“They’re going to eat us?!” Ira asked in a screaming whisper.
“Keep your voice down,” Grigsby said. “Yes.”

Ryūki used scraps of his shirt to clean the pistol. Afterward, he assembled it, cleaned the dirt off the bullets, and reloaded the gun. “We don’t have enough ammo. And we’re outnumbered.” Ryūki said. “Our best bet is to wait inside until Dalia arrives.”

Grigsby nodded and checked his watch. Dalia said she’d call in exactly 5 hours and advised to keep the phone off until then to save battery. A cloudless dawn brightened the inside of the hut. Footsteps and murmurs were sounding through the village. The tribespeople were waking up. They didn’t have much time.

Ira peeked through a crack in the hut. “We can’t just waltz out of here. Those bandits are still here.”

“Relax Ira. Let me think” Grigsby said pacing around the hut. He then peeked through the crack. “It seems that the entrance we came through is the only way out of here. It’s all enclosed by thorn fences.”

“Terrific, I’m going to be a soup du jour and you’ll be the prime rib. How the hell are we going to get through there?”

“Fire.” Ryūki said. “We’ll need to start a fire to distract them. Do any of you have a lighter?”

Ira and Grigsby shook their heads. Ryūki cursed in Japanese and pulled out his pistol. He popped a bullet from the chamber and caught it. Ryūki then carefully pulled the bullet off of the shell casing. He poured out the gunpowder on a leaf, wrapped it up and stuffed into his pocket.

“That’ll be enough to raise hell,” Ryūki said with a smile.

They planned an escape for another hour and tried to ignore their hunger. Grigsby couldn’t wait to see Dalia, she promised to bring “a bucket of spaghetti bolognese.” He prayed that wasn’t hyperbole.

A rush of footsteps sounded near the hut. Ryūki held the pistol behind his leg out of sight. Ira peeked through the crack and whispered, “It’s not the villagers. It’s just zebras.”

Grigsby grinned, “Boys, that’s our ticket out of here.”


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