A tangerine body deepened into the azure legs of the poison dart frog perched on a vibrant fern. A pool of ebony made the pupil of an ornate scale patterned eye that blinked and stared at the wooden canoe drifting up the Amazon River as its passengers drove the paddle into the cool water. As they reached the banks, the children leapt over the edge and splashed up to the path that reached the stilted medical clinic with a thatched roof, where Alasdair was bent over an elderly man whose pupils appeared opaque. "This man is going blind," he murmured above the frog croaks and macaw squawks as he peered into the hazy abyss. "The only solution is cataract surgery."
There was a sudden stomping up the wooden planked stairs outside and Callum peered into the hut. "You have more patients running in this direction, and it appears to be an emergency."
"I can discuss treatment with this patient," Dezi pointed outside. "Amalia can help."
Alasdair darted out to the riverside with his brother and Amalia as several people came rushing across the rainforest. At the side was a girl with streaming ebony hair and an infant cradled in her arms. She reached the men shouting, with tears streaking her cheeks, and thrust the child at Callum.
"Mi hermana está enferma! Por favor ayude a ella!"
"She says that her sister is sick, and asks you to help," Amalia explained.
Alasdair moved to stand ahead of Callum and put his palm over the child's forehead. After a silent examination of her vitals, he raised his eyes to the doctors' daughter.
"I'm sorry, but this girl is dead."
Amalia peered down and spoke to the sister with a soft voice. "Ella ha muerto. Lo sentimos."
A cry ripped the air as the girl screamed and wept. She started speaking around the tears and sobs, and Amalia explained with solemn eyes still on her.
"She says she has raised her sister the last two months, since their mother died of the same illness. She has been doing everything she knows how to do, she says, but knows it wasn't much."
Callum realized he clasped the child against his chest. He stared at the horror in her sister, heart constricted with empathetic desperation. "Are you positive, Alasdair?"
"Yes, but I will check again so everyone can be sure," he returned and repeated the examination with a grim nod. "She has certainly passed away."
Amalia knelt before the girl and clasped her arms with earnest words of consolation. Tears streamed down her cocoa cheeks and dripped down her chin, her shoulders rattling.
"¿Cuál es su nombre?" Amalia asked.
"Maritza," managed the girl.
Callum peered down at the gentle visage that appeared to be asleep, disheartened. He covered her soft ebony hair with his palm and closed his eyes to murmur a prayer scarcely audible over the creatures of the rainforest. Alasdair squinted his eyes with curiosity when the bundle stirred against him.
"What are you doing?" he murmured with awe. Callum repeated his prayer again and a small arm reached out beneath the cloth that swaddled her. The cry that peeled the air startled Maritza, whose eyes ignited with joy when she raised them to her sister.
"Melosa! Yo sabía que estaba viva!"
"No, el doctor Alasdair dijo que estaba muerta," Amalia explained enthusiastically as Maritza recieved her sister back into her arms. "Su hermana murió, sino porque el señor Callum oraba, Dios le resucitó de entre los muertos. Alabado sea Jesús, Dios le resucitó de entre los muertos!"
"What was that?" Alasdair asked with surprise.
"God raised her from the dead," Callum covered his mouth with a smile, eyes misted.
Alasdair clasped the open doorway and leaned out to examine the area. He then stepped down each plank with a creak as he searched out the dimmed riverside, but no one was to be discovered. He peered around behind him, but there was no one down that side of the river. He started down the edge of the soothed river and past the perimeter of the village, where he stood about twenty feet from the clinic. This time, when he searched down the river, he saw that he was behind his statue of a brother, who stared ahead of himself with awe. That was when Alasdair caught sight of the magnificent creature prowling ahead, its amber rosettes lined with black and its fierce eyes on Callum as it passed.
"Manuel!" Alasdair shouted as he scrambled back up the stairs and almost collided with the man. "A jaguar is down the river