"A Jungle Lord Story"
By John Pirillo
It haunted the forest for a thousand years. No, a thousand thousand years. It was old beyond time and it was the master of its domain. It slithered across the moss and fern strewn forest floor, its back arched upwards, then downwards, sometimes touching the roofs of the tall forest canopy, breaking limbs, scattering frightened birds and monkeys, sometimes falling to the earth and smashing whatever lay beneath it. It was huge, it was as relentless as death and it was hungry. None dared get in its path, or they would not live long.
Its huge body was scaled with a kind of green slimy moss that exuded a poison. None who touched it survived. None dared to touch it. Even the great Dragon Lord who lived in the east steered clear of its deadly form. Dragons were known for their taste of the serpent kind, but this serpent was the oldest, most deadly and least likely harmed. None had harmed it for centuries, none would again.
Its eyes were slits of anger. Anger at its imprisonment in such a file form. It had not only grown larger over the decades and centuries, but more intelligent. Such intelligence became self despite in time, and that made it deadly, for knowing it was helpless to change its destiny, it grew malignant and dark, taking life even when not hungry.
As today its long green tongue slithered out and tasted the air, and as it did it tasted...child! Its large nostrils flared in delight, its tail almost wagging like a happy dog, knocking over several tall trees in the process. Their crashing to the ground brought it back to awareness of where it was once more. Child!
Its hunger was not of belly, but of anger and malice. Anger towards a Maker who had given it so much awareness, but no way to use it. Malice, which was its anger turned practical and directed at killing, maiming and torturing any it deemed worthy of the distraction.
Lord Graystone swung through the trees of the gigantic swath of jungle land he called home. He had spent years exploring it, but there was so much more he had not. On this day, when his beloved was involved with her committees and charities, he had decided to return to Fairie, to the ancient lands that once bordered Earth and seek new adventure. His knife swung gently against his side, secure in it's sheathe. His bow and arrows were slung across his back securely, so that his leaps from branch to branch, and swings from vine to vine, would not shake it free, but all his weapons were easily put to use when needed, for he was well rehearsed in bringing them to bare in times of need.
For now he lazed through the air, greeting monkeys with talk that surprised them, praising the golden winged lizards that hatched babies in the safety of the higher twists of branches and limbs of the forest, and cooing at the birds that soared sometimes alongside him, as if wondering how he could fly with no wings.
He was in one of his best moods, soon leaving behind the fog and congestion of Victorian London, its horrors, its traffic, its multitudes. Here the air was free of the tainted scents of mankind, and lofty with the breath of freedom, of animals that lived from day to day, moment to moment, relishing the precious life that the Maker had given them.
Not an overzealous religious person, yet a believer in God, he turned not to priests for comfort in the Maker, but to the forest with its unrestrained love, its undying gifts of life and precious joy. Then he flung himself to a thick branch and sniffed the air. Something new?
He looked to the right and the left, his eagle sharp eyes taking in everything in exact detail, but sensing nothing he could see as out of the unusual. Then he heard it, a child's cry. A sobbing. He leapt from the branch, shooting like an arrow towards the source of the cry. It was distant. He had barely heard it, but as he swung faster and faster the scent grew stronger. The scent of what?
Time stood still beneath the green canopies of leaves for Mula. She and her daughter had been playing beside the stream of water that cascaded from the nearby mountains, bringing a coolness and sweetness of taste that was rare when one went deeper into the woods. She was of the Mulan tribe. All daughters of the tribe were named Mula, but each had a unique way of pronouncing it, which gave them a unique sound signature. The choice of Mula was simple, it indicated their ties to t he one Mula...the great Goddess who created everything...and their humble ties to humanity, which were her brothers and sisters.
She was part Elf, but also part something else, lost in time, much like the histories of Fairie, which were so thickly endowed with rumor and myth. Her ears were elongated; her eyes slit like an oriental woman's, her breasts large and pendulous. Her waist was narrow and tapered, her arms strong and bronzed like obsidian with bursts of red. Her lips were full and sensuous. She was alone. Her Mu, husband, had died at the hands of the Great Snake, the god of the forest who chose when one was to live or die.
She did not believe it was a god, but those about her had come to fear it so greatly because of its cunning that they believed so over time. Some even wanted to sacrifice to the Great Snake, but the Mus, the men of her tribe, refused to allow that, though sometimes a few would dare to do so. Such caught in the act were severely punished, their lands taken away and sent off into the jungles to survive as best they could.
"Mula Ma." Her daughter called her.
She turned to look away from the thick canopy overhead and gave her bright young child a look of utter and pure love, such as only a mother can do. Her eyes lit up with a light that any child can recognize, even if most men do not. She was a mother. A Mula Ma.
"Yes, Mula?" She asked her daughter.
Mula, her child, stood about three feet tall. She was growing like the ferns of the forest, springing up so fast that she seemed almost gangly. She was barely ten suns old, but she was strong and healthy, her face bright with reason and alive with laughter.
Her hair was highly polished silver. The combination of obsidian skin and silver hair were the wonder of the tribes that lived about them, but no big thing to her and hers. They were only seen as the blessings of the Maker.
"The earth shakes."
Mula gave her daughter a frightened look. She dropped to the ground beside the stream and put her ear to it. She listened only a second, then her eyes widened in terror.
She leaped up and grabbed her daughter's hand. "Run, Mula, run!"
Warm. Juices splattering sweetly down its throat. Savoring of goodness. The Great Snake slithered and slid rapidly towards a tasty climax, its throat already feeling the tastiness of fresh flesh wetting it.
Small shrubs and brush were nothing to it, not even felt as it rushed towards its goal. Its eyes honed in on its goal. Two pitiful creatures rushing for a safety they would never reach. It decided to make this more fun.
Mula and her daughter screamed in horror as the Giant Snake burst from the jungle green and towered over them, its tail lost in the canopy of green above. Its eyes twirled hypnotically, beckoning them to move no more. If it could have smiled, it would have been no more frightening, than the sight of its huge fangs, easily as large as an elephant, its eyes the size of small boulders and skin that reeked of slime and poison.
"Behind me!" Mula ordered her daughter.
Her daughter was unable to move.
Death hovered over them tantalizingly, waiting for the first one to move. To become its meal. Who, which one would it be?
The tiny things were frozen in shock, as they always were before it pounced on its snack, crunching them between its jaws, allowing the juice of their life's blood to ooze pleasingly down its throat.
It readied to strike. No need to rush. The more terror the creatures felt, the better the feed.
Something struck its back hard.
It paid it no attention.
Nothing could harm a god!
Again, something struck its back, but this time, it felt pain.
It slung its head back over its first coils and saw a tiny creature that looked like the others, standing on its back, something sharp in its right fist. The thing that had hurt it.
He would hurt back.
He struck at the creature, like lightning in action, but his jaws clamped on nothing.
Puzzled, he swiveled his head around to see where it had gone.
The two tiny creatures it had intended for its play and meal were gone.
Now, it was angry.
It let out a hiss of such loud displeasure that several nearby trees lost all their leaves from the force of the blow of its mouth.
Then it felt something strike its left eye. Its life-force spilled from its eye and spewed upon its scales, causing them to hiss and smoke.
It shook its head, now knowing what had happened to the tiny creature on its back.
Something tiny flew through the air, but instead of landing on the ground where it could crush or eat it, it clasped a vine from a tree and swung upwards and from view.
The Giant Snake let out a moan that spilled forth like the bellow of an old wood burning train, then lowered its proud head, and slunk back into the forest. As it did so, it heard these words.
"Come no more, Old One. Preserve your years, your life. And harm no more! Eat that which the Maker provides. No more!"
It turned its head slightly and saw a tiny creature, cup its hands to its mouth and then let out the terrible cry of the King Dragon.
Terrified and confused, the Giant Snake slithered and slid faster and faster, until it reached a precipice at the edge of the jungle. It didn't hesitate. It shot forth into the voice between the sides of the precipice.
The terrible path of the monster was suddenly noisy again as all the jungle creatures came forth from their hiding places to live safely again. At least for another day.
Mula and her daughter ran for what seemed forever, but when nothing happened. They finally stopped and looked behind them. All they could see was a tall white man with bronzed skin and golden eyes. He smiled at them, then leaped into a tree and swung from view.
"The Jungle Lord!" Her daughter exclaimed in awe.
"Yes, Mula. The Jungle Lord."
The cry of the Jungle Lord as he swung scattered vicious animals from his path as he vanished into the green splendor of the fierce jungle lands.