Ki-Gor and the Nirvana of the Seven Voodoos

John Peter Drummond

Ki-Gor and the Nirvana of the Seven Voodoos John Peter Drummond
Inch by inch, the giant figure in the leopard skin crept forward through the waving prairie grass. The fierce tropical sun beat down mercilessly on the mighty shoulders, but a fresh easterly breeze cooled the bronze forehead. Ki-Gor froze momentarily and hugged the ground, as a chorus of snorts and the thud of many sharp hoofs stamping the turf told him that the quarry he was stalking was getting uneasy. Ki-Gor cursed the inadequate little spear beside him, his sole weapon. It was a small, flimsy assegai the Pygmies had given him, and it was all but useless in the important business of hunting game. Not heavy enough to throw, not strong enough to kill anything bigger than a jackal.
But, weapon or not, game had to be killed today. Ki-Gor was hungry. His nostrils twitched and his mouth watered as the breeze bore to him the scent of his prey, the herd of white-throated wildebeests--the giant antelope of the East African plateau. With infinite caution he raised his head and peered through the swaying grass tops. Fifteen feet away, a young, full-grown buck stared suspiciously upwind toward the rest of the herd. He was nearly five feet tall at his thick shoulders, and the coarse, matted hairs of his mane fell over but did not conceal the cruel horns that dipped downward from his forehead, then upward and outward.
It was going to be no easy task to subdue this creature barehanded, but Ki-Gor was desperate. He and Helene had not eaten meat for over a week, ever since they had left the friendly back of Marmo, the elephant, at the edge of the Congo jungle to trek on foot, ever eastward through the grassy uplands of East Africa. There had been game in plenty, but Ki-Gor had been remarkably unlucky in his hunting. Five times he had patiently stalked plump gazelles, only to be cheated out of his prey at the last minute by roving packs of wild dogs. On two other occasions, he had lain hidden, after dark, beside water-holes, hoping to make a kill undisturbed by the dogs who would be asleep. But each of those times he had found himself dangerously close to a half dozen lions, who apparently had the same idea. That many lions was too much competition, and Ki-Gor had gone back to Helene empty-handed, and with a very empty stomach.
Hardly breathing, Ki-Gor slid forward another six inches through the grass. He must get that buck. For if he and Helene did not eat pretty soon, they would be so weakened from fasting, that they, too, would fall prey to some prowling carnivores, and their bones would bleach on the wind-swept veldt. Closer and closer to the gnu, the jungle man crept. If only I had a fire-stick, Ki-Gor thought--rifles, Helene calls them. They have a potent magic which kills at incredible distances.
But he had no rifle, only the toy spear of the Pygmies, so that he must be close enough to the gnu to be able to reach it in one spring. Once the herd discovered him, even his powerful legs could never overtake them.
Closer and closer, Ki-Gor crept, muscles tensed for action. Suddenly, the herd upwind of him grew ominously silent. Something had disturbed the gnus. Was it he? Had they discovered him? Again, he raised his head to peer through the grass stalks. No, it wasn't he the antelopes were worried about. They were all facing away from him, muzzles raised, testing the air. A few does danced about nervously, ready at any second to break into a headlong gallop. Ki-Gor decided it was now or never.
Gathering his feet under him, he crouched on his haunches for one precious moment. Then, noiselessly, he sprang. As he did, the entire herd jumped forward. Ki-Gor's leap carried just short of the young buck's back--and the buck was going away. Desperately, Ki-Gor clutched at a flying hind hoof, and held on for dear life. The buck went down with a crash. Instantly Ki-Gor leaped for its head and seized a horn with each hand. The buck lunged upward, sharp hoofs scrambling. They were levers in Ki-Gor's hands. Using all his mighty strength, he twisted the shaggy head viciously around. There was a tearing sound, and a snap. The gnu sank to the ground trembling--its neck broken.
"Wa-a-aghrr!" shouted Ki-Gor in triumph. At last! Here was food--meat a-plenty.
"Wa-a-aghrr!" came an almost identical roar from behind him.
Ki-Gor whirled around and beheld a huge, grey-maned lion crouched not twenty feet away. Its dull eyes and gaunt, mangy sides showed it to be a very old lion, slow-moving and probably toothless. Back home in the jungle, the aged beast would have presented no problem to
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