Graham’s hands were bound tightly behind his back, and his head drooped towards his lap as if asleep. Somebody prodded him roughly with the toe of a boot.
‘Wake up, Gringo!’ a voice sneered. Graham’s eyelids fluttered open, and the light hurt his eyes, causing him to squint. A rough hand slapped his check a ringing blow, and Graham tasted blood.
‘Stand up American,’ a new voice commanded, and Graham struggled to his feet, peering around the hut he found himself in. The light still hurt his eyes, and his head ached abysmally where he had been struck the day before. His thirst was like a living thing, and he croaked for water, which just earned him more jeers and another slap to the face.
Without ceremony he was dragged outside into the bright sunlight, and Graham had to fight to stay on his feet.
‘Where is the man I asked to see?’ he demanded.
‘I want to see Pedro Sanchez,’ he demanded again.
‘And I want you to shut the hell up Gringo!’ Another blow to the face, and this time Grahams legs buckled, and he sagged to his knees.
‘Let him be,’ ordered a quiet voice, and Graham looked up to identify his saviour. A middle aged woman in battle dress sat a few yards away and studied him closely. Her hair was like midnight, her skin like caramel, and the darkest eyes Graham had ever seen bored into his soul. She was beautiful; and terrifying.
‘Why are you here, American?’ she asked.
‘Who are you?’ he replied.
‘I ask you again; why are you here?’ Graham took a deep breath, and climbed back to his feet.
‘I am on business for the United States government, and my mission is highly classified.’
‘So, you come to spy on us?’
‘No. As you can see, I was wounded before I was taken by your men. My men are all dead, and I have been wandering in the jungle for three days. My mission was many, many miles from here.’
His interrogator thought for a moment.
‘What was your mission?’
‘I cannot tell you,’ he said.
She leaned forward. ‘My men want me to kill you, Gringo. Tell me why I should not give you to them?’
‘Do you know Pedro Sanchez?’ he asked.
She sat up and ran a finger down the line of her jaw. ‘I know this man,’ she replied finally.
‘If Pedro could come here, I could tell him things, and he would verify them for me, then perhaps you would believe that I am not here to spy on you.’
She thought for a moment. ‘This man Pedro you speak of; he has some funny stories to tell, no? Some crazy stories. I have heard of them; devils and monsters. Some of us do not believe him – we think perhaps he is touched by madness.’
‘Pedro speaks the truth. His stories are not madness. I came to find what he claims to have seen, and my men are all dead.’ Graham hung his head with exhaustion. ‘I need to return home, this thing that is loose is more dangerous than any of you know.’
The woman considered Graham for a moment.
‘Pedro Sanchez is dead. Murdered by his own men. I will return you to the white man that is your agent in this area, but be warned, American; we do not like your kind in our forests. If we should meet again, you will die!’
Published Titles in the Johnny Roberts Series:
Book Two: Johnny Roberts and the Gods of Eden
Andrew Noble © 2013
Cover artwork: John Killin © 2013
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or
utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or
other means, including photocopying and recording, or in
any information storage or retrieval system, without
permission from the author.
© 2013 Andrew Noble All Rights Reserved