Piercing his ruined arm at the elbow, the spear stopped with the point protruding
from his shoulder. Dehabee knew then he was going to die. But at that moment
the large main group of the Ayores arrived at the village edge. Dehabee heard
shouts and saw the Pig People fall back in fear and surprise. In a daze of pain,
he made it to the village edge to collapse into the arms of his comrades.
The horrified Ayores caught the bloody ruin that was their leader and friend.
And there was Cadui coming, covered in blood from head to foot, but still on his
feet. Oh Uje, have mercy! It had happened so fast! And where was Uma-deh?
Where is Uma-deh?
NONE AMONG THE GODS
by Tom Taylor
Find it at your favorite book store. If not in stock, they can order it in within
a few days.
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AMONG THE GODS THERE IS NONE LIKE YOU, OH LORD.
The plane floated over the crumpled ridges with their barren sides falling away into
gorges and valleys so far below it seemed a person could fall into them forever. “Lord!”
The young pastor, David Campbell, murmured the word reverently as he shook off the
stupor of his nap. He must be on the far side of the moon. He was certainly not on Earth.
But unfortunately that’s indeed where he was. Sighing, he glanced at his watch. The
plane would be arriving in La Paz soon – the highest commercial airport in the world. He
was getting far away from home, very far indeed. “I still can’t believe I’m doing this,” he
thought. And yet, wasn’t that precisely what he wanted? Yes. For a while at least, to be
very far away from home. Far away from his church, and the news media, and the
courtroom and, possibly, the jail. And from Mary who was gone from him when he
needed her more than he ever had in his life.
“Okay, hang on,” Whitt shouted. Lowering half flaps, he opened the throttle and threw
the plane into a violent, roaring left turn. Slammed down into his seat by the centrifugal
force, David gazed down the left wing at the treetops swirling around so close below
them. Whitt snapped back level out of the turn and David watched the compass stop on
264 degrees as if it had been glued there. “Nice work!” he muttered as Whitt nudged the
throttle back and things quieted down a bit.
Counting off the seconds aloud, Whitt lowered the flaps to full down position, raised the
nose and opened the throttle a bit to hold their altitude; and the plane mushed along
slowly in a classic short-field approach. Watching… watching… The trees swept by
below and were gone. Ahead was the misty open void of the airstrip. At the distant far
end loomed ghostly trees and the searchlight shining brightly. Whitt, still holding the
nose high, throttled back and they dropped downward. The ground was clearly visible
now racing beneath them… grass and puddles of water. The wheels hit with a thumping
When Whitt parked and shut off the engine, a sudden
silence washed in; and the crowd, until now only a distant
abstraction, became very real. David emerged from the
cockpit into a warm, humid and surreal dream.
Brown-skinned Indians in various stages of dress
surrounded him, all of them talking at once in a language
which sounded amazingly like Japanese. Some stared
curiously at him while others watched a small boy on a
stretcher being carried toward the plane.
Carrying one end of the stretcher was a young, dark-haired white woman who must be one
of the missionaries, David supposed. Maybe she was the nurse here at San Pablo…
At the sight of her the world stopped. Even the chattering Ayores faded away and David’s
mouth fell open in a gasp of disbelief. It could not be! She drew closer with the stretcher and
David squinted through his wet glasses. Wet black hair cascading to her shoulders framed a
tanned, oval face and dark, exquisite – and unmistakable – eyes. It was indeed her!
David felt himself falling into the past. What jungle sorcery had dropped him from the misty
sky to meet again the girl he had loved so long ago, even before he had known Mary?
Her eyes met his for a brief instant; and shocked surprise suddenly etched her face. One
handle of the stretcher slipped out of her hand; she caught it with her knee and quickly
grabbed it again. “David? David?” she said incredulously as they bore the stretcher past
him toward the plane.
“Ellen,” was the only word that would come from his mouth.
the girl turned and walked toward David. She looked as if she were sleep-walking and he
could only stand still, watching her come as in a dream.
Her voice sounded through the mist of his dream. “David, it’s… it really is you?”
His own voice was a strangely comforting echo in the dream corridor. “Ellen, it’s me. David.”
While other men held back the eager dogs, the two church leaders
angrily looked from one face to another in the crowd while Uma-deh
“He’s telling them,” Ellen murmured, “is this the bird whose evil power
you fear? How can it harm anyone when it is powerless to save its
own life? How can it hurt you when it is powerless to even live? You
will soon see it has no power.”
Uma-deh nodded a signal; Dehabee cut the cord from around the bird’
s feet and quickly jumped out of the way. The Chugupejai thrashed to
its feet and began to run, unsteadily at first, toward the woods. Its
huge black wings unfurled like the cape of some fleeing evil prince;
they spread out in the glaring sun and the bird was soon airborne,
flapping gracefully. David was aware of Ellen close beside him, her
hands gripping his arm and shoulder.
Uma-deh took careful aim. The thunderclap of his shot exploded and
echoed back sharply from the surrounding bush as if in an
auditorium. Feathers burst and fluttered from the fleeing bird. It arced
over and crashed into the brush at the village edge, still alive, but the
dogs were on it in an instant, tearing it to pieces.
“Oh.” Ellen gave a long sigh. “Oh, I wish Uma-deh wouldn’t do things like that.”
“It was pretty bloody alright.”
“No, I mean… what if he had missed?”
“Now just a minute, David," she said. "Do you think that’s what is bothering me? Guilt?”
“I… I can’t know. I can guess…”
“Well, it isn’t. It isn’t guilt. That was taken care of long ago. Do you know what’s really
bothering me and why I didn’t sleep a wink last night?” Her voice softened. “It’s pain,
David. That summer at Fairingdale, I fell head-over-heels in love with you. I was crazy in
love with you. And then when the Pastor advised us to stay apart from each other… you
just agreed to it like it was nothing. And it hurt, David. It hurt more than I can say. Was I
just a summer plaything to you?”
He stared at her in some astonishment before his face softened in profound sadness. “Oh
Ellen, I am so sorry. No, you weren’t just a plaything. I loved you too. "Maybe... we were
both so shocked at what we had done..."
“So what am I to do, David?” she murmured. “I said I’d try to get to know you again, as if
we’d never known each other. And I’m finding… you’re different. You’re not nearly so
brash… and I like that. And I saw your heart this afternoon when you were reading the
Bible to Uma-deh. And, oh David, I could so easily fall in love with you again.” She looked
up at him with troubled eyes. “But I never want to be hurt like that again.”