Crocodile Smile – Part 2

I was no more than 10 yards from my campsite taking shots of some interesting rock formations near the water’s edge. The birds were chattering away in the trees, though I couldn’t see any of them clearly enough to take any pictures. I was setting up a shot when the air became dead still. No birdcall whatsoever. I experienced a vague sense of unease and it was only through luck that I noticed a slight movement out of the corner of my eye.

Instinct must have taken over. I began running from the edge of the lake just as something massive filled the air nearby coming straight at me. I heard a loud snap but kept moving toward my camp. I turned to look over my shoulder and was horrified by the sight that confronted me.

A massive beast was no more than three feet behind me and was closing fast. Without thinking I bolted for the tree I had set up under and jumped into the fork. I looked down and there sat the largest crocodile I had ever seen. I thought it must be my imagination but he seemed to be glaring at me with evil intent.

As I sat there, my heart pounding, sweat pouring from me the croc sat motionless and stared at me. The meal that got away, I suppose. I couldn’t believe my eyes. He was all of at least fifteen feet, possibly more and as I stared at him he began making a hissing noise that chilled me to the bone.

There was nothing I could do. I thought that he would retreat back to the lake rather quickly, but to my dismay he stuck around. He walked around my campsite for a while and occasionally looked up at me.

I was bewildered. I knew little of the behaviour of these beasts and now that I had encountered one I was silently berating myself for not familiarizing myself with them. I was aware that they were to be found in lakes and waterways throughout the region but no one had told me that they could be such a danger.

Still, it seemed odd that he was sticking around as though I might be stupid enough to jump down from the tree and let him have another go at me. I decided that staring at him might be encouraging him, so I busied myself taking photos of the rapidly developing sunset, which turned out to be as stunning as I had thought it might.

When at last I was done with the photography I looked down and discovered that my nemesis was gone. At least that was how things appeared. I looked everywhere I could see in the deepening gloom but there was no sign of him. Still, I had a sense of unease. I had the distinct impression that I was being watched.

I told myself that I was being silly and that I should get down and move my camp further inland to avoid becoming a meal but I found myself unable to act. I dithered a while longer, but I soon realized that the darker it became the harder it would be spot any sudden movement when I did eventually get down. I gathered my courage and eased myself down out of the tree.

It proved to be a good move to get down when I did but a bad one to have moved at all. My feet no more than hit the ground when I saw movement off to my right. My mind almost refused to accept what my eyes were registering. There was the beast coming at me at full speed once again.

I jumped back up into the fork of the tree no more than two seconds before he reached the spot I had been standing. I sat there gasping for air and staring, dumbfounded into the most malevolent pair of eyes I had ever seen.

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