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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Chapter 8: Riddling

Jake awoke to find himself swaying in a hammock. He opened his eyes with a jolt, then closed them quickly as he felt his head exploding with pain. He reached up to touch his temple and found it bandaged. He slowly re-opened his eyes to look around. It wasn’t like some movie where he might awakened disoriented and thinking it had all been a terrible dream. No, he knew he had been kidnapped and he was scared.
His hands instinctively reached for the sides of the hammock and he pulled himself up. He sat over one side of the colorful hammock, which reminded him of the one his abuela had hanging in her backyard. His headache backed off as his curiosity overtook him. 
He was in a hut made of polished sticks pressed together in intricate design. Aside from the hammock there was a small table, two chairs and some large clay pots. On one wall were two small, round windows without panes. Jake could see foliage rustling in the breeze. He carefully stood up, letting the hammock swing him to his feet. He walked over to the window. He noticed that the pots had water in them, with two small cups hanging off hooks. He dipped one cup into the pot and drank. The water was deliciously cold and pure. He looked out the window, amazed to find that he was actually high up a tree. This was not a hut, but rather, a treehouse!
Jake looked down and estimated that he was at least 20 feet off the ground. Now Jake did feel like he was on some movie set. He remembered being a little kid and going to Disneyland with his father. They came to the huge artificial treehouse from the Tarzan movie and they both climbed up it with loud enthusiasm. Up rope ladders, across bridges and back down to the other side where there were musical instruments to bang and scientific objects to be examined. 
Jake hated it when memories of his father overtook him. So he concentrated on his surroundings and noticed, in fact, that he was not in some fantastical village in the trees, but more likely, in prison. And with that, Jake determined he needed to escape. But how?
He heard some muffled voices. He spun around to see that there was a door on the other side of the hammock. The windows were too small for him to squeeze through, and even if he could, he doubted he could make it safely to the ground. There was no where to hide, which might have been a good idea if it weren’t for the fact that he was obviously placed in this hut on purpose and his absence would be noticed.
The door opened and Jake cringed a little, for no good reason other than fear. Jake had loved his father dearly, and sorely missed him, but they both had realized that Jake did inherited his father’s bravery in the face of danger. Better to avoid danger rather than face it. 
In through the door walked two kids. One was a teenage girl dressed in a simple cloth tunic. Next to her stood a boy younger than her, also in a beige tunic. They were both smiling.
“Good, you are up. We were worried about you,” said the girl as she stepped towards Jake to examine his head. She spoke with an accent, but otherwise, it was perfect English. Up to now Jesse had been assuming that they were on some small island off of Puerto Rico, where his aunt, the Captain, had been taking them. Perhaps the hurricane threw them further off course than they had realized.
Jake found the girl’s smile welcoming, not threatening like he had expected. He let her examine the bandage around his forehead. She was taller than he was and bent over a little to examine the bump.
“This looks fine. You are lucky, you know. If we hadn’t seen you in time, they would have killed you”
“Who are you? And where am I? And who would have killed me?”
“Lot’s of questions, eh? First, you will be fine here. No danger. I am Teena and this is my friend, Oto. We are the leaders of our tribe.”
“Leaders! But aren’t you too young? I mean, really, how old are you?”
“More questions?” laughed Teena. “Ok, but to figure out our ages, you’ll have to solve this riddle:  

Oto, Oto, my trusted friend, is now half the age I was back then. But at that time, as we both know, he was a third of the age that I am now.”

“That’s impossible to answer,” grumbled Jake, irritated at the game.

“No it isn’t if you only think of integers.”

Your Task: 
Figure out how old Teena and Oto are. 
Think of at least two ways to solve this puzzle.

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