The half naked group, armed with spears and bows and arrows, and one with a stone ax, fanned out once they neared the clearing. They moved in unison like a well-rehearsed infantry unit. Someone gave a bird call upon seeing the camouflaged airplane and the rest moved cautiously toward the source of commotion.
John saw them move slowly toward the plane, and huddle around the leader. They looked for tell-tale signs of trouble, then regrouped as the leader gave instructions. On cue, they began removing the bushes and curiously rubbed their hands across the smooth surface of the plane. Some of them swung from the wings and struts, while others played with the control surfaces until the leader yelled a warning.
The leader, dressed in a loincloth and wearing a necklace of bones and ornamental feathers, motioned for one of his subordinates to try the doors. The lackey finally figured how to open the pilot’s door and curiously played with the controls and buttons. He tripped the main power switch, activating the electronic gyro. The slow electrical windup suddenly turned into a high- pitched whir sending everyone scuttling for cover.
John snickered at the comic relief, but only briefly. He needed to get Steve back to safety, and he knew the natives would soon recover from the scare. He rose to help Steve and timidly headed toward the plane. John ducked as the leader turned in his direction and pointed the others to fan out. John knew the leader had sent out a search party. He pushed Steve down and jumped to his side, quickly pulling the poncho over them. At least the ponchos are green, John thought. Lying there, he heard the brush around him parting as a few people crept through it. They stopped within a few feet and talked. John could see their dirty feet from under the poncho and prayed they would leave before the sun revealed their hiding place.
Jeffrey W. Bennett, is the author of Commitment-A Novel and other non-fiction books, novels and periodicals.