The snakes head weighed a ton, or so it felt to Domino as she tried to pry its jaws open enough to get free. With one big shove, she dislodged it from the rock and fell to the floor, panting.
Next to her, the snakes body had begun to uncoil, revealing three eggs, each the size of a football. Domino looked at the dead snake, then the eggs, then back, pouting. “Sorry.” she whispered to the limp monster. “You or me.” At least its death would give her something to eat.
The pirate started searching around her for something to use for fuel and kindling. The sparse, dry vegetation didn’t look ideal, but there were a few gnarled and weathered trees nearby. As she climbed to her feet, voices echoed through the rocks.
It sounded like they were coming from the beach she’d landed on, harsh, angry tones in that guttural language she didn’t know. Her heart beat hard in her chest. She was exhausted after her escape and fighting the monsters. Her arms shook and she doubted she could aim or swing her sword with any strength. Fighting the tribals would be hopeless.
Just as she felt like collapsing against the dead snake again and crying, an idea formed in her head. She braced her body against the beasts head and shoved with all her strength, sliding it back towards the nest. The jaw caught on a rock and she cursed the island, the riff, the tribals and everyone in Babbage for forcing her to do this alone. Finally, the jaw came free and she managed to heave the enormous body back into a coil over its nest.
The voices got closer and closer, echoing around the little valley the snake had chosen as its home. Domino could see their shadows moving over the rocks. She took off her jacket and threw it into the mostly dried pool of blood where the snake had almost eaten her, then climbed up its body and slipped between the coils into the nest just as the first tribal came round the corner.
She held her breath. peeking between the snakes coils, she could see three of the tribals who had tried to sacrifice her. The burns on their clothes and skin gave her some brief satisfaction. Three more men came around the rock, stopping by the man who had led the first group.
Words were exchanged as the men pointed at the snake, then her jacket. They paused, speaking in hushed tones. Their eyes kept flicking fearfully towards her hiding place.
The leader stepped forward and Domino’s heart skipped a beat. He advanced cautiously towards the jacket. If he looked to closely he might see the blood wasn’t on it, or see the hole in the snakes head! The exhausted pirate was close to panic, seeing in her mind what she was sure the tribesmen would do to her when they found her.
Thinking quickly, she slid her hands under the snakes head and, with a tremendous effort, turned it to stare at the lead tribal. “Hissssssssssssssss!” She hissed with all her might. The man froze. “Hisssssssssssssss!” He looked at his comrades, but they’d all started backing out of the valley. The man glanced at the jacket again. “Hisssssss!” Domino moved the head forward, her biceps on fire from the strain. The tribal turned and ran after the others.
Domino sank down into the nest and gasped for air. Her arms burned and her heart felt like the piston of a steam train. She sat there, breathing, trying to calm herself enough to move.
When her breaths finally slowed, she looked cautiously out of the snakes coils. Nothing. Climbing out, she went to the corner of the valley and looked out. No sign of the tribals. She climbed up onto a rock and peered down the slope to the beach. They were pushing their boats out and rowing away. She breathed a sigh of relief. Hopefully, they thought the snake had eaten her.
She climbed down and retrieved her jacket, finding herself shivering in the cool breeze that flowed through the valley. Gathering some twigs and branches, she lit a small fire, careful not to put anything wet that would cause smoke and give her away.
The snakes dead eyes seemed to watch her disapprovingly. She gave it a shove, turning it to look somewhere else. Taking out her knife, she cut some strips of flesh from its tail, stuck them on a few sharpened sticks and began cooking them. She’d need all her strength and focus to get out of this.
Part 3: https://cityofnewbabbage.net/pirate-among-thieves-wildlife-part-3/