Crocodile Smile – Part 3

I sat in my perch not four feet above the vicious beast staring daggers at me and wondered at my situation. It was so unreal I could barely get my mind around it. In the deepening gloom I could barely make out its shape. The fading light gleamed in its eyes and on it’s dagger-like teeth. After a while it hissed long and low and moved a short distance away and sat with it’s back to me.

I watched it for the longest while but it didn’t move a muscle. I was resigned to having to spend the night in the fork of a tree with no food or cover. It was by far the strangest situation I had ever found myself in.

I passed the time staring up into the night sky. I had done of bit of study in astronomy and could identify the constellations as they wheeled across the deepening night sky. I marvelled at the sounds of the nighttime jungle. It had never occurred to me how alive it was.

Occasionally I glanced down only to find my nemesis sitting in exactly the same position he had been in all along. The more I stared at it the more I became convinced that it had fallen asleep. I entertained the notion of slipping down to the ground and sneaking away but the close proximity of the beast made it clear that if I was wrong, or if it awoke I might well lack the time to get back to safety.

Visions of being eaten alive kept me in my place despite a deepening level of discomfort. I was afraid to fall asleep for fear of losing my balance and falling. All in all it was a miserable situation.

The next thing I knew my eyes were opening only to be harshly met by the rising sun. Shaking my head to clear it I realized exhaustion must have overcome me at some point in the night and I had fallen asleep in spite of my fear.

Looking down I saw that the croc was no longer sitting where I had last seen him. I craned my neck and looked at my surroundings but he was nowhere to be seen. Could it be that my ordeal was finally over? I hardly dared to hope so and yet try as I might I couldn’t catch sight of him anywhere.

I sat there for a bit longer trying to decide what to do. I was tired, sore and more than a little hungry. I looked down longingly at my pack with all that food in it. I told myself I couldn’t stay in the tree forever. I had to eat. I had to escape. It was only a matter of jumping down.

Try as I might I couldn’t get my body to respond. Somehow I just knew that wretched beast was lying in wait for me. I told myself I was being stupid. I was simply scared out of my wits because a vicious crocodile had treed me.

Another half hour passed before I was finally able to screw up the courage to give my escape a go. I kept watch for the entire time and nothing had moved. Finally I stretched my limbs and jumped down out of the tree.

I hit the ground and was seized at once by horror. The beast had been lying in wait in some reeds at the very edge of lake. He exploded out of the water with unimaginable fury. I wasted no time in leaping back into the fork of the tree, this time with seconds to spare as he came roaring at the tree trunk with a fury that shocked me beyond belief.

Upon failing to catch me yet again he stood at the base of the tree and whipped his head from side to side, hissing with all his might. I sat in my perch and stared in disbelief. This nightmare would never end.


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