The story begins with Henry Baxter, a scientist, who goes in to a Brazilian jungle to find a plant with healing powers but stumbles across a city. Wanting answers to his questions he walks in to a small town where he reveals a wall of silence from the locals. Unable to get answers he leaves with his sketches and notes. Years later he has been brought together with a young married couple and the towns people and together they search for the mysteries surrounding the city. The young married man, Ben, finds and injured lion and helped by the local vet brings the lion back from almost death. The lion returns time and time again when Ben needs him but tragedy isn't far away for all of them. As Ben tries to fight the evil with in the city will he be too late to save his wife and friend? And will it be too late for Ben?
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.22(d)|
Read an Excerpt
The City That Time Had Forgot
By LIZZY CLARKE
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2014 Lizzy Clarke
All rights reserved.
Somewhere in the remotest part of the jungle in Brazil stands a city called Lost Souls. Hidden from all the world, it stands under the jungle's canopy. Time for the city had stood still for over a hundred years. The people who lived there had become statues among the ruins of the city; only the native birds flew in and out of the houses and streets, or the creatures from the jungle would roam in and out of the houses.
Everything was covered in a whitish dust, but when it rained, a layer of the dust would be washed away only to be replaced a few days later. The local people who lived near the city knew about its existence but would never walk its streets at night as this was a taboo and stories were told by the elders of the city's evil. Bad luck would come to anyone who walked its streets.
The old men would tell the young people of terrible things that had happened there, but no one could tell the true story of how the city was ruined because no one knew what happened.
Then one day a stranger came into the jungle—a scientist called Henry Baxter; he was of medium build, with greyish hair, and looked to be around fortyish. His style of clothes was casual. He wore cotton trousers and a striped shirt. On his head was a straw hat, and metal glasses fell down on his nose.
He came into the jungle looking for a tropical plant but stumbled across the city and was bewildered and amazed at how everything had just stood still—men, women, and children all standing still like white statues—that he hastily wrote down what he had witnessed and drew drawings of houses and people. He wanted to find out more, so he walked on through the jungle for what seemed miles and miles till he came to a town called Friendly.
He noticed some elderly men sitting outside a very large house, playing cards. It had very tall windows and shutters on them. Around the entrance were craniums in pots. Above its door, a large sign read 'Stop here and rest, friend', so he stopped and spoke to one elderly man in a wicker chair away from the other men. He had white hair and a beard to match; in his mouth was a pipe, which he would take out and tap on the side of his chair.
Henry asked, 'What of that city that lies in the jungle? What happened there?'
The elderly man said, 'Stay away, or you will die.'
Then Henry asked, 'How do you know this?'
But the old man wouldn't speak apart from saying, 'Go home, hombre, there is danger and death.'
Then Henry asked him, 'I have come a long way. May I have a room for a night please?'
An elderly man, who was playing cards, took a gulp of wine, then called out, 'Maria.'
A small, petite young woman, with her blonde hair flowing, came to the door; she was wearing a long bright-orange dress that just touched the ground. Her feet peeped at the bottom.
She said, 'Yes, Grandad, did you call me?' Looking all over at Henry, she smiled.
Her granddad said to her, 'Show this hombre to our best room.'
She held her arm out in a gesture of 'follow me', and Henry followed her through the big house, down the corridor, and up some stairs. They came to a small room with a large brown door. On the door were carvings of animals.
She opened it, and Henry looked into the room. It was very well presented; a large bed sat in the middle of the room, a telephone sat on the cabinet next to the bed, am the room smelt of roses. He thanked her.
She said, 'Have a good night's sleep,' then closed the door.
The next morning, quite early, Henry got up and crept out of the house with his thick green book tucked under his arm.
Many years later, in the summer, a young couple called Ben and Sarah Moore decided to tack their honeymoon near the jungle and stay in the big house. Ben was a tall man, with brown hair which hung down past his shoulders, tied up by a brown ribbon. He was smartly dressed in a beige suit and brown leather sandals. His wife, Sarah, was also tall and thin, dressed in a pink chiffon dress with white sandals on her feet. Her black hair was plaited and tied up with a pink ribbon. When she walked, it was like a model walking the catwalk in a fashion show. Ben was a quiet man of few words, a shy, kind man. His wife, however, was not a kind person and thought everyone was beneath her, and if she asked for something, it would sound like an order.
In the evening, when the sun was going down, they would sit with the locals, drinking wine and listening, while the elderly men told of the danger of the city. They told them not to go near it or walk upon its roads.
But the next morning, Ben got up early around dawn, his mind full of the tales told the night before, but he wanted to know more. So walking out of the big house, he sat on the large wicker chair and waited to talk to the elderly men about his unanswered questions. As the sun came up, people came out of their houses. He sat and watched as the locals carried on with their daily chores, then a man around sixty with long whitish hair wearing a long leather coat walked past Ben. He smiled at Ben. He was carrying a metal bucket full of water. He threw it on to the ground, just missing Ben's feet.
The man looked at Ben, smiled, then said, 'Good morning.'
Ben nodded his head, then the man just walked back into his house, not saying anything more. A little while later, Sarah came skipping along to where she found Ben. They sat together sponging up their surroundings and chatting about last night's stories.
Then Sarah asked, 'What are we going to do today? Can we go and see that city?'
'No, Sarah,' Ben said in a loud and strong voice. 'We have been warned not to go near it.' He put his arms around her and told her softly, 'It's not safe, darling.'
'But let's go. It will be exciting, an adventure,' Sarah said. As she got up and started to walk away, she turned, looking at Ben, and asked, 'So are you coming, or are you such a coward not to go on an exciting adventure with me?'
Then she laughed at him out loud, tossing her head back. Ben called out to her, 'Wait, wait, Sarah.'
Frightened for her from the tales told by the old men, he called out, 'If you must go, then you will go with me. Hold on.'
He ran after her. Catching up, he placed his hand on her shoulder and said, 'We will go together. It may be safer that way.'
'It's fine,' she said, looking disappointed that he had burst her excitement. 'The local old men always tell people to stay away because of vandalism and their secrets.'
'I'm not sure,' said Ben. 'We should not be going there on our own or without someone from the big house who knows the city.'
They had been walking for a little while and chatting and hadn't noticed they had missed the trail. They had landed up deep in the jungle entwined with vines and bushes. They pushed back branches and vines out of the way as they continued further into the jungle. Then Ben said, 'This can't be the way.'
Wanting to go on, she told him, 'Oh, come on, silly.' She laughed at him. 'It's got to be just through these trees. Another hundred yards, and you will see the city.'
But Ben wasn't convinced and was feeling unsure. The further they went, the deeper the jungle got. Then Ben said, 'Stop. I can't get through. I'm stuck. We will have to go back.' Ben looked up to the sky. The clouds had changed colour; they knew it was going to get dark soon. 'Let's go back and try tomorrow,' he told her.
'No! No ...' said Sarah. 'Just a bit further. I'm sure we are almost there.'
As she pleaded with him to go on, Ben felt hesitant and scared. He took one more step then found he was entwined by vines. He pulled at them and pushed them away. His hands were cut and bleeding, but he couldn't escape.
He called out to her, 'Sarah, help me. I'm stuck. I have vines wrapped around me.'
'Where are you?' she called back, not noticing the urgency in his voice.
'Over here. Follow my voice, Sarah,' he told her.
She pushed back at the bushes, trying to get to Ben. All the time, she called out his name. His voice got nearer but weaker, then she found him with vines wrapped around his body, unable to move.
'Help me, Sarah,' he said with desperation in his voice. 'Help me, Sarah.'
She tried to pull the vines from him, but there were too many. The more she pulled, the more he became entwined.
'There's a knife in my pocket. Use that to cut me free.'
Sarah moved closer, searching through his pockets for the knife, her hands bleeding from the vines. In the distance, a lion roared.
'Hurry, Sarah, hurry,' he told her.
At last she found the knife and started to cut through the vines, but the more she cut, the more he became entwined.
'It's not working,' she said. 'There are too many of them. It's not helping.'
'Keep trying, Sarah, you must carry on. Don't give up.'
The lion roared even louder now in the distance. She kept struggling until—'Oh damn!'
'What's wrong?' he asked.
'I've dropped the knife, and I can't see it through all the vines.'
'You will have to go back and get some help,' Ben told her.
'I don't want to leave you here,' she said as she pulled against the vines.
'You'll be okay. Just follow the way we came. Hurry, Sarah, it's getting dark, and in around an hour, it will be completely dark.'
Sarah kissed him, her heart pounding in her chest as she said, 'I will be back. Be brave, my love.' But her heart told her something else, as if she would never see him again. Then she said to him, 'Keep positive, my love. I will bring you some help.'
'Go, Sarah, and hurry.'
Not wanting to leave him, she turned and walked away.
'Hurry, Sarah,' he shouted.
Anxiously hoping she would be able to bring back some help, Sarah pushed herself through the jungle. All Ben could do was wait hopelessly, listening to the sounds of the jungle, hoping that no animal had smelt his scent and would find him for his dinner.
Ben felt alone. He thought of what ifs and 'If only I had been more strict with her, then I wouldn't be in this mess.' Ben watched the jungle as it started to get darker and Sarah hadn't returned. Every minute felt like hours, and the thought of being eaten alive made him feel even more nervous. Ben thought that this was going to be his last night and that he would never see Sarah again or share his new life as a married man with her. Then Ben heard rustling of the bushes.
He called out, 'Sarah, is that you?'
But there was nothing.
It must be that lion, he told himself. He closed his eyes, thinking that this was his last moment of his life. The rustling got nearer. He opened his eyes, shaking.
He called out again, 'Is that you, Sarah?'
Thinking that he only had moments to live, he yelled out a loud growl but felt that something was standing just behind him as the bushes rustled.
He called out in desperation, 'Goodbye, Sarah, I love you.'
Then a hand grabbed his shoulder. Thinking it was the lion's claw, he fainted. Hours had passed when Ben opened his eyes.
I'm alive, he told himself, laughing quietly to himself, then looking around.
He was in a hut, lying on the floor with a colourful blanket thrown over him. He sat up and looked around. A tall man with whitish hair was standing over him.
'You're awake. That's good,' he said.
'You speak English,' said Ben.
'Yes, of course, I do. Don't you?'
Ben got to his feet, laughing out loud. He asked, 'So where am I?'
'The fact of the matter, my dear fellow, is you're in my hut. I brought you here after you fainted. It's a good job I did. The lion took one of my goats last night. It could have been you.'
'Thank you,' Ben said, looking around again, then asked, 'So where's Sarah? She outside?' He walked towards the opening of the hut.
'Sarah?' said the man. 'Don't know her. Who is she?'
'She's my wife,' Ben said abruptly. 'She went for help. You must have seen her. She came for help.'
'No one came. I didn't see anyone around here. I heard your screams in the jungle, so I came to see what all the noise was about. Sometimes the local young men get drunk and land up in the bush. They can't hold their drink.'
'I must find my wife,' said Ben.
'Hold on, chap,' the man said. 'You just can't walk out there. Ever heard of wild animals that live around the jungle?'
'Yes, of course,' said Ben. 'But I just want to find my wife.'
'One thing at a time,' said the stranger. 'Are you hungry?'
'No, I just want to get going.' Ben walked out of the hut and was surprised to see his surroundings. There were no other huts around. In fact, the only thing he could see was jungle all around him. Ben turned and faced the stranger.
Feeling grateful, he said, 'Thank you for saving my life, but I don't even know your name.'
'It's Henry Baxter.'
'Well, thank you, Henry Baxter,' said Ben.
'And you are?' asked Henry.
'Ben Moore. Now can we go and find my wife please?'
'Yes,' Henry said as he reached over and grabbed a bow and arrow standing up against the wall of the hut.
'Wow,' said Ben. 'Did you make them yourself?'
'Yes. Out here, I have no weapons, only what I make from the jungle. This is for killing rodents and such for dinner.'
'So how did you get to be out here?' asked Ben.
'That's a story that will take too long to tell, but first we need to find your wife, then after some food, I'll tell you all about it.'
As the men walked on, Henry cautiously looked around him. Ben called her name out constantly while they walked and chatted.
'Where are you staying?' asked Henry.
'In the big house in the town,' said Ben.
'Then we will go there first.'
After walking for an hour, they reached the big house. The elderly men were still sitting, playing dominoes, and chatting.
Ben walked up to one of them and asked, 'Have you seen my wife?'
'No. I'm sorry,' said an old man, just placing down his cup on the table in front of him. 'Not since last evening.'
Ben's heart sank. He felt frightened for Sarah.
Henry said, 'Don't worry. We will find her.' He tapped Ben on his back in a friendly gesture. Then turning to the old man, Henry asked, 'Are there any other men that could help us find his wife?'
'No,' replied the old man. 'They're all away working in the fields or in the next town.'
'Then we will have to wait till the young men return,' Henry told him.
Just then an older man who was sitting against a wall reading a newspaper had heard their conversation. He said, 'She lies with the lions, but to find her, you need the help of the spirit one.'
'What does he mean?' asked Ben.
'It's a superstition, what the old folk tell around here,' Henry said.
Ben looked pale, his shoulders sagging forward, looking like a lost soul. Henry told him, putting his arm around his shoulder, 'We will find her.'
Ben smiled as much as he could smile. As they started to walk down the road together away from the big house, a young girl came dancing up the street towards them, wearing a coloured scarf wrapped around her body.
'That's Sarah's scarf,' said Ben.
He ran up to her and asked softly, 'Where did you get this from?'
But the girl was frightened and ran off crying. Ben ran after her. She ran into a house. The door was opened, and washing hung on a line pulled across the road to the other house. Ben could hear voices.
He called out, 'Hello. Can you help me please?'
As the conversation carried on inside, Henry caught up with him, puffing and out of breath.
He called out, 'Hello. Anyone there? We need your help.'
They stood there for what seemed to be a long time, then a big well-built man came to the door, unshaven, his hair thrown back over his head. He was wearing baggy trousers and a torn shirt. Ben tried to look into the house to see where the girl had gone.
The man asked in a rough, harsh voice, 'What do you want with my daughter, gentlemen?'
Ben looked at him as the man's body towered over him. Ben's voice trembled as he said, 'The scarf your daughter had wrapped around her body is my wife's, and she's gone missing in the jungle. I just thought that your daughter could tell us where she found it, then we could start from there.'
The man turned and faced the open door and yelled out, 'Sophia.'
A tiny voice answered, 'Yes, Father.'
'Sophia,' he called out again, 'come here. These gentlemen need your help.'
Ben looked as this twelve-year-old girl with golden hair walked towards them. She was dressed in bright clothing, with no shoes on her feet. She stood there, grabbing her father's hand and holding the large scarf, which fell to the floor.
Ben asked in a soft voice, 'Can you tell us where you found that pretty scarf?'
The girl moved closer to her father then. Ben crouched down to the level of the little girl.
'Hello,' he said in a soft voice. 'I need your help.'
She shied away, then her father said, 'Help him, Sophia. Can you tell him where you found it?'
The girl said nothing as the tears fell on to the scarf.
'Help him, Sophia. His wife has gone missing.'
'Thank you,' said Ben. 'Please, can you tell me where you found that beautiful scarf?'
'It was on the ground near the jungle,' she told him.
'Thank you. You may keep it. My wife has plenty of scarves, and this one looks so good on you.'
Then Ben turned to the father and asked, 'Please help me.' His voice sounded shaken as he wiped the tears away from his eyes. 'All I want is to find my wife. Please, you have to help me.'
Excerpted from The City That Time Had Forgot by LIZZY CLARKE. Copyright © 2014 Lizzy Clarke. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.