Bomba, the Jungle Boy on Terror Trail - Roy Rockwood - ebook

Bomba, the Jungle Boy on Terror Trail ebook

Roy Rockwood

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Bomba, the Jungle Boy on Terror Trail”? 6 in the Bomba series, by Roy Rockwood, was published in 1928. Bomba is making the treacherous journey back to his home with the Araos tribe. On the way, he encounters poisonous plant life and battles snakes and alligators. Surviving these natural enemies, he is attacked by cannibals but is rescued by Spaniards in a plane. Bomba’s luck doesn’t hold out, though; he is soon recaptured and now faces a terrible death at the hands of cannibals and their blood-thirsty chief Gonibobo. It is an exciting story of a journey filled with dangers: human, beast, and even plant life. The fearless jungle boy takes them all on and emerges the victor every time. A highly entertaining literature being written for young readers in post-dime-novel America.

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Liczba stron: 209

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Contents

I. THE MONSTER OF THE SKY

II. MYSTERY

III. THE TREES OF DEATH

IV. THE DEN OF SNAKES

V. DEADLY ENEMIES

VI. A DESPERATE LEAP

VII. TERRIBLE JAWS

VIII. PURSUED BY ALLIGATORS

IX. A RACE FOR LIFE

X. IN THE TOILS

XI. THE JAGUAR SPRINGS

XII. SAVAGE FOEMEN

XIII. THE MAN-BIRDS

XIV. IN MORTAL DANGER

XV. CAPTURED BY CANNIBALS

XVI. FATTENED FOR THE FEAST

XVII. THE WHITE STRANGER

XVIII. A DASH FOR FREEDOM

XIX. A TEST OF NERVE

XX. BOUND AND HELPLESS

XXI. THROUGH THE TUNNEL

XXII. THE SWOOPING PLANE

XXIII. SNATCHED FROM DESTRUCTION

XXIV. A FRIEND IN NEED

XXV. ON THE VERGE

I. THE MONSTER OF THE SKY

BOMBA, the jungle boy, threading his way through the dense undergrowth, paused suddenly to listen.

What was that strange noise in the air?

He could identify the noises of the jungle, the hiss of the snake, the whir of the parrot, the grunt of the tapir, the snarl of the jaguar, the scream of the monkey, the bellow of the alligator.

But this odd sound he heard was none of those.

Nor was it the rumble of the earthquake, the labored muttering of the volcano as it strove to burst its bonds, the ominous sighing that precedes the hurricane.

What then was it? He must learn, for in the jungle a disregard of the slightest sound might mean death.

He looked up at the sky through an opening between two huge trees that towered to a height of two hundred feet. It was of cerulean blue, with not the slightest shred of cloud to dim its crystal clearness.

Then it was not thunder that Bomba heard.

A humming, a buzzing, deepened into a steady roar. Then, suddenly, a monstrous shape swooped over the open space between the trees and was gone.

There was a sharp intake of breath on the part of Bomba. He gripped more tightly his bow while his left hand sought the knife thrust in his belt.

The boy made a striking picture as he stood there with his lips parted and his face upturned to the sky.

He was apparently about fifteen years of age, tall and strongly developed. His face was bronzed with sun and storm, but the features showed that he was of white blood. Apart from the native tunic and sandals and a puma skin worn across his breast, his body was bare, and the rippling muscles of his powerful arms and legs proclaimed him every inch an athlete. His hair was brown and his eyes brown and piercing and alight with natural intelligence. The puma skin emphasized his likeness to one of the young gods of the ancient mythologies.

Although just now there were surprise and wonder in those unflinching eyes, there was no sign of panic. He had faced death too often in the myriad forms it assumed in the Amazon jungle to fear it greatly. His quick wit and dauntless courage had served him too often to desert him now.

Some monstrous thing outside anything in his experience was moaning and roaring above him. Perhaps it had detected him and was preparing to attack and devour him.

He had little doubt that it would. All that was huge and powerful in the jungle was cruel. The puma, the alligator, the anaconda, all lived by taking life and drinking blood. It was the jungle law.

But if Bomba refused to quail while he waited for what might come, the same was far from true of his companion, a native Indian whose life the jungle boy had saved from the flood, who had been his comrade in some terrible experiences and who now followed Bomba with almost dog-like devotion.

As the strange shape swept across the sky, the Indian, Gibo, had given utterance to a shriek of terror and thrown himself on the ground where he groveled abjectly, beating the soil with his head and calling upon his gods for help.

“We are dead, master,” he moaned. “The great snake of the sky seeks to devour us. We go to the place of death.”

“Those are foolish words that Gibo speaks,” replied Bomba, sparing a brief glance at his follower from his upward gazing. “There is no snake that glides across the sky. Has the boa constrictor wings? Does not the jararaca creep? Does not the cooanaradi hide in the bushes? Gibo’s blood has turned to water. He talks like a little child.”

But the native shook his head.

“This is the snake of the gods, the evil gods!” he shrieked. “It coils about their throne and goes forth to do their bidding. The old men of the tribe have spoken of it many times. It would have been better if we had perished in the earthquake.”

“Is Gibo an infant to believe those things?” asked Bomba rebukingly.

“The elders of the tribe are full of wisdom,” replied Gibo. “They have lived long and seen many things and they do not speak foolish things. They say that when it breathes it buzzes like the twang of the bow string and that when it is angry and athirst for blood it roars like the thunder of the cataract. We have heard the buzzing and we have heard the roaring. It is Igmazil, the snake of the gods.”

“Pick up your spear, O trembling one,” commanded Bomba, pointing to the weapon that had dropped from Gibo’s nerveless hands. “Whatever it is, if it comes down upon us we will fight. It shall feel the point of Bomba’s knife, the sting of Bomba’s arrow.”

“Bomba is brave,” said Gibo humbly. “His heart is like the hardness of the arrowhead. Gibo has seen Bomba fight and Gibo has wondered. But what can his knife and arrows do to Igmazil, whose skin cannot be pierced?”

“Knife and arrow have never failed Bomba yet,” replied the lad. “If it be they fail him now, Bomba will know how to die. Give me the spear and go thou and weave mats with the old women of thy tribe.”

“No,” said Gibo, abashed before his master’s scorn and getting to his feet, “Gibo will fight with Bomba if the snake should come. And he will die with Bomba, for none has ever looked upon Igmazil and lived.”

The Indian drew close to Bomba, gathering courage from the proximity, and together they bent their gaze upon the sky.

But now the roar had died away. No sound came to their ears except the familiar noises of the jungle that never ceased.

For some minutes they stood thus, and then their tense attitude relaxed.

“Perchance Igmazil was seeking someone else,” ventured Gibo, taking heart of hope, “some one who had offended the demon gods and failed to offer sacrifice.”

“It may be,” assented Bomba carelessly, willing to humor the superstition of his companion, since it was utterly useless to try to uproot it. “Why should he seek us out? What have we done? We have fought and killed, but only wicked ones who sought our lives. And now let us make haste, for we are still far from the camp of Hondura and we have been three days on the journey.”

They pressed on through the jungle, Bomba in advance, his keen eyes on the alert for any sign of danger, while Gibo followed close upon the boy’s heels, carrying the bag of treasure they had wrested from Japazy, the fiendish half-breed, Japazy, whose scream of terror as he fell over the cliff to his death still rang in Bomba’s ears.

Incalculable wealth was in that pack, diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires, topazes, jewels that would have purchased a king’s ransom.

But priceless as they were, they were as nothing to Bomba compared to the little oblong volume that he carried in his pouch, that little book with the strange characters written in a tongue that he did not understand, and yet which he hoped would reveal to him the story of his birth, of his parents, the things that he would almost give his life to know.

Suddenly Bomba stopped in his tracks and in a flash fitted an arrow to his string.

Before him, on the banks of a small stream, a tapir was standing. The wind was in the direction of Bomba and carried no scent to the beast.

The bow twanged and the arrow went straight to the animal’s heart.

It gave a convulsive spring and then fell over on its side, stricken so swiftly, so unerringly, that it never knew the manner of its death.

“It is good,” cried Gibo exultingly, as he and Bomba ran toward the tapir. “Now we shall have meat instead of turtles’ eggs.”

“Yes,” replied Bomba, as he drew the arrow from the body, dried it, and replaced it in his quiver, “Gibo will build a fire while Bomba skins the tapir.”

Gibo hastened to gather brush and wood, while Bomba, with a deftness born of long practice, skinned the animal and selected some of the more savory and tender steaks for their meal.

In a short time the fire was burning briskly, and they roasted the meat on an extemporized spit and feasted royally.

It was the first meat they had eaten for three days, for the earthquake that had shaken the district when they had escaped from the camp of Japazy and the tortures he was preparing for them had driven much of the wild game from the disturbed region.

They had traveled far and fast that day and were very tired, so that after the meal they sat on the grass to rest and gain strength for the long stretch that still lay before them.

Bomba drew from his pouch the little book that he cherished so fondly and gazed without understanding at the queer script that it contained.

It had for him a wonderful fascination, for it had been Japazy’s book, and Japazy knew the origin of Bomba, knew who his parents were.

The wicked tongue of the half-breed was forever stilled. But might it not be speaking silently to him from these pages?

From his companion, the frail, white-haired old Casson, Bomba had learned the English letters and could even read some simple printed words in that language. But of handwriting he was wholly ignorant.

Yet he had seen Casson write down things with a pen, and the old man had told him that he was putting down things so that he could remember. Might not Japazy have done the same thing in this little volume?

It was maddening to feel that perhaps he stood on the very threshold of revelation and yet was forbidden to enter. But some one would know how to read these strange characters; perhaps Casson, who knew so much–or had known so much until he had become half-demented.

“What is it that the master has?” ventured Gibo, when the silence had endured for some time. “The wriggling things that seem like the tracks of a bird when it walks in the wet clay–are they signs to ward off the evil spirit?”

“No,” replied Bomba, “those wriggling things can talk. Perhaps they will tell Bomba–”

He stopped abruptly.

Again came that distant buzz, swelling quickly into a roar.

“It is the great snake Igmazil!” shrieked Gibo, throwing himself down on his face in mortal terror.

II. MYSTERY

BOMBA leaped to his feet and fixed his eyes upon the sky. Something in the boy’s white blood forbade his yielding to the fear of the supernatural that struck his companion with panic. Yet there was something in that ominous roar that made his heart beat furiously.

Danger was his daily lot. There was no species of beast or reptile in the Amazonian forest that he had not fought and conquered; but they were things that trod or crawled upon the earth, the solid earth, on which he himself found footing and where he felt at home. Up to now he had fought with no creature of the skies, except at times with vultures.

But this thing that was approaching, he knew from the passing glimpse he had caught of it, was bigger than ten vultures and doubtless ten times as ferocious. What would his knife and arrow points avail against such a monster?

Yet he disdained to flee and seek shelter in the forest depths. He stood there proudly, waiting for the enemy to appear.

Then the roar became thunderous and the gigantic bird swept into sight. It was higher now than it had been before, but Bomba’s eyes were as keen as a hawk’s and he saw it in every detail, the great broad wings, the whirling blades of the propeller, the curious wheels that hung below and seemed to be the creature’s feet.

Bomba watched it with a terrible fascination, rooted to the spot.

It disappeared, and he breathed more freely. But an instant later it came in sight again, and this time, instead of shooting like a meteor athwart his vision, it began circling about in great spirals.

Had it seen him? Bomba wondered, with a quickening of the pulse. Was it watching him and preparing to attack? He gripped his bow more tightly and drew an arrow from his quiver.

The nose of the great bird turned down and the creature shot toward him like an arrow from the bow.

“It is coming, master, it is coming!” screamed Gibo, as he rose and turned to flee.

Down came the monster with lightning speed, and Bomba nerved himself for the hopeless combat.

Then, when it had almost reached the tops of the tallest trees, it checked its downward flight, lifted its nose until it was in a horizontal position, and swept out of sight.

Bomba could scarcely believe his good fortune. He had thought himself doomed. Why had the fell creature checked its course when conquest seemed so easy?

But the boy was in no mood to seek for reasons. It was enough that the monster had left him and Gibo, given them another lease of life.

Gibo’s dark skin had turned a yellowish green with fright. He babbled incoherently, invoking all his gods. He was still trembling when he returned to where Bomba was standing.

“Has it gone, master?” he asked, casting anxious glances toward the sky.

“It has gone,” replied Bomba, “and I hope–What is this?”

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