Bomba, the Jungle Boy in the Swamp of Death - Roy Rockwood - ebook

Bomba, the Jungle Boy in the Swamp of Death ebook

Roy Rockwood

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The ongoing adventures of the courageous Bomba the Jungle Boy! In „Swamp of Death,” Bomba wants to return to Gonibobo’s camp to reclaim the pages of Japazy’s notebook that were torn out there. Bomba and Gibo had barely escaped the cannibals but Bomba is determined to retrieve the torn pages. „Swamp of Death” is a fast-moving read, an exciting narrative of Bomba’s many heroic exploits. It moves and reads like a comic book. Lacking the visual element, the book focuses on vivid descriptions of Bomba’s rippling muscles and superior strength. With such amazing strength, it is no wonder that Bomba was willing to embark on a mission that would have been certain death for anyone else. The Bomba books always include cheerleader characters who rapturously voice their astonishment and amazement every time Bomba performs a feat of strength and courage.

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Liczba stron: 219

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Contents

I. ENGULFED BY THE FLOOD

II. IN DEADLY DANGER

III. THE WHITE STRANGER

IV. A GLEAM OF HOPE

V. WRITHING COILS

VI. THE STAR-SHAPED FLOWERS

VII. THE SWAMP OF DEATH

VIII. THE BOW TWANGS

IX. THE ECLIPSE

X. WITHIN AN ACE

XI. TAKING RISKS

XII. AT GRIPS

XIII. THE PRISONER SPEAKS

XIV. IN THE QUAGMIRE

XV. THE LORD OF SNAKES

XVI. THE SACRED ALLIGATORS

XVII. A FEARFUL CHANCE

XVIII. IN HOT PURSUIT

XIX. CAPTURED

XX. IN DESPERATE CASE

XXI. THE POISON SCENT

XXII. A DASH FOR FREEDOM

XXIII. A RACE FOR LIFE

XXIV. HORRIBLE JAWS

XXV. WINNING THROUGH

I. ENGULFED BY THE FLOOD

A JAGGED streak of lightning shot athwart the sky, followed by a deafening crash of thunder.

The lurid glare revealed Bomba, the jungle boy, crouched in a hollow beneath the roots of an overturned tree. He had sought refuge there when caught by the storm while he was on a hunting expedition. He knew that no game would be abroad while the tempest continued. So he mastered his impatience as best he could and pushed himself back as far as possible in his temporary shelter, ever and again sending a glance aloft at the lowering skies.

But there was no sign of the storm’s cessation. The flashes of lightning were almost continuous. The thunder sounded like the discharge of a thousand cannon. The rain pelted down in a deluge as though it designed this time to drown the earth and could not be turned from its purpose.

Even in his present cramped and confined position, the jungle boy was a striking figure. His lithe form suggested the power and suppleness of a panther. Although but a boy in years, his muscles, rippling on arms and legs and shoulders, betokened remarkable strength. His skin was as bronzed as that of an Indian, but his hair and eyes and features betrayed his white origin. His face was finely chiseled and showed inherited breeding. His brown eyes were keen and piercing and brown wavy hair covered a splendidly shaped head.

His clothing was simple, consisting of a tunic, sandals and a puma skin slung over his breast. A pouch at his belt contained arrows and a bow was held in his left hand. Thrust in his belt was a machete, a long knife with a razor edge, that had more than once saved his life in hand-to-hand combat.

The rain still continued to fall in torrents. It had already persisted for hours, an unusual thing in the Amazonian jungle where storms come up suddenly and vanish almost as quickly. Bomba became impatient. Although the sun was invisible, he knew that it was getting late in the afternoon, and he did not want to return to his cabin empty-handed. His stock of supplies was running low and a tapir or a jaboty would come in handy.

He was not only impatient but uncomfortable. While his head and shoulders were reasonably well protected, the hollow in which he was crouching had filled with water and his legs and body were drenched.

To this discomfort was added a certain uneasiness of mind. The hollow was rapidly becoming a lake. Numberless rills flowed down the surrounding slopes and united at the bottom, and not far off was the Aloya, a river that usually ran peacefully between its banks but on occasion became a roaring torrent that swept away everything in its path.

The boy hesitated, however, to leave his covert, not that he cared for the pelting rain, but because a gale was raging, against which it was impossible to make headway. The gale was so violent that it was uprooting trees that at any moment might crash upon any one moving beneath them. The lightning, too, found victims among the forest monarchs. Even as Bomba pondered leaving his refuge there was a blinding flash and the two parts of a great tree, split from top to bottom, fell with a thunderous crash that made the earth tremble.

So Bomba waited until the water had reached such a depth in the hollow that he had to choose between the possibility of getting crushed and the certainty of being drowned.

He chose the former and, rising to his full height, grasped his bow and prepared to emerge from his place of refuge. At that moment he caught sight of something that made him on the instant become as rigid as stone.

A monster puma, one of the fiercest animals that range the jungle, was coming toward him. The brute was evidently in a vile temper, snarling and showing its fangs as it moved along. Bomba conjectured that, like himself, the animal had sought temporary shelter and now, despairing of the storm ceasing, was on its way to its home cave.

Bomba fitted an arrow to his bow. The motion that he made in doing this, swift and noiseless as it was, caught the roving eye of the beast and rage came into the eyes as they descried the enemy. Growling horribly, it crouched for a spring.

The spring was never made. Even as Bomba drew back the string of his bow a great tawny body launched itself into the air and fell like a thunderbolt upon the crouching puma. Two terrific roars, and the battle was on.

A fight ensued that baffles description. The second puma–for such it was–seemed slightly larger than the first and had the advantage of surprise. But it was also older and, as the first was in its prime, the struggle was waged on practically even terms.

Over and over the beasts rolled, clawing, spitting, biting, each trying to get a hold on the other’s throat. They had forgotten all about the human onlooker in their fierce rage against each other. Perhaps they had old scores to pay off. ‘It was certain that one of them would not leave the place alive.

Bomba could have slain them both while thus engaged, had he chosen. That impulse came to him but was rejected. Why waste his arrows when they were doing his work for him?

Although there was a terrible fascination in watching that epic struggle, he was hurrying away from the scene when something familiar about one of those struggling bodies gave him pause. He looked more closely.

Then from being an impartial onlooker he became an ardent partisan, for in the second comer he had recognized an old friend.

“Polulu! Polulu!” he shouted, as he danced excitedly about the fighting beasts. “Good old Polulu! He saw Bomba was in danger and came to help him. Kill him, Polulu! Kill! Kill!”

He drew his knife and circled about the pair, seeking a chance to get in a deadly thrust. But they were whirling about like a pin-wheel and his knife was as likely to strike one as the other.

As matters fared, his help was not needed. For Polulu had at last gained the throat hold that he wanted. The other slashed and tore him with its claws, but to no avail. That terrible grip held on remorselessly until a quiver ran through the body of the vanquished beast and it lay still.

Then Polulu rose and began to lick his wounds while Bomba ran to him and caressed his great head.

The huge brute purred like a cat and licked Bomba’s hand.

The friendship between the two had had a curious origin. Some years before, the puma had been caught beneath a falling tree which had broken its leg. Bomba, wandering through the jungle, had come across the imprisoned beast and had been moved to pity by its plight. He brought it food and water and when the beast had had time to realize that the boy was a friend, Bomba carefully released it and bound up and set the broken leg. The puma was deeply grateful, and from that time on had the devotion for Bomba that a dog has for its master. They met frequently in the jungle and on more than one occasion Polulu, as Bomba had named him, had saved his benefactor’s life.

Bomba examined Polulu’s wounds and found that although painful none of them was mortal. The lad used on them some native ointment that he carried with him and Polulu looked his gratitude.

“Brave Polulu!” commended Bomba. “In all the jungle there is none so brave as Polulu.”

There was a gratified rumble from the animal’s cavernous throat as though it understood the tribute.

“Bomba would like to stay with Polulu,” the lad continued, “but the storm is heavy and the water is rising and Bomba must make haste.”

He gave a parting pat to the shaggy head and started off. Polulu made as though to follow him, but was so exhausted by the combat that he staggered as he rose. Bomba made a gesture forbidding him to come and hastened on.

There was ample need of haste. For the rain had not abated one jot of its fury and all the artillery of heaven was thundering more loudly than ever. The gale was almost a hurricane in its force and it was all that he could do to keep his feet.

The whole of the lowland district in which he found himself was now covered with water, with the exception of little knolls that showed themselves here and there. It was not deep enough to swim in and Bomba’s inability to see the ground made traveling difficult. At times he would trip over concealed roots or fall into deep holes where the water closed over his head.

It was annoying and exhausting work, but the hardy lad cared little for that. Something else was engrossing his thoughts–an ominous, menacing roar that with every moment grew more deadly, the roar of the Aloya threatening to burst its banks.

Desperately Bomba struggled on, seeking to reach the highlands and safety.

Too late!

The roar became thunderous. A wall of water came rushing down the valley, sweeping everything before it. It caught up Bomba and carried him on its crest as though he had been a chip!

II. IN DEADLY DANGER

GASPING, choking, struggling, Bomba was borne along on the bosom of the torrent.

The first rush of the waves had overwhelmed him and sunk him fathoms deep. It kept him down as though pressing him with iron hands and by the time he at last rose to the surface he felt as though his lungs were bursting.

At the first onset he had slipped his bow over his shoulder so that his hands might be free. He could swim like a fish, but all his skill counted for nothing in the way of choosing his direction. All he could do was to keep afloat and try desperately to fend off the things that threatened to crush him.

For the river was full of debris, logs and stumps and branches of trees as well as the shattered remnants of native huts that had stood in the way of the torrent. These tossed up and down and crashed into each other, grinding and splintering. Bomba knew that if one of these should strike him he would be doomed.

There were other things in the river too, alligators and snakes torn from their haunts and swept along on the tide. But deadly as they might be at other times, Bomba knew that he had little to fear from them now. They were stunned and bewildered and thought of nothing but saving their own endangered lives.

An uprooted tree came dashing past and Bomba grasped at one of the branches as it went by. But his hand closed on something that was not a branch–something slimy and squirming. As Bomba ran his eyes along it he saw the glaring eyes of a cooanaradi, the fiercest and most deadly serpent of the Amazonian jungle.

Quickly, Bomba released his grip and dived just as the snake struck. The malignant head hit the water a fraction of a second too late. The snake had thought he was attacking it, and for a moment its panic terror at the situation it was in had been mastered by the instinct of self-defense.

When Bomba rose to the surface again the tree had been carried past him. He shook his head and cleared the water from his eyes.

A little ahead of him he saw a small spit of land protruding from the water. As well as he could in that strong current, he sought to reach it. He knew that it would be but a temporary refuge, for the steadily rising flood would soon cover it, but for the moment it would afford him a resting place for his bruised and weary body.

He clutched at a rock on the edge of it and, although the water tore at him madly, his grip held. Gradually he drew himself up until he rested, panting and breathless, on solid ground.

In the waning light he looked about him. At a little distance he descried a tree still standing. He glanced at it indifferently and then with a start his gaze became fixed.

From that direction came a call for help and Bomba could see the figure of a man hanging by the hands from a branch. He saw more than that. A little way from the man a jaguar crouched, ready to spring!

Bomba leaped to his feet and his hand sought his belt.

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