“Croc-o-diles. Crocodiles eat Henry.”
“What about you? Won’t they eat you too?”
“No. Kanana is lion.” To add emphasis to her statement, she once again gave a throaty and very realistic lion’s roar.
Kanana started gathering large stones and placing them in the path of the stream, and as soon as I realized what she was doing, I followed suit. Soon we had dammed up the little trickle and made a small pool. It wasn’t more than eight inches deep at most, but it allowed us to sit and bathe. The jungle girl was finished first, having been already really naked. I had never been overly shy, so I quickly disrobed and washed myself. By the time I was clean and dried and had begun to dress, I noticed that my companion was gone.
Deciding that the best course of action would be to return to the tree house and wait for Kanana, I started back the way we had come. The jungle trees were alive with life, from buzzing insects to howling monkeys and squawking birds. Either the sights and sounds distracted me, or I just lost my way, but just when I thought I should be arriving at the arboreal dwelling, I stepped out onto the shore of a large river. It was as large as the river I had navigated on my steamer trunk. It could have been the same river for all I knew.
I didn’t want anything to do with the river, knowing the dangers, especially since I had already washed and drunk from the little stream. As I turned to leave however, a huge form shot out of the water and a great reptilian mouth snapped down. The crocodile’s jaws closed, missing me, and for a split second, I congratulated myself on my luck. Then the beast jerked its head to the left and clamped down on my leg just below my knee. It had me, and it immediately dragged me into the water. I tried to grab at something on shore, but I could no more stop him from taking me than a trout, once hooked on a lure at the end of a rod and reel, could have prevented me from pulling him into a net.
Suddenly, a form fell from the sky. Kanana had flown from the branches of a nearby tree, dropping right onto the crocodiles back. Before the beast, which had to weigh well over a ton, could move, she jammed her knife through its thickly armored skull and into its brain. The crocodile stopped moving and just floated. The jungle girl grasped its snout and pried the jaws apart, freeing me.
“River not good!” she growled at me.
We left the shoreline and she guided me back to the little pool. My heart was still pumping and I felt as though I could have run back to Abbeyport. Such are the effects of discovering one is still alive after having been sure of the reverse. When I sat down though, not only did I feel light-headed, I noticed my trouser leg had a large bloodstain. Kanana lifted it to examine my calf. There were a dozen round tooth marks, all bleeding.
“Henry Goode not listen,” she said angrily. “Henry stay.”