It was an hour or so before the group had come to reach what was the only human settlement to be found in this particular region of the Congo. Just before the bordering line of lush trees and lush vegetation of the jungle that reached over countless acres far, the expedition entered into a small villages of houses, structures and huts. Driving into the village, Jack gazed out through the passenger side window, letting out a sigh as he caught whiff of another familiar sight of hid passed childhood. To do the same, Anna was gazing out to the village with high anticipation.
"Nyumba!" she gasped in excitement.
"Oh my gosh, I can't believe we're here!"
Kristoff turned to her, curiously.
"Nyumba?" Kristoff asked.
"It's Swahili for home." Jack said glancing back at his friends.
"Well that seems fitting." Tadashi said, seeing the village suited the name very obviously.
Anna glance out the window, thinking to herself what Uncle North had told her once. She had to agree with what Tadashi had said, it was a fitting name. It was indeed home, which was the name the people and their long passed ancestors had chose to give it. Even though she had been here in the Congo only a handful of times, it felt much like it as it did for uncle North and Aunt tooth.
"I actually think it is." Anna said.
The young browned haired women turned back to her two friends.
"When I was little, the first time we visited them, Uncle North once told us that this place was our home like it was for the people and them."
Hearing his little sister speak, Jack turned his head and looked back at her.
"I know it's strange to say, but..." Anna said.
"It kind of did feel like home to me."
Jack narrowed his eyes before turning forward in his seat. He glance out to the side of the road, where he saw many of the villagers, men women and children each making their way back or forth. Some of which glanced their way, only a few gestures of welcoming were made to them. Though he personally didn't know many of them, it was expected they were of this behaviour at this point in time. They had but little idea of who they were, it was over fourteen years and the two Anderson siblings were far grown up now. No longer were they the young seven and five year old some of them might have known long ago.
Though seeing Nyumba now after all this time, after everything that come to happen in his life, apart of him had felt as if he had just come home. Thinking back to the days his family struggled over the divorce of their parents, the times were hard and filled with moments of heartbreaking and the continuous fracturing of their family. When his mom sent him and Anna to stay with their Uncle North and Aunt Tooth, somehow he felt a sigh of relief from all the stress and agony. He felt as if he stepped back into the world where his family were close and filled with love that was without limit. There was no yelling or arguing, no one disembarking somewhere else for a whole night. Instead it was all fun, laughter, everything that had became so absent.
Somehow, it did feel more like home then it did back in Minnesota. He wished that he would have just stayed there, wished he didn't break his leg when he had tripped into the ravine. The few days he was there felt as if he was at peace, but they all had to end thanks to his dad's decision to bring them back. To which he was faced with a great changed to his entire life, one to change him ever so much.
"I never thought I'd ever get the chance to come back here" He said.
"Same as it ever was."
"This place seems very special to you." Hans said.
"I would have to say it's in my family."Jack said as he looked to Hans.
"This was the same place my great, great grandfather explored the Congo. Now it's where my Uncle is trying to follow in his foot steps. Anna said it best, it just feel."
"Well Jack." Hans said.
"You are about to have an impact that's going to put you in the spot light."
Jack shook his head yes, smirking at that comment. Thinking about all that the cure was going to bring to his life, to the life his family. He had a chance that may indeed allow him to do what his great, great grandfather and his uncle. Even Professor Agdar for that matter.
"You think?" He asked, raising his eye brow.
"Your putting you, me, your sister and your pals in the spot light." Hans said.
"It's where we all are gonna go down in history as the ones who saved lives in this generation and the next. Hell, Nyumba will be known for contributing to the worlds future in medicine."
The title alone sounded promising, being known as the one who came to save the lives of people sick or hurt. Though the fame was but the last thing he had on his mind, he was more in tuned with seeing all that it may accomplish and all the people they could help. Not only that, he was more focused with finding the herb before making any assumptions. The last thing he wanted to leave empty handed, whether they were unable to find it in the jungle or discovering it was nothing but a host, a stunt from Professor Agdar just to gain attention.
"That sounds nice and all." Jack said, shrugging.
"But I'm just hoping we have better luck finding it then Agdar."
The young man gazed ahead down the street and saw the exit to their right. He recalled that was the same way they used when they were both coming and leaving at the time of their visits.
"There!" Jack quickly advised, pointing to pathway.
"Up ahead, take a right!"
As they came to the intersection, Hans had reduced the speed of the cruiser before he made a U- turned down the road Jack advised to take. Staring down the dirt road, his long aged memories slowly began to re-piece themselves. He remembered taking this very route every time their were coming or leaving for home, each time it felt about a thirty or forty from the camp. By this time, they should be there at his uncle's came by mid afternoon.
"You sure this is the right way?" Hans asked.
"Yeah, I'm sure of it." Jack said, nodding his head with reassurance.
"I remember we came this way all the time. The camp shouldn't be far now, just keep going this way."
Sitting on the steps to the porch of one of the cabins, a tall, muscular shaped man with light grey hair and beard, wearing a white shirt, light brown shorts and vest. Laying to his right on the deck behind him was a dog who bared the resemblance of a husky and wolf, with dark grey fur on his back and upon the top of his body, while light grey upon his stomach and his paws.
With a large hunting knife in his right hand and a stick in the other, he swiped it across the brown bark atop the surface, revealing the light brown wood it covered. After a few more jabs upon the sticks at the then raised it up and stared at the finished result. Yet to follow was but a groan as her throw it to the side.
"Nothing like a peaceful, eh Balto?" He said in an Australian accent, looking back at his dog.
The dog shifted his to the side before looking back at him, moaned a bit in response.
"My thoughts exactly." The man groaned.
"No guests, no North."
The man laid himself back on the step, tipping his leather hat as he laid his head back on both arms.
Though much to their enjoyment, the moment of aw and peace was short lived. Balto's ears suddenly twitched as the rumbling sound getting louder and louder. He raised his head up and gazed toward the trail at the front of the camp. The man of which flipped his hat back upon his head and looked the way of his dog was staring. It was there the two spotted a land cruiser and a white van approaching.
Balto of which started barking, as he got up and rushed off the porch.
"Who in the bloody hell is that?" he asked, getting up off the stairway.
Hans pulled over the cruiser, angling it toward the first cabin in the camp sight. Before the vehicle had settled, the group came to see the man and his dog approaching them from the porch. From the back, Anna, Kristoff and Tadashi each stared curiously.
"Who's that?"Anna asked, looking to Jack.
Jack unbuckled his seat belt before opining the passenger side door, stepping out of the vehicle. It was at that moment Balto ran up to him, barking and leaping around excitingly to the arrival of the stranger. Jack if which smiled as he kneel down to him.
"Hey, Boy." He said, petting the top of his head and neck.
"Hows it going?"
The dog of which sat down before him, letting Jack pet him
"Yeah, you like that, huh?" Jack asked.
"Yes, you do."
"He seems to like you, mate."
Jack looked up from the dog and saw the man, who was now standing in front of the land cruiser.
"What's his name?" Jack asked.
"His names Balto." The man answered.
"He's a hybrid."
Jack of which stood up, adjusting his beg.
"A hybrid?" Jack asked, patting the dogs head.
"Which two breeds?"
"A Husky and a Wolf." The man answered.
Jack of which turned back to Balto, staring speechless at the two breeds his owner had mentioned. Being mentioned as being part wolf, he may issue the behaviour of either animal.
"Uh, well then." Jack said, pushing the door shut.
"So what are you kids doing here?" The man asked, crossing his arms.
"North didn't tell me we were getting more guests today?"
The man's comment hardly came to be as a surprising component to him. All the attempts of skyping him all went unanswered, they also never did get back to them either. So it was only fitting that they wouldn't be aware that they were coming. Jack nodded his head, turning it leftward for a brief moment of time before looking back at the man.
"Well that's not surprising." He said, looking back at the Australian.
The Australian smirked at Jacks comment.
"You seem to know him, well." He said.
The young man nodded his head.
"I'm his nephew," Jack said.
It was at that moment, Hans had opened his side door and stepped out of the vehicle. Both Jack and the man looked his way as he came around and approached the two.
"Pardon me, Mr..." He said.
"Mund." The man answered to what he presumed to be the question he was going to ask.
"The names Bunnymund."
The name of which sounded very strange and yet amusing to both Jack and Hans. Although they were very much careful not to laugh or show any resemblance of being humoured.
"Well... Mr. Bunnymund." Hans continued.
"My name id Hans Fortrume, I'm a supervisor at S, I, I, Southern Isles Industries."
"Oh yeah?" Bunnymund asked, raising his eye brow.
"And what do you want?"
"We are here on official business." Hans explained.
"What kind of business?" Bunnymund asked.
"Science expedition." Hans answered.
"We are in need of safari guide to take us through the Jungle and Jack tells me that his Uncle North is the perfect candidate for the job."
Two particular words had but grabbed his attention at the moment.
"Wait, Uncle?" The man blurted out, glancing to Jack.
Though it was at that point the conversation proceeded no further for a single moment. There then called a voice from behind, one of which resembled that of a women's.
The three men turned back toward the porch of the cabin, to which the three saw a women standing at the now opened doorway. She looked to be at the age of her a early forties, tall with of an ice blond tied back into a bun, she had glasses covering eyes and wore a light brown short sleeved button shirt, shorts and a pair of hiking shoes. She walked our from the way of the door, closing it behind her before she walked down the three step stair way off the cabins deck.
"Bunnymund, who are they?" The women said as she approached.
Bunnymund turned and faced toward the women.
"Hey, Ingrid." He said.
"Get a loud of this, apparently these mates are here for a science expedition like us."
Both Jack and Hans glanced to one another at that particular comment. It would seem that they weren't the only ones who were here to commit to the world of science.
"One of them said that he's North's..."
"Nephew." She said, abruptly.
The Australian stood speechless for about a moment, as did both Hans and Jack for that matter. From out of the blue, she had but guessed correctly of the relation he had with North.
"Wait, you know who...?"
Ingrid walked passed the now confused Australian and came before Jack.
"You must be Jack?" She said, extending her hand to him.
"Uh... Yes." He answered, taking her hand and shaking it.
"I'm Ingrid." she said, before taking back her hand.
"I've heard so much about you."
Jack placed his hand upon his hip, glancing to Ingrid in disbelief.
"Really?" He said.
The women nodded his head to the young man.
"Well, that is very nice to know. They wouldn't happen to be here, would they?"
Ingrid shook her head no.
"I'm sorry but they just left camp a few hours ago." she said.
"They went back to the village to stock up on supplies. They should be back soon."
It was then ingrid glanced behind Jack to the cruiser, seeing Anna, Kristoff and Tadashi staring to her from the back seat. The young brown head of which smiled and waved back toward her. She then looked to the white van behind the cruiser, from the sight of the windshield she saw two men who barred the resemblance of trained X-marines.
"I see you brought your friends." Ingrid said, looking back at Jack.
"You are all here for an expedition?"
Jack glanced back to the vehicle before he shook his head, yes.
"Ah, yeah." He answered.
"We were hoping that my uncle could help us trek through the jungle. We're trying to find a herb."
"A herb?" Ingrid asked.
"Yes." Hans insisted, joining into the discussion.
"A very rare specimen to be exact."
Ingrid turned to the young CEO, curious by his phrasing of rare specimen. Being a biologist, she was more then eager to find anything to add into the list of known plants.
"A rare specimen?"
The two young men nodded their head to her. Ingrid pondered over their answer for a moment before she turned back toward Jack.
"Well,that's very interesting." Ingrid commented.
"What's the name of this herb?"
"Um, I'm afraid there isn't a name for it as of now." Jack answered, recalling there wasn't any name in particular that was mention in any of the journal entries he read.
"Like we said, this is a rare type of plant, it's only been seen by one scientist in particular."
By that statement, a particular look of interest came upon the women's face. She lowered her head down, pondering over the information which had come to be explained to her. All the while, Jack stared to her curiously through the moment of silence. She appeared very absorbed at the moment by all that they had come to tell here of their expedition here into the Congo, he also noticed that there was a bit of an excited expression while not fully smiling, it could still resemble the precise expression. As if for some strange reason, she knew what he was talking about. Although it sounded more enough just ridicules, there wasn't anyway in the world that it would be that way. So the idea was completely withdrawn from his thoughts.
It was at that point, Ingrid turned back to the young white haired man.
"Your talking about Professor Agdar, aren't you?" She asked, curiously.
Jack and Hans gazed to one another, both of which smiling with anticipation. Much to their luck, here was someone who might truly understand their reasoning for being here, what they had travelled all this way to obtain. To add to it all, she was a biologist and could understand plants and help them study it, further the research and may even find a way to make it into a medicine.
"That would be the scientist." Jack answered, shaking his head.
"Well, why don't we help you all get settled in." Ingrid offered.
Bunnymund turned to the women, seeming unease by her sudden decision to allow the group into the camp.
"Woah, woah, woah!" He urged.
"No way, Ingrid. You can't be serious, how do we even know they're telling the truth?"
"I know, Mund." She reassured him.
"Trust me. Now come let's get the cabins prepared for them."
As she turned and made her way toward the the cabins, Bunnymund through but a moment of shock followed after her.
"How do you know?" The Australian questioned, rushing up to her.
Jack glanced back toward his sisters and friends in the back of the cruiser.
"Come on, guys." he said, gesturing them to come out.
The back side doors opened as Anna and Tadashi stepped out from the right side of the vehicle, while Kristoff got out from the left. It was at the moment Anna stepped out of the cruiser, she and Tadashi were the rushed at by Balto, who came barking with excitement. The young brown haired gasped as she bent down to the dog, petting his grew coat.
"Aw, hey boy." She said, stroking her hand across his back.
Balto of which came force and began to lick Anna upon her cheek, making her chuckled as she held the dogs neck. Jack of which was observing the sight, although his reaction was of concern.
"Uh, guys." he said.
Anna, Tadashi both glanced toward Jack, as did Kristoff from the other side of the cruiser.
"What?" Kristoff asked, curiously.
"I'd be careful around that dog." Jack advised.
"Why?" Anna asked, looking back at Balto as she continued petting him.
Balto of which stared back up a him, giving a stern expression. Jack of which payed but very little attention to it.
"Guys, just take my word for it, okay?" Jack cautioned.
"He's half wolf."
(I hope you enjoyed this chapter, please comment, review and share any requests you have.)