Amazon Encounter by Anne Azel Part 5
Disclaimer: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle are the property of Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning: This is an alternative fiction story, please do not read if you are under age or if such material is illegal in your end of the swamp.
Note: All the flora and fauna described in this story are real, as are the Indian groups and natural topography. They are a collection of descriptions and experiences taken from my own field notes of the area. Cats Paw is being studied as a possible treatment for cancer.
Kris's return to consciousness was both painful and nauseating. Her head spun and the disorientation made her stomach retch its contents up into her mouth. Realizing she was choking, Kris gagged and let the vomit escape onto her chest. She was now aware that she was being dragged through the bush by her arms, the heels of her feet bouncing over the ground. She feebly tried to struggle but the effort sent agonizing arrows of pain through her head. Cracked skull, Kris concluded through her semi-conscious haze. I'm in trouble.
She tried to support her head on her out stretched arm aware that her nose was running and that her eyes wouldn't focus. She tried hard to think but other than a vague impression that this sort of experience was not unusual in her life, she had no real memory of anything before regaining consciousness. Shit, I'm in big trouble. She was dragged along a bush path and then dropped to the ground. The impact caused the blackness to once again wipe out the pain.
Morgan got up and got dressed. Something was wrong! Kris should have been back by now. She grabbed a flashlight and headed over to the bathhut. The hut was in darkness and Morgan's heart raced in fear. She broke into a trot and covered the remaining distance with her uneven lope. Entering, she swung the light beam around. No Kris, but a thick streak of blood left a clear trail out the back entrance. Morgan whirled and made for Pete's hut yelling his name.
"Pete! Pete!" she cried stumbling up the steps, "Bogara and his men have Kris! Pete for God sakes wake up!" cried Morgan banging on the door. The door opened and Morgan fell against the wiry, old man. "She didn't come back from her shower. There's blood. I think they must have dragged her out the back way," explained the shaken woman in a rush as Pete held her by the shoulders.
Pete growled and disappeared into his hut, returning with his rifle, a skinning knife and his first aid kit. He tossed Morgan the canvas bag that held the first aid kit. Without a word he headed for the bathhouse, Morgan on his heels. Once there, he took Morgan's touch and looked at the bloody evidence Three sets of footprints could be seen in the red stains. Then he slapped the touch off and handed it back to Morgan. "We gotta hurry," he commanded and headed off through the darkness with a frightened Morgan close behind.
They moved quickly and quietly. It was clear that Pete knew where they must be headed. He only stopped once to check with Morgan's torch at a fork in the path, then, cursed softly and moved off at an even faster pace. Soon up ahead, they could see a light from a oil lamp. Rough male voices floated back to them. Pete stopped and flicked the safety off his rifle, then he took out the knife and handed it to Morgan. For a second she hesitated, then her jaw set and she reached for the knife. This was Kris. She was prepared for whatever it took to keep her safe from her father's men.
They crept forward until the air was suddenly shattered by a bang, then Kris's screams. The two of them charged forward breaking into a clearing. Kris was tied to a punishment tree, blood covering her face. Thousands of ants were crawling over her as she twisted in agony. Morgan ran forward as a shot cracked through the night. She slipped behind Kris and used the knife to cut the rope that held the tall woman to the tree of torture. She was vaguely aware that there was gun fire going on but all her attention was focused on the woman who screamed in agony on the ground. In cutting the rope, Morgan had herself received some of the sharp, painful stings, she couldn't imagine what Kris was going through.
She grabbed her friend by the feet and dragged her over to a small stream that trickled near by dropping her in and then tearing her clothes off. The ants bit at her painfully but as she washed her friend's body, they retreated until fewer and fewer remained to torture her wounded friend. Now Morgan stopped long enough to use her torch. Kris's skin was blotted and blotched in ugly red spots. She was gasping for breath and turning blue.
Anaphylactic shock, Morgan realized and dug madly into Pete's first aid kit knowing she had only minutes to save her partner's life.
At the scream, Pete had charged forward knowing what was happening to his friend. He entered the clearing and aimed his rifle at the three men who stood laughing at Kris's cruel execution. Morgan ran from behind him and struggled to cut Kris free. Then all hell broke loose. One of the men dived for a rifle that leaned against a tree and Pete fired. Another pulled a gun but was hit by Pete's second shot before he could aim his weapon. The third man raised his hands and begged Pete to show mercy. It was, a test of his faith not to blow the bastard's head off.
"Lay down on your stomach and put your hands on the back of your neck and cross your ankles," Peter commanded. The scared man willingly complied and Pete looked about for something with which to tie his prisoner up. In the darkness, he could hear Morgan sobbing Kris's name and the running of water.
He tied the criminal up tightly and then went to find Morgan. Kris's naked body lay still in the water, a ghostly white in the rising moon light. Her face was completely obscured by blood. The body was swollen and covered in bites now turning blue. Morgan sat in the mud, Kris's hand wrapped in her own a look of anguish in her features. "Morgan?" Pete whispered.
Morgan looked up, "Pete help me. I've got to get her to the hut. We'll need a back board"
Pete looked at the woman lying in the water, "Is it bad?"
Morgan swallowed and whispered, "Very. I used your snake bite kit. That helped a little but her skull...I don't know." Pete nodded and went to get a wide plank from his workshop. They carefully pushed it under the unconscious woman and then tied her carefully to it. Slowly and carefully, they cared her back to their hut and laid her down on the table. Pete grabbed the sheets off the bed and covered her while Morgan got her own medical supplies and took Kris's signs.
Pete used the sheets covering Kris to dry her body and the surrounding area as best he could. Then he got a fresh sheet and blanket and covered Kris carefully. Meanwhile, Morgan, cleaned and dressed Kris's head wound then mixed up a solution with which to wash her body to decrease the chance of infection. She also gave Kris a shot.
"Well?" asked Pete.
Morgan sat down heavily and held on to the cold hand of her soulmate. "She is just barely hanging on, Pete," she whispered painfully. "S..She...I think she would want to have the last rights," Morgan added tears now rolling down her face. Peter nodded and left to get prepared.
After Peter's prayers, Morgan sat beside her lover, her head leaning against the damp wood table. She listened to her lover's shallow breathing her heart contracting in fear at every ragged breath. Pete slipped quietly away to see to his prisoner and to bury the dead. Then he got on his ham radio and arranged for the authorities to send out a patrol unit.
Twentythree hours later Morgan still sat by her soulmate. She had left her side only when it was necessary and then Peter had sat by the fallen warrior. She had slept in her chair her head next to Kris's cold hand, willing her to live with every ounce of her being.
"Morgan," came a soft whisper that gripped the small doctor's heart.
She sat up and leaned close to Kris's bruised and swollen face. " How are you doing my hunter?" asked Morgan in a shaky voice.
"Not feeling to good. You O.K.?" came the weak reply after a moment's hesitation.
"I'm fine. Look I need you to follow my finger. That's it. O.K. Can you squeeze my hand? Morgan slowly worked through some basic response tests and was delighted to realize that Kris could move, talk and recognize things around her. Her reflexes were slow but she was, unbelievably, showing signs of recovery. Tears rolled down her face.
"Why are you crying?" asked the tall patient.
"Here I need you to take in some water. It's important. Come on." Kris sucked dutifully on a straw.
"I've been sick, huh?" reasoned Kris.
Morgan laughed, "Yes, you've been a little sick," Morgan responded using a shaky hand to brush Kris's bangs back from her eyes. "But I think, you are going to be just fine now."
Kris smiled, "Good. I love you Morgan."
"I love you to Kris."
Morgan sat in a wicker chair on the porch of Los Amazonos Compound. After four months in the rainforest it seemed strange to be leaving to return to the States. This strange and wonderful place seemed like home. She watched a lean and pale warrior walk with her friend Carlos across the tough grass. Her soulmate hugged the loyal guide in her arms and kissed his cheek, then she turned and walked over to where Morgan sat, "The plane is ready."
Morgan nodded and got up to follow her lover. Then she stopped and looked around once more. "Promise me Kris, that we will always come back," Morgan requested turning to look into those remarkable blue eyes.
"I promise," Kris smiled then she pulled the small woman close so that her head tucked comfortably under her chin. "But my home is you."
"And you mine, my warrior."
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