Wallace made no effort to resist as he was escorted by the dozen or so dark-skinned warriors who had surrounded him in the forest. He was much taller than any of them, but they were armed and he wasnt. He didnt want to chance being on the receiving ends of the wicked-looking spears they carried. They were pretty much the way nature had made them, their only adornments being a few strings of beads, some bone jewellery, and a penis sheath.
The latter ornament seemed to have very little utilitarian function other than to give the wearer the appearance of having a permanent erection, but Wallace did not find it particularly unusual. He wondered what the black-skinned warriors thought about him. His white skin, blue eyes, and unruly blonde hair no doubt made him seem like a creature from another planet.
He and his escort suddenly left the trees, emerging into a large clearing. They had been climbing steadily uphill and the open expanse was on top of a hill. It appeared to Wallace that the hilltop had been deliberately cleared and a few minutes walk proved him right. They passed through an area of rather haphazard farms. To the casual observer it would have appeared that most of them were overgrown with weeds, but Wallace supposed that there was some sort of logic in their appearance. However, it was not the farms that caught his attention but the walled village.
A wooden palisade surrounded part of it. The other part of the wall was made up of an immense hut (if hut was the right word) that extended several hundred feet along one side of the village. It served as both a dwelling place and wall, dominating one side of the enclosed area. It stood two stories tall, a long veranda running along the second level providing access to its inhabitants. Both upper and lower levels were pierced by numerous doorways and Wallace guessed that each doorway represented a family. He did a quick count and estimated that there were probably at least two hundred families in the village.
As soon as they entered the palisade Wallace became the centre of attention, with literally hundreds of villagers of all ages swarming about him. Many of them came right up to him although few dared to touch him, something that might have been due to the fact that he loomed over all of them. He was beginning to feel like some hulking giant.
He remained calm, not sure of how he should act. With so many armed warriors around him he would not last long if they decided to become hostile, but at the same time it was possible that if he appeared too passive his hosts might think him weak. He decided that the best approach was to act as he had been doing and continue to observe the people around him.
By his standards they were not a particularly attractive people, although a few of the younger women had excellent figures. They were too short and their faces appeared brutish and unintelligent. In addition, many of the women had breasts down to their navels and several were actually suckling pigs. However, he had seen enough of other cultures to realize that beauty was in the eye of the beholder and that he no doubt seemed just as ugly to those around him.
It was then that he saw the neat row of heads.
It went on for almost the entire length of the huge main dwelling, each head hanging by its hair or in a small net. There were literally hundreds of them, perhaps outnumbering the people in the village. Each head appeared to be perfectly mummified and to his relief Wallace did not note any heads with pale features.
Thats something at least, he thought. Maybe they only preserve the heads of relatives.
His grand escort pushed through the crowd and moved toward a hut standing alone in the centre of the village. It was there that Wallace saw something he had not expected. A very ancient member of the tribe was sitting on a crude stool before the hut. Wallace couldnt guess his age, but knew he had to be very old. His skin was so black and wrinkled that it resembled a prune; a prune with two glittering eyes. However, it was not the old man who caught his attention; it was the slender blonde girl standing next to him.
Stupidly Wallace stared at her, too surprised to speak. Perhaps it was the girls sudden appearance in a place that she had no right to be or perhaps it was the fact that her willowy white body was nude from the waist down and her loins were shrouded only by a small loincloth. He swallowed and gulped out the first thing that came to his mind. Gday, he stammered.
Judy stared in equally shocked surprise. The tall, blonde, man was the last person she had ever expected to see after being rescued from the jungle by the black-skinned people she had learned were called the Daygana. Her first impulse was to cover her nude body, but realized that would merely draw attention to it so instead she drew herself up and calmly surveyed the new arrival.
Her clothing had been taken from her shortly after arriving in the Daygana village. At first she had been terrified when the women of the village had pulled at her clothing, fearing that they were stripping her in order to offer her to the men, but then she realized that such thoughts were foolish. The men who had found her in the forest could have raped her any number of times had they wished; instead they had offered her food and water, and when it became obvious that her sprained ankle would not let her walk they carried her through the forest to their village.
It turned out that they did not want her rags for any other purpose but to wash them. Unfortunately, the jungle environment plus the rough wear they had experienced caused most of her clothing to disintegrate and so she had been reduced to wearing a simple loincloth. It was considerably more than what the other women in the village wore, but it still left her 90% nude. That had not seemed important until the sudden appearance of a fully clothed white man in the village. Now she felt herself turning bright red with embarrassment.
It was the white mans greeting that shook her out of her mortification. The simple phrase, mouthed with a strong Australian accent, broke her up. She burst out laughing. The Aussie grinned back and then bowing awkwardly spoke again. Begging your pardon, miss. I seem to have caught you at an awkward moment.
Judy flushed from head to toe, but did not turn away. Instead she spoke calmly. Indeed, sir, I seem to have left my cocktail dress with at home. I really have nothing to wear.
This time it was Wallace who laughed. Without another word he stripped off his shirt and taking a step forward held it out. As much as the sight of the young blondes body interested him, he decided that such a gesture would probably win him more points than continuing to stare at her nude body. Her welcoming smile as she took his shirt showed him that he was right.