The end arrived quickly, the panther was killed almost instantly as the spear transfixed its throat. Pitrox spun involuntaraly as Sarah's bullet ripped through the meat of his left calf. Sarah, unhurt, looked down and tisked as she realized that the panther's claws had torn a four parallel rips in her best skirt.
Pitrox was holding his leg and looking at her wide-eyed. His end was coming, he began to chant to his God's. He hoped they would listen. Hearing the chanting, Sarah looked at him and smiled. It wasn't one of her dazzlers reserved for Reginald, but it was close enough. This young man had just saved her life. She noticed that he was bleeding, and frowned, irritated with herself about the moment of vanity and regret for her skirt.
Pitrox felt an immense weight lift from his shoulders when she smiled. Maybe he would not die this day after all. He was still nervous however and wanted to return to the village so the healers could fix his leg. Even if he did endur the leaches. An involuntary shudder ran up his spine.
Sarah approached slowly, she stopped when he moved, and came closer when he was still. She smiled again, Pitrox blinked back, but remained motionless. She continued to close the gap. The distance was finally comfortable. She gently extended her empty hand, palm up. She looked at the young man and smiled.
Pitrox had watched her approach and gradually his fear diminished. When she extended her hand, he paused and then slowly touched her palm with his fingers. He looked at her and smiled also. A tenuous trust was born.
Sarah looked down at Pitrok's calf and pointed. He shrugged as if it was no matter, yet the blood flowed. She frowned and pointed for him to sit. It took several tries but he finally got the idea. Sarah looked at the wound she had caused. She was relieved to find it was only a flesh wound. She reached for her belt pouch, and opened a little jar of salve. As she applied it to the wound Pitrok had a quick intake of breath, but this was much easier than the leaches, so he relaxed once again.
Sarah looked at her skirt, tore a small patch from it. She allowed herself just a small shake of her head. She applied more salve to the patch and put it on the wound. She then reached up and took off her sun helmet. Pitrok eyes widened in amazement, he had never see a woman with hair so red and eyes so green. Surely this was an angel sent here in answer to his prayers.
Sarah took the green sash off the sun helmet and wound it around the wound. It created a very serviceable field dressing. She smiled and opened her canteen. She took a drink. She offered the canteen to Pitrok. He smelled the contents and then drank glady. Sarah donned her sun hat again, and stood. She quickly scanned the area for the trail she had been following earlier. It was not to be found.
Pitrok had a problem. He approached the dead panther and removed its claws and teath. Big magic that could not be left behind. However it was getting very late and the jungle was no place to be after dark It was obvious that the woman did not understand the dangers of the night out here. He clicked his tounge at her, and then gently touched her arm. When she looked up, he motioned to follow and took a couple of steps. He motioned again, took a few more steps and motioned again. Sarah smiled and began to follow Pitrok. Pitrok walked steadily toward his village, his leg barely hurt. He was sure it was the magic in the soft green cloth wrapping his wound. Maybe the Elders would know what to do with this angel woman.
It was late when they arrived at village, many people had already taken shelter for the night. But a few came running to talk to Pitrok. They stopped short as Sarah came into view. Pitrok talked to his villagers describing the events that had happened. He showed the panther's claws and teeth, and to the marvelous green cloth on his leg. One of the village leaders arrived and told Pitrok to find lodging for the woman in the single womans quarters. It was too dark now, everything would wait until the morning.