#150: Hiding in the forest - 2009-07-10

Author's note: Unfortunately, there's no way I can adapt this storyline to a pure webcomic format, with my time and energy resources. Besides, I think the following way of presenting this story is more suitable; otherwise, you'd be spammed with tons of ugly speech bubbles, which I think is worse... - lgm

The cops passed right in front of their hiding. The noises of a large truck crashing some hundred meters away scared our heroes so much they didn't wait to see the fat lady being arrested for infringing the Law about Drugs so, silently, they sneaked away quickly beneath the thick blanket of vegetation at that side of the road.

They escaped swiftly, like they were fleeing from a major cataclysm. They were haunted by the image of a pile of salt that they saw on TV, standing in front of the Dead Sea during the last three millenia, the remains of a woman who didn't know better and couldn't resist her curiosity.

Rosa was the first of them who noticed that the sun was no longer up in the sky, that things started becoming too dark to see. A flash of common sense stopped her escape.

- Kids... why are we still running?

- The cops saw us, Rosa. - Eliana replied - Keep running!

- I don't think think they're following us anymore. Please take a look.

Eliana quickly jumped to the largest tree she saw. She could barely see anything around her. Only a dense forest and the sun getting lost beneath the Chilean Coast Range. No cops, no road, no signs of human presence around her.

- I think we lost them. Let's stop here.

- Good! - Hugo said - I can't keep it up anymore.

- Me neither. Darn, it's dark. Let's make a campfire.

- Nice idea. I've got matches, and there's plenty of wood around.

- But be careful! - Rosa warned - Or we'll cause a disaster! Let's clear the ground a bit, and get some stones to block the fire!

Pedro grabbed a large branch that was lying behind a bush, and started sweeping the ground with it. From the same branch, they cut some wood to make the campfire, and the addition of a circle of stones and some dry grass concluded its making.

And now, the hardest part. Lighting the fire before the wind suffocates the match.

- Eliana, - Hugo asked - give me more shadow against the wind with your hair.

- Har har. The wind just passes through, and I don't want to burn my hair by accident...

However, Hugo's suggestion worked, and the fire was lit.


- We must confess that we were rather gluttonous at the pickup. - Rosa pointed - We already ate a great part of what we were bringing for the journey.

- Yeah, kids. - Eliana added - We will need to ration the food and water. I have the feeling that a long trip awaits us.

- Do you think so? - Hugo asked - Because we shouldn't have gone too far away from the Panamerican...

- We would have reached it already. Four hours of walking, plus half an hour at the fat lady's truck... At least fifty or sixty kilometers. Don't you think so? Also... from here the Andes looked much nearer than the Coast Range...

- But that truck over which we woke up... it was from the "Celco"...

- From "Arauco", you mean... they have plants at various places in the central and southern zones of the county, "Celco" being just the plant at Constitución. Though I think that the plant where we woke up didn't belong to them, maybe it was a client's... how can we know. Anyways, we're far away from there.

- True...

They didn't notice it when they fell asleep, unsheltered, dressed with woolen sweaters, unfeeling of the cold night at this valdivian-type forest. The campfire would stay lit until a bit past dawn.