Kainak had a hunch about what was going on, but without any proof, he couldn’t say it was possible. Still, when he awoke the next morning, and after donning his loincloth, he stepped out onto the porch of the treehouse to look out over the jungle.
The stone structure, built by Oranta, the Monkey Queen, peeked out over the tree line in the distance. He stared at the structure, remembering the agony of the transformation that Oranta tried to force upon him, to turn him into one of her simian servants. It wasn’t until Julie and Unaki arrived to save him that the torture stopped.
It wasn’t PTSD, but he still had bad memories of that.
Still, the hunch was scratching at him, and he had to find out. Though he couldn’t prove it just yet, he was pretty confident that whatever was going on had something to do with the events of last month.
He heard the padding of bare feet on the wood and turned around. There stood Julie, topless but donning her top, in all her wild glory. He smiled at her, remembering why he loved her so much before turning around and letting her snake her arms around his body. “How’d you sleep?” he asked.
“Wonderfully,” she replied, nuzzling into his bare back. “Are you alright, honey?”
“I have a hunch,” he said. “I think that structure has something to do with it.”
He felt her squeeze him tighter, and he knew she must’ve tensed up. “You’re serious?”
“There’s only one way to find out,” he said. “I’ll go and investigate the structure, see if anything is going on. What are you going to do?”
“I think I’ll go to the Teo,” she said.
He turned around and held his mate tightly while grunting like an ape. She smiled and grunted back before kissing him. But they grabbed some supplies first, like their compass and weapons before they could be ready to go. He lifted her, she wrapped her arms around his neck, and he grabbed a vine to swing downwards.
While she could take care of herself, Julie always loved hanging onto Kainak like she was Jane and swinging like this. You’d have to experience it firsthand to know what she loved about it, though.
They landed in a primal, three-point stance on the massive root of one of the gigantic trees. And with that, Julie went off in the direction of the village, while Kainak went off towards the stone structure.
Julie mostly went by foot. It took her several minutes to find her bearings before she recognized where she was and started going in the right direction. She couldn’t hear the sounds of anything sinister, so she wasn’t concerned even when she had to climb over fallen tree trunks, rocks, and other things. The only thing watching her was a cat, Ginger, one of the wild cats that were native to the island.
There was also a squeal of one of the wild boars that live on the island, earning Ginger’s attention and, judging by her sudden departure, hunger.
Julie chuckled. It doesn’t need to be mentioned in great detail that Julie loved cats, including the wild cats.
Her movements soon became more feral and primal as she moved along the fallen trees and foliage. It was faster this way. Sure, it was nice to walk, but it was the best way to get around. Besides, as mentioned in the last chapter, it was that getting-close-to-nature thing that drew white dumbasses like her to the whole archetype of the jungle hero. Might as well go as far as she can go.
Crawling and prowling around the trees, it wasn’t long before she reached the walls of the village. She could hear some rustling, but since she couldn’t see what it was, she just shrugged and dropped down to enter the village.
Upon entering the village, she was surprised to see that a crowd had gathered near Manti’s hut, and they were shouting obscenities. Who they were shouting at, she had to find out. So she ran over to the scene and saw three men locked away in bamboo cages. They were screaming out their innocence, or at least something like that. Manti, Kame, and Hilo sat off to the side, and a group of people, whom Julie thought looked like a jury, set off to the other side.
“This trial is a sham!” One of the defendants shouted.
“Free them!” a tribesman shouted.
“Order! Order!” Manti said. “These men may have confessed, but until they are found guilty, they are still considered to be innocent!”
A trial? But why? To find out, Julie went up to Unaki and tapped her shoulder. “What’s going on?” she asked.
“Those are the men who snuck out of the village to confront the haoles,” said Unaki. “They have been charged with defying the chief.”
“Oh, for cryin’ out loud,” said Julie. “What the hell is Manti thinking?”
“He wants to end the hysteria?” Unaki asked.
“Like hell!” Julie replied. “This isn’t going end hysteria! It’s already getting worse!”
Not wanting this farce to continue, she pushed her way forward to confront Manti, Kame, and Hilo. “MANTI!” she cried as she emerged from the crowd. “What the hell!?”
“Julie!” Manti said. “There you are! I was wondering when you would—”
“Cut the pig-shit, Manti!” Julie interrupted, earning the gasps of the tribe. “What the FUCK is going on?” Because the Teo language does not have the f-word, Julie dropped that bomb in English.
Knowing that Julie came from a different society where the questioning of leaders was not only accepted but expected, Manti held his hand out to his people. “I might as well let her speak her mind,” said Manti. “And I will allow the rest of you to do the same.”
“Thanks,” she said. “You’re putting them on trial for sneaking out and not doing anything? What’s the fucking point!?”
“According to our laws, they cannot be punished unless found guilty,” said Manti. “Now, please, sit down and watch.
Julie huffed and puffed and sat herself down while Manti got the proceedings underway.
Kainak, meanwhile, went off towards the stone structure. And if things weren’t already confusing, monkeys were also going off in that direction. Not every single monkey or ape on the island, but the number of monkeys going off in the same direction could only be a good thing. He knew where he was going, but nothing was wrong with being sure.
Soon, he arrived at the location of the stone structure. Hanging from the vines in a way one would expect a real-life Tarzan would, he watched as the monkeys he followed scurried towards the structure. Now, why would the monkeys be going there? There were so many questions that needed answering. The best option was to go inside.
Fingering the handle of his knife, he jumped to the ground and walked into the clearing. There were no monkeys around. He was in the clear. At the moment, of course. He didn’t want to jinx himself before he reached the structure, which he kept moving towards, crouched down like he was hunting something.
A rhesus monkey scampered up next to and then in front of him. Being a decent human being, he stopped in front of it. He chattered to it in hopes that it would leave. But it didn’t.
Soon, more monkeys began to surround him. “Shit,” he said to himself as a crowd of monkeys had him trapped. They bared their teeth and chattered angrily at him. Any move he tried to make, they shifted to keep him in the middle of a circle.
If he knew his old adventure pulp novels, these guys wanted him to fight something.
A cry confirmed that. He turned around to see a large, human-sized simian emerging from the brush. It was like an orangutan crossed with an Australopithecus afarensis, sasquatch, humans, and even the oozaru Saiyan were-monkeys from Dragon Ball Z.
Where in the underworld did this thing come from? Kyle could only wonder what the fuck was going on, while Kainak was ready to go all Tarzan on this fucker. Both the rational (Kyle) and irrational (Kainak) sides agreed to reconcile because it was pretty obvious he was going to have to fight this thing anyway. And once the big ape started baring its fangs, beating its chest and roaring at him, the fight was set.
In one corner, a human-sized Australopithecus afarensis/oozaru/orangutan/sasquatch. In the other, the Wild Man himself, the modern-day, real-life Tarzan, from Winnipeg Manitoba, KAINAK!
The Wild Man also beat his chest, roared and pounded on the ground before starting a haka, his eyes bulging, tongue sticking out, and letting the combination of testosterone and adrenaline flow like the raging Colorado River. Julie would laugh at him for this.
“HIIII!” he finished his haka, making a throat-slitting gesture. As if the ape knew what he was doing, it roared angrily and charged him, its tail swinging from side to side. Kainak bent down with his arms out, waiting for the ape to get to him until it collided with him, and he wrapped his arms around it to keep it still.
The ape pushed the Wild Man until his bare feet dug into the ground. He started pushing back, roaring proudly and shoving the beast off balance. The creature soon steadied itself, beat its chest, and charged at Kainak again. The Wild Man grappled the monster and pushed it to the ground, where they wrestled like ancient Greek Olympians.
Kainak tried to get a grip on the beast, doing his best to pin it down. But it was heavy and strong. And it fought like a human. He didn’t know and didn’t care why. All that mattered was beating this thing. The beast effortlessly flipped him over and tried to get at his throat. Kainak did the same job but started to stand up, trying to lift the creature and flip it over.
He just got it to stand up. But he punched the beast in the jaw, drawing what sounded like boos from the monkeys. Who gives a shit? He’s trying to survive here! He beat his chest, pounded the ground, and gave the ape more bulging eyes and tongue. He rushed the beast and tackled it at its midsection. What? He used to watch the Blue Bombers!
The beast flipped Kainak over and tried to punch him. The Wild Man got out of the way, and the ape-beast’s fist pounded into the ground. Kainak kneed the beast in the gut, then grabbed it and tried to suplex it. But the creature was massive. Kainak tried and tried to get it up, but the beast grabbed him and suplex him.
Kyle, his rational side, was perplexed. This ape was using technique! Now, apes fight a lot, anyone with a brain can see that. But these movements were human, and like the ape had learned them somewhere. One option could be that the ape watched Teo tribesmen wrestling with each other (how Kainak learned to fight as well). However, how would an ape this size watch them without getting noticed?
There was one idea, given how he had to deal with apes who were once men, and that Oranta wanted to transform him—a memory which made him cringe—into one of them. Perhaps this was one of her ape-men who she used as her army.
But this one didn’t look like them. Instead, he looked new. Was it a new one?
Kainak, his wild side, kicked back in when the beast tried to smash its fists into him. He rolled out of the way, crouching in an ape-like primal stance and baring his teeth. Having done this for years, his rational and wild sides were not separate but blended perfectly as a sensible human being, but also an instinct-driven wild animal.
He circled the beast, baring his teeth and growling, but thinking of a way to beat this thing. It circled him as well, and the monkeys, who had been “boo-ing,” were now cheering and chattering like this was a pro wrestling match or a gladiator fight. Kainak could tell they were bloodthirsty—his blood.
The ape lunged at him. Kainak jumped, also. The two grappled, with Kainak trying to get the ape off its feet. He tried to get a grip with his bare feet, trying several stances. He began to push harder, harder, harder until the ape was driven backward and onto the grass. Kainak raised his fist and punched the ape, knocking one of its teeth out and causing it to scream in pain.
The ape pushed the Wild Man off. He grabbed the tooth and put it in his loincloth pack. Sensing victory, Kainak roared, beat his chest, and yelled a ha’a to get more and more adrenaline and testosterone flowing. His hair was dirty, and his gymnast-build body was glistening with sweat—whoa, whoa, calm down, straight/bi/pan ladies and gay/bi/pan guys, the Wild Man’s already taken. Besides, he’s fictional (although that never stopped anyone on Tumblr).
The ape, having recovered its bearings, ran towards the Wild Man.
He grappled the beast as it slammed into him. The two struggled to get grips on their respective opponents, but the creature had the upper hand. It grabbed Kainak and tried to lift him. The Wild Man held on, pushing backward while the monkeys all chattered excitedly.
The ape lifted Kainak, and effortlessly tossed him out of the makeshift ring to the loud chattering cheers of the smaller monkeys.
Kainak had lost.
But he wasn’t about to give up. Knowing how things go in fiction, someone was going to try and capture him. No way was that going to happen!
He got back up and started to move towards the jungle. He’d come back later. He ran, but into some rhesus monkeys. Okay, fuck this, he wasn’t going to let a bunch of small monkeys—
There was, of course, the beast’s fist, which punched him right in the face, and sent him sprawling on the ground. Covered in grime and sweat, he got up and ran towards the jungle again. The beast roared and followed in hot pursuit.
Once into the jungle, he jumped up and quickly climbed up one of the trees, jumping to another tree and higher, higher, higher so that the big ape could not catch him. If he was right, and that thing was both massive and human, he would have no problems.
Of course, he was pretty sure the thing wasn’t going to give up on him. And looking back to see it, he noticed that it was still in pursuit.
So he kept going. He went higher, hoping to escape. Pretty soon, he was interrupting native birds and other animals while dealing with pained shoulders and what might be a blackened left eye. He got up and crouched down on a branch, watching intently. He could still see the ape’s black shape moving about, which he recognized from yesterday. So that‘s what he saw.
And once again, he was being hunted.
He kept quiet. Any noise could alert the beast. It appeared to be looking up, down and around to find him but never came close. He licked his lips in nervousness but still did not move. A bird, however, screeched loudly. Spirits, that thing is loud! He knew the birds could be noisy, but this was ridiculous!
He froze when the ape looked up. He took a deep breath, waiting for the beast to start climbing towards him.
But it never did. Instead, it climbed down to the ground and ran off.
Kainak sighed in relief and kept going on. Using his compass, he found his way to the treehouse where he would get a hold of the researchers.
Okay, first, he wiped the sweat off and then went to the HAM radio. “SciTeam, this is Jungle Boy,” he said. “I just—”
The chattering of monkeys interrupted him. He looked behind him and saw several rhesus monkeys baring their teeth at him.
This was getting ridiculous. This was a show trial if Julie ever saw one. Though she agreed with Manti that the hysteria had to end, he kept bringing out ridiculous witnesses and arguments against the three defendants, all of whom furiously advocated their innocence. And every single argument they and their defense “attorney” (she couldn’t think of any other term) made were dismissed by the judges.
So yeah, it was complete and utter pigshit.
Sitting cross-legged next to Unaki with her head in her hand, she looked disgusted at how things were going. She knew Manti wanted to punish them, but for the sake of “fairness” had put this stupid trial on.
And judging by how everyone was reacting, it wasn’t exactly working out.
“Great spirits,” she whispered, making Unaki glance over to her. For some reason, Unaki was calm and collected, but she didn’t think much about it.
“How does the jury find the defendants?” Manti asked.
The “jury” discussed amongst itself for what seemed like an instant before they turned to Manti, and the jury foreman declared, “Guilty!”
A chorus of boos and curses descended upon Manti. Had he been any other chief, he would have been angry. But he sat still, nodding his head and gesturing to the guards to have the prisoners taken away.
“What happened?” P’li asked when he sat next to Unaki.
“Manti has found them guilty,” said Unaki. “And everyone is angry.”
“Really?” P’li asked, a gap in his teeth appearing.
Before Julie knew it, she could hear the sounds of cars pulling up. She got up, right as she heard someone shouting something about how the haoles were to blame for all this, and several other tribesmen shouted their agreements.
Several researchers jumped out of the cars, holding their guns as if they were trying to warn the Teo. Julie ran right up to Gina, who looked very nervous and concerned. But so did Julie. “Julie, what’s going on?” Gina asked.
“Everyone’s losing their minds,” Julie replied. “Manti tried those guys who came to the camp, and now everyone’s pissed at him and you!”
“DAMN!” Gina said as several researchers had to point their rifles at angry tribesmen. Manti, Kame, and Hilo screamed at the tribesmen, but things were pretty quickly reaching a boiling point. It was good that the researchers did not have their fingers anywhere near the trigger. “Julie, I have some bad news. Kainak tried to contact us, but he was cut off. We can’t reach him.”
Dun, dun, DUUUUN! Cliffhanger!
Okay, I’m gonna admit this is my favorite chapter so far for a couple reasons. It’s longer, and the pacing is MUCH better. It wasn’t too hard to reach 7 pages/3,000 words with this one.
Also, we got to see just how good a fighter Kainak is. The fight was sort of a shout-out to the original Tarzan book when the Big Guy fights Kerchak.