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About the book:
In Amy’s Amazon, Book Two of The Thrillosophy Trilogy, we are re-introduced to our heroine Laura, who has changed her name to Amy as she hides from the malevolent forces seeking her.
As she mounts a world-side campaign of education and philosophy, she has to take her companions deeper into the Amazon rainforest to avoid capture and most likely, death. On her way to an exhilarating final confrontation, she comes to “know” that one of her faithful followers will die a violent death, and she must face an unfathomable choice: If her only hope of saving the forest she loves comes at the cost of a person she also loves, where should she turn….?
About the Author:
Anthony Whelan started life as a farmer, working with nature, but serious injuries sustained in a farm accident forced him to change career. Through personal experience, Anthony formed a questioning approach to life, values and relationships. He has combined this understanding with his literary skills to produce a novel that will enlighten as well as entertain.
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Green Jungle, Yellow Monster
Amy lay back on the luxuriant living carpet and relaxed into its welcoming embrace. All around her was vibrant healthy life. The sun shone, the birds sang, the vegetation thrust its way joyfully towards the sun. Attuned as she was to the life surrounding her, Amy could sense on some deep internal level the pulsating energy of the forest. As she looked around before closing her eyes, she was once again struck by the majesty and beauty of the Amazon. The million shades of green, interspersed with reds, yellows, purples and every other colour of the rainbow, fascinated and enthralled her. The sheer energy of the forest as it sang homage to the Earth humbled her. And the damage being done to it angered her.
As Amy relaxed into a meditative state, she felt more clearly the life-force of the forest. She knew that it was not made of millions of separate organisms in the way that conventional science had previously believed. She understood on a primal level that the new holistic view of the universe was more correct – John Donne's observation that "No Man is an Island" came to mind as she viewed her environment on a sub-physical level. She perceived the interrelationships that bound every object, both animate and inanimate, in a web of life that supported and joined all the inhabitants of the forest in a single environment where every action had a reaction, where every object had a purpose, and where every creature unconsciously worked to maintain the balance that had sustained the forest for millennia. Amy sensed the unity and harmony of the forest, felt the positive life-force flowing through and around it, and revelled in the energy and ‘right-ness’ that surrounded her.
As she relaxed further into peace, Amy could also sense the toxic undercurrent that was flowing through the forest around her. Although this poison was decades old and to her seemed therefore to have been in the air for a long time, she knew that to the forest a decade was but the blink of an eye and that was why it hadn’t yet entirely awakened to this new danger. And yet the environment sensed on some deep level that something was wrong, that this new phenomenon represented some kind of danger. Over the millennia, the Amazon had gradually changed and evolved, slowly incorporating new lifeforms and situations while others died off. Until recently, this had in most cases been part of the positive development of life that had made the Amazon the richest reservoir of bio-diversity on the planet, with most recent estimates suggesting that fully thirty per cent of the lifeforms on the planet were to be found in this single incredible environment.
But the forest knew. The environment around her knew. Amy felt the disquiet of the forest. Some people, maybe most people, laughed at her when she said ‘The forest is afraid.’ They said she was crazy, unbalanced, a new-age environmental activist whose passions had driven her to the brink of insanity. But Amy knew. Amy felt it. Amy understood it. The entire forest, the environment as a whole, wasn’t a thinking organism in the way that a person was, or even in the way that an animal was. But it did have a low-level fundamental consciousness that measured time in centuries and millennia, and while it didn’t have or need the self-awareness that defined the human being, it did have a different kind of consciousness, a type of self-awareness that most of humanity had not yet learned to recognise, much less understand.
And in this environmental consciousness, anxiety was a new feeling. Natural catastrophes such as fire and earthquake barely impinged on this environmental consciousness because they lasted only hours or days – too short a time for the forest to be even aware of them. But this new catastrophe had lasted decades, and was increasing its pace. Its destructive force as it annihilated all in front of it was so severe and so sustained that it became perceptible to the consciousness of the forest. As a vast interrelated web of organisms and objects, with a perception that was not yet recognised by most of science, the environment was slowly awakening to the fact that there was something wrong – something terribly terribly wrong. While the forest couldn’t articulate these concerns, the carnage that had now lasted decades was causing the relatively recent uneasiness that Amy could feel underlying the natural harmony that had lasted in this huge region since the last Ice Age.
To an outside observer, the scene in the forest clearing would have appeared idyllic. Amy had not physically changed significantly over the past three years, since she had first fled into the forest to escape the malevolent forces that she believed might still be seeking her. She had travelled the world before that, using her real name as ‘normal’ people did, initially as a carefree young backpacker, but then as a fugitive from international law enforcement as she sought to fulfil her beloved father’s dying wish. And when her work was done, she had gone to South America to hide, while her companions finished the work that her mission had enabled. They were to dismantle the global conspiracy that had been born out of the CIA’s activities in Vietnam in the 1960s, and that had grown in the decades since then, nourished and empowered by the drug trade. But as more and more time passed without hearing from them, Amy had grown fearful that her partners in this endeavour might have failed, and that the malignancy of the Provisional CIA, as they called themselves, might have won the day. And so she had stayed in the Amazon, so that she could not be found.
As she lay on the carpet of forest grass and moss, she still looked as beautiful as she always had, perhaps even more so. She had allowed her hair to grow back to its former length, but she coloured her natural blond tresses dark with a dye she concocted from roots, letting the forest disguise her from anyone who might be looking for her. As her environmental activism had increased, so had her profile, and she knew she needed to be careful. But she still had the same stunning figure, the same perfect face, the same captivating eyes. As she lay still in the clearing, she looked as though she had been born to this place – a natural beauty tanned by the Amazonian sun, lying on a bed of moss and relaxing in the morning light. But while Amy was relaxed, she was also hyper-vigilant in her meditation, conscious of her surroundings on many different levels.
And as the time slowly passed, she became aware of the rumble from the south. The monster was approaching, and Amy was here to face it. The rumble grew louder, and soon Amy could feel the earth vibrating under her body as the grotesque monstrosity grew closer. She knew its name, she knew its function, she knew its very reason for existence. She breathed deeply to maintain her calm as the atrocity approached. She lay still on the floor of the clearing, believing that the strategy she had put in place would allow her fifty kilograms to at least temporarily halt the fifty tonnes of yellow outrage that drew ever closer. To Amy, it was a destructive force that had to be stopped. It was raping the forest, defiling it, killing it slowly as it and its cohorts devoured their way through the Amazon in an unthinking feeding frenzy that violated all the laws of nature.
Amy could only think of the machines as a tidal wave of monsters, rolling across the beauty and the majesty of the Amazon, destroying and obliterating everything in their path. With dispassionate ruthlessness, the tsunami wounded, raped, and killed, destroying everything from micro-organisms that naturally had a lifespan of hours, to mighty trees and ferns that would normally have lived for centuries. The invading horde had no recognition or feeling for the splendour and magnificence that it was exterminating. As it extinguished life, it had no thoughts, mindlessly responding to the operations of its masters. And it was this thought that made it so difficult for Amy to remain calm and centred. These monsters were ruled by her own kind. Her own species created and operated the monsters. It was human beings who decided what locations would be destroyed next. It was Humanity that was presiding over the greatest destruction of life that the world had ever seen.
As the rumbling grew in volume and the earth shook beneath her, Amy steeled herself and put her faith in the plan she had laid out. Trees crashed to the ground at the edge of the clearing as the yellow monster emerged into the light. The sun reflected off the painted yellow steel, bouncing brilliant rays from the chrome grilles and the windows that were five metres off the ground. The caterpillar tracks crushed the earth beneath them as the machine moved forward, coming to a stop close to the frail-seeming girl lying on the ground. The rumble died down from its crescendo to a deep muttering and Amy knew that if the machine moved now, she would die. Her plan revolved around the masters of the machine giving her one last chance – if they had already decided that she had been given too many chances, then she would cease to exist in this life. One part of her mind wondered what would come next if that were to happen, before being brought back to the present by the voice that started to speak next to her.
‘Do you really think you can stop a multi-million dollar project by lying on the ground?’
Amy made no reply, recognising the voice as Miguel Varela, a manager in one of Greenergy’s sub-contracting companies.
‘Listen, I’m trying to help you here. You’ve got to give this up.’
‘Sweet Jesus, who the hell do you think you are?’ The exasperation was evident, and clearly working its way to fury. ‘Do you really think that one person can stop all of this? It’s not just us, you know. Between all of the major corporations operating in the Amazon – for the good of humanity, might I add – you’re talking billions. You can’t stop that!’ The voice rose to a shout as he finished.
Again, Amy didn’t dignify the puppet with a reply. While she believed his actions were wrong, she knew that as the machines were controlled by their driver operators, so this man was controlled by the beast that was the Board of Greenergy in Houston. Even the name of the corporation angered her, as the energy corporation’s PR machine fed its critics an endless stream of propaganda designed to paint the company as an altruistic supporter of the environment. Amy waited to see if the timing that was so critical to the plan would hold up, now that the anticipated attack was underway.
‘I can’t believe you. You lie there as though you haven’t a care in the world. Don’t you know what’s happening here? You’ve made one too many statements, one too many protests. It ends here. Right now. We’re in the middle of the bloody Amazon. There’s no-one here to protect you. Let me tell you what happens next, little lady. You have a choice. If you choose to get up and fuck off out of our way, then you can go on being a pain in the ass. But if you choose to stay lying there, then this machine behind me has a ten-tonne bucket. It will pick you up, along with the three metres of earth underneath you. And then it will neatly up-end the bucket and you will be in a three-metre deep grave. End of story!’
He paused, presumably expecting that Amy would react in some way, preferably by getting up and going away. She lay still, eyes closed, drawing fortitude from the forest around her.
‘OK! O-fucking-K! If that’s the way you want it, then that’s the way it’ll be. Do you think you’re going to be some kind of fucking martyr? Is that what you think? Because you won’t, you know. You’re here by yourself, you stupid bitch. Did you really think that after everything we have done over the past twenty years, that we would let one person stop this? Get fucking real. Last chance, bitch.’
Amy lay still, communing with the forest that she so desperately wanted to save.
‘You’ve about thirty seconds,’ the man said, stepping back and waving to the driver of the monster. As the beast’s rumble increased to a roar, Amy waited, listening intently. And then, what she wanted to hear – a mobile phone ringing. She couldn’t hear what was said, but the machine backed away and its roar dropped and went silent. Now Amy could hear the man talking again, and she knew the phone call originated in Houston. She waited with bated breath as she listened.
‘What do you mean, get the hell out? Why the sudden change? One minute from now, we can be rid of her for good.’
A pause, while he listened to the reply.
‘On camera?’ the man’s voice rose in non-understanding. ‘What the hell are you talking about? How the hell could we be on camera?’
Another pause, as he listened again.
‘Jesus Christ, that’s not possible!
‘Let me get this right. You’re telling me that you are watching a live feed of me right now, this minute, on the fucking Internet?
‘Oh my God, what the hell are we going to do?’
A moment of silence.
‘Yeah, thank Christ there’s no audio with it. OK, leave it with me – I’ll check in when we get back to base.’
As the call ended, Amy sensed the man moving back beside her and standing over her.
‘You think you’re so fucking clever, don’t you? Well, you’re wrong, dead wrong. And dead is exactly what you will be if you don’t get out of our fucking way. You might have won this round, but baby, we’re only getting started.’
With that, the man moved away, climbing the ladder up into the cab of the yellow monster. The engine roared to life and it reversed slowly before swinging into an 180o on-the-spot turn and moving back along the trail of destruction that it had created upon its arrival. Amy realised she had been holding her breath until her lungs burned, and she gratefully filled her lungs with the Amazon air, soiled though it was by the traces of exhaust fumes lingering in the air.
She lay in the healing heat, drawing strength as always from the environment around her. She liked to imagine that the forest was conscious of her, though she didn’t truly believe that this was possible, and that it welcomed her as an advocate, fighting on its behalf. She tapped into the environmental consciousness, sensing the powerful life-force flowing through the web of relationships between all the elements of the forest, and feeling also the uneasy undercurrent that the decades of pillage had created. She communed with the forest as she waited, until after an indeterminate time she sensed two people approaching. She could feel their exhilaration, although she believed it to be misplaced.
‘Amy! We did it!’
Amy opened her eyes and saw John and Philip walking into the clearing with huge grins on their faces. As they moved out from under the trees, they broke into a run to cover the short distance to where she lay, falling to their knees beside her. Philip took her hand.
‘Are you OK? We reckoned you hadn’t been touched, but we were so afraid. We couldn’t believe that you didn’t so much as flinch, especially when the earthmover started up the second time.’
‘I’m fine,’ she reassured them. ‘For a moment there, I did think that our timing might have broken down. We certainly cut it fine.’
‘I know,’ John said. ‘Philip was working the camera as arranged, and I put in the phone call to that Greenergy crisis number that you got a hold of. But the guy who answered the phone obviously didn’t know what Greenergy are up to here, and I had to explain to him before he put me through to Wilkinson. But once I told Wilkinson, it was obvious that I was talking to the right guy. He checked the web address I gave him and instantly said it was some kind of misunderstanding – I nearly laughed at such a ridiculous comment. But Philip said the machine had started moving towards you, so I was too bloody terrified to laugh at anything.’
Amy thought before speaking. ‘So it was obviously Wilkinson who rang Varela. I could hear Varela’s end of the conversation – he couldn’t believe that we had the whole thing set up as a live feed on the web. Wilkinson must have been panicking at the thought that if they went through with it, the whole sequence would be up there for everyone to see – not even Greenergy could explain that away. As it is, and especially since we hadn’t time to get an audio feed set up, they’ll say that it was a misunderstanding, that no-one got hurt, and then they’ll continue with their rape and destruction of poor Amazon.’
The sadness in her voice sobered John and Philip, who knew all too well what Amy was telling them. They might have won this battle, but the war was still there to be fought, and won or lost.
‘Will it ever be over?’ asked Philip.
‘Yes,’ replied Amy. ‘Either when the Amazon is dead and the entire globe suffers the consequences, or else when we get a real and enforceable agreement on how the area can be sustainably exploited. It still pisses me off when people say we want the Amazon quarantined; that we believe no-one should be allowed in for any reason. I’ve said it a million times – I fully support the exploitation of this incredible environment for the betterment of mankind, but it has to be sustainable and respectful. That’s the key. How do we use the Amazon for research into medicine and a million other things, while ensuring that we do not destroy it in the process? Because as I’ve also said a million times, if we allow this carnage to continue unabated, it will destroy the Amazon. And if that happens, I still don’t think anyone truly understands the scale of catastrophe that would result for the entire world!’
She stood up, and embraced her two colleagues.
‘Anyway, enough speechifying from me for the moment. We need to get back to camp and plan our next moves. Let’s go.’
They split up as they moved around the clearing, gathering up their equipment. Advanced digital video cameras were removed from their camouflaged hiding places, the rechargeable batteries were tucked away into their knapsacks. The portable comms broadcaster that had beamed the signals from the cameras to the temporary command centre that John and Philip had operated was dismantled and stored safely. Amy marvelled at her colleagues’ expertise – give them any power source, be it batteries or a generator, and they could have equipment operating as though they were in the centre of a high-tech campus. After fifteen minutes they moved away, to the spot where John and Philip had monitored developments in the clearing, and they packed up the remaining gear there. With that done, they had a snack before starting the long trek to where they had left the vehicle, and by nightfall they were back in camp, with John and Philip updating their fellow activists on the events of the day.
Amy retired to her tent early, telling the group that they would consider their strategy the next morning, warning them again that this victory today was only for today, that they still had a long way to go before they could rest in the knowledge that the Amazon was safe. As she prepared for bed, she reflected on her precarious situation. There were now at least two groups who wanted to see her dead. The Provisional CIA had chased her around the world before she disappeared into South America, even proving they were willing to execute all the crew and passengers of an aeroplane they believed Amy was on. And today, Greenergy had crossed the line from impatience and corporate bluster to a willingness to commit cold-blooded murder. She knew that if she hadn’t had the scene filmed and broadcast live, they would have carried out their threat and she would already be dead. Amy wondered how she had gotten herself into this dangerous position, with one shadow organisation and one major US-listed corporation both trying to kill her. As she lay down on her cot-bed, exhausted from the combination of facing down the yellow monster and trekking with the heavily-laden knapsack, she resolved to leave her worries for another day. She fell into a deep and dreamless sleep, while the forest held her safely.
Book Two of
The Thrillosophy Trillogy
By Anthony Whelan