A Metamorphosis! Part 4
The day started as the sun's rays pierced through the green tree tops percolating into our eyes as we slept under it.
We had traveled two hundred miles from Katmandu. Now we had to do some calculating to work out exactly where we were. I was rubbing my eyes with my claw-like hands and said,
"These men must have taken everything you were carrying. I have the map but no compass."
Tom was patting his pockets, and with a glow of excitement retrieved a small compass from his top shirt pocket. At one time, Tom had been in the voluntary army corps and knew how to read a compass and learned survival techniques. He explained his instinct and army training made him jump out of the car on the verge of the vehicle exploding, saving his life.
Tom and I looked intently at the map. I had a list of the most populated cities in that country, and I wanted to avoid these areas as we both knew once they saw me; I and my accomplice would be hunted down like wild animals.
On Tom's reckoning, we were ten miles from Pokhara, a densely populated city. We were headed in a straight path towards it! Our only chance to avoid the throng was to head slightly south west towards the Koli Gandaki River. Although we would be near Tansen, it was only a small rural village with less danger.
Then, there was the issue of food supplies. We had consumed all the stuff I had stolen. I had studied the terrain of the country during our flight in one of the magazines on the plane and there were some natural food resources.
I told Tom,
"I know the area is moderately populated by water buffalo. There is also wild corn in the fields. The only issue is, how do we kill the buffalo for meat? We have no spears or guns."
Tom looked surprised,
"Have you looked at yourself lately? You have the strength, agility and speed to kill that animal with your bare hands."
Tom could see the terror in my eyes as I screamed out,
"I look like a wild animal and a monstrosity, and you want me to behave like one too!"
Tom was quick to reply,
"We have no choice if we are to survive, be strong and healthy for the adventure and dangers that await us."
Deep down, I knew he was right. I reasoned that killing an animal to survive was part of our human ancestry and was not evil.
We marched forward, and I was thinking that any observer would laugh seeing our two figures in the shadow of the tree's branches. A seven-foot giant with thick hair covering his whole face, arms and legs with a thin sheet of cloth covering his upper torso and belly, lumbering along. Then, there is this white man with thinning white hair and a pale face trudging behind.
As we approached the Koli Gandaki River, I could see the glistening water and its gentle ripple as a light breeze was swaying the branches from the trees on each side, so they looked like they were leaning over the river in a shadowy embrace.
We had been walking for about two hours, and we ate lightly the night before. The pangs of hunger descended on us. Tom said,
"We must start looking for food. I'm getting so hungry."
We decided to hide ourselves in the bushes a hundred feet or so from the edge of the river and lay in watch for that damn water buffalo. The warm sun caused me to drowse. I don't know about Tom, but before I drifted off, I heard a heavy snore.
I don't know how long I napped, but a thudding sound snapped me out of it. I shook Tom's arm as I saw the brown bulky animal trot across the river some thirty feet from us.
I immediately stood up and ran towards the buffalo. The water was shallow and there were now waves and splashes from the swift movements of my heavy limbs.
In an instant, I was on top of it, and I clawed its neck and with my super-human strength tore it apart. As I lay on top of it, I could feel its limp body collapsing under me. I hauled it out of the water and like a giant gladiator proudly held my prize in my arms crossing onto the embankment.
Tom was laughing in joy and said,
"You're a true hero."
"There's only one problem. How do we cut it up? There are no knives."
Tom smiled producing a six-inch knife from within the side of one of his socks.
He laughingly said,
"When you saw me in the cabin, I was wiggling my hands to get to the side of my sock, but I was not having much luck."
It took us an hour or so to slice the animal up and gut it. We then cut it into segments. Tom, with his army knowledge was starting a fire with dried leaves and some stones he rubbed together while I was quickly ripping branches from the trees around us to feed the flames he made.
The aroma of the cooking meat was delicious, turning easily brown in the searing, soaring fiery flames. Tom managed to use a coconut shell he found to scoop fresh water from the river.
The juicy tender meat and that fresh water were better than the stuff from the cabin.
We ate like kings that wonderful early afternoon wrapped in the majesty of the yellow sun and in the midst of the soldiers of huge pine trees that guarded us on the embankment of that charming river, the Koli Gandaki.