WORRALS IN THE WILDS
by Captain W. E. Johns
XII. WORRALS SHOWS HER CLAWS (Pages 121 – 135)
Worrals and Dick are unable to get out of their bonds and Worrals is able to see the witch-doctor squatting on his haunches just in front of the entrance to the hut. Beyond that, Shardwell and Gronk are arguing and Worrals can guess what is going through their minds. Fearing the consequences of killing a white man, Bill has been put out of the way where blame could be laid on the Ovambos. Mahomet must have seen too much and been murdered. But the conspirators now found themselves with yet another aircraft and two white girls to deal with, as well as Dick and Andrew. “The long and short of it was, the plotters now found themselves faced with the necessity of committing wholesale murder if they were to achieve their object”. Worrals tells Dick “They’ll try to reopen the negotiations. If they try that, have nothing to do with them. We don’t deal with crooks”. Shardwell does try to get Dick to sign over the concession to him but after angry words, Dick declines. Shardwell tells Ooma to do the same to Dick and Worrals that he has done to Bill and he leaves him to it. Worrals watches the witch-doctor with morbid interest as he prepares to carry out his instructions. “She found it hard to believe that this bag of bones was a human being. It was impossible to see his face, so thickly was it smeared with coloured clays and adorned with gimcrack ornaments that dangled from his matted hair”. The witch-doctor, Ooma, prepares his poisonous potion on a claw and grabs Worrals arm and then two black hands reach out and grab Ooma by the throat and wrist. Ingoona has arrived with Frecks just in time to save them. Frecks says Wongorobo was outside but Ingoona has knocked him out with his club. Worrals says she needs Ooma alive as only Ooma knows the antidote for Bill. Ooma denies there is any antidote and he knows they need him alive. Worrals get the poisoned claw meant for her and “quite deliberately, she drove the point of the claw in the black arm and held it there”. Ooma is released and quickly gets a gourd, obviously containing the antidote, to rub into his own wound. Worrals then takes the same gourd and applies the antidote to Bill’s wounds. It is now getting towards dawn and the party need to escape before Shardwell returns. They decide to take Ooma with them so he can’t raise the alarm. Four of the native Hereros lift Bill and carry him out, whilst two take the witch-doctor. Worrals says “Let’s go”.