TIME GAMERS: The Chameleon Quest
Extract from Chapter 17
by Lesley Reed
They’d left George and Charlie in the warmth and safety of the cave and now, hiding in the undergrowth high above the stinking swamp, the Time Gamers tried to understand what was happening below them.
Lightning flashed every few seconds, illuminating the mangrove channels in eerie light. Spine tingling roars competed with overwhelming thunder and just as Tim feared, beneath the din, an occasional desperate cry came from somewhere in the darkness.
‘I hear Yasa,’ Tim whispered. ‘It’s definitely him. It seems Diabolico is back from the cove and he’s got our friends cornered down there. Time Gamers, there’s no time to waste. We’re needed, and right now; but be careful.’
They set out, spreading their wings and gliding down to the mangroves like giant, silent moths. Once there, they took cover in a dense bank of tangled mangrove roots.
The air was thick with humidity and filled with biting insects. The stench was almost impossible to bear. Despite this discomfort, constant lightning and brief breaks of moonlight meant it was just possible to see in the darkness.
‘Try not to think too much about the smell, everyone,’ Magi hissed. ‘Mangroves often smell like rotten eggs, but it’s worse than normal for here. It must have something to do with that toxic channel, because it’s nearby.’
‘The sounds come from the reed beds, Magi; where they keep the babies,’ Tim whispered. Magi nodded, apparently thinking the same thing.
Hunched over to avoid detection, Tim led his team through a maze of mangrove roots. Occasionally, the sound of scrabbling feet and slithering bellies heralded the frightening presence of crocodiles, but the group kept moving.
The Time Gamers soon came to the shallow channel that contained the broad and relatively flat surface of the floating reed beds.
‘We need to get across the reed beds to where the action is, in the middle of them,’ Tim whispered.
‘How do we get over there, Tim? The beds are quite lightweight on this side,’ cautioned Sebastian in a hushed voice. ‘If we fly above them we might be seen and if we wade across them we could sink into the water and get our wings wet. It would make the wings useless if we needed to escape in a hurry. Plus, we could even be taken by crocodiles, man.’