Michael pointed the rifle at Grant.
“Michael what are you doing, be careful.” Grant said
“I am being careful, I am doing what I intended to do for some time. You are the great animal hunter, I am always in your shadow and now the time has come for me to take over.”
“Don’t be so stupid Michael. If you shoot me, the truth will soon be discovered.”
“Grant, we are deep in the Indian jungle, there is no-one here except for us. If I kill you now your body will not be found and another great animal expert will be missing on an expedition. Take your last look at the world” and Michael shot Grant through the heart. He pulled his body to one side and buried it under some branches and dead vegetation. He knew that it would be a quick job for some sort of animal to dispose of his body. Michael could now take over the work that Grant had started.
Monica arrived at the landing strip somewhere in the middle of the Indian jungle. It was a hot and humid atmosphere that welcomed her and she was glad that she had her safari outfit on. Michael met her on her arrival.
“Did everything go well Michael? There were no suspicions?”
“Don’t worry Monica, I managed to do the necessary in a place where no-one would find him.”
“That’s fine, and now I will play the role of the grieving wife whose husband disappeared somewhere in the jungles of India. We just have to find where he keeps his collection of white tigers. After all that is what it is about.”
“You are right Monica, think of the money that will be paid for a fur coat from a white tiger. We will be rich.”
“One thing after the other Michael. We don’t want people to notice that we are together. I will now be the wife who is looking for her great white explorer of a husband that disappeared on one of his jungle excursions and you will stay near me comforting and helping where you can. After a few months when it is obvious that Grant will not return we can appear as a pair and go on a few hunting expeditions in the part of the jungle where Grant seemed to keep his white tigers. How anyone could use them just for filming purposes, I do not know. There is so much more money to be made with their fur.”
Michael then put his arm around Monica and she pretended to shed a few tears in her handkerchief, after all there were some Indian helpers standing around and they did not want to raise any suspicion.
Monica and Michael spent the night in the camp at the edge of the jungle. As soon as the darkness of the night was upon them Michael sneaked over to Monica’s tent and comforted her on her loss. Luckily no-one noticed, otherwise it would have seemed strange to see them both opening a bottle of champagne and toasting to Grant’s death.
The next morning they decided to form a search troop looking for Grant. The Indian helpers willingly came as they treasured the way Grant had treated them and looked after them. Michael was even dependent on their help as he was not so sure where in the jungle the white tigers could be found. He knew that Grant had kept them in a secret place, worrying about their safety if they were discovered. Rare animals were always in danger and Grant was just interested in filming them for the television, and not exploiting them for their fur. He was of the opinion that there had been too many wrongs done to the jungle animals. He had seen enough elephants killed, just for the removal of their ivory tusks; although this did not bother Michael in the least. He now had what he wanted.
Michael already had Grant’s wife, although she could become a problem. At the moment she was serving her purpose, but Monica enjoyed being the centre point. Although she was glad that her explorer husband was now in another world, Michael knew that it would be a matter of time before she wanted more and she might even start talking if things got awkward. No, all that Michael wanted was the white tigers; a rare race of tigers caused by a fluke of nature.
Michael made off into the jungle, with Monica at his side and the Indian team walking behind. They were soon approaching the place where Michael had killed Grant and he decided it was now that he would tell the Indians to take a rest and he would go further with Monica. It was hot and sticky in the jungle and the Indian helpers were glad for a break. Monica and Michael walked on further. They soon arrived at the place where Grant was buried under the vegetation.
“Is he here?” asked Monica
“Just a bit further, under those leaves” answered Michael.
“I don’t see anything” Monica said.
“That cannot be, I only killed him a few days ago and the animals do not deal with a dead body so quickly.”
It was then that both Monica and Michael felt a sting in their arm and as they turned to see what had happened, the world drifted away and they were sleeping.
Some time later they both woke up.
“Where am I, what has happened” Monica was still feeling groggy and tired.
Michael just groaned – his arm was still hurting. He looked around but saw just earth in front, at the side and behind him. They were both in a hole in the ground. It was then that Michael heard a familiar laugh.
“So how do you feel now” said a voice they knew. Looking up they saw the suntanned face of Grant looking down on them. “Did you two really think I was such an idiot that I did not realise what was happening. I have been watching you both for some time. The way Monica’s eyes were following you Michael, every time you were near. The questions you were asking; where I kept the white tigers. Well now you can have the answer, and a circle of white snarling tigers surrounded the entrance to their earth prison.
“I killed you Grant. I am sure I killed you.” Michael turned a shade of white “It can’t be your ghost I am talking to.”
“Don’t worry Michael, I am not a ghost, but flesh and blood and completely alive. Over the past few weeks I had been building a camp all of my own in this part of the jungle, ready for my demise. I had started to wear a bullet-proof waistcoat under my shirt knowing that one day I would either be shot or stabbed in the back by my faithful assistant. I was not killed, just closed my eyes at the right moment Michael and the blood you saw was taken from one of our meals in the camp, before it had been roasted on an open fire. You are so stupid Michael.”
A scream suddenly interrupted the conversation. Monica was now wide awake and saw the tigers looking down on her, as well as her believed dead husband.
“Grant, please, don’t be so stupid. You won’t get away with this. People will come looking for us.”
“Don’t worry, Monica. You will be found, but all in good time. For the time being you and your boyfriend Michael can spend a few days down in your earth prison. My tigers will keep an eye on you in case one of you decides to escape. It was very easy to get you both under my control. I also used a rifle, but the ammunition was a drug I use on the animals to stun them when I want to capture them to give them a mark. Now and again I will throw some food down to make sure you stay alive until I decide eventually what to do with you.”
In the meanwhile the Indians helpers were becoming restless. It was some time since Michael and Monica had disappeared into the jungle and night was falling. They were too frightened to go further into the jungle at night, so they returned to the camp where they reported that their leaders had disappeared.
Grant left his two captives on their own for the night as he knew they would not dare to try to escape with his collection of tigers looking down on them and he had his tigers completely under control. He had lived with them for some time and they had learned to trust Grant. Grant sometimes felt he would probably be a great success in a circus with them as they obeyed his every command. The next morning he looked in upon his “guests” and found they were suffering, which was what Grant wanted. He thought of the way his wife had treated him, playing the faithful lady, but all the time cheating on him and making plans behind his back. Michael also now got what he deserved. Wanting to kill his tigers, just for the sake of their fur was in Grant’s eyes the worse that could happen to them. Such wonderful creatures deserved a better fate than to end as a fur coat in a rich lady’s wardrobe. Grant knew that Michael had contact with certain dubious business men that would be only to glad to pay thousands to get their hands on such a rare piece.
Grant kept his prisoners for a week in their earth dungeon. He was relentless and he did not care how much they pleaded. They were both a sorry sight after a week, but that was what Grant wanted. He knew no mercy. One morning he looked down into their prison and what he saw pleased him very much.
“How are you both feeling” he asked but as an answer came no words, just a stifled sound from them both. He though Monica was trying to cry but even her tears had now dried up, and Michael was just laying there, as a limp mass, not even trying to move or to speak.”
Now the time had come to complete his revenge. He tore his clothes and smeared himself with dirt. He made a few harmless cuts with his knife on his body and limbs. Although they hurt, they did not hurt as much as Michael and Monica had hurt him. He ordered the tigers to go back from the hole in the ground and let himself into the earth prison by using a rope. He then put the rope around his two prisoners and drew them out of the hole one after the other. He then returned to the camp, dragging Monica behind him. The men were pleased to see him again, but were shocked when they saw Monica. He told the men that Michael was also in the jungle and where they could find him. The tigers watched silently behind the trees as the Indian troop took Michael back to the camp.
They were glad that all were back safely, but perhaps not so safe. Grant quickly recovered, but Michael and Monica had more problems. Yes, their hair had turned white during the week as prisoners being watched by the white tigers and Michael had got a “white” phobia. For the rest of his life, in the mental home where he spent his remaining days, he refused to wear anything white and as soon as a doctor approached him he had to be drugged. He just could not stand seeing them in their white overalls. And Monica – well Grant decided to be nice to her. Grant became a doting husband and although his wife was now confined to a wheelchair, he would often be seen going for walks with her when he was at home, although most of the time he spent in the Indian jungle with his beloved white tigers.
His film was a large success and he was always on the invitation list as a speaker at the world wild life fund dinners.
Pictures to Words - Segments: Week 1