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FIVE ALIVE

By L. H. Hall


 

FIVE ALIVE

By L. H. Hall

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter 1 ... The Sea
Chapter 2 ... Aches and Pains
Chapter 3 ... The Cave
Chapter 4 ... Man on the Beach
Chapter 5 ... Fruit
Chapter 6 ... The Journal
Chapter 7 ... Aloe
Chapter 8 ... New Friends
Chapter 9 ... God's Christmas Tree
Chapter 10 ... Sunday School
Chapter 11 ... Hidden Treasure
Chapter 12 ... Swimming Pool
Chapter 13 ... The Dark Night
Chapter 14 ... Workaholic
Chapter 15 ... Christmas
Chapter 16 ... Goats
Chapter 17 ... Julie
Chapter 18 ... The Lookout
Chapter 19 ... Bats
Chapter 20 ... Making Plans
Chapter 21 ... Terraces
Chapter 22 ... Lake Four
Chapter 23 ... The Dolphins
Chapter 24 ... Unhappy Birthday
Chapter 25 ... Homecoming
Chapter 26 ... Disaster
Chapter 27 ... The Handyman
Chapter 28 ... Sarah
Chapter 29 ... The Baby
Chapter 30 ... Debbie
Chapter 31 ... Ridges and Ravines
Chapter 32 ... Growing Up
Chapter 33 ... Trapped
Chapter 34 ... The Big Day
Chapter 35 ... Surprise
Chapter 36 ... Deejay
Chapter 37 ... The Promise
Chapter 38 ... Discovered
Chapter 39 ... Sarah's Ultimatum
Chapter 40 ... Guests
Chapter 41 ... The Wedding

 

Chapter 8

New Friends

 

 Sarah had only been on guard a few minutes.  I had lain back, relaxing, and was almost asleep when Sarah screamed, "Timmy!  Jamie!  Help me!!!

I jumped up, like nothing was wrong with my leg, grabbed the machete, and ran out to see a pack of ten or twelve dogs spread out along the east edge of the patio.  They stood there watching us, growling.  "Debbie, Julie, you get back in that other room!  Now!  Jamie, get the clubs.  Move slowly."  The leader of the pack began to advance.  There was no question what he wanted, but Sarah and I were between him and the meat, and did not dare move.  "God," I prayed. "Help us."   The words were hardly out of my mouth, before there was a flash of white from my right, and the dog was rolling on the ground.  Sheba had come to the rescue.  "You get in there with the girls, Sarah."  The fight lasted less than a minute, and Sheba was standing next to me, facing the pack, growling.  The wounded dog got up and limped off with his tail between his legs.  Sheba stood frozen, still growling until the last of the pack disappeared into the jungle.  Then she whined and nuzzled my hand to be petted.  I stroked her head a few times, and bent down to give her a big hug.  She licked my face.  Then, I felt something moist. I looked at my hand.  Blood!  She had whipped the big dog, but he had gotten a piece of her shoulder.  She was not hurt badly, but she would have a sore shoulder for a few days.  "C'mon, girl.  We'll put some soothing medicine on it."  Sheba followed me into the cave.  The girls returned from  the west room, and after I rubbed a piece of the aloe leaf onto her wound, Sheba went to each of the others to get acquainted, and receive her thanks.

"We don't have to worry about her any more."  Sarah petted her protector.

"Boy!  We got us a good guard dog!"  Jamie spoke the feelings of all of us.

"Oh!  I forgot all about the meat!"  Sarah ran outside.

I followed her, expecting the meat to be gone, but the dogs must have frightened the birds away.  There was not a bird in sight.

"I wanna watch the meat."  Julie followed us onto the patio.

"I'm afraid you're too little to handle that big stick to scare the birds, and what if the dogs come back?" I asked.

"Sheba will take care of me.  Won't you, Sheba?"  The big dog, standing beside her licked her face, ran to the ledge, jumped upon it, and lay down to lick her wound.

"I guess, if Sheba is going to protect you, you can stand guard for a while."  I found the largest strip of meat, and threw it to the dog, who caught it in the air.

The next few hours were uneventful.  The clouds rolled in around noon.  We all had to hustle to get the meat into the cave, before the daily rain hit with a vengeance; but an hour later the patio was dry enough to put it back.  Sheba never touched a piece of the meat.  When the rain started, she disappeared but returned to her post when we started to put it out again.  The sun was beginning to dip into the western sky when she got up, stretched, ran over to the north edge of the patio, barked just once, and slipped into the jungle.  A half hour later she dropped a large suckling pig at the edge of the stream, and ran into her den.

The piglet was not as easy to dress as the other animals had been.  I finally pared the skin off, like you'd pare a big potato.  Then we put the pork skins into a big pan and fried them to get the grease out of them.  I remembered that Mother had never put grease in the pan to fry pork. She said there was enough in the meat.  We fried the piglet for supper and had lots of grease left for frying until it spoiled, which was not very long in the tropical heat.

Just before dark we had come back from our nightly visit to the edge of the jungle, and lit the fire in the cave.  I had gotten the Bible to read a passage for devotions when Sheba whined at the entrance to her den.  "Come on over here, girl," I called. "C'mon, Sheba."

She came out of the shadows, followed by her family.  Jamie and Julie started to run to the puppies, but I stopped them.  "Sheba is still a wild dog,   She was friendly today, but she might not be so friendly if you mess with her pups."

Sheba had no intention of being unfriendly.  She led the pups over, lay down between us and the fire, and began to lick her sore shoulder.  It was obvious that Sheba had attacked her mate, a big, gray mixed breed dog that resembled an Australian sheep dog.  Several of the pups were definitely his.

Before long, the pups were crawling all over us.  We each selected one to call our own, and then the three younger children got to fight over who was going to get which of the other three.  They could not make up their minds; so, I put the three extra pups behind me.  Sarah found three small twigs of different lengths.  Debbie drew the longest.  She got the first pup I took from behind my back, and Jamie got the last one with the short stick.  I did not know how we could be fairer.  We spent the rest of the evening trying to come up with good names for them.  Mine was Bruno.  Sarah named hers Prince. Jamie's were Butch and Rascal. Debbie chose Buster and Tippy.  Julie thought hers were cuddly and silly.  She called them Cuddles, and Silly.

For the third night in a row, the mountain started rattling over our heads.  We huddled, as usual, by the entrance, but Sheba did not pay any attention to it.  She just lay by the fire with her chin on her paws, looking at us like we were being silly.  After a moment or two, she barked softly a couple of times and closed her eyes.  I went back to the fire.  "If Sheba thinks it's safe, it's safe.  C'mon."

"That's scary."  Julie settled down beside me, put my arm around her, and snuggled up to me to play with her puppies.

"I think the mountain is trying to talk to us," Jamie decided.

"Maybe it knows something we don't," Debbie agreed.

"I just wish it would keep it's thoughts to itself," Sarah muttered.  "I don't like my mountains talking to me."

A little while after the racket in the mountain stopped, Sheba got a drink and ran out into the night, but reappeared moments later.   She yelped, and started toward her den.  The puppies ran after her.  Jamie did not want to let his pups go, but when Sheba stopped halfway to the den entrance and whined, he released them.

"I expect we'll see a lot of them from now on,"  Sarah watched them disappear.

I went out to soak my leg in the stream again, while Sarah rubbed some more juice from that "aloe leaf," as Debbie called it, onto their sunburns.  It had surely taken the fire out of the burns.  We were hardly even red any more, and my leg was much, much better.  The kids were all rubbed down, and Debbie was just finishing rubbing it on Sarah's back when I returned.

I sat down, and Debbie also did the honors for my back, while I did the front, and Sarah sliced off a fresh strip for my leg.  "I want you to keep this on all night,"

"Look who's trying to be the boss now."  I grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her down across my legs and started tickling her.

"Timmy!  No!  No!!  No!!!  Stop!!!  Timmy!  Stop!!!  Please stop!"  She giggled.

"You forgot, didn't you?  Didn't I tell you I'd get even."  I continued to tickle.  She continued to scream and giggle.

"That wasn't fair." She took a wild swing at me when she finally wiggled free.

We all got excited, and had a good laugh.  Then Julie said, "Tickle me, Timmy."

I grabbed her and tickled her.  "Not too much," she screamed. "Just a little bit."

I let her go, and Debbie came up for her turn.

"Come on, Jamie.  It's your turn."  I laughed, knowing what he would do.

"Oh, no you don't!"  He was on the patio before I got the words out.

"Come on back.  I was only teasing."

"Promise you won't tickle me."

"I promise.  Come on back.  Let's read the Bible and say our prayers."  I was going to read the Twenty-Third Psalm, but when I opened the Bible, my eyes focused on Psalm Ninety-One.  "Listen to this. Dad says that when the Bible falls open to this Psalm, it means that God is promising to take care of us."

"What does it mean?"  Julie asked when I had finished.

"It means just what it says.  A thousand people could die on one side of us, and ten thousand on the other side, but we will be all right."

"Really?"  Debbie asked.

"Really.  Come and kneel around me while we say our prayers.  Sarah tied my leg up so tight;  I can't kneel tonight, so I'll have to sit down to pray."

"Can God hear you if you sit down to pray?"  Julie wondered.

"Sure, He can.  We can pray anywhere, and He will hear us.  We kneel, when we can, to show Him respect, but if we have a stiff leg, like I do tonight, He knows we respect Him without us kneeling."

After our prayers, we went through the yukky nightly ritual of kissing everybody good-night.  Soon after we had lain down, Sheba came out and lay  between us and the entrance.  It was good to know that she was there to protect us.  I fell asleep without worrying for the first time since we awoke from our troubled sleep on the beach.

I really slept well.  When I awoke the jerky was laid out,  Sheba was at her post on the ledge, the pups were frolicking in the stream with the kids and Sarah was trying to dress the animal Sheba had brought in.  She was making a mess of it, but I had to give her credit for trying.  "Why didn't you wake me."  I stretched, feeling relaxed and rested.  My leg was even tolerable.

"You were sleeping so peacefully, I decided to let you sleep until you wanted to get up."

"I'll do that as soon as I go to the bathroom."  I started for the jungle.

"I'll let you help me, but I need to learn how to do it."

"That's a good idea; then, you can if you have to."  In a minute after I returned, the meat was frying.

The day was much like the day before, only we had the puppies to play with, the wild dogs kept their distance, and Sheba helped us with the birds.

When I took the leaf from my leg, the infection and swelling had disappeared.  Only a slight redness close to the cut remained.  The best part, it did not hurt much at all.  I continued to soak it in the cold stream, and kept pieces of the aloe leaf bound to it.   In the afternoon we took some of the large pots and buckets, and made another trip for fruit and vegies.

According to Mr. Wilcox's notebook the best papayas and mangoes were a little farther down the north slope from, the orange grove. We cut a trail farther down toward the beech.  The first fruit we came to were some coconuts lying on the ground.  I cut the large hulls from five to make them easier to carry.  I wanted to make bowls, and try to squeeze the oil out of the white meat as I had seen done in the villages I had visited with Dad.

Farther on we found papayas, mangoes, and some banana trees with green bananas on them.  The bananas had to be picked green, or the insects and lizards would get them. We would have to come back for them.  We would have to cut the tree down to get them, and I did not want to waste any.  We would make a special trip for bananas.  We needed ripe, edible fruit that trip.

We picked several mangoes and papayas, and on the way back we discovered several potato vines.  We had really enjoyed the first ones.  Our pails and pots were full, but we picked as many as we could stack on top.

Sheba was with us this time instead of following us in the bushes.  We all felt so much safer.

After we returned to the cave, Sheba brought her pups out, and she disappeared.  We did not have to ask where she had gone.  We knew she would return with more meat.

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 1995

By

Leonard H. Hall, Sr.

 

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