WE crossed a very rugged, very high range of mountains and descended throughrolling , forested hills to a vast grassy plain that stretched to the horizon.the grass was taller than a man most of the time, which limited visibility andincreased the danger of encountering something large, hungry, and on the huntas we hacked our way through it at a snail's pace. it also made setting up campa supreme bother for our askaris, servants, and porters as the grass had to becut down in order to make a clearing for the camp site, before camp could be setup!
CARRUTHERS and i were sitting on our bums in a small, freshly cleared area,refreshing ourselves from our dwindling stock of gin, and cleaning our rifles(our gun bearers were busy setting up camp at the time). as usual, CARRUTHERS was going on _endlessly_about the life and times of CARRUTHERS in the bellowingvoice of his as he worked, while i was doing my best to not to hear the samestories for the umpteenth time.I had just re-assembled my RIGBY express rifle; as I wiped a light coating ofall over the barrels, CARRUTHERS was holding the barrels of his own expressrifle at arms length, squinting down same at the lands and grooves, looking for rust, corrosion dirt, etc. suddenly his monocle popped out of his eye, andhis mouth dropped open in consternation. he tried to say something, butappeared to be at a loss for words (a very uncommon state of affairs!)."wots up, ole boy?" I asked pleasantly, as a shadow got between me and the sun.I naturally assumed it was GREYSTOKE returning from his hunt for our dinnermeat.I was answered by the mother of all hissing and felt a blast of foul air that reeked of a carrion pit blowing into my shoulders and the back of my head.startle, I twisted around, and found myself gawping into the maw of this (seeenlarged photo of the skull cracker bird at the lower right corner of the page):http://www.dragonbloodminis.com/shop_sunless.htm
needless to say, i did the only thing a gentleman hunter could possibly do insuch circumstances. I leaped to my feet with a terrified squawk, then blazed atrail through the tall grass, rendering it slippery behind me, in an attempt toput as much distance between me and the beast as I could in an extremely shorttime!bless him, CARRUTHERS instinctively reacted to our dire tactical situation likethe old campaigner that he was, and lit at a gallop in the opposite directionfrom mine.apparently our choice of tactics worked, as the giant bird just stood therelooking amazed as it twisted its head first in my direction and then in CARRUTHERS direction. This allowed the astounded GREYSTOKE, who was returningempty handed from the hunt an opportunity to bag the beast with his .500 NITROEXPRESS, both barrels.all is well that ends well, I always say!after the askaris of GREYSTOKE's hunting party tracked CARRUTHERS and myselfdown (some distance from the campsite!), they escorted us safely back to camp,our entire expedition feasted upon the giant predatory bird that GREYSTOKE hadshot.