Sawatis was a perfect
gentleman. A little too
perfect, Melissa mused. They
had been waiting for a week, sharing the cabin of the downed
aircraft. It would have helped
to break the boredom if the Mohawk had at least made a pass at her, but he
had kept strictly to himself. It
was not that he avoided her, the tiny cabin was too small for that, but he
remained absolutely correct.
I know Im not ugly, she thought. What is the matter with the man? She sighed. What did it matter anyway? If Sawatis had made a move on her, she would have had to refuse him and that might make for strained relations. Damn Western morality! Why couldnt he just haul her off and have his way with her as had happened so often to Larra? Rumor had it that her mentor had been abducted and well, subjected to certain outrages.
She sighed again, this time so loudly that Sawatis gave her a sharp look. She fetched him a shy smile. Who am I kidding? she thought. Id be scared to death if any man ever tried to
Bored? interrupted Sawatis. Dont blame you. There really is not much for you to do but wait.
Arent you bored? she asked.
A little, but Im more used to living in these isolated conditions, unlike a big city girl like yourself.
Melissa looked at him closely to see if he was joking. She decided he wasnt and picked up the book she had been reading. Fundamentals of Archeology. It wasnt really all that interesting, being mostly about the identification of broken pottery and such.
Sawatis got up. He was carrying his rifle. I think Ill see if I can find some fresh meat. Im getting a little tired of eating out of cans and boxes.
So why dont you take me? Melissa thought. Hunting sounded like fun. At least it was better than sitting around the cabin of the downed aircraft. But she knew the answer. Sawatis was the trained woodsman. He could probably hunt better without her than with her. And she had to stay where she was to light the beacon fire, just in case a search plane flew overhead.
She sighed again. Have a good time.
Thanks, he said as he opened the door, letting in a waft of cold air. I should be back soon.
Melissa returned to her reading. If Im here long enough, she thought, Ill know more about archeology than Larra. Or maybe Ill just know more about broken pots.
Two hours later, Sawatis had not returned, and Melissa was about to put down her book. She had brought several books with her on the trip, most of them unread, but she was getting bored with reading about archeology. She needed a change of subject. Rummaging through her pack, she came up with a book she had been saving for a special occasion. It was Larras most recent book describing some of her discoveries on her last trip to the Lost World. If it was anything like her previous books, it should be pretty exiting reading.
She turned to the first page and read the inscription Dedicated to my friend John Grey, and all my loyal companions. Melissa smiled. She was now a loyal companion. She wondered who John Grey was. A faint droning sound filtered through to her brain. That figures, she thought. Just get started on a good book and a mosquito shows up. Then she gave herself a mental slap. A mosquito, at twenty degrees below freezing? She came out of her seat with a rush. She had to get the signal fire lit!
Matches and a small container of aviation fuel in hand, Melissa dashed over to the pile of wood that she and the others had stockpiled as a signal beacon. Quickly, she splashed the fuel on the driest logs and then struck a match. The fuel exploded into flame, sending up a thin column of oily smoke. Within a few seconds the wood had caught as well, and large flames were soon shooting skyward. Melissa added green spruce boughs to the flames, and was rewarded with a thick column of heavy smoke.
By now the sound of the plane was quite distinct. Looking toward the sound, Melissa caught a flash of silver in the sky. Then suddenly the sound of the aircraft changed as it changed direction. In a few seconds, she could see it quite clearly as it flew directly toward her. The plane flew overhead, and then described a wide turn before dropping and coming in on the frozen lake.
Melissa jumped for joy. They had been found. Now all she had to do was direct the plane in the direction Larra and Lemaire had taken and the entire party would be rescued.
The plane taxied right up to the edge of the lake. Apparently, the pilot was concerned about the thickness of the ice and wanted to be sure that the plane did not break though. Leaving the fire, Melissa dashed down to the shore to greet her rescuers.
The plane halted, and a tall man wearing a heavy parka got out. Miss Gallant, I presume.
Melissa was a little surprised that the man knew her name, and even more surprised that the man had an upper class English accent, but she was too overjoyed at the thought of finally being rescued. Yes, Im Miss Gallant. Im so glad you found us. Now we can rescue the others.
The Englishman ignored her answer. Where is
Oh yes, she is safe, but she is not here. She and Lemaire are trying to get to
Yes, we can do that. Get into the plane.
Oh, but we have to wait for Sawatis, said Melissa pointing toward the woods. Hes out hunting. But he must have seen your plane. He should be back very soon.
I said get in the plane. The icy sound of the Englishmans voice made Melissa turn, startled. He was pointing a gun at her.