Bomba, the Jungle Boy and the Abandoned City - Roy Rockwood - ebook

Bomba, the Jungle Boy and the Abandoned City ebook

Roy Rockwood

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„Bomba the Jungle Boy in the Abandoned City” is the fifth book in a series of American boy’s adventure books produced by the Stratemeyer Syndicate under the pseudonym Roy Rockwood, published in the first half of the 20th century. Various sources say the author was Howard R. Garis, or John William Duffield. Roy Rockwood is a pen name. Bomba and his native-Indian companion must descend into the bowels of a buried Inca citadel; through pitch-blackness they must negotiate steep cliffs and volcanic fumes to track down a babbling medicine-man and his army of minions. The worst hazard is navigating a huge pit swarming with snakes; by edging their way along a parapet only inches wide; at any moment a snake may dart its head out of a crevice and sink its fangs into their flesh!

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Liczba stron: 218

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Contents

I. THE SURGING TORRENT

II. TERRIBLE FOES

III. QUICK ACTION

IV. AN UNEXPECTED RESCUE

V. DAUNTLESS RESOLUTION

VI. AN ATTACK

VII. IN THE SLIMY COILS

VIII. THE FACE IN THE WATER

IX. A PASSAGE THROUGH THE ROCKS

X. THE SCREAM IN THE PASSAGE

XI. IN THE HAND OF THE ENEMY

XII. THE WRITHING SERPENTS

XIII. SINGING ARROWS

XIV. RETRIBUTION

XV. THE DEADLY LASH

XVI. A DARING PROJECT

XVII. TAKEN BY SURPRISE

XVIII. JAPAZY SPEAKS

XIX. A DESPERATE SITUATION

XX. IN THE DUNGEON

XXI. WORDS OF DOOM

XXII. THE GNAWING TEETH

XXIII. A SUDDEN LEAP

XXIV. TERROR

XXV. OVER THE WATERFALL

I. THE SURGING TORRENT

THE water sped by Bomba like a wild thing lashed by terror. Logs filled it, trees, bushes, ruins of huts torn up by the earthquake and flung into the mad tumult of the river.

Far up on the river bank stood Bomba, the jungle boy, staring with habitual stoicism at the awful spectacle. The body of a native floated by. Bomba started forward, moved by an impulse to help, only to stop when he saw that nothing more could hurt that bit of human clay. The native was dead.

The jungle boy watched the body disappear in the swirling debris, thinking in his heart:

“Bomba might have been that man, with no more life in him than the uprooted trees that pile upon his body. But Bomba is here. Bomba is safe.”

Almost as though to remind him that this was no time to congratulate himself, the earth trembled and undulated, snakelike, beneath Bomba’s feet, flinging him upon his face.

He lay there, arms outspread, feeling the ground crawl like a slimy thing. Had he been a native, he would have called upon the gods of the jungle to save him from the fate that threatened him.

Deeper in the jungle he heard a titanic rending and groaning, as trees toppled and fell to the ground with a crash. He looked about him apprehensively. He was filled with a deathly nausea as the earth writhed beneath him.

He struggled to his feet and supported himself with a hand against a tree trunk, while his eyes stared at the spot where had once been Jaguar Island.

The place it had occupied was now a wild waste of swirling waters. Clouds of steam rose high in the air, caused by the torrents of boiling lava that were still coming from the submerged volcano of Tamura, that dread volcano to which he would have been offered as a living sacrifice if it had not been for his quick wit and dauntless daring.

While he was pondering over the awful fate from which he had so narrowly escaped, Bomba felt the earth lift again in a terrible convulsion.

The ground began to slide from beneath his feet, and with a gasp the boy flung himself backward, twining his fingers in some of the creepers that hung from a tree above him.

He was only just in time. A portion of the river bank slid with a sucking sound into the water. Bomba’s grip alone withheld him from being engulfed. The waters of the rushing torrent surged hungrily about his feet.

Not for nothing was the lad as strong as the jungle jaguar, as nimble as Doto, the monkey. He swung himself upward, and, as the tough vines held, found himself once more safe on ground that still remained firm.

“Bomba must get far from here,” the boy muttered to himself. “This place is the dwelling of death. At any moment the earth may open or the river come higher and swallow up the ground and Bomba with it.”

However, it was easier to determine on flight than to accomplish it. The quaking of the earth continued and Bomba, trying to run, was flung repeatedly to the ground, only to struggle to his feet again and stumble blindly forward.

But the peril of falling trees in the forest seemed to be even greater than that which might await him nearer the shore, and after a while he stopped, gasping for breath, awed by the forces of nature that were arrayed against him.

“Bomba must wait,” he muttered to himself. “The earth will become quiet soon, and then he can go on.”

Once more he stood near the bank, watching the waters rush madly by. Many animals had been caught in its ruthless grip and were swept along as helpless as chips upon the waters of a cataract.

In a few minutes Bomba had counted five pumas and seven jaguars. They tore wildly at the river bank, but their claws could find no hold.

“Even the puma and the big cat are helpless against the earthquake and the rushing torrent,” mused Bomba. “It is strange. Jaguar Island has been swallowed by the hungry waters, and all that dwelt upon it are dead, all except Bomba. Perhaps–“ and here a gleam lighted his somber eyes– “Bomba has been saved because there is still work for him to do.”

The light faded from his eyes and the mouth of the jungle boy became straight and grim with purpose.

“One thing Bomba will yet do,” he declared. “Bomba will meet Japazy, the half-breed. Bomba will tear from his lips the truth about his birth. Japazy must tell. Japazy shall tell. It is Bomba who says it.”

It had been a bitter disappointment to the lad, after having braved numerous perils of the jungle, to find, on arriving at Jaguar Island, that the half-breed who held rule over the people and whom Bomba sought was absent on some mysterious errand.

But there was still hope. Japazy at least had not perished with the other luckless inhabitants of the doomed island. Somewhere in the world of the jungle the half-breed still lived, and Bomba had no doubt that some time he would find him and get from him the knowledge of his parentage –a knowledge that it seemed only Japazy had power to impart.

The thoughts of Bomba turned to Cody Casson, his one white friend, who had wandered off, half-demented, into the jungle. Where was the old man now? Had he survived, or was he lying even now, a mere heap of bleaching bones beneath the pitiless sun?

Bomba had hoped to find Japazy quickly, to gather the information for which he hungered and return on swift feet to the village of the native chief, Hondura, who had promised to search for Casson and take good care of him if found. Perhaps, Bomba comforted himself, the poor old man was now safe with the chief. But it was a forlorn hope, and Bomba knew it.

The lad aroused himself from his musings abruptly. From somewhere had come a faint cry. Or had he imagined it?

“Help!” came a native voice in wild appeal from the river. “Help or I die!”

Bomba’s eyes searched the surface of the torrent and saw, borne toward him at amazing speed, the form of a native clinging to the trunk of a tree.

The fingers of the man were cramped and weary. They were slipping from the slimy trunk. In another moment he would let go and be helpless in the grip of the flood, a bit of human driftwood carried on to destruction.

With a sharp exclamation, Bomba darted down the river bank. He lost his footing and slid some distance toward the water, in danger of meeting the very fate he was trying to ward off from another.

But he caught at some tough vines and halted his mad descent on the very brink of the stream.

The native was within two feet of him, still clinging weakly to the log. The terror of death was in his eyes, and the agonized appeal in those eyes went straight to Bomba’s heart.

Lying face downward on the bank, maintaining a strong grip on the vines, Bomba swung his feet as far over the water as they would reach.

“Take hold with your hand!” he cried to the native. “It is the one chance. Quick!”

With a strength born of desperation, the native flung himself forward, at the same time releasing his hold upon the trunk. His fingers touched one of Bomba’s feet, wound themselves about it and held on frantically.

Bomba felt the earth quiver beneath him. What if the bank should break loose and slide into the river as part of it had done before! Then his plight and that of the man he was trying to save would be hopeless.

Slowly, inch by inch, he made his perilous journey upward until his fingers closed on a sapling. This gave him the purchase that he needed.

Quickly now he pulled himself up to level ground. Then he reached out a hand to the Indian and drew the fellow up beside him.

For some time the Indian lay panting and speechless. Bomba saw that the man was on the verge of utter exhaustion. A few moments more and he would have been simply one more inanimate body that the river had claimed as its victim.

He was a tall, lank fellow, this native, thin almost to the point of emaciation. He had hawk-like features, a firm jaw, and an expression less brutal and more intelligent than most of the folk in this part of the jungle with whom the boy had come in contact.

The man looked up at him. His eyes were dulled by suffering and terror, but behind this veil burned a light of gratitude.

“It is to you that Gibo owes his life,” the man said in a guttural voice. “Because of that the life of Gibo is yours to do with what you will. You are master, Gibo is slave.”

The deep emotion in the voice of the native warmed the lonely heart of Bomba. He smiled and said slowly:

“My name is Bomba. Bomba is glad that he could save the life of Gibo. But Gibo owes Bomba nothing.”

“Gibo owes Bomba his life,” the native repeated doggedly. “That is not nothing. Bomba is master, Gibo is slave. Gibo will go where Bomba leads.”

“Has Gibo seen Bomba before?” asked the jungle lad, who did not remember having seen the man among the natives of Jaguar Island.

“Gibo looked upon Bomba from afar,” was the reply. “He did not dare go near the stranger who could put his hand on the cooanaradi and not be bitten. He thought the stranger must be a god.”

Bomba could with difficulty restrain a smile as he recalled a ruse that had undoubtedly saved his life while he was in the house of Japazy on Jaguar Island. He was on the point of explaining what had seemed to the superstitious natives a miracle–how he had escaped death from the poison fangs of a cooanaradi. But he reflected that it might be well to have Gibo remain under the deep impression that the incident had produced.

“Bomba can do many things,” he announced gravely. “It was not well that the people of Jaguar Island planned to kill Bomba. Tamura was angry and sent out his floods of fire and punished them. Bomba is still alive, while the people of the island have now gone to the place of death.”

“It was bad of my people to do harm to the stranger,” confessed Gibo humbly. “But Gibo had no part in the councils of the elders.”

Bomba was about to answer when suddenly he jumped to his feet, eyes fastened on the rushing river.

Gibo followed the direction of Bomba’s gaze and gave vent to an exclamation of terror.

Down the river, hurried on by the rushing torrent, came a swarm of alligators.

“Run!” shouted Bomba to Gibo. “They are headed for this spot! To stay in their path is death!”

II. TERRIBLE FOES

THE alligators were being carried by the current to a point of land that jutted out from the mainland about two hundred feet from where Bomba and Gibo stood.

It was certain that many would be thrown upon this point, and as they could run almost as fast on land as they could swim in the water, the peril to the two wanderers was manifest.

The beasts were crazed by fear. Ordinarily they would have sought refuge from the great convulsion of nature that was going on by sinking to the mud of the river bed and waiting there until the tumult of unchained forces was over.

But the quake had extended beneath the river bed and had shaken it in the same way as the dry earth. And the flood of molten lava that had poured into the stream had made it boiling hot in places, so that the creatures were scalded and blistered.

In their fright and bewilderment they had surrendered themselves to the current that promised at least to carry them out of range of the disaster.

The point of land was reached with incredible swiftness. Many of the huge beasts were flung up on the shore. Right in their path were two of their natural enemies. The caymans charged them savagely. Before that attack Bomba and Gibo fled faster than they had fled from the fiery wrath of the volcano.

The ground still quaked and quivered underfoot. It was almost impossible to run. Again and again the fugitives fell to the ground, expecting to feel the snap of vicious jaws. Again and again they struggled to their feet just in time to avoid a hideous death.

If the brutes had been endowed with sufficient cunning, some could have run in different directions so as to cut off the retreat of the fugitives and surround them. But they lumbered on behind in a mass, often knocking against each other and impeding their common progress.

But they were running close to the ground and could not be so easily upset as the tall human creatures they were pursuing. And they had a reserve of strength not possessed by their human quarry. Sooner or later these advantages were bound to tell.

Bomba, looking over his shoulder, could see that the alligators were gaining. Their eyes seemed to the excited boy like points of fire, ablaze with malignity. Their jaws were open, showing the terrible rows of teeth with which they were garnished.

Bomba shouted hoarsely to Gibo, who ran close beside him, fear adding wings to his feet.

“Up in the tree!” Bomba commanded. “Quick! It is our only chance.”

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