WORRALS OF THE ISLANDS
by Captain W. E. Johns
VII. WHAT HAPPENED AT MAITAL (Pages 81 – 94)
Worrals and Oko journey through the night and by 11.00 am the next morning, the island of Maital is in sight. Arriving at the island, Worrals finds the Sikh policeman. He introduces himself as Rama Pindra of the Singapore Police and he calls Worrals “memsahib”. Worrals asks to talk to Rama in private and they leave the village. Worrals explains her quest for the nine British girls who escaped from Singapore. Rama says he has heard much talk of the ladies but has never seen them. They were at Bali but left the day before Rama arrived there himself. “Rumour says they are on an island, somewhere to the east, on which they wrecked their boat on a hidden reef”. Rama also says that the Japanese have been searching for the women. Rama explains how the local natives fear the Japanese and their gunboat the ‘Tamaroa’. Worrals and Rama then return to the village only to find the beach swarming with Japanese sailors. A machine gun opens up and many natives fall. Worrals and Rama come under fire and Rama is wounded in the thigh by a ricocheting bullet. “The Sikh said not a word as she took his turban, and rolling part of it to form a pad used the rest for bandages”. The Japanese remain on the beach for about an hour and then return by boats to their gunship. Worrals and Rama go to the beach and Worrals is horrified by the slaughter of men, women and children. “Every feminine instinct in her urged her to scream, to run away. She felt physically sick, but she held herself in check, biting her lower lip until the flesh showed white”. They find Oko, shot through the stomach, and he dies. “Worrals’ fortitude broke down, so that for the first time she was able to gauge the extent of the toughness of which she sometimes boasted. With tears welling into her eyes she turned away. “Let us go,” she said chokingly. “I can’t stand any more of this”. Worrals decides she will have to canoe herself back and hope to follow the landmarks she remembered on the way. Rama says he will go with her to help, despite his wound. They provision the canoe and set off but then they see the ‘Tamaroa’ returning. The gunship changes course directly to them and Worrals takes out her automatic.