La Visita Prometida

By Carlos Pazmino


English Version

Translation from Spanish provided by Mayra Boyle.

Chapter 1

Morning came suddenly, appearing out of the clouds, all throughout the Fitzgibbons' farm; but with one big difference. They were no longer there, the NIMH scientists had arrived that day with their trucks, with the firm desire to exterminate all the rats, which they believed could cause terrible destruction all over the world.

They needed to kill them, to erase all proof of their existence, of the scientists' great mistake. But the rats were ahead of them. They were no longer at the rose bush; they were very, very far away, where no one would ever think that any animal could live.

But nevertheless, the scientists had to destroy all proof of their involvement.

But their anxiety and desire went further than they thought, not only did they destroy all the evidence, but, bit by bit, they were also killing all other forms of life about the farm, slowly and very painfully.

That morning, the first to find out of this approaching disaster was Mr. Ages. He was proceeding to fill his canteens full of the water he needed for his experiments, but not without first checking to see that it was pure. With the scientific intuition which characterized him, he noticed something strange about the liquid.

'Odd,' he thought, 'the water looks different this morning...' He hesitated for a moment, slowly stroking his profuse beard with his hand, his doubt showing in the gentle rocking back and forth motion of his body - ...the analysis would eliminate any doubt before beginning - ...

When he was about to take a sample, he spotted Timothy, who was happily playing with Nature, with life, with the wind blowing through his fur and delineating his sleek silhouette, with such a feeling of freedom and innocent happiness, that Mr. Ages was distracted for a moment. It brought a nostalgic smile to his face, and brought back many memories, both happy and unhappy, of what had happened that tragic night which forever marked their lives: the miracle of the stone, Moving Day, Nicodemus' death, the boundless evil ambitions of Jenner which led him to his death, and the instantaneous likability, always accompanied by a bit of immaturity of Justin, always with his tricks which would try his patience, but yet always showing respect for his wisdom and knowledge.

'To think that what your mother did for you, Timmy, led her to learn a secret which might otherwise, have never been revealed." - Then, he sighed and introduced a small container in the brook that ran between the stones producing an exquisite and refreshing sound, creating a sensation of peace and tranquillity that can only be felt in the countryside.

"God knows why He causes things to happen as they do; you are very fortunate... ...We all are!"

With the sample of water in the container, he took out of his pouch a bit of powder and poured it on the surface of the liquid... He mixed the powder into the liquid to obtain the desired answer.

His doubts immediately disappeared... the liquid began to take a very unpleasant color, until it became a foul smelling mass which Mr. Ages found revolting even to look at.

"Ugh! I knew it!", he said. His face reflected his increasing nausea and repugnance. "The scientists used it. Damn! We have to leave here before everything gets contaminated." Then he caught sight of Timmy coming close to the bank of the stream, as if he were going to take a drink of the water.

"Timothy!!!!!!!! Don't drink the water!!!!", Mr. Ages cried out. Timmy froze and turned towards Mr. Ages. Mr. Ages yelled again,"That water is contaminated!!!!!!!!"

Timmy hesitated and stepped back from the bank, a fearful and surprised expression on his face. Mr. Ages ran towards him as fast as he could, though hampered by his years.

"Timothy, listen to me!," he took Timmy by the arm, "We must warn the animals not to drink from that water!" Mr. Ages seemed terribly distraught, he said, "We must get away from this place as soon as possible.... I don't know how many animals have drank the water or how long this water has been contaminated, but of this I am certain: if we drink it, we'll all die!!"

"But where would we go? Would we have to move all over again!? ...Do it all over again?" Timmy was also beginning to get worked up, "I don't want to leave here, Mr. Ages, I don't!"

Mr. Ages had to shake Timmy to make him understand that he was serious... deadly serious.

"I want you to tell your mother that we are leaving to Thorn Valley, because soon this place won't even be fit for worms!" Timmy listened carefully, but with great fear. " I'll go get Auntie Shrew so we can meet back here as fast as possible," said Mr. Ages quickly. "Go alert your family and please, Timmy, don't pause for anything! This is a real emergency!!!!!!!!"

This said, Timmy ran back home as fast as his little paws would carry him and Mr. Ages hurried back to his laboratory to begin packing his necessary materials, fervently praying that Timothy wouldn't do something foolish... He also prayed that no untimely deaths would occur this time.

Chapter 2

When Timothy finally reached home, he was visibly exhausted yet excited about something. Teresa, who had been busy tidying up their small living room, came to Timothy, trying to calm him down.

"Timmy, li'l brother," she said, "calm down and tell me what happened to you!?" Timothy couldn't stop panting, but tried to catch his breath and calm down. "C'mon, calm down!"said Teresa,"You know how worried mom gets when one of us comes home panting from running so fast; she'll think that Dragon might've almost caught you!"

Timmy, with an effort, tried to speak.

"No sis, it something much worse than that. Mr. Ages says that we'd better get out of here as fast as we can, 'cause.." Timmy stopped to catch his breath. "I don't know... something in the water!!!..."

At that moment, Mrs. Brisby and Auntie Shrew emerged from the kitchen. Seeing that Timmy was panting and worked up about something, they stopped the housework they had been doing and went over to see what was up.

Mrs. Brisby was first to find out that something was very wrong.

"Timmy," said Mrs. Brisby, "my dear tell me, what's wrong? Why are you so upset?" "What's wrong with you Timmy? Is everything okay??", asked Auntie Shrew, putting the jar she was carrying on the table, perhaps a little too near the edge. The jar began to fall over the edge...

"Auntie Shrew!! Be CAREFUL!!" cried Teresa, jumping with a graceful gymnastic pirouette (which can only be performed by mice), snatching the jar in mid-air and gently depositing it on the floor.

"M-mom," stuttered Timmy," Mr.Ages says that we h-have to move away from here because the water is p-poisoned.." Mrs. Brisby stared at Timmy, "H-he said that the quicker we get out, the b-better."

Auntie Shrew shuddered from just hearing the word 'move' and remembering what had happened when the rats had moved the cinderblock (which she really couldn't recall because she had been unconscious at the time).

"No! - Oh God - not again!!", Auntie Shrew began to have a nervous breakdown, the kind that everybody knew she always got. "Why do these thing always happen to ME!???" bawled Auntie Shrew,"Why me?!!! Can I never have a moment's PEACE!?!?!?!?!???" Auntie Shrew looked very upset , so upset that Teresa stepped back, in case it got so bad that with her excited movements, Auntie Shrew made something fall on her head and fainted, as in the last time they'd had to move.

"Auntie Shrew, please! Calm down!" said Mrs. Brisby, very seriously. "Let Timmy talk and explain to us what we have to do, with his excitement and your nervousness, we'll all end up in even more trouble!"

Auntie Shrew understood that Mrs. Brisby was telling the truth, took a deep breath and tried to calm down. "Alright", she tried to relax, "Alright, Timmy dear, could you tell your Auntie Shrew," she was having a hard time keep ing under control and soon anxiety brought her back to the state she was in before,"Why would that old crazy coot Ages say such a ghastly thing!!?!?!???"

The Brisbys all watched Auntie Shrew very intently and with annoyance, she looked at the menacing looks, smiled timidly... and quieted down.

"I don't think that you should say that, even as a joke." Mrs. Brisby spoke with a harsh tone, the one she used when scolding one of her children.

"What?", said Auntie Shrew innocently,"That Ages is a crazy old coot? I've ALWAYS known that!!"

"Auntie!!!", Teresa shot her a look, "You shouldn't say that about Mr. Ages! He's good, even though he does get mad a lot, but you know he loves us..."

"Yes! Its the truth!!", Timmy also chided her, "You always say such bad things about him."

Auntie Shrew felt ashamed of what she'd said before, looked down and began to weep. Mrs. Brisby comforted her.

"Okay, okay, it's alright," Mrs. Brisby gave her a hug, trying to alleviate her fears, "I know you're nervous and upset, but the important thing is that we're together and we're going to stay together. Now what we need to do is pack, only those things that we really need so we can get on our way to Thorn Valley. We need to get there quickly so that Justin can meet us and we can stay there until the danger has passed."

Auntie Shrew's face looked up and tears slid down her cheeks. Mrs. Brisby wiped them sweetly with her tattered, red shawl.

"Please forgive me, Mrs. Brisby, forgive me children. I didn't mean what I said.." The kids looked at her and smiled and they hugged their Auntie. Then they realized that they were in a hurry and each one went to pack their things.

Chapter 3

When Mr. Ages arrived at his lab he was very tired. Martin met him at the door. The fatigue of his years showed so Martin helped Mr. Ages reach his desk.

Martin had become a faithful student to Mr. Ages, as Mrs. Brisby had requested. Why? because he would be the one in charge of the household if his mother or his Auntie were to suffer some unfortunate mishap.

Also, he loved to 'play' with Mr. Ages' equipment (though, of course, under his strict supervision). Cynthia was with Martin at the lab because his mother had asked him to take her with him (she really wanted Cynthia out of the house so she could prepare a special surprise for her).

But now Martin was coming to realize that playing with Mr. Ages' instruments wasn't so much fun. Not now that he was the one that was having to watch over Cynthia - and his little sister was not exactly being a little angel.

Cynthia was having a lot of fun grabbing one thing after another and pestering Martin with endless questions. But fortunately he had found a way to keep her quiet, reading to her from some of Mr. Ages' notes about the behavior of animals; how they lived, what they ate and how they protected themselves from predators. However, when they came to the part about reproduction, neither Cynthia or Martin understood what was written. Furthermore, Mr. Ages had not illustrated many of his notes with drawings, and when he did it was for himself to more easily visualize what his ideas were, so his drawings always just looked like a random mix of thin lines, irregular and devoid of any geometric sense. Cynthia, however, could make some sense of the scribblings. Here and there she would recognize the shape of some animals, (although not the of the ones that Ages had wanted to depict), and she had a lot of fun trying to figure out, with her limitless child's imagination, all the animals she could recognize.

But what was about to happen was far from a game. On the contrary, it was a question of life or death; there was no time to lose.

"Hurry Martin!," Mr.Ages snapped. "Put all my chemicals in my bag and grab as many of the medicines you can, of as many colors as you can, for goodness' sake boy, get goin'!!" Martin was still quite stunned. He had never seen Mr. Ages so terribly distressed before. Martin was so confused that he didn't even know where to begin. Mr. Ages noticed Martin's bewilderment.

"Dammit Martin! Hurry UP!!!!!". Martin roused from his mental lapse and began to snatch up any and everything he could.

Cynthia interrupted her little game, seeing that Mr. Ages was not acting like himself. "Mr. Ages, can I draw on your paper?" Cynthia, in her own childish world, didn't quite realize what was going on.

Mr. Ages, finding that Cynthia was there, pestering her brother, tried to calm himself as much as possible, breathing very deeply so he would not lose his temper but most of all, to not lose his temper over Cynthia. "Please let your brother do what I told him to, don't be a nuisance." Cynthia gave Mr. Ages a sweet and innocent look, obeying him while Martin dashed from one end of the room to the other, gathering up medicines and chemicals.

Taking advantage of having Cynthia's attention now, Mr. Ages started telling her what they were going to do.

"Cynthia dear, would you like to go visit Justin? Would you like him to show you all of Thorn Valley while he carries you?" When he put it this way, it was impossible for Cynthia to say no.

"Yes Mr. Ages! Of course I'd like it!!" Her eyes glowed with this proposition. She'd always wanted to explore a place outside of the farm, and this opportunity couldn't go to waste, "I'd like to go! When do we leave?"

Even the question was pigheaded.

"Well, in that case.. How 'bout right now!?" Mr. Ages had convinced her, something he'd never imagined he could do, and he felt as if he'd successfully performed one of the most difficult tasks of his life. Of course something like this had to happen to get him to say exactly the right words at the right time.

Martin had packed up nearly everything they needed. It wasn't at all heavy. Martin could easily carry it all. "Mr. Ages, I should go back to pack up my own stuff." Mr. Ages left Cynthia on the floor and got ready to leave. "Where should we all meet?"

"At the shores of the river, but don't worry, I know your mother and I know that she has packed all your essential things... By the way, none of you have drank any water from the river, have you?" This question made Mr. Ages shudder with the fear that the children might answer 'yes'.

"No.", said Martin, "You've told us that the water sometimes has those little... critters, what's that word you always call them?" Mr. Ages breathed a sigh of relief. "Germs, Martin. And I'm glad to hear that none of us has had a drink from that river, because the river water is contaminated."

"What does 'contaminated' mean, Mr. Ages?," Cynthia asked. Like always, she was fidgeting when she shouldn't.

"Dear, 'contaminated' means..." he searched for the right words while he picked her up and sat her on a stool. "...look at it this way. When your mother brings home a fruit and you want to eat it right then and there, she tells you that you should wash it first, because that fruit was in the dust, sand, or dirt, and you could get sick eating it dirty like that. Do you understand?" Mr. Ages hoped that Cynthia had understood.

"No, Mr. Ages, I do what my mommy tells me, but I never heard her say that word before." Mr. Ages was crestfallen at hearing this and felt ashamed because he couldn't get across to her what he wanted to say.

"Well Cynthia, I'll explain it to you later. Now, let's go!!" Mr. Ages set Cynthia down and took her by the hand, hastening her. He spoke to Martin, "Hurry Martin, let's not waste time."

Suddenly, Cynthia began to look a little pale.

"Mr. Ages...? I don't feel so good..." Cynthia put her little paw to her head.

Mr. Ages stopped cold. So did Martin. Mr. Ages feared the worst..

"What do you mean you don't feel good, dear?" Mr. Ages felt his blood run like ice, waiting for the answer. Martin went in turn deathly pale. "What do you feel?"

"It hurts here," she pointed to her head, "It hurts."

"Does it hurt a lot?" Mr. Ages put his paw to her head to feel if she had a fever. He couldn't believe it.

"Yes," said Cynthia, "it feels like my head is going 'bump, bump'..." Mr. Ages quickly signaled for Martin to come.

"Martin, hand me the vial with the blue powder in it. I think Cynthia really doesn't feel good." Martin urged his hands, nervous and trembling, to pick up the vial. He knew that if anyone could cure his little sister, it was Mr. Ages.

"Martin," said Mr. Ages, "on your way here to the laboratory, did you go by the river?"

Martin nodded.

"That's all I needed to know." Mr. Ages took a small portion of the blue powder. "Dear," Mr. Ages spoke softly to Cynthia,"Please, I want you to stick out your tongue at me." Cynthia looked at Mr. Ages with a beaming look, thinking Mr. Ages was playing a game with her.

She said, "Like this?" And stuck out her tongue.

"Very good, my dear, now stay like that for a little while longer..." Mr. Ages put a little of the blue powder on Cynthia's tongue and almost instantly, her tongue turned a dark purple color. Mr. Ages shut his eyes, squeezing his eyelids as he'd confirmed his darkest suspicions. Martin was anxious.

"Martin, give me the white, liquid medicine." The boy hastened to bring it to him. "Cynthia, I want you to drink this." He poured the medicine into a small cup he had close by and gave it to her to drink.

"Yuck!!, It tastes icky!," yelled Cynthia, making a face.

"Pretend it's breakfast milk, Cynthia!" Martin tried to get her attention so she wouldn't spit out the medicine.

Cynthia did as she was told and shut her eyes, thinking about breakfast time, bringing from her memory the exquisite scent of warm cheese and of the warm milk her mother gave her every morning, and that way, she got the medicine down her throat.

Shortly after, she felt much better.

"Mr. Ages! My head doesn't hurt anymore! I feel a lot better!!" Mr. Ages felt even more relieved than Cynthia.

"Martin, it would be a good idea if all of us took some medicine now, to avoid any problems along the way. It's a rather long road and we have to get there as fast as we can. Ah! Let's not forget to take some food. I have purified some water for the trip."

"Will it be enough for everyone, Mr.Ages?" Martin's question seemed very timely. It made Mr. Ages think about how they were all going to survive until they got to Thorn Valley, taking all their essential belongings, and the food and water for the trip. In a moment, Mr. Ages realized that the water he was carrying would not be enough for all of them.

"I think not, but I know your mother and I know that she'll also be bringing enough water for all of you." The three of them got together at the door,"I think the laboratory might have to stay closed for a long time."

"What do you mean Mr. Ages?" Martin was a bit worried, "What will happen to everything?" Mr. Ages looked kindly at him and told him his plan.

"I don't think we'll have to stay away for too long. What I'm going to do is prepare more medicine for all the animals and pour it into the brook so that it'll nullify the effect of the poison that's already in the water; that will make it pure again. When the danger has passed, we'll come back and continue our normal life. That will be simple, won't it?"

The boy looked at him, appearing not to have understood the plan very well. Mr. Ages shrugged and continued. "I don't think you understood me, but it doesn't matter, you'll understand soon enough. Come on Cynthia, let's hurry up and get out of here!!"

This said, the three left the laboratory, carrying the provisions and the medicines, while they listened to the profound echo of the door closing behind them with a pang of sadness, and Cynthia even waving goodbye to the laboratory. They then hurried to get into the basket that would take them to the surface.

Spanish Version

The original story, as written by Carlos Pazmino.

Capitulo 1

La manana aparecio de repente , despejandose de entre las nubes ,a lo largo de la granja de los Fitzgibbons, pero con una gran diferencia: ellos ya no estaban, los cientificos de NIMH habian llegado aquel dia, con sus camiones, con el deseo vehemente de matar a todas las ratas que podian ocasionar, al parecer de ellos, un gran desastre por todo el mundo.

Debian matarlas, debian aniquilar toda prueba fehaciente de su existencia, de su gran error. Pero las ratas se les habian adelantado. Ya no estaban en el rosal, estaban muy muy lejos, donde nadie pensaria que animal alguno pudiese vivir.

Pero aun asi debian aniquilar toda prueba que los pudiese comprometer.

Pero su ansiedad y deseo fueron mas alla de donde pensaron, no solo destruyendo cualquier tipo de prueba, sino poco a poco, destruyendo toda forma de vida, lenta y dolorosamente, alrededor de la granja.

Esa manana, el primero en darse cuenta del desastre que se avecinaba, fue El Sr Cronos. (Mr Ages) cuando se disponia a llenar sus cantaros del liquido vital para sus experimentos, no sin antes comprobar con antelacion su pureza, porque, con aquella intuicion cientifica que lo caracterizaba, noto algo extraño en el liquido.

- Que raro! - Penso - El agua se ve diferente esta manana -.

Vacilo por un momento, llevandose la mano a su espesa barba, acariciandosela de arriba hacia abajo, haciendo el tipico vaiven de manera dubitativa -........el analisis despejara cualquier duda antes de empezar -........

Cuando se disponia a recoger una muestra, alcanzo a divisar a Timothy, quien alegremente jugueteaba con la Naturaleza, con la vida, al sentir el viento que pasaba entre su pelaje dibujando su silueta en medio de la rafaga, con una libertad palpable y una alegria tan inocente que a Cronos le distrajo por un momento, y le dibujo una sonrisa nostalgica que le trajo al pensamiento muchos recuerdos, agradables y desagradables, de lo que aquella tragica noche ocurrio, marcando para siempre sus vidas: el milagro de la piedra, el dia de mudanzas, la muerte estrepitosa de Nicodemus , la ambicion desmedida de Jenner que lo llevo a la muerte, y la simpatia debordante, aunque siempre acompañada con un poco de inmadurez de Justin, al hacerle siempre sus bromas , que lo sacaban de casillas, pero siempre con un respeto hacia su sapiencia y sabiduria.

- Y pensar que todo lo que tu madre hizo por ti, Timmy , la llevo a conocer un secreto que tal vez jamas se hubiese rebelado -. Luego se resigno, introduciendo el pequeño cantaro en el riachuelo, que corria por entre las piedras en medio de una sinfonia exquisita y refrescante para los oidos, envolviendolo con una sensacion de sosiego que solo el campo puede ofrecer.

- Pero Dios sabe por que hace las cosas, eres muy afortunado...........Todos lo somos!.

Con la muestra en el pocillo, saco de su cinto un poco de polvo que inmediatamente esparcio sobre la superficie , el cual se disolvio instantaneamente, para asi obtener la tan ansiada respuesta.

Y pudo ver que sus dudas se disipaban..............el liquido fue tomando un color bastante desagradable, hasta convertirse en una masa maloliente y obscura que al mismo Cronos le daba repugnancia solo con verla.

- Ugh! Tenia razon! - su semblante cada vez se retorcia con una mueca creciente de angustia y asco - Los cientificos la usaron! Maldicion, debemos irnos de aqui antes de que todo se contamine! -Entonces alcanzo a divisar a Timy acercandose a la orilla, disponiendose a beber un poco de agua.

Timoty!!!!!!!! No Bebas!!!! - Timy paralizo su juego y se volvio hacia

Cronos un poco sorprendido - El agua esta contaminada!!!!!!!!

Timmy, un poco vacilante, se aparto de la orilla con una expresion de asombro y de temor por las angustiadas palabras de Cronos, mientras este se le acercaba con paso acelerado, pero con la lentitud

caracterizada por los anos.

Timmy, escuchame bien! - lo agarro del brazo - Tenemos que alertar a los animales para que no beban el agua!!!!! - se veia terriblemente exhaltado -. Debemos irnos de aqui lo mas pronto posible....No se cuantos animales hayan bebido el agua ni cuanto tiempo el agua haya estado contaminada, pero de una cosa si estoy seguro: moriremos si la tomamos!!

Pero, a donde nos iremos, tio? Tendremos que mudarnos otra vez?repetir lo que paso? - Timmy tambien empezaba a exhaltarse -...No quiero irme de aqui, tio Cronos, no quiero!!!!!!!!

Cronos tuvo que sacudir a Timmy para que comprendiera que estabahablando en serio...........y muy en serio.

- Quiero que le avises a tu madre y a tus hermanos que nos iremos alValle Ortigas (Thorn Valley) porque aqui no habra nada ni para los gusanos! -Timy lo escuchaba con un gran miedo, pero con atencion -ire por tu tia Angustias (Aunti shrew) para que todos nos encontremos aqui lo mas rapido posible, y por favor Timmy no te entretengas con nada.........esto es una verdadera emergencia!!!!!!

Dicho esto, Timy regreso corriendo sobre sus cuatro patitas y Cronos se encamino a su laboratorio para empacar lo que fuese necesario, y rogaba que Timy no hiciera algo inadecuado........ también rogo por que no hubiese ninguna muerte que lamentar.

Capitulo 2

Timoty llego al bloque visiblemente fatigado y excitado. Teresa, que estaba limpiando la salita, lo recibio y trato de calmarlo un poco.

- Timoty, nanito, calmate y dime que te paso!!!!!! - el ratoncito jadeo, respiro un poco y trato de calmarse - Tu sabes lo preocupada que se pone mama cuando alguno de nosotros entra asi, pareceria que Dragon viene detras tuyo !!!!

Con esfuerzo, Timy pudo hablar .

- No hermanita, es algo peor que eso, el tio Cronos dice que nos debemos ir de inmediato de aqui por.......... no se.........algo que tiene el agua!!!!

En ese momento salieron de la cocina Mrs Brisby y Tia angustias, que habian estado entregadas a las tareas domesticas, y al ver a Timy jadeante, dejaron todo para atenderlo.

Brisby fue la primera en darse cuenta de que algo no andaba bien.

- Timy, mi amor, dime que pasa, por que estas así?

- Que paso, Timy, que tienes, todo esta bien? - dijo Tia angustias, al mismo tiempo que dejaba la vasija que llevaba, en la mesa, pero su sorpresa fue tal, que no se dio cuenta que la dejo en un mal lugar, y justo cuando se iba a caer, Teresa alcanzo a asirla de una de las asas.

- Tia, cuidado! - Y, con una maniobra casi gimnastica que solo los ratones saben hacer, Teresa habilmente deposito la vasija en el suelo.

- Mama, tio Cronos dice que debemos mudarnos porque el agua esta envenenada - Brisby lo miro, sorprendida - Dijo que mientras mas rapido nos vayamos, mejor -.

Tia angustias empezo a temblar con el solo hecho de escuchar la palabra "mudanza" y recordo lo que habia pasado cuando las ratas habian movido el bloque ( en realidad no pudo ni siquiera estar consciente cuando ocurrio ).

- No, Por Dios otra vez no!!!!! - a la Tia Angustias le empezo a dar un ataque de nervios, de los cuales ya todos estaban acostumbrados - Por que siempre las desgracias!!!!!!!! Por que a nosotros!!!!!!! Es que no tendremos un momento de tranquilidad ???????? - se veia visiblemente alterada, tanto que Teresa retrocedio por si acaso algo le cayese en la cabeza y se desmayara como cuando mudaron la casa.

- Angustias, calma, por favor!! - dijo Brisby muy seria - deja que Timy nos explique bien que debemos hacer , porque con el alterado y tu con tus nervios todos vamos a terminar peor -.

La Tia Angustias comprendio que Brisby decia la verdad y trato de respirar lo mas profundo que pudo y trato de calmarse. - Esta bien - trataba de relajarse - muy bien, Timy querido, podrias contarle a tu tia angustias - la ansiedad la llevo al estado que estaba antes - por que el viejo loco de Cronos ha dicho semejante cosa!!!!!!!!!!! -.

Toda la familia la observo muy seria, y ella, en vista de las agudas y amenazantes miradas, sonrio timidamente y guardo silencio.

- Creo que ni de broma debes decir eso - Brisby hablaba con el tono de reprimenda que utilizaba cuando tenia que imponer orden en su hogar.

- Que cosa? , que Cronos esta loco? Eso siempre lo supe!!!!!!!!

- Tia!!!!!!!!!!! -. Teresa la miro incisivamente - No debes decir eso de Tio Cronos. El es muy bueno, aunque se enoje un poco , pero nos quiere -.

- Si, es verdad!!!!! - Timy tambien participo de la reprimenda - tu dices cosas feas de el -.

Angustias se sentia muy arrepentida de su comentario, bajo su rostro y empezo a llorar. Brisby la consolo.

- Ya, ya , calmate ya, - La abrazo tratando de aliviar su miedo - Entiendo que estes nerviosa y alterada, pero lo importante es que estamos juntos y debemos permanecer asi. Ahora lo que debemos hacer es empacar solo lo necesario para el viaje hacia Valle Ortigas, para que Justin nos reciba y permanecer alli hasta que el peligro pase -.

Angustias levanto su cara y ,por ella resbalaron algunas lagrimas que Brisby, muy dulcemente, enjugo con su capa, siempre roja y un poco raida.

- Perdoname, Brisby, perdonenme chicos, no fue mi intencion decir lo que dije - Los muchachos la miraron y dibujaron una sonrisa complaciente y abrazaron a su Tia. Luego recordaron la urgencia y cada cual fue a empacar sus cosas.

Capitulo 3

Cronos llego a su laboratorio muy fatigado. Martin lo fue a recibir a la puerta. Como el peso de los años lo agobiaban, Martín lo ayudo a llegar hasta su escritorio.

Martín se convirtio en su fiel alumno, por pedido de Brisby, y por ser el quien tomaria las riendas si su madre o su tia llegasen a faltar, en un caso extremo. Ademas le divertia mucho "jugar" con los aparatos del tio Cronos, claro, con una estricta supervision de el, para que no ocasionara algun accidente. Habia llevado a su hermanita, porque Brisby queria prepararle un platillo especial y queria que fuera una sorpresa.

Pero ahora se daba cuenta que "jugar "con los instrumentos de Cronos no le parecia nada divertido, siendo ahora el quien supervisaba, y especificamente a su hermanita Cynthia, quien no era precisamente un angelito.

Cynthia se divertia mucho cogiendo un objeto tras otro, y haciendo preguntas sin parar. Por suerte, el encontro una manera de calmarla, leyendole unos apuntes que habia escrito el Tio Cronos sobre el comportamiento que los animales desarrollaban , de como vivian, que comian y como se protegian de animales mas grandes. Claro que al llegar a la parte de la reproduccion, ni el ni Cynthia entendieron que estaba escrito. Ademas, Cronos no ilustraba mucho sus apuntes, y si lo hacia, era para visualizar un poco mas claramente sus ideas, aunque sus dibujos siempre resultaban una mezcla de lineas delgadas, discontinuas y maltrechas que carecian de sentido geometrico y forma definida. Cynthia los encontraba atractivos y, entre tanto garabato, podia reconocer a algun animalito, diferente al que Cronos queria plasmar, y se divertia mucho tratando de delinear, con su ilimitada imaginacion infantil, a cuanto animal podia reconocer.

Pero lo que iba a pasar distaba mucho de ser un juego; al contrario, lo que estaba en juego eran sus vidas y no habia tiempo que perder.

-Rapido, Martin. Pon todas las formulas en la funda y trata de recoger una gran cantidad de todas las medicinas que puedas, de todos los colores posibles, y por lo que mas quieras, hazlo rapido!!!!!!!!! - Martin no salia de su asombro. Nunca habia visto al tio Cronos tan horriblemente desesperado. Estaba tan confundido que no sabia por donde comenzar. Cronos se dio cuenta.

- Martin, Maldita sea!!!!!APURATE!!!!!!!!! -. El muchacho desperto de su lapsus mental y, mecanicamente empezo a guardar cuanta cosa podia.

Cynthia interrumpio su imaginativo juego, al percatarse de que Tio Cronos no estaba con el animo acostumbrado.

- Tio Cronos, puedo dibujar en tus hojitas? - . Cynthia, dentro de su ingenuo mundo infantil, no se daba ni cuenta de lo que estaba pasando.

Cronos, al descubrir que Cynthia estaba alli, y de paso, estorbando a su hermano, busco serenarse hasta lo imposible, respirando muy profundamente para no estallar y sobre todo, estallar sobre Cynthia. - Mi vida, por favor, deja que tu hermano haga lo que le dije, no lo molestes -. Cynthia miro a Cronos con una mirada dulce e inocente, obedeciendo a su tio, mientras Martin se hacia nudo con las medicinas y las formulas, corriendo de un lado a otro.

Aprovechando la atencion de Cynthia, Cronos le empezo a contar lo que iban a hacer.

- Cynthia querida, te gustaria visitar a Justin? Te gustaria que el te enseñara todo el reino mientras te carga?- .Dicho de esta manera, era imposible que Cynthia se negara .

- Claro Tio, claro que me gustaria!!!!!!!! -. Sus ojos brillaban con esta proposicion. Siempre habia querido conocer algun lugar fuera de la granja, y esta oportunidad no la iba a desperdiciar. - Me gustaria ir !! Cuando nos vamos? -.

Hasta la pregunta era necia.

- Pues en este instante. Ahora mismo si quieres!!!! -. Cronos la habia convencido, algo que nunca se imagino hacer, y se sintio como si hubiese realizado con exito la labor más dificil de su vida. Claro que tuvo que suceder algo semejante para decir las palabras correctas en el instante preciso.

Martin ya casi tenia todo empacado. El cargamento no era del todo pesado. Podia con el, solo si tio Cronos no podia.

- Cierto Tio Cronos!! debo regresar para empacar mis cosas -. Cronos dejo a Cynthia en el suelo y se dispuso a salir. -A donde nos encontraremos todos? -.

- A la orilla del rio, pero no te preocupes, conozco a tu madre y se que te habra guardado lo escencial. Por cierto, no han bebido agua ultimamente verdad? -. Esta pregunta hizo estremecer a Cronos, con el solo pensamiento de recibir una respuesta positiva de los chicos.

- No Tio. Como tu nos dices que a veces el agua trae esos........bichitos, Cual es el nombre que tu usas siempre? -. Cronos respiro aliviado.- Microbios, Martin. Y me alegro que nadie de nosotros haya tomado el agua del rio, porque esta contaminada -.

- Que significa "contaminada", Tio Cronos? -. Cynthia pregunto, como siempre, con su acostumbrada inquietud fuera de lugar.

- Cariño, "contaminada " significa....... - busco las palabras precisas, mientras la tomaba y la sentaba en un banco - ...míralo de esta manera. Cuando tu mama trae a la casa alguna fruta y te la quieres comer enseguida, ella te dice que primero debes lavarla, porque esa fruta estuvo sucia de polvo, arena, o barro, y te podrias enfermar si la comes asi. Me entendiste? -. Cronos rogaba por haberse dado a entender.

- No Tio, hago lo que mami dice, pero nunca me dice esa palabra - Cronos se desinflo de la decepcion y sentia apenado por no haber llegado a explicarse.

- Bueno Cynthia, despues te lo explico, ahora vamonos!! -. Cronos la bajo del banco y la cogio de la mano, apurandola. Le hablo a Martin: - Apurate, Martin, no perdamos tiempo -.

De repente, Cynthia se sintio un poco incomoda.

-Tio Cronos, algo me pasa, no me siento bien!!. Llevo su mano a su cabeza.

Cronos paro en seco. Martin tambien. La miraron sospechando lo peor.

- Que quieres decir con que no te sientes bien, querida? - . La sangre de Cronos se fue al piso, esperando su respuesta. Martin se quedo livido. - Que sientes?

- Un dolor aqui -. Señalo su cabecita. - Me duele -.

- Mucho? - Cronos le toco la cabeza para ver si tenia fiebre. No podia creerlo.

- Si, siento que la cabeza me hace tun tun -. Cronos, con un gesto, llamo a Martin apresuradamente.

- Martin, rápido, pasame el recipiente con el polvo de color azul. Creo que Cynthia no se siente bien -. Martin apuro sus manos, nerviosas y temblorosas, a coger el frasco. Sabia que si alguien podia curar a su hermanita, Tio Cronos era el unico.

- Martin, dime, camino al laboratorio no pasaron por el arroyo?

Martin asintio.

- Era todo lo que queria saber -. Cogio un poco del polvo azul . - Cielito, por favor, quiero que le saques a lengua al tio Cronos , si? - Cynthia lo miro sonriente, pensando que se trataba de un juego.

- Asi? -. Y lo hizo.

- Muy bien mi vida, quedate asi por un ratito..... -. Puso un poco de polvo , y casi en forma instantanea , la lengua de Cynthia quedo con un color morado oscuro. Cronos cerro sus ojos, apreto sus parpados en señal de haber confirmado sus sospechas . Martin estaba ansioso.

- Martin, pasame la medicina liquida de color blanco -. El chico se apresuro a traerla. - Cynthia, quiero que te tomes esto -. Sirvio la medicina en un pequeño pocillo que habia cerca y se la dio a tomar.

- Ugh! Sabe horrible!! -. Dijo, haciendo una mueca de asco.

- Piensa que es leche muy dulce , nanita!! -. Martin trataba de atraer su atencion para que no escupiera la medicina.

Cynthia hizo caso a su hermano y cerro sus ojos, pensando en la hora del desayuno, trayendo a su memoria el exquisito olor del queso calientito y de la leche tibia que Brisby le daba todas las mañanas, y asi pudo digerir la medicina.

Al momento, se sintio completamente mejorada.

- Tio, ya no me duele, ya me siento mejor! -. Cronos se sintio reconfortado y aun mas aliviado que Cynthia.

-Martin, seria una buena idea si todos tomamos la medicina, para evitar cualquier contratiempo en el camino. Es un viaje un poco largo y tenemos que llegar lo mas pronto posible. Ah!, no olvidemos las provisiones!! Tengo agua pura para el camino -.

- Alcanzara para todos, tio? -. La pregunta de Martin fue muy oportuna. Obligo a Cronos a pensar en como debian resistir hasta llegar a Valle Ortigas, llevando lo que mas podian y racionando lo maximo. Un momento basto para que Cronos pudiese llegar a la conclusion que no solo el agua que el llevaba seria suficiente.

- Creo que no, pero conozco a tu madre y se que ella tambien llevara lo suficiente para todos -. Los tres se reunieron en la puerta. - Creo que el laboratorio estara cerrado por un buen tiempo -.

- Que quieres decir, tio? Que nunca regresaremos? - Martin estaba un poco preocupado - Que pasara con todo? -. Cronos lo miro, y, con el tono que acostumbraba a enseñarle, le relato su plan:

- No creo que nos quedemos mucho. Lo que voy a hacer es fabricar mas medicina para la mayoria de animales y esparcirla en el arroyo, para que contrarrestre el efecto del veneno que existe en el agua, y asi purificarla nuevamente. Y cuando todo el peligro haya pasado, regresaremos y continuaremos nuestra vida normal.....sencillo, verdad? -. El muchacho lo observo y daba la impresion de no haber entendido muy bien los planes, por lo que Cronos se resigno, encogio los hombros y siguio. - Creo que no me entendiste, pero no importa, ya lo entenderas, vamos Cynthia, debemos irnos rapido!!! -.

Y dicho esto, los tres dejaron el laboratorio, cargando las provisiones y las medicinas, mientras escuchaban el eco profundo de la puerta al cerrarse detras de ellos, con un gesto de tristeza, e inclusive Cynthia se "despidio" del laboratorio, con un gesto manual, y se apresuraron a coger la canasta que los llevaria hacia la superficie.

A Continuacion…