June 25, 2016

From Prologue

Blood flew from its four-inch fangs as the feeding jaguar roared, just feet from my startled face. I wheeled and ran with my Venezuelan guide crashing through thick jungle certain the enraged 300-pound beast would be on us in a moment. “Krishna! Krishna! Krishna!” I yelled from fear-filled lungs, not stopping till we’d scrambled to the highest point in a tree-tangled windfall. We threw off our packs and back-to- sweat-soaked- back we sat on a single green log, trembling with effort and dread while hours passed and the big cat shrieked and coughed, broke branches, and circled unseen around us, furious that we’d interrupted its fresh kill. Downwind, we could smell its rancid breath and gore-soaked coat. Low skies opened and rain poured on our huddled forms.I whipped my battered shot-gun back and forth at the slightest sound, down to my last 000-buckshot shell. The Indian had three cane arrows. He dipped their tips into the small clay pot of poison tied at his waist, nocked his long bow, and laid two arrows beside us on the log. As night fell, we awaited our uncertain fate…