Tarzan stood on the porch of his house and stretched his muscles. The damp morning air refreshed his lungs and he checked to make sure he had his knife. He had a full day ahead of him. Two of the nearby villages were having a dispute and they had asked Tarzan to mediate. Everyone in the jungle trusted Tarzan to be fair and so he tried to live up to their image of him. He saw Boy come outside and he turned to speak to him.
"Boy stay home today," he instructed him.
"Oh, but Tarzan," Boy whined. "You said I could go to the village with you today."
"Tarzan no can take Boy today. Tarzan take Boy tomorrow if Boy is good."
"Oh, all right," Boy said in a disappointed tone. Tomorrow was so far away!
Tarzan took hold of a vine and swung off. Boy went inside and helped Jane around the house. He very much loved his adapted parents, but sometimes he wanted other kids to talk to and play with. That was the nice thing about going to the village; he had a bunch of friends there and they always had a good time. He would like to have his friends come over more, but their house was a little to far our in the jungle unless adults came with them.
After eating an early lunch, he moped around some more. Jane was busy sewing and this bored Boy to no end. It was very humid and the noonday sun made him very hot. Even thought he wasn't supposed to, he decided to sneak off to the river. It wasn't that far, after all. Tarzan wouldn't be back for a long time. He reached the river and splashed about for a bit, but he was still bored. Boy decided that he would go to the village by himself. It was only an hour away, if he followed the stream he would come right to it. Tarzan had gone to the next village, and so there was no chance that he would see him. He'd just have fun with his friends for a while and then come back. He'd just tell Jane he'd been at the river. Brightening up, Boy headed downstream.
His trip was uneventful. Reaching the outskirts of the village, he saw his friend Mala and called him over.
"Boy!" Mala said as he trotted over. "How did you get here? I didn't see Tarzan."
"I didn't come with Tarzan," Boy said proudly. "I followed the river and came by myself."
Mala looked startled at this.
"The jungle can be dangerous, you know," he said to the white boy, "Weren't you afraid?"
"No," Boy fibbed, "I know how to take care of myself in the jungle."
Mala looked a bit doubtful at this, but didn't consider it polite to question his friend. The two boys went and found some of the other village boys and played various games. Time flew and Boy noticed that the sun was sinking lower.
"I guess I'd better get back home," he said regretfully.
"Do you want me to get my father to walk you back?" Mala offered.
"No, I'll be fine. It wont get dark before I get home," Boy said. In truth, he didn't want word getting back to Tarzan about where he'd been. None of the children would tell on him, but an adult probably would.
After saying good bye to Mala and his other friends, Boy headed back up the stream. Even thought it was still daylight, the shadows were getting longer and the jungle was filled with dark patches. Boy started to get jumpy. He picked up his pace, but his nervousness continued to grow. The jungle was usually alive with sounds, but it seemed to be getting quieter. This only made Boy more frightened. He knew that when the animals fell silent, it was because a dangerous predator was in the area. Panic was beginning to set in and he wished more than anything that he had asked Mala's father to come with him. He'd much rather face Tarzan than be scared like this.
Boy heard a coughing sound and saw and orange blur coming toward him from out of an overhanging tree branch. He screamed and threw himself to the side. The leopard landed just to the his side and tuned to face him. He screamed again as the great cat prepared to pounce. He was frozen in fear, waiting for the claws to tear him to ribbons. His only hope was that it wouldn't hurt too much. Oh, how he wished he had listened to Tarzan!
Tarzan came swinging out of the trees and the leopard spun around to deal this sudden threat. The man drew his knife and advanced carefully toward the great cat. The leopard sprung and Tarzan jumped to the side. Unfortunately, he was not quite fast enough; the beast's paw raked against his wrist and the knife fell from his grip.
Disarmed, Tarzan turned back to face his opponent. If it were just him, he would swing out of here, but the leopard was between him and Boy. He would have to fight the monster bare handed. This time when it sprang, Tarzan grappled with it. This move took the leopard by surprise and Tarzan wrapped his mighty hands around the furry throat. As he squeezed the cat's windpipe, the leopard thrashed it's paws, trying in vain to claw Tarzan's back open. It kicked with it's back legs, desperately trying to shake the human loose, but Tarzan would not let go. It's struggles became weaker as its life fled. Tarzan held his grip for a full three minutes after it stopped moving. He was not going to take a chance. When he was finally certain it was dead, he stood up and placed his foot on the beast's stomach.
"Ahhhhhhhhhhhaaahhhhhhhhhhaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!" His victory cry rang through the jungle as he beat on his chest with his fists. When he was done, he looked toward his son who was still sitting on the ground.
"Boy all right?"
"Yes, Tarzan," Boy said as he started to calm down. "How did you find me?"
"Tarzan stop at village on his way home. Mala tell Tarzan that boy go home through jungle alone. Mala worried. Tarzan come and find Boy with leopard."
"I was so scared Tarzan."
"Boy no listen to Tarzan. Tarzan tell Boy jungle is dangerous, but Boy goes out alone. Tarzan must punish Boy!"
"What are you going to do, Tarzan?" Boy asked, some of his fear coming back.
"Boy wait!" Tarzan said, "Boy find out!"
Tarzan retrieved his knife and quickly skinned the cat. There were any number of useful things to do with the skin and it was worth the time to get it, even thought night was falling rapidly. Having done that, he got boy to climb on his back and swung off towards home. When they got there, Jane was anxiously pacing up and down.
"Tarzan!" she said in relief, "You found Boy! I was so worried. I haven't seen him all afternoon. What happened?"
"You see, Boy?" Tarzan said. "Boy make Jane very worried."
"Boy go to village," he said to his wife. "On way home, leopard find Boy. Tarzan find Boy just in time and kill leopard."
Tarzan handed Jane the pelt and she noticed the gashes on his wrist.
"Oh, Tarzan, you've been hurt! I'll have to put something on that."
"Tarzan have something important to do first. Tarzan has to spank Boy for running off."
Boy tried to pull away when he heard this, but Tarzan held his hand firmly. He looked up to Jane for salvation, but when he saw her eyes, he knew that there would be no help there.
"Yes, spank him good and hard," Jane said. "He certainly deserves it for making me worry like that. He has to learn to obey us."
"Don't worry, Jane. Tarzan spank Boy very hard. Boy won't sit on bottom for a week!"
Tarzan sat down on one of his homemade chairs and pulled Boy over his lap. He took hold of his son's breechcloth and pulled the back flap up. The garment had ridden up between Boy's plump bottomcheeks, leaving them naked and vulnerable. Tarzan held Boy's back with his hand and pinned him against his lap. Boy tightened his buttocks together in anticipation.
SPANK! Tarzan brought his muscled arm down and delivered a burning slap to Boy's bottom. The youngster screeched and Tarzan repeated his action, SPANK!
Twin hand prints were clearly visible on Boy's untanned cheeks, but Tarzan was only getting warmed up, SPANK! SPANK! SPANK! SPANK! SPANK!
"Please, Tarzan," Boy hollered as the man continued to spank his bottom, "Please," SPANK! "I'm sorry!" SPANK! "I'll listen...." SPANK! "....to what you...." SPANK! "....and Jane...." SPANK! "....tell me to do...." SPANK! "....from now on!" SPANK! "Oh, please Tarzan!" SPANK! "Ow, it hurts!" SPANK! SPANK! SPANK!! SPANK!!
Tarzan was not inclined to let Boy off easily. He had been badly frightened by how close he had come to loosing his son, and he knew it had scared Jane even more. Boy had to learn his lesson, and as much as he regretted having to hurt him, he was going to make sure Boy was too scared to disobey him again. He continued the spanking, turning Boy's bottom and angry shade of red, SPANK!! SPANK!! SPANK!! SPANK!! SPANK!!!
Boy was howling and thrashing in his lap. Tarzan decided that he had gotten enough. He stopped and Boy reached around and tearfully massaged his stinging rump.
"I think Boy should have to stand in the corner to make sure he's learned his lesson," Jane said.
"You hear Jane," Tarzan said to the wiggling child on his lap. "Boy go stand in corner."
Wiping the tears out of his eyes, Boy shuffled over to the corner. Tarzan had tucked the rear flap of his breechcloth up under his belt and so his bottom was still on display. He stood there uncomfortably while Tarzan helped Jane make supper. Every now and then, he imagined that he could feel the eyes of his parents looking over his little red bottom. They made him stay there until dinner, but Tarzan still wouldn't let him cover his spanked cheeks and so he ate standing up. Then he had to go and stand in the corner some more until it was time for bed. It was a very sulky Boy that climbed under the sheets that night.
THE MIRROR LAKE
Jorro had found a trail at the foot of the pass and it led them to the Mirror Lake. Quartermain was pleased on one hand; he had figured that they would have to plow their way through the bush and expected to spend a week doing it. Instead, it had only taken them a day to get to the eastern end of the lake. On the other hand, the fact that there was a trail indicated that others were in the area. Given the reputation of the locals, this wasn't such a good thing. He warned everybody to stay close and not make too much noise.
There was still plenty of daylight left and the crew went about the business of pitching camp. Quartermain sat down to study the map. It seemed they would have to go around the lake to the western end. From there they would go northwest and eventually find a stream. This would lead them to the Waterfall.
Carefully folding the map back up, Quartermain spotted Kent coming in with a load of firewood. The boy dumped the dry branches with the others he had fetched and sat down on the ground. Sweat was rolling down his face.
"Is that enough wood for tonight?" he asked.
"Yes, that's fine Kent. Good job."
"Well, I'm going for a swim in the lake, then," Kent said, standing back up.
"No, you're not," Quartermain said. "It's not safe."
"Oh, I'll be quiet," Kent said in a whiny voice. "It's so hot!"
"It's not safe," Quartermain repeated. "Sit in the shade and you'll cool off soon enough."
Grumbling to himself, Kent walked into the bush and found a large tree at the edge of the water. He sat down on a flat rock and brooded. Of course Quartermain didn't trust him to keep quiet; last time he had been told to shut his mouth, he'd nearly gotten them all killed in an avalanche. But he'd learned his lesson; he really was planning to be quiet. He was covered in sweat and his clothes were sticking to his body. Small insects were buzzing around and landing on his face and arms. How could he ever get cool like this? The water looked so inviting; Kent decided it was too good to pass up. Quartermain didn't have to know. He stripped down to his underpants so his clothes would be dry. If asked about his wet hair, he'd just say he stuck his head in the water. How could anyone prove different?
He carefully stepped into the water. It was refreshingly cool, and he soon had his whole body submerged. Kent could see why the lake had gotten its name; hardly a ripple disturbed the surface. The only thing he saw was a log floating about 100 feet away. Having cooled off, Kent was regretfully preparing to get back out, when he heard someone coming. Fearing that if might be Quartermain, he ducked his head underwater. He held his breath for as long as possible, but when he broke the surface he saw that he was not alone. One of the pack boys was standing on the shore filling up canteens. He saw Kent pop up and his eyes widened. The boy hoped he would not tell on him, but he had no way to ask. The pack boy jabbered excitedly to Kent and pointed behind him. Kent looked around, wondering what the man was going on about. All he saw was the log, though it was now much closer. So there was a current in the lake, so what? Still, why didn't he feel the current? It must be strong to move the log as fast as it was moving. It was only fifteen feet away, now. And since when did logs have eyes?
There was a splash, and Kent saw the pack boy swimming rapidly towards him, still yelling loudly. Twisting his head back, he saw the "log" open its mouth and he froze in the face of rows and rows of razor sharp teeth. Kent screamed as the crocodile rushed towards him. He felt the arms of the pack boy close around him and pull him out of the reptile's path. Adrenaline rushed through his system and he scrambled for the shore. Suddenly the pack boy was jerked away from him and he saw the man caught in the monster's jaws. Blood spurted everywhere as arteries were severed. Still screaming, Kent scurried up onto the rocks. The croc was starting to dive with its prize when a gunshot rang out.
Quartermain had a rifle to his eye and Kent saw a hole in the head of the crocodile. It stopped moving and turned belly up. Jorro and one of the other pack boys ran into the water to pry the man out of the dead jaws.
"He's dead, Quartermain," Jorro said when they had the man loose.
"Get him out of there and we'll bury him," Quartermain said with a sigh as he put down his rifle. "There may be others about so don't dawdle in the water."
Jorro and the pack boy took the bleeding body into the bush and looked for a suitable grave site. Quartermain turned and glared at Kent. Despite the warm air, the boy was standing there in his underpants shivering.
"You want to tell me what happened?" Quartermain said in a low voice.
"I was swimming," Kent said as he looked at the ground in shame, "He tried to warn me, but I thought it was just a floating log. He jumped in to try and get me, but it got him instead."
"Didn't I tell you it was too dangerous to swim?"
"Yes, but....I didn't understand."
"Oh. I thought it was a simple enough thing. Don't go swimming because it's dangerous. You didn't understand that, but I think I know what you will understand. Do you know what I have to do now?"
Kent nodded, his eyes filling with tears. Quartermain was going to thrash him again, and much worse than last time. In a strange way, he welcomed it. His carelessness had gotten somebody else killed; someone who'd died saving him. As bad as it might be, his punishment would never make up for that, but at least it was something. Quartermain had rested his rifle against a tree and was taking off his belt.
"Take off your underpants, Kent," he ordered.
With shaking hands, the boy complied. He stripped them off and deposited them with the rest of his clothes. Quartermain jerked his head toward a fallen tree and the naked boy tearfully bent over it. The rough bark was very uncomfortable on his tender skin, but he was more aware of his exposed bottom. The soft breeze from off of the lake was blowing on him and he could hear Quartermain getting into position.
When the belt landed, Kent screeched in shock and surprise. The pain was so much worse on his naked bum. More blows landed in rapid succession, WHACK! WHACK! WHACK! WHACK! WHACK!
With each blow, Kent cried out with increased volume. The belt was causing stinging stripes as it burned across his bottom, but it was only the beginning, WHACK! WHACK! WHACK! WHACK! WHACK!
Each hard lick of the belt burned a fresh strip of pain into his poor little cheeks. The blows came without relent, turning the naked skin crimson and causing welts to rise, WHACK! WHACK! WHACK!! WHACK!! WHACK!!!
Kent's front section was rubbing all over the tree, causing pain as his stomach and genitals were scratched by the bark, but it was nothing compared to the inferno that was his bottom. Quartermain clearly had no intention of stopping the spanking anytime soon, and Kent knew he deserved all of it and worse. Over and over, the belt descended, bringing new eruptions of fire from his rear. His cries echoed out over the lake, causing a set of nesting birds to take wing in fright.
Just when he thought he couldn't take anymore, Quartermain stopped. Kent was unable to stand, but the man pulled him carefully up from over the tree. Neither of them spoke; Kent wasn't capable of coherent speech yet and Quartermain didn't think anything else needed to be said. He was sure the boy would listen from now on; he was sorry that it had come to this. After a while, he told Kent to get dressed and the boy complied. They walked silently back to camp.
Kent noticed his father sitting down reading a book. The man clearly wasn't very interested in what his son had been up to and the boy didn't feel like talking to him anyway. He saw the Jorro, but not the other pack boys or the dead man.
"Where are the other pack boys?" Kent asked Jorro.
"They're off in the bush digging a grave," the tracker said.
Warily, Kent turned to Quartermain.
"May I help them go dig the grave?" he softly asked.
Quartermain looked down at him. Kent saw understanding and kindness in the man's eyes.
"Yes, Kent. Just stay near them at all times."
"I will, sir," he said. He grabbed and extra shovel and went off to join the last two pack boys. They saw him come and nodded when they saw his intention to help. It took them close to half an hour to dig a hold deep enough in the root-filled soil, but then they carefully laid their comrade's body in it. The two men performed an odd rite that Kent didn't understand, but he guessed it's purpose. The dead man surely wasn't a Christian, but Kent knelt by the grave and said a prayer for him anyway. After that, they solemnly covered him up.
They had picked up their tools and were preparing to return to the main camp when Kent heard a whizzing sound go by his head. One of the pack boys fell over, an arrow through his chest. The other one yelled and then he too had an arrow sticking through him. Kent heard Quartermain's voice yelling that they were under attack and to run. Putting his head down, he blindly ran toward the man's voice. Suddenly, there was an explosion of pain in the back of his head and a wave of awful darkness crashed over him.
Despite Boy's misbehavior the day before, Tarzan allowed his son to come with him to the village. After all, he'd been punished for his naughtiness, and so there was no more to be said. Jane packed them a lunch and off they went. When they reached the village, Mala saw them and ran over.
"Boy!" he said to his friend, "I'm so glad to see you. I was so worried yesterday, I just had to tell. I hope you're not mad."
"No, Mala," Boy said, "I was being attacked by a leopard when Tarzan came. If you hadn't told, I'd have been eaten."
Mala's eyes widened at this news. He was glad that his judgment had saved his friend's life, but it was scary to know how close to death Boy had been.
"Mala smart boy," Tarzan put in. "If Boy get smart like Mala, Tarzan no have to spank Boy."
Boy blushed. He'd been hoping to keep the fact that he had been spanked private, but no such luck. Anyway, he knew Mala sometimes got spanked by his father, so it wasn't as if he'd be teased about it. Mala's father Mogo had spotted them and walked up to Tarzan.
"I'm glad to see you this morning, Tarzan," he said. "I was just going to send a runner to get you. We heard drums from the Wamalama village last night. The air was still and they were playing loudly so we were able to make out what they were saying. It seems that there was a safari camped near the Mirror Lake and they attacked it at dusk yesterday. They killed some people and captured a white boy. The raiding party is still out in the jungle, but they'll be back to their village today. I thought you should know, especially since their captive is white.
"Boy and Mala go play," Tarzan said in a dismissive tone that did not cover his seriousness. Both of the boys wanted to argue, but knew better. They moved off and Tarzan and Mogo went into his hut. Of course, once they were inside, Boy and Mala went to the back of the hut and perched underneath the window where they could listen.
"Wamalama tribe still cannibals?" Tarzan was asking.
"Yes, I'm afraid so," Mogo responded. "Other tribes have talked to them and tried to make peace, but their Headman is very stubborn. They don't do it all the time, and only as part of ceremonies, but they do still eat people."
"Mogo think they plan to eat white boy?"
"The drums didn't say so, but I'm almost sure of it, Tarzan. No-one in that tribe has ever seen a white man, though they must have heard of you. They probably think that eating the boy will give them good magic."
"Stupid Wamalama. When they eat boy?"
"Well, the full moon is tomorrow night. They'll make a ceremony out of it, so my guess is that they'll cook him then."
"Send runners to next village. We organize rescue party. Time to teach Wamalama tribe lesson!"
Boy and Mala heard their fathers stand up and they moved away from the hut. Boy's head was reeling with excitement. A white boy, like himself! Boy was not the least bit racist; the very idea would have been completely alien to him, but the idea of meeting a boy who looked like him was fascinating. He knew, of course, that the land where Jane, Tarzan's parents and Boy's own birth parents had come from was populated by white people, but the few Boy had ever seen had all been adults.
Mala ran off to tell the other boys what was up, but Boy sat underneath a tree. He wondered why Tarzan was apparently going to wait for tomorrow to attempt a rescue. Sure the full moon wasn't until then, but what if the cannibals decided to eat the white boy sooner?
Boy's mind started to turn. The lesson that Tarzan had taught him the day before evaporated in the face of his excitement. Boy knew where the Wamalama village was; if he ran there, he could be there by this afternoon. Maybe he could rescue the white boy by himself. That would be a sure fire way of making a friend. At the very least, he could scout the place out and report back to Tarzan.
He thought about asking Mala if he wanted to go with him, but decided that the other boy would just go and tell Tarzan. That wouldn't do. If Boy wanted to try it, he would have to go now. He casually walked over to the bushes. Once he was concealed under the canopy of leaves, he started trotting down a trail towards the cannibal village.
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