Meltwater River

Eventually, the claustrophobic press of grey trunks and green brush begins to open up as soggy terrain becomes rockier underfoot. Glimpses of water flowing fast ahead are no more promising than its sound: what was perceived as softly sifting static at a distance has evolved into an ominous rush, if not an outright roar. Somewhere nearby, there is a waterfall. Some seventy feet across from bank to bank, the river pushing its way across the jungle landscape is mirrored black against glancing sunlight and glacial to the touch, its depth impossible to measure at a glance. Boulders shattered away from the frozen peak of a mountain lurched near enough now to fill the entire horizon jut against the rapid flow like broken ships and rusted, cagey lengths of carefully shaped metal litter the rocky shoreline. Even so, the only real sign of human habitation here is at least two or three centuries old and only just visible buried in greenery beyond the far bank: a decaying Spanish missionary with most of its outer walls still standing.

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