Take no notice of the chapter NUMBERS in this story.
Chapter 1:An Argument
The carts trundled along the dusty dirt track, which at some time would lead the weary travellers towards the Red Indian village, Hisini.
Jamie was immensely worried about the food situation. It was true what Taarken had said,
“We are in the middle of nowhere, we’re running out of food, and furthermore, we have no idea where the village Hisini is.”
Suddenly a girl ran up to Lord Taarken and declared in a high pitched voice,
“We are approaching Hisini!”
As the girl jubilantly spread the good news, the village loomed up in front of them.
The men were loading their guns, in case of a sudden hostility from the Indians, which is a common occurrence in the deepest of the wild west.
The carts stopped out side the heavily fortified village of Hisini. Hisini had a wooden spiked fence with a thick forest south-west of it. The Indians lived in dry mud houses with thatched roofs.
Lord Taarken strode off to get items ready to trade for food with the Indians.
In Lord Taarken’s cart, a violent argument was in full flare.
“We should avoid this cursed village!”urged Hutchinson who was a stocky blonde twenty-five year old. “It will endanger our quest!”
“Going any other way to Chlowlow would endanger the Quest. There is NO other way to Chlowlow except if you want to go through Crevice Canyon or Basilisk Swamp!”
Suddenly Lord Taarken entered majestically into the cart and said,
“The Red Indians have agreed to trade with us and let us go through the village!” Hutchinson and Houdini stared daggers at each other and then walked away.
Chapter 2 : The Betrayal
The Sun rose over the village of Hisini and the Americans readied their trading items, guns, gunpowder, animal furs and so-on, to trade with the Indians for food.
Lord Taarken blew a horn to tell the Indians they were ready to trade.
A minute later, Hutchinson cautiously went into the gateway of Hisini, wondering why the Indians hadn’t come out. Lord Taarken and men behind tables, ready to trade, watched Hutchinson as he looked into the village.
Suddenly, drums started beating and war cries filled the air. Hutchinson fell to the ground. Lord Taarken looked up in surprise, as Hutchinson lay dead on the ground, with an arrow pieced through his head. Blood oozed out onto the ground, and Taarken looked on in horror as thousands of Indians swarmed through the gateway.
As arrows swamped the air, Lord Taarken looked into the crowd of oncoming Indians. What was the reason for this sudden hostility? There in the middle of the crowd was Houdini, covered in war paint, but most definitely Houdini. But he had no more time to think as a shot rang out and an Indian fell dead to the ground. Jamie, Lord Taarken’s brother, had killed an Indian.
Taarken whipped out his pistol and followed the example of his brother. The men at the tables knocked over item into the path of the Indians! But nothing could stop them now! A horn blew as a sign to retreat to the woods, but no-one heard above the bloodthirsty cries of the men! But it did not take a horn to persuade people to avoid a massacre. Lord Taarken ordered men to take defensive positions on the edge of the wood, while the women and children prepared a camp.
The Indians soon retreated back to Hisini at the sight of their own blood. Houdini was thinking, now I’ve ditched those idiots, I can get round to finding where the diamond is, but I’ll just check what Taarken’s next move is.
Lord Taarken and Jamie gravely discussed the situation while armed men watched Hisini.
“Houdini was behind that!” said Lord Taarken.
“I know! He disappears and the next day the Indians attack us! And another thing, Houdini is a Red Indian, so he has a good influence on his fellow race,” replied Jamie.
“Houdini was in the thick of that battle,” added Taarken, “But I still can’t understand why Houdini betrayed us,”.
“But. . .” started Jamie. But he was interrupted by a man who was guarding the camp.
“Houdini is spying on us! Shall we shoot him?”
“No, I will take care of him!” replied Taarken. He went off to get a gun.
Five minutes later, the eerie silence of the night was broken by a shot from a rifle and a moan as a man’s life ended.
“Houdini had an evil intent!” said Jamie to Taarken.
“Indeed,” Taarken replied. Suddenly, a man rushed up to Taarken and cried,
“A lion! Surely it is a lion! It growls and is heading towards the Indian village.
Chapter 3 : An Urgent Meeting
Jamie sprang up in alarm! But Taarken gestured Jamie to sit down. He calmly told Jamie to gather the men into the cart.
Not a long while later, men appropriately dressed for a cold winter night assembled under a moonlit sky, in a natural clearing, looking tired and anxious.
Lord Taarken rode up to address the men.
“This meeting must be quick due to current circumstances,” There was a brief pause and then Taarken continued. “A lion is apparently heading to Hisini, and as you know, American lions are dangerous – especially the black-maned Mamba kind. We know that those Indians won’t stand a second against a fully-grown lion.” Then he concluded, waiting for the effect to sink in, “Will three men, not including myself and Jamie, assemble outside the cart with rifles and knives!” He pointed at three men with good fighting experience.
Chapter 4 : The Black-Maned Mamba Lion
Five men stealthily crept into the entrance of Hisini. A deadly silence pierced the heart of fearless men.
Taarken wondered why there were no Indians milling around. Then suddenly, Jamie pointed at the wall of one of the numerous houses in Hisini. A huge shadow of a lion, like a hovering rain-cloud waiting to burst, prowled menacingly on the wall. The five men stood motionless in terror, as a huge lion emerged round the house and stared straight into their eyes. The lion had blood dripping from its mouth and was snarling, ready to pounce! Jamie wondered why the lion’s mane was so big. Then part of the supposed mane dropped onto the ground. To his horror he saw a moonlit piece of flesh on the ground. He looked up into the lion’s face and observed the moonlit mane. Not a golden mane, but a black mane. Then he realised what he was observing – it was a black maned Mamba lion!
The lion leapt high into the air and landed on a helpless man who was now a mere bundle of mangled skin and flesh. Four men whipped out their cocked pistols and fired deep into the body of the lion. It flopped down on top of the dead man. Jamie stepped up to finish the seemingly-helpless lion, when it swished its last swish and floored Jamie.
Lord Taarken ran over and shot the lion through its heart. The lion was dead. Jamie had a massive claw mark in his leg. The two remaining men, aside from Taarken, helping Jamie up and hobbled him into the camp. Taarken, however, entered a hut and saw, strewn all over the floor, evidence of a fight. He had seen enough. The way was clear to Chlowlow.
When Taarken got back to the camp, the majority were asleep apart from Jamie and the two other men. Jamie’s foot was bandaged and they were eating hot mush. He joined them and they discussed the current situation.
Chapter 5:The Earthquake
The next morning the camp awoke to a rumbling under them.
“What’s that”? Asked a man who had stumbled over to Jamie who was feeling a lot better.
“Hmm, I don’t know.” he replied. “Why not ask Taarken,………” Suddenly the rumbling increased and the ground began to split. Taarken rushed out of his wagon,
“Earthquake! Quick get onto the horses and go, flee, meet back at the camp when the earthquake stops!”
Suddenly, people were rushing around trying to get a horse to getaway on. By now the earthquake was swallowing up wagons. People on horses were consumed up by the ground. Lord Taarken helped Jamie up a tree as all the other people disappeared below them and their carts were reduced to fragments of broken wood! Few people escaped! Finally the earthquake stopped and a few people emerged from safe hiding places. Jamie came down from the tree with the help of Taarken.
“This is a disaster!” cried the few people who had survived and not run away. Taarken said,
“Please everyone, help tidy up the the camp and then we will continue to our goal!” This little speech seemed to encourage them all as a frantic search for any people who had survived begun.
Taarken moved away from everyone and looked into the sky. A vulture soared round in the deep blue expanse looking for a meal to swoop on. He thought,
“How lucky it is to be able to fly!”
Chapter 6: Arrndard
After a while, the stars began to shine and the clearing looked more ship shape. Taarken was talking to Jamie who was now completely better from his ordeal. Taarken said,
“Most of the people have left us and now we only have three men left!”
“But, at least it will make the journey easier! But what I don’t get is why Houdini deserted us, he was my life long friend!”Jamie replied.
“Let’s face it, he wasn’t really our friend if he tried to kill us! He wanted the diamond for himself!”continued Taarken. Jamie was walking away felling very sad. Why did Houdini desert us? He was my ‘friend’!
Later that evening five men including Jamie and Taarken huddle found a cosy fire. They were all that was left of the ‘diamond hunters’! One called Robertson looked glum because his wife had been crushed in the earthquake and Hans was another of Houdini’s ‘friends’. Last of all there was Daansk Sooksk with a Norwegian back ground. Taarken broke the silence.
“I think we should turn in for the night, then carry on next morning!” Without uttering word, the men walked slowly to their wrecked wagons and then settled down for the night.
Early the next morning, the Sun beat down on two canvass roofs! Five men gathered all they could from a pile of rubble. Food, water, all that they could manage. Then they bundled into two carts drawn by horses!
“Come on. . . come on!” urged Taarken to his’ weary horses. At last the horses pulled the carts out of the clearing onto a crumbled track. All around them signs of an earthquake were evident and trees were strewn all over the ground. Slowly, but steadily, the wagons travelled all day until they saw a river.
“Ahhhhhhhhh, a river, at last.” sighed Jamie. Clear water flowed lazily along the river bed and the water looked fresh. Robertson got out of the cart and made his way to the river cautiously treading on the ground. He noticed the ground was flat and smooth, with no clods of earth lying around. He gathered some water in a pouch and brought it back to the carts. There was an eerie silence! All the birds seemed to have left after the earthquake. They had gone far, far away! Inside Jamie and Taarken’s tent the latter was talking loudly.
“Why didn’t I think of it before?”
“On the map we had. . . you know. . . the one which we lost, I seemed to remember there being a river near Chlowlow!”replied Taarken excitedly.
“Are you sure? If so can you remember where Chlowlow is?”
“I have quite a vivid memory of it. Chlowlow is just north of the river. Hmm, I think the river is called Arrndard.”
“Well, what are we waiting for let’s go. . . to the village I mean.”cried Jamie. “Hey, Robertson, Hans, Daansk come here!” continued Jamie.
There came the sound of footsteps on the ground as three men came up to the cart!
“What’s up?” asked Robertson taking a swig from the new fresh water.
“Right, listen!”instructed Taarken.” We’ve just found where Chlowlow is!”
An hour later, five men approached a spiked fence! They could hear a lot of noise coming from over the fence! They had left there carts behind a clump of trees and were now next to the entrance to what they hoped was Chlowlow! They had their guns with them slung over their shoulder. They entered the village. “Good!” thought Taarken.” It appears to be market day. We won’t be noticed!” People bustled busily around browsing stalls. Men competed for the airwaves, yelling their wares. The company of men stopped by a house with a thatched roof and wooden supports.
“OK, here’s the plan!”addressed Taarken to the other men. “We need to find an old lady. She’s probably Indian, just mingle with the crowd and find out where she is! The sooner we fnd the lady, the sooner we get the diamond!”
The men split up into the noisy crowd.
Daansk Sooksk was an unusual man! He smoked and had never been married. He thought to himself, “Ha ha, those fools are gone, now I can complete Houdini’s wish!” Houdini had said to Daansk,
“If I die before I get my hands on that diamond you must kill Taarken and get the diamond, then dispose of the diamond.” At the time Daansk had found that strange coming from Houdini but since then he discovered that it’s not nice to have twenty odd people trying to find a diamond that is rightly yours.
He pondered how to kill Taarken. He knew where the old woman lived. . . or maybe used to live. That was not a problem. But now Taarken was on his own for a while it should be easier to kill him! Daansk discreetly followed Taarken onto the crowd. Then he saw Taarken turn a corner. Hmm, strange! Suddenly Taarken swung round with his gun in his hand.
“Why are you following me?”raged Taarken. “Believe it or not I over heard your little chat with Houdini! I wondered when you would try to fulfil his wish!” Then Daansk replied,
“How do you think you’d like it if some bugling idiot like yourself tried to take a fortune that is rightly yours?” yelled Daansk angrily. Then he took his gun out!
“I’m not sure that what I’m doing is right, but you are a traitor to me and everyone!” shouted back Taarken. His finger moved onto the trigger at the same time as Daansk! Bang bang! Daansk slumped to the ground dead and Taarken screamed in pain! He looked at his finger and reeled back and fainted. Luckily, no one had heard the commotion but Hans and Robertson. They rushed round the corner and gasped in amazement at Taarken and then in horror at Daansk!
Hans rushed over to Daansk and felt his pulse. NOTHING! Daansk was dead. Robertson felt Taarken’s pulse. Badom badom badom! He was alive! Robertson quickly bandaged Taarken’s bloody finger in a piece of cloth. Hans went off in search of Jamie. “What on earth had happened to cause Daansk to die!”he thought as he ran over cobbled streets to find Jamie. At last, there he was. Jamie was talking to an old man and he looked surprised to see Robertson!
“Come quickly!” cried Robertson to an astounded Jamie. “Taarken, injured. . .Daansk . . . dead!” Then ran back to the spot where Taarken lay. He was now breathing and talking!
“That. . . insane idiot!”muttered Taarken. “Was working for Houdini. . . trying to kill me!”
“What?” spluttered Robertson, Hans and Jamie simultaneously.
Five minutes later four exhausted men booked a place in a cheap looking hotel for the night.
The next morning, Hans woke up first wondering where he was. Ah, yes, in Chlowlow! He roused the others and they dragged their clothes on slowly. They were tired and were surprised to hear that Daansk had been found already. People were all talking about the death and most people seemed to have no clue who had killed Daansk.
“Oh, I forgot to tell you! said Jamie. “I know where the old lady lives!” The others looked up in surprise.
“Where? They asked in unison.
“Follow me!”replied Jamie mysteriously.
He led them through narrow streets until he got to a drab looking house. The windows were boarded and there was a sign saying in bold letters, ‘FOR SALE’!
“Now all we have to do is get in!”muttered Taarken. He looked cautiously at the boarded windows. Ah. . . easy to get in! Taarken looked around, no one around! Good! Then he took a little hatchet out of his pocket.
“They need to get some customs officers!”
Taarken hacked at the window for about a minute. Then the board gave way!
“Come on guys!” He looked around and then heaved himself through the window. He was soon followed by the others. They were in a bare room. There were cobwebs all over the place and there was a musty smell in the air. There was a rotten door to their left. They walked through the door way. There were lots of boxes in this room. Then Taarken said,
“OK then, search the room!” Jamie moved to the furthest corner of the room and opened a weird looking box! As the others searched he wondered how much the diamond would sell for! He looked into the box. Ughhh! It was rotten! He shoved a cloth which was coated in dust to one side. And there, glinting proudly, was the diamond!
“Hey guys, look I’ve found the diamond!” cried Jamie.
Taarken was the first to rush over.
“Well done, Jamie!” yelled Taarken. The others crowded round, eager to see the diamond!
“Wow, what a beauty!”
“There’s a lot of money for us when we sell that!”cheered Robertson.
Soon they were out of the house and in their hotel.
“We’ll stay here for the night and then we will travel back to our home tomorrow! cried Taarken!
Chapter 1:The Attack of The Indians
It was a hot day when Taarken woke up. “Why am I here?” he thought. “Oh yes, I just found a diamond!” The day before, Taarken and his friends, Hans, Jamie and Robertson had found a diamond in the very village they were staying in at the moment, Chlowlow! They had had a horrid journey encountering a lot of treachery on the part of many ‘friends’! An earthquake had destroyed a lot of the people who were coming on the expedition to Chlowlow and yesterday a man called Daansk Sooksk had tried to kill Taarken. Luckily Taarken did vice versa and killed Daansk in a duel. Daansk had been trying to kill Taarken because Houdini had asked him to. Now, Houdini was the son of Raion Oooudini whom the diamond really belonged to. Houdini had asked his ‘friends’ to help him on the quest to find his dead father’s diamond. But he wanted the diamond to himself! So he told some Indians to kill Taarken and the group of people on the expedition. But Taarken got the better of Houdini eventually. He killed him when the latter was spying on Taarken and his camp. After an earthquake they had reached Chlowlow and found the diamond and also killing the traitor Daansk Sooksk.
Taarken roused the others,
“Ahh, today we start the long journey back to my town, Urdon!”he thought.
The others woke noisily, glad that they had found the diamond. Then Jamie noticed that the street was very noisy.
“Hey, Taarken, can you hear that noise? questioned Jamie. “It sounds like people yelling and screaming!”
“Hmm, I wonder what the noise is! I think I’ll go and take a look!”replied Taarken. Leaving the others he cautiously walked out of the wooden door and creaked slowly down the rickety stairs in to the hall of the hotel. Usually behind a desk sat a plump old lady. But not today! Taarken opened the door to the street and gasped! Men and women were running around looking frightened. Some brandished guns and some just ran around screaming,
“Indians, they are about to attack!” Taarken sprinted back to tell the others.
“There are Indians about to attack I think!” spluttered Taarken hurriedly!
“What. . ?” Bang Bang! Guns! The fighting was already starting. They all had the same instinct, grab a gun and run!
They were soon out into the streets. The streets were now clear apart from heavy sandbags to deter the Indians! Taarken lead the way towards the sound of gunshots. They were now behind a huge pile of sandbags with other men! You could hear a thudding sound but see no Indians! Oh no! They were hacking at the gates. The men let off a startled cry as a sharp hatchet smashed through the gate. They all cocked their rifles and took cover! Then suddenly the gates gave way and hundreds of Indians poured through the gateway! Shots were let off and the air was quickly filled with smoke. Soon the oncoming Indians were upon them! It was now hand to hand fighting. There was soon a scrum of Indians and villagers near the sandbags. And then he saw him! Houdini’s brother, Roudini. Taarken had only ever seen him once on a picture and that was drawn by hand! But he was certain it was him! For a moment they caught each other’s eye. Taarken saw a cold look in Roudini’s eye. Then suddenly Roudini ran out of the village! Taarken tried to follow him but he was too pre- occupied with an Indian trying to slice his head off! He quickly dealt with him but by the time that was done Roudini was out of sight. Then Taarken thought,
“What is Roudini doing here?” His thoughts were interrupted by am sound growing louder. Neigh, NEIGH, NEIGH! Then Jamie looked up from the scrum and saw a horse, no two horses mounted by men holding guns. Three horses! Lots of horses! The Indians ran away quickly. But they were cut off and soon rounded up quickly. It was the American army from Fort West! Cheers went up from the villagers! Taarken and his friends went back to the hotel. Then Taarken told them about Roudini,
“When we were fighting I noticed a man who looked like Roudini, you know, Houdini’s brother!”
“What, are you sure it was Roudini?” asked Hans. I mean. . . lots of Indians look the same!”
“Yes, I’m sure!” replied Taarken.
“Then we must be on our guard?”suggested Jamie.
“Yes, we need to keep an eye open for Roudini! Does everyone know what he looks like?”asked Taarken. They all did!
Then they heard a knock on the door! Rat-a-tat-tat!
“Who is it?”called out Robertson.
“Aye, just old Mrs Plum!” came the reply.
The door opened and the land lady entered the room with some hot buttered toast on a tray.
“Thank you!”said Taarken, taking the tray gratefully!
After they had munched their toast, they loaded their carts with all they had.
“And remember, Roudini is obviously up to no good, so keep an eye out for him!”reminded Hans as they set off.
Chapter 2: Some Things Go Missing
Taarken whipped the horses into action. The horses had brown tails but cream bodies. They were uncommon horses and very strong! They left the village of Chlowlow where they had found the diamond. Now they were going to Urdon, where Taarken lived! He was half feeling pleased to be going home but he had an uneasy feeling that Roudini would want his revenge. Houdini was Roudini’s brother and Taarken had killed Houdini. Houdini was a treacherous man, who was very selfish and arrogant!
Jamie suddenly broke Taarken’s train of thoughts,
“Taarken, look, there’s the stream where you managed to locate Chlowlow from!”
“Humph, yeah!” was all Taarken could be bothered to reply. It was more of a stream than a river. It flowed smoothly but the quantity of ‘the flowing stuff’ was 100 to 1. The 100 is the dirt and the 1 is the water! Not very impressive for a river! The Sun was blistering hot and the air was humid, making it an unpleasant experience. The day went by slowly and last night came. Hans yawned and finally said,
“How about stopping here for the night!”He was pointing at a wide patch of grass surrounded by trees.
“OK,”answered Taarken. “But since Roudini is about I think one of us should stay up for the night, taking turns at looking out for any hostiles!” The others murmured their agreement and then walked back to their tent to sleep.
Hans was on first watch. So far there had been nothing to be seen or heard, just the odd badger or fox!
“Ahh, nothing out here, no chance of Roudini finding us, I think I’ll have a nap!”thought Hans. He lay back on the mossy ground and looked at the stars. Soon he was deeply asleep!
About ten metres away from Hans, four Indians lay, stealthily hidden by thick leaves.
“Haha, the fool of a ‘guard‘ has nodded off! Now we can go and grab some of their stuff!”whispered the leader. So, four Indians stole into the little clearing and paced cautiously towards the tent where Taarken was sleeping. The chief Indian thought,
“Tonight, we’ll just take some essential items and tomorrow I’ll have my revenge on Taarken. My knife will at last have some use. Houdini gave me that knife and his killer will be destroyed by it!”
The Indian and his band crept into the tent made of canvass! The chief looked around and saw a bag of bread.
“Hmm, we’ll start with that!”he thought. Soon the Indians and the chief had taken a lot of food and drink and one of Taarken’s guns. They moved out of the tent into the night and through the forest.
“What a success this has been!”thought the chief Indian. And what surprise Hans would get in the morning!
Chapter 3 A:A Moody Man
Hans woke up with a start! He had fallen asleep! He walked into the tent and then he stopped dead in his tracks! What on Earth was this? Belongings were strewn all over the tent floor and goodness knows how one of the others hadn’t heard all this happening.
“Taarken, hey Taarken!”shouted Hans.
“Oops!”thought Hans. “Someone’s been and gone while I was asleep! Now who could that be !? Oh, of course, Roudini!” Taarken woke suddenly,
“What on earth are you shouting. . .” He stopped in amazement and looked in horror at the tent!
“Hans!”he said slowly. “You aren’t going to tell me that someone has robbed this tent are you?”
“Erm, well, er, I think I nodded of!”finished Hans quickly.
“What on Earth were you thinking of!”yelled Taarken. Jamie and Robertson were staring in
amazement at the mess around them!
“We need to see what’s missing!”uttered Jamie realising what had happened. Hans looked gratefully at Jamie because Taarken was obviously about to spew out some more death threats at Hans! Then Robertson said quietly,
“I think Roudini has paid a visit and a nasty one at that!”
Chapter 3B:Revenge is Sweet?
Soon, Taarken’s temper had calmed down and they had checked what had been stolen! Food, lots of food had been stolen! Hans felt angry with himself after what he had done! What could he do to make amends? But he couldn’t think of a way to do this so he contented himself with helping Jamie drive the horses along on one of the carts.
They were just beginning to travel on a path surrounded by a dense forest when Taarken heard a noise and alerted the others,
“Hey, did anyone hear that?!” Taarken had heard a peculiar noise coming from the trees to his right.
“What on Earth was that?” Jamie finally replied,
“I don’t know what it is but I’ve heard it before! But where did I hear it? Oh yes, at the zoo!” Then Jamie fearfully understood what he had just said!
“Then. . .!”started Jamie. “What you just heard was an animal!” The others were just taking in what Jamie had said when a fierce growl came from the trees. Then came a rustling sound and a cat emerged from the trees. But not any old cat! A tiger! Everyone but Hans were petrified and stood motionless, looking fearfully at the tiger! Then Hans ran quickly to his cart and climbed in. The tiger roared and leapt after him bellowing all the way! The others, still watching terrified, wondered what Hans was going to do. But by now the tiger was on top of the cart shredding the canvassed roof! Then suddenly a shot rang out and the tiger reared in pain and jumped off the cart onto the firm ground. It was limping but still looked strong enough to kill a man. Taarken quickly realised what to do and grabbed his knife from his belt. The tiger slashed at Taarken, sending him flying but the tiger now had a knife embedded in his paw. He was losing health quickly but he looked as if he still had enough strength to finish off an injured Taarken who was lying helplessly on the ground. Bang, Bang! Hans wasn’t taking any chances this time! He had shot the tiger fatally in the chest twice! The tiger slumped dying to the ground! Around them, silence engulfed all the men’s fear and they realised that the fight was finally over! Robertson and Jamie ran over to Taarken and gave him some water. He had only got a cut on his arm and he was soon back in the cart, quite able to walk.
“Well!”said Taarken later that day after they had stopped for the night. “ You really saved the day!” But before Hans could answer Taarken was sleeping in his bed! Jamie quickly took charge,
“I know Hans has just saved the day, but I don’t think he is quite ready to stay on guard tonight and besides, he must be tired after his tiger killing session.” Hans nodded his agreement, feeling pleased that he had made up for his previous mishap! Then Jamie continued,
“I will go on guard with Robertson and we will both be holding a gun. But we will have to make sure it is well hidden, so any hostiles will think we are unarmed!” They all agreed to this and settled down for the night! But they forgot about the hiding!
It was cold outside and Jamie and Robertson felt chilled. They were looking at the stars and gazing in wonder at the way they were designed. Then some clouds blew over and covered the stars and it felt as if something nasty was going to happen!
Roudini stealthily crept through the bushes and looked at the tent.
“Oh dear!”he thought. “There seem to be some guards!” He moved over to the back of the tent.
“Now to take them by surprise!”he thought. He moved cautiously to the back of Hans and thwacked a bulky stick on the man’s back. Jamie cried out and fell unconscious! Robertson jumped away but a shot split the air and Robertson heaved in pain as he was struck by a bullet in his arm!
Taarken had heard the noise and suspecting that Roudini was there he quickly grabbed his gun and made his way quietly to the door of the tent. He swiped the cover open and swung randomly in the air.
“Good!”thought Taarken. “I think I hit the jackpot!” Next to him he saw Jamie lying on the ground with Roudini crumpled helplessly on top of him! Robertson was on his knees nursing his wound. Around them, all hints of wildlife had gone and there was an eerie silence! Firstly Taarken had to move the injured into the tent. It was hard work as he had no help and it was nearly pitch black apart from some faint stars millions of light years away! Jamie and Robertson were now inside and in their beds! Jamie was still unconscious and Robertson was fast asleep! Taarken lay down and almost immediately fell asleep. But alas, he had forgotten about Roudini!
Jamie woke up first the next morning. He had a splitting head ache and he was feeling grumpy!
“Ohhh, what had happened last night!” Then he thought, “I’ll ask Taarken when he wakes up. No sooner than he said that Taarken woke up! He groaned when he saw Jamie. Why was he doing a journey with a first-class set of bunglers! He himself would have to go on guard tonight and that meant another night of no sleep! Robertson woke up and he felt a stab in his arm! Then he remembered his midnight scuffle! After that Taarken explained to a drowsy Hans what had happened and Hans agreed with him that he and Taarken should go on guard that night.
“I think we need to get a doctor for Robertson!” said Taarken.
“Yes, I need one soon because my arm is hurting like mad!”replied Robertson.
They got back into their carts and took a dirt track through the forest towards a village called Reedini. Reedini is inhabited by lots of Americans but some Indians still lived there.
Soon the carts reached the village Reedini. An Indian man walked out of the village.
“. . . . Enretieth cant cassa!”he muttered. Then seeing Taarken’s bewildered face he said,
“You come from. . .” he paused, maybe wondering what to say, “where?”he continued.
“We come to seek a doctor!” Taarken replied in plain American. “I Taarken. . .”he was stopped by the Indian.
“Ahhhhhhhh! Roudini, Taarken is here!” He seemed to understand American now and shrieking loudly he ran back into the village.
“Oh dear!”thought Jamie! “I think we might have an encounter!”
“OK, come on everyone AND BE CAUTIOUS!” cried Taarken as he approached the village on foot.
When the party entered the village, it suddenly went silent! Men stopped walking around, just to look at Taarken and the others. They were looking out for any sign of the seemingly ‘mad’ Indian who had ‘greeted them. Taarken thought,
“Is this the wrong village, there are no white men here.” But his worst fears were ceased by a man in his fifties, stepping out of a strange oblong hut. He wiped some sweat off his brow and stepped forward.
“Ahhhh, welcome to Reedini!” he said. You’d better come in here, erm. . ., I’ll explain later!” he gestured Taarken in to the hut and nodded at the others,
“Come on, you to, they are slightly hostile in this village. Listen, I’ll explain why. A few weeks ago the Indian Chief Ranchuo, decided to throw all the white men out of the village. Now, this was because of a man. A single, solitary man, caused that to happen. He only let me stay because I’m a doctor!” he paused and looked around at the group of tired travellers. They were now inside a hut. It was dimly lit and mattresses lay on hard oak beds with little more than a linen blanket draped over it. In every other bed, a man or woman lay fast asleep.
“So which one of you needs the surgery?”the doctor asked. Robertson pulled up his sleeve and showed the gouge in his arm.
“OK, come in here you lot, I’ll have to do some surgery to it. You can watch if you want.”explained the doctor. They all followed the doctor into a room at the side. A bed lay at the edge of it and a tray of implements was lying on the ground.
Then suddenly, Taarken was the only one to notice a small figure next to a glass of water. It was Roudini, about to drip something from a small bottle into the drink! Quick as a flash, Taarken had whipped out his gun and fired at Roudini. Roudini let out a cry and dropped the bottle. It smashed on the ground and green looking liquid spilled onto the floorboards!
“Roudini!” yelled Taarken angrily! “I will surely kill you this time!” he pointed his gun directly at Roudini’s face. “ So you’re the one who got the white men kicked out of this village! Now you try to poison someone!” he turned to the doctor. “Who was that glass of water meant for?”
“That man, with the injured arm! I say, what is this all about?”the doctor queried.
“This lunatic had been trying to kill us for a long time now!”raged Taarken. “I will kill him right now!”
“No, er, I can give you some useful information!”whimpered Roudini.
“Let’s hear your ‘information’!”mocked Taarken. “Spit it out!”
“OK, well. . .”he said nervously. “I sent men to burn down your house and kill your wife and children! I had to poison Robertson. . .” At this, Taarken leapt up in anger and fell upon Roudini! Jamie jumped in to restrain Taarken, but then wished he hadn’t! Roudini, as soon as he was free form Taarken’s grip, punched him on the nose. It started to bleed rapidly! Jamie now had Taarken on top of him and was struggling to breathe. Roudini thought,
“Har har, two down, two to go!” Then he threw himself on Robertson and pushed him to one side. He was out of the way too and because of his arm, he couldn’t even get up! Hans, however was not easily beaten. In his youth he had been a wrestler and still kept his skills up to scratch, when he had any spare time! He landed a punch on Roudini’s shoulder, but now, Roudini had a knife in his hand and proceeded to hold it menacingly, point first at Hans’ belly. Then he thrust it wildly at Hans, who ducked and kicked Roudini to the floor. The sharp knife flew through the air at hit the doctor who had been watching the fight with almost amusement! But now he was down on the ground dying! The knife had pierced his heart and a pool of blood was filling up! Then, suddenly Roudini tried a trick, only once done before properly. He tried a spin kick but fell helplessly to the ground! But then came the trick. Hans tried to jump onto Roudini’s back, but was repelled by a backwards kick by Roudini. He lay unconscious on the floor, with Roudini looking triumphant standing next to him.
“Wah wah wha! Wah woo wha!” Indian war cries! It reminded Roudini of that day when they had fought Taarken before. The smells came back to him and he was plunged into a flashback. He had a vivid memory of the Indians swarming forward. And then he realised that something was different. The Indians were attacking him! Suddenly he blacked out. . .