The Plane from Iquitos
The Ritual of Chief Evil-Eye
Captain Derry and the others had headed into the thick of the jungle, had no idea what had happened to the old soldiers, and his followers, that being: the old soldier himself, and the professor, along with Martha and her two women friends, and the chief: Mana, and his body guard, Kana. They were of course all slain, and now the chief of the other tribe, the one they were running from, had piled up the bodies, tied them upside down by their legs and carried them two per stick through the jungle to an opening of the Amazon, wherein they were going to put them on a craft, and set fire to the bodies and craft, sending it down the river, where they had come from. It served two purposes: the bodies would burn, and no one would be the wiser that they had come, no bodies to find a year, or ten years down the road. Plus, the chief, had admired the bravery of the old soldier, and this was to show his respects. The chief, whom was called ‘Evil Eye,’ dreadfully tall and ugly, but build strong, and all but naked, had painted his face with his wildly fruit colored paints, like a leopard, and had just burnt the village they conquered, of Chief Mana, sent back to their village some thirty plus warriors, and he and several others headed for the river.
–It had been a number of days now since the small group of five left the other group of five–their idea being, if one group didn’t make it out alive the other would, and would have a better chance if they separated, and yet, trouble had seemed to find them anyway, for as they had neared the river, within several miles of it, of which they were some twenty-five miles inland from the Amazon river, and another one-hundred miles upriver from Iquitos, when Captain Derry and Lora, had stepped onto and into a sink-hole, dropping some thirty-plus feet, mostly sliding on the side of mud and roots, and finding themselves by an underground stream. There was no way to climb out, nor rope to assist them should they try. Henry, yelling, had suggested they follow the river, it seemed feasible underground, and they’d follow it above ground and they’d meet at the rivers edge. Both parties agreed.
Henry, and the couple, Dane and Kim, found themselves now heading again on their journey, their fight to keep ahead of Evil-Eye, and his hordes, should they meet up with them, they had no idea of his viciousness, other than their time they had spent at their village when their plane had been shot down by them. And the old soldier had insisted on burning the village, and that infuriated the tribe, yet, as they were learning, Evil-Eye, needed little or nothing to provoke him, just the sight of another unfamiliar person would trigger his anger, and warriors spirit.
Two days had passed since Captain Derry and Lora had fallen down into the sink hole, and Henry, the co-pilot, Dana and Kim were becoming weather-beaten for the most part. It was difficult to walk hour after hour over roots, and dodge snakes and being eaten by a locust of flying creatures, and an army of ants all over the place. Sometimes the ants had a mile long trail, where you’d see them carrying bits and pieces of leafs five times their weight and height, and then come upon a huge mound, a hill that looked more like someone on the beach had built a castle, and forgot the walls. In any case, said Henry to Kim as they rested, the sun creeping through the towering river of green overhead,
“I can almost feel, if not taste the river ahead of us.”
Said Kim with a joyful, and whimsy voice: “Yes, yes, my wife and I will be glad to get back to Iquitos, you know it was simply a ride down the river, and it has all lead into to this dark and gloomy episode in our lives. Unbelievable.”
“Yaw, but you can’t figure out when and where trouble will be, it lurks in the area, just creeps in if it isn’t in Iquitos itself, it’s here, or there. Once we get to the river Kim, we’ll see if we can find a craft of some kind, a lot of natives leave their boats, dug-outs, what have you, tied to the riverbanks, we’ll borrow one, and I’d say, another ninety-miles to Iquitos down river, and we’ll be home.” Dana was laying against a huge tree when Henry noticed a tarantula surfacing from a dugout hole by a tree, under one of its huge roots, her left leg was lying against it.
Said Henry, with a calm and soothing voice: “Don’t move when you feel something on you Dana,” she immediately looked at Henry, with a frown, said,
“What do you mean?” Then felt something crawling on her leg.
“Can I look…?” she said in a terrified voice.
“Only if you do not panic,” said Henry, then added softly to Kim, “Keep her calm, I will kill it should I need to, but it will just crawl over her, and most likely that will be that.”
Next, Henry stood up, grabbed a stick, while Kim smiled at Dana, as Dana now saw the hair like creature as big as a large persons hand: a giant spider she cried, but cried softly, without moving her body, only trembling, as it moved slowly over her leg and then over to the other side and over that leg and then by the other roots. Then she got up, let her breath out of her mouth and ran to Kim.
“Well, it’s, I suppose it’s time to get moving…” said Henry with a misled tone of relief.
Several more hours had passed, and they now could see the river ahead, as they started to step out of the towering tree canapé of the jungle onto amore plateau area that was more long grass, than anything. The sky was somewhat cloudy, it looked like it had rained a few hours back with its fogy-blindng mist, and the grass was still a little wet. There were three boats about fifty feet up river, tied to a stick that was pushed into mud. Smiles had filled both their faces.
As they rested, after several minutes, Henry got back up look around for the opening where the underground stream might meet the river, but the tall grass was so thick, and tall, it could not be found, possible he was thinking this would be a good place to camp, and wait for Captain Derry and Lora, but before he could think another thought, he noticed several heads popping out of the foliage in an opening about a hundred yards from where they came out of the jungle. His heart started beating fast, Kim and Dana whom were sitting on the grass by the rivers edge stood up quickly they all looked at one another, about thirty feet away, taken looked again at the small caravan of natives coming, the tall chief, Evil-Eyes, looked shocked as he seen the three, he had thought, exactly what the two groups had intended him to think, that there was only one group, now he not only felt (fooled) taken as a naive leader, but stultified in the process.
“Run, lets all run to the boats,” yelled Henry, and they all took off as fast as they could go. The grass was so high, that it cut their speed aversively, to a fast walk, and hard at that: hence, pushing and jumping, and trying to run, but unable to. The chief had yelled something, and Henry turned around to see how close behind they were: and they were behind him about one hundred feet, stood still a native with a long, very long dart-shooter, he blew in it and a long thin dart came shooting out, hitting Henry in the chest, sharp as a needles edge; then Kim fell to the ground and Dana followed. They had put some kind of paralyzing substance on the tips of the darts of the blow-guns: the guns being some three to four feet long–tube like cylinders, reeds with holes in them.
The next thing Henry noticed was they were tied up by the river, a giant of a native named Big Iguana was standing guard over them. As the chief and the other five natives got a craft ready putting the bodies of the old Soldier, the Professor, the three women and two other natives on the pile, lit it, and pushed the craft out into the wide and long windy river, it going with the flow of the river. It was ablaze as it shifted about trying to find it course. Then they all came to hover over them, to speculate, to ask the one main question:
“Are you the only ones left, or are there more?” said the chief. Dana and Kim looked at Henry, no one smiled, yet the look Dana gave Henry was uncomplicated: if we had to, we’d tell, it was just a matter of torture and/or time, and it would come out. Said Henry, stuttering a bit,
“No o ooo ww-one but us-ss, we are the last of the group,” but the chief for some anomalous reason didn’t’ believe him, he said,
“You look up and you look down, but not into my face, so you are thinking, picturing what your friends are doing, O yes, you are feeling also for them as for yourself. Full of emotion are you.” The chief’s big ugly face in his face now, his big dark eyes, his big black and brown face, teeth like an elephants, sharp like a snakes.
Then they built a fire on the shore, created a rotisserie of sorts, as if to cook a pig. The arrows that had paralyzed all three, the effects were now coming off. And then, the chief asked Henry the second time,
“Where are they, and how many are there in the third group,” but Henry, being stubborn said not a word. It would seem at this point, the chief was not going to harm anyone, yet his ways were different, he had a hunger, malice in his soul. He didn’t forecast anything, he knew ahead of time what he’d do, and it was just a matter of others finding out when it actually happened. Thus, like an earthquake erupting out of nowhere it would happen, as in a surprise attack: the chief now grabbed two spears, both at once as to impress the co-pilot, and within the next second, the long spears had cut through the flesh of two hearts, and both Dana and Kim fell backwards. Henry’s eyes opened as wide as a full moon, he was astonish, and now could only imagine what had happened to the other group.
“And now will you tell me what I want to know?” Henry knew once he told he’d die, surely die, and so looked the other way. At that point, the chief, took Kim, put him in a boat, and told the Big Iguana, he was going to take him down river about ten miles, to the dark waters of one of the tributaries, and feed him to the piranha, but first things first he implied to his several men. First we eat
in front of Henry, they took Dana, cut her limps off, and cooked them as cannibals, and ate her. Actually offered Henry some, but he was too sick to
say no or yes. What was going on in his mind as he lay in the grass wondering what his destiny was: should Captain Derry and Lora appear, their destiny would be no better than his. He looked about, trying to figure out where the entrance to his underground stream came out. The chief looked at him as he looked traced–his every eye contact.
It was now forenoon, and the heat of the day was piercing down upon the river and its jungle, and its inhabitants. The chief now had given instructions to Big Iguana, that he’d be back soon, and then they’d go get the other group, but should the group surface before he return, that he should kill this man called Henry, and then wait for his return, whereupon, they’d all go hunting again for the new group.
After the instructions were given, in a moment’s time they were on their way. Then Big Iguana, some seven feet tall, possible 300-pounds, tied the feet of Henry, not asking him any more, any questions, just tying him, and then he had lifted him like a baby onto his shoulders like a sack of potatoes, and headed into the jungle. Then setting him down, as softly as a kitchen, he went over to a tree, tore some bark off it, drained some sap from it, then after filing the better portion of a large leaf with it, he stripped Henry, rubbing the sap all over his body, then he carried him high up into the tree, found a secure branch, and tide his feet a second time around the huge branch, as now he hung upside down.
He then went and got more of the sap, painting the tree from where Henry was to the bottom, by where a huge ant hill was, and guided the ants to the sap and watched them make their way up the long hundred foot tree, sitting back looking up as if he was in his glory. Why man gets their kicks out of the sufferings of another Henry could not figure out, what would it do for his appetite, did it really fill him up to see this. Then he noticed a huge snake, some ten feet long on a higher branch above him, and Big Iguana had missed it.
Henry had an idea, it would possible be his last idea should it not work, but none-the-less, it was as it was.
Henry started to sake the branch, he knew he might fall, or even maybe the snake above him might fall, but so be it, his plan was in the makings, and it was all he had (if providence was not on h is side, than no one was). And so he moved his body to and fro, making the branch quiver, as Big Iguana watched what he was up to, and as he moved about, the rope that tied his feet loosened up, and the branch was moving with him now, making his movements almost automatic in rhythm with the branch.
Big Iguana got somewhat nervous, that his prey might fall and break his neck before the third party surfaced, and his chief would not be all that pleased with him, so he started to climb the big tree for the second time, bringing up some more rope to tie his feet even more secure. When he had reached the top, he moved slowly out onto the branch, and trying to hold Henry’s feet still, the branch now feeling a little weak, he stood up, put his hand above his head to secure a better hold onto the tree, and found his hand in the mouth of the big Anaconda, and with a snap, he fell backwards, without a hand, down, down, down, on to the ground; henceforth, the snake then falling from the tree onto the huge being below, and like a rat to a mouse, the Anaconda pulled his dinner into the thick of the flora.
But should he fall from this distance he’d die instantly, but then it was just a matter of time before the ants ate him alive, or the chief would come back and kill him, or think of another way to torment him to death. The third possibility was the Captain would find him. Therefore, it was to his advantage he told himself, to wait a while longer and see where it all would end up.
Another hour had passed, Henry knew he couldn’t last, and so he tired aimlessly with what little strength he had left to shake the branch, and it broke, and he fell, and he died. The Captain had come out of a cave entrance, or in this case exit, to find the cloths of his friends, Dana and Kim, by the river. Lora hugging the Captain could only imagine what took place. After a moment of grief, they both knew they had to hurry, for it seemed always time was of the essence in this part of the jungle, and therefore they grabbed hold of one of the small dugout vessels tied to a river post, and with an oar [more of a pole, with a flat end] made there escape out and into the river.
–At this time, the chief had just dropped the other body into the piranha infested dark waters of an offshoot of the river, down river about ten miles. They ate the body within minutes, pulling as they do the flesh and devouring it as if it was delicious.
As they had achieved their goal, and were on their way out of the side arm of the river, leading into the massive Amazon now, there in the distance was the fiery craft, the ritual craft, they had set ablaze earlier they noticed: then coming up river a ways, was a small dugout, as the Chief and his six hordes, along with their one big boat pointing in the direction, head on with the dugout, noticed. And likewise, Captain Derry noticed the big craft of Amazonians coming towards him.
Notes on this Story: I had felt when I did the first part of this story, “The Plane to Iquitos,” I would either leave it alone, or do a second part, knowing the second group had yet to find their destination. But I had not been in a sink hole per se, so I couldn’t ever figure out the second part and left it alone, yet had the idea in the back of my head, and had to go back to my journey in the Amazon I took some years back. Thus, in the process of doing this the story came alive to me one morning, and I quote from my notes: “I had woke up this morning, and trying to get out of bed this second part was haunting me, and the ending was coming, or beginning, or for that matter the whole second part, the problem was, now there had to be a third part, for the second did not close the doors to the whole story, it only got him through the thick of the Amazon….” So it seems to me, I need to come up with a third part, if ever I can. Part one was put into the book, “Dracula’s Ghost.” Part one was completed in 2003; part two, was in 2004, previously not published; and part three was completed 2005, still in draft form.