault, I slipped perfectly, the sword is caught for a moment on a bush making lose my balance, and then thanks to the luck I end up on a anthill – he ended squeezing the clothes and putting the sword back on his back. --This area is the most west part of the forest, we have to start from here, let's distance each other so to be able to control a wider area of forest but still remaining on sight always – doing so Biko stood between the two girls and they began to scour the forest looking for Demetrio. --Attention Girls, we must be discreet, we could run across the soldiers, so we have to observe well and make little noise – Biko précised. - Usually he lives on the trees, you can rarely see him wandering on the ground, but we never know – Ima added. --I have understood!-- Zandi answered, bending her head slightly forward in the direction of affirmation. After a few hundred meters of reconnaissance Zandi glimpsed near a large trunk of a bare tree becoming gray, an animal that caught her attention. --you’ll see that beautiful cat, very large and it seems docile -- Zandi pronounced approaching the animal. Biko did not see it right away, so he approached it too. --Zandi, be careful! Not to approach it, it is a wild cat and it does not go so well with the man, it could hurt you, let it go -- Biko warn. --Biko is right, listen to him, do not approach it, I heard of people who got hurt – Ima strengthened the words of Biko, approaching calmly. But Zandi, seeing the calm air of the animal, did not renounce her intent, and went further, coming slowly to stroke it on the head, the cat behaved like a domestic cat, letting Zandi's hands gently caress it, and it seemed happy with caresses. --What did I tell you? It's a good cat,-- Zandi said. Ima and BIko looked at each other in disbelief, and they approached Zandi who in the meantime had taken the cat in her arms. --I do not believe in my eyes,-- Biko said in astonishment. --How can you do everything? It’s clear you are a divinity – Ima said smiling. -- I've never seen a thing like this in my life, never any of these beasts behaved like that with any of us, obviously it feels something good in you, the animals know it long, -- Biko said. --Caress it you too, -- Zandi told Ima. -- it will not hurt you -- Ima approached the hand and she began to caress it at first with much fear but seeing the docile nature of the feline she took security stroking it with taste, the animal was happy to receive such cuddles. --We have to continue the research, we have to find Demetrio before the soldiers, first to save his life and then to know what he can tell us about this whole story,-- Biko said. --Big cat, I would be hours to caress you but now I must go --Zandi said jokingly to the wild cat, the cat turned its head suddenly staring at the depth of the forest, the three boys remained petrified, the animal later made a grimace showing the sharp teeth and pulling out the sharp nails. --What is it doing? – Ima asked. --Evidently it feels the danger coming,-- Biko said. As soon as he finished saying, the cat suddenly jumped out of Zandi's arms and ran away disappearing through the trees, but doing so with his fingernails it scratched Zandi's arm in a showy way from which came a few drops of blood that ended to the ground. --Let me see,-- Ima said taking Zandi's arm. --It's nothing,-- Zandi replied. -- It's a big wound, but now I'll beam it -- Ima proposed pulling out a handkerchief for bandaging the arm --When we will arrive at the village, we'll clean it better,-- Ima said. Suddenly there was a shot-gun from where the wild cat had fixed. -- Soon let's hide, they are the soldiers, the cat had heard them. Let’s go on that tree --Biko suggested running towards a thick tree to the right of where the three were, leaping up on it and reaching out his hand in ahead asking to his sister and to his friend to follow him. Конец ознакомительного фрагмента. Текст предоставлен ООО «ЛитРес». 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