“Is anyone else awake?” I ask sheepishly.
At first, no response.
Apparently, I am the only one of our group of ten who is aware that we are sleeping in Batman’s bat cave.
“Yeah, I am awake,” eventually responds Marina.
“There are tons of bats flying in here!”
As we all lay in our hammocks, separated from the overly abundant wildlife by a mere bug screen, about half a dozen bats fly and feed all around us.
This is our second night in the Pantanal, a region of Brazil’s wetlands inundated with animals of all shapes and sizes.
The previous night I had slept so soundly I hadn’t noticed the other residents sharing our communal hammock cabin.
“Don’t worry, they won’t bite you,” Marina attempts to reassure me.
The slight tremble in her voice suggests she herself may not be so certain of this assertion.
In my mind, bats are simply rats with wings.
And rats bite.
I cover myself from head to toe with a suffocating blanket, and attempt to relax in my hammock while the bats continue their frenzy mere inches from my head.
As I fade in and out of consciousness throughout the rest of the night, a thought crossed my mind:
“This is nature’s revenge.”
Had I not mocked my horse, which I named Rusty, all that morning while riding through dirt, water and mud?
Had we not thrown stones into the nearby pond in an attempt to rouse the plentiful caymans resting at the shore?
Had we not poked a tarantula with a stick to coax it out of its hole?
Had I not held and fondled a wild, albeit young, Anaconda earlier that day?
Had we as a group not fished and then deep fried and ate over a dozen Pirhanas?
Yeah, maybe I deserve this…
This was the last thought crossing my mind before I drifted off to sleep to the sound of bats flapping, squeaking and crunching all around me.
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