Part 40 (cont)
It became quiet. For a long time, they simply stood side by side, staring down at the river, each immersed in his own thoughts and his own concerns. Indiana was not certain he understood all of the consequences of what he had just been told by Henley. The idea that Stanley could be entangled in some kind of espionage was truly absurd. But it was possible that he had discovered something and, without knowing, alter the course of history.
It was only after more thought that it became clear to Indiana. If the gold, which Stanley had found, really brought death, then they were running right to their deaths. And not only were they journeying to their deaths, so were Ramos and his companions. And with them – Marcus.
He wanted to turn and voice his concern to Henley. But he noticed almost at the same time as Henley that something did not seem right. Henley was tense leaning out on the railing. His hands were wrapped so tightly around the rusty bars that they trembled.
“What is it?” Indy asked alarmed.
Henley didn’t answer immediately. He simply stared attentively out over the impenetrable green expanse of the vegetation on both sides of the river. “Do you hear that?”
Indiana listened, straining to hear. He could only make out the monotonous hum of the steamship’s diesel motor and the noise of the water slapping against the vessel. “I don’t hear anything.” He said.
Henley nodded. “Exactly. It’s too quiet.”
Indiana noticed it immediately as Henley said it. The endless choir of birds and animal noises, the crackling and noise of the shrubs, the never-ending concert of jungle sounds which had accompanied them from the beginning of their journey down-river had grown silent.
Henley straightened up uneasily. “What does it mean?”
“I don’t know,” muttered Indiana. “I – look out!”
His warning would have been too late had he not thrown himself simultaneously to the side and into Henley, knocking them both to the iron deck of the steamer a fraction of a second before a hail of tiny feathered projectiles filled the deck where he and Henley had just stood.
Henley cursed and tried at the same time to jump to his feet and draw the pistol from his gunbelt while getting rid of the cigarette whose glowing tip had fallen into his shirt collar when they crashed to the deck. Indiana pressed himself closely to the deck as he surveyed the eastern bank. For an instant he believed he saw shadowy scurrying of dark skinned bodies in the dense jungle foliage before everything fell completely still and silent.
Henley finally managed to get the cigarette out of his shirt and was half way to his knees. He fought with the holster where the pistol had gotten caught from his nervousness.
“Don’t. Stay down you fool!” Indiana said.
Henley stared at him, bewildered. At the same moment, something small cut through the air with a hum, hardly a handbreadth from his face and clattered to the superstructure of the steamer behind him. Henley threw himself back to the deck with a renewed curse, landed flatly next to Indiana.
“What is it?” he gasped.