Written by shadar :: [Wednesday, 28 February 2018 05:02] Last updated by :: [Friday, 02 March 2018 11:27]
Vic Casey studied the older professorial-looking man who was working his way stiffly down the stairway of the Tigoran Airways plane. He looked like an aging hippie with his round glasses, hair and beard long and gray, yet Professor Fraser was world-renown for his work in genetically altering DNA to make his research animals stronger and healthier than any natural animal.
The Professor was also a very controversial character. His work constantly put him in the cross-hairs of a number of groups who opposed his experimental work on dogs and more recently, chimpanzees. It hadn’t helped matters when one of his larger chimps bent open the bars of its specially strengthened cage and escaped, seemingly into thin air. No trace of the chimp had been seen since.
The Professor had emailed Vic out of the blue a few days earlier using his public PGP key, and in his encrypted email he described some stories he’d heard of an amazingly athletic girl living with the Zambouli tribe who displayed more than human abilities. The Professor wanted to meet the girl and take some blood samples to study. He was convinced that Vic knew how to find her. He would pay all expenses.
Given the Professor could only be talking about Sheena, Vic’s first reaction was to deny everything. But then he dug deeper into the Professor’s background and learned how he frequently used the media to create a strong public interest in his work, and that enabled him to influence officials and others to support him. The last thing Vic wanted was a bunch of planted Sheena stories out there. Even worse, the Professor knew the story of how a Zambouli Shaman had found a toddler she’d named Sheena as she wandered out of a collapsed cave that had killed her parents. Even worse, that she was found holding an intricately carved wooden box containing a silvery sand.
Clearly, the Professor knew too much, and that scared Vic. He needed to get him away from any connections to the outside world, and that meant taking him exactly where the Professor wished to go: deep into Zambouli land. Vic decided to fly him in and introduce him to Sheena. What happened after that would be Sheena’s decision, not his. She could be very fierce when it came to defending Zambouli lands and secrets. Law of the Jungle and all.
But first, he had to make sure they weren’t being tracked. Once he had the Professor seated in his old Landruiser, Vic grabbed all the scientist’s bags, including his computer case, and tossed them back onto the airport sidewalk. Before the Professor realized what was happening, Vic ran around to jump in and drive rapidly away.
“Wait!” the Professor cried. “That’s my… that’s all my notes, my computers, everything I have was in those bags!”
“Yes, and probably a tracking device or two as well,” Vic said cheerfully as he exited the airport property and headed toward the jungle. “Even an ordinary cellphone is a danger to us.”
“But I didn’t… I don’t…” the Professor sputtered.
“Look, I agreed to take you to meet Sheena,” Vic said angrily. “I didn’t agree to bring any of your fucking gear. Besides, Sheena will probably feed you to her lions anyway.”
The angry and shocked look on the Professor’s face quickly faded. “So, she’s that amazing, huh? Got you wrapped around her finger? Is it love?” he asked in a mocking tone.
Vic grimaced as he struggled to keep from throwing the Professor into the ditch. Now that they were inside the edges of the Zambouli jungle and night was falling, he’d likely not make it back to safety before a panther had him for dinner. Sheena used the big cats as guardians of Zambouli lands, and no one in that part of Africa dared violate their borders.
They rode in strained silence for some time before the Professor asked: “So, is Sheena more closely related to the Zulu side of the Zambouli, or the Venda?”
Vic smiled as he thought of Sheena’s blonde hair and European looks. He’d just found the first gap in the professor’s knowledge. “Let’s just say that she’s going to surprise you.”
“She’s an outsider? The Zambouli never take in outsiders.”
“They do if they believe she’s a goddess,” Vic said.
The Professor rolled his eyes. “I’m not here to indulge in sky fairy silliness. I’m only here because one of your associates, Fletcher, came to me in hope of being cured of a rare form of cancer that his doctors could not treat. After I managed to heal him by modifying his DNA, he thought I could help others if I learned the secrets of the Healing Sands.”
Vic cursed. Fletcher had been his photog when he first met Sheena, but he’d never betrayed him before. On the other hand, he’d never asked Fletcher to trade his life for his secrets.
The rough double-track the Landcruiser was bouncing down ended in a clearing that contained a large tent. Behind it sat a very small helicopter. “We fly out of here at first light, Professor. My advice is to get some sleep while you can. In any case, do not wander beyond the clearing. You are completely protected in the tent, less so near the edge of the clearing, but out there in the jungle, you’re nothing but prey.”
“Protected from what?” the Professor asked as he followed Vic into the tent.
Vic lit a lantern and turned it up bright before turning back to face the Professor.
“A variety of animals protect these lands. They actively hunt intruders. Snakes included. Some of the constrictors are large enough to swallow a man. Lions also, day and night. But the most dangerous are the panthers, who hunt only at night. There’s probably one watching us right now.”
The Professor walked over to open the flap of the tent to stare out into the darkness. He saw nothing at first, but then as his eyes adjusted, he saw two pairs of yellow eyes, high up in a tree. The yellow eyes were watching him.
Dawn. Eighty miles to the east, near the foothills of Gudjura Mountain
The roar and stench of diesel engines filled the jungle along with the cries of frightened animals and the cracking and crashing of huge trees falling. Sheena watched in horror as several Zambouli tribesmen fired arrows at the approaching monsters, and were rewarded with a spray of military-grade firepower. There were four huge machines crawling forward, working in staggered formation, each one labeled with Gudjara Enterprises and Caterpillar D11.
Sheena flitted through the upper limbs of the trees as she worked her way closer to the Caterpillar on the right-hand edge. She finally managed to swing out of the trees on a long vine to land on the back of the beast. There she found the driver encased in a steel and glass compartment. She ran forward to grab the bars to pull them open, but the steel was very thick and would barely yield. She smashed her fist against the glass, but it was also thick and bulletproof. She hurt only her knuckles.
Jack Smith, the operator, paused his oversized dozer as he heard the banging behind him. Turning, he found himself staring at the hottest blonde he’d ever seen, dressed in a tiny outfit of leopard fur. She was struggling to break into his cab. His first impulse was to unlock the door and invite her in, but then he saw the spear and bow she’d dropped on the deck of his dozer. She looked very angry as she banged on the glass with shocking force. When she grew frustrated by its unbreakability, she began pulling on the inch-thick steel bars hard enough to bend them slightly, her muscles flexing more dramatically than seemed possible.
None of it made any sense. Those bars were stronger than prison cell bars. Clearly the jungle blonde was pumped up on whatever drug the natives used to hype themselves up for battle. She looked wild and angry and completely unhinged, her blue eyes crazed. More tigress than human. Yet she was also beautiful in a way he’d never seen before. Her skin was flawless and golden, and her hair gave off a sunshine-bright glow, the pale strands seemingly lit from inside.
As much as he was enjoying watching all those shapely muscles working, not to mention her firm boobs bouncing around under those little strips of fur, he felt a twinge of fear. He’d been told these bars and the glass could keep a large gorilla or lion out, but given this girl’s maniacal attack, he began to worry.
He picked up his radio. “Security One, Dozer Four. I got some kind of crazy blonde bitch over here who’s trying to bust into my cab. If you guys got nothing better to do, you mind cleaning her off my dozer?”
“A who? What?” a voice replied.
“Fuck if I know. Some kind of jungle girl. Strong as hell. Already bent a couple of my cage bars a little. Give her enough time, she might find a way into my cab.”
“Bullshit,” came the reply. “Nothing can bend those bars.”
“Tell that to her,” Jack said as he drew his Smith .44mag and pointed the shaking barrel her way. “Come see for yourself,” he said nervously into the radio. “I’m telling you, I ain’t movin’ this dozer here until you get rid of her.”
“Roger,” the voice said curtly.
Jack grew increasing alarmed while waiting for Security to come. The blonde had by now managed to bend one of the bars several inches outward and was working on two others. He’d never seen a woman’s biceps flex with such astounding definition as hers, least of all someone so slender. Her strength was off the charts.
Thankfully, the four-man Security squad appeared before she did too much damage. Jack saw them working his way, climbing over the massive fallen tree trunks. One of them stopped on top of a log and aimed his AK-47 to fire a short burst at the girl. She dropped down out of sight as the bullets pinged off the metal cage and the bulletproof glass.
“Shoot her, not me, you assholes,” Jack shouted into his radio.
He saw an arrow fly back toward the shooter to strike the exact center of his chest. The long arrow buried itself to its feathers, the point sticking out his back. The man fell backward off the log into the jungle vegetation.
“Fuck!” Jack hollered into the radio. “She just killed one of your men. With a fucking arrow. Shoot the fuck out of her!”
He hunkered down on the floor of his cab as the other three mercenaries opened up, their bullets pinging all over the top of his dozer, many of them off the glass, which thankfully didn’t crack or shatter. The girl dropped down the opposite side of his dozer to run back into the jungle, the bullets sending a shower of leaves falling over her. He saw her take a hit on the side of her head, the impact throwing her to the ground. Amazingly, she got up and continued running.
“OK, she’s gone, but somebody winged her. You guys seriously need to put men on every dozer. She bent the shit out of the steel cage around my cab.”
“That’s impossible,” the Security boss replied, trying to calm down the obviously rattled operator. “But we’ll send Maintenance your way just in case.”
Sheena struggled with double vision for a while as she swung awkwardly from vine to vine, traveling slower to make sure she was actually grabbing at the vines and not their doubles. Her head ached from the glancing blow but thankfully it didn’t bleed much. She had to keep going. What should have been a thirty minute journey took her more than an hour, but at least her vision had cleared by the time she arrived at the edge of the clearing where a large group of Zambouli warriors and the Shaman was waiting.
To her surprise, she also found Vic Casey’s helicopter parked in the clearing, and a strange man standing beside him. Two warriors had arrows notched as they guarded the stranger.
She paused to hang thirty feet above the ground, studying the situation before showing herself. Unfortunately, her usual traveling companions caught up to her too quickly, and the ring-tailed monkeys’ chattering turned all eyes upward.
As happy as she was to see the man she called VicCasey, using his first and last names as one, Sheena was angry that he’d brought someone here without her or the Shaman’s permission. Still, she embraced him warmly while sharing a long and intimate kiss. It had been months since he had visited, and as was her way, she always attended to her heart before her anger.
Her enthusiastic greeting didn’t surprise Vic — Sheena had always been the one to initiate sex — but he was surprised by how tense her body felt. That’s when he saw the red crease on the side of her head, nearly hidden under her hair. He reached up to touch it and she winced as she pushed herself from his grasp.
“Who is this man you have brought here, VicCasey?” she demanded. “The Zambouli allow no strangers on our land without permission.”
“He knows about you, Sheena,” Vic explained. “He’s a professor who works with animals. Making them stronger, faster, healthier. Given what he already knows, I decided he’d be safer here than out there where he could talk.”
“What does he know of the Zambouli? Or me?”
Vic winced. This wasn’t starting off well. “Far more than is safe.”
The Professor walked past Vic, muttering. “A blonde? In darkest Africa? You could have told me.” He held out his hand. “Hi, I’m Professor Fraser, and you are obviously Sheena. So glad to meet you.”
Sheena grabbed his hand so tightly that the Professor cried out and fell to his knees, gasping in pain. She glared down at him. “You have appeared just as the monster machines called Caterpillars come. They are evil, knocking down the big trees that guard the mountain. You are connected to them. I feel it.”
It was all she could do to resist crushing every bone in his hand. And maybe his neck as well. Yet it was VicCasey she was truly angry with. He’d brought this man here to the Shaman’s home. To this sacred land.
She released the Professor’s bruised, purplish hand to turn on her heel? She ran over to wrap her arm around Vic’s waist before leaping powerfully upward to grab a vine hanging twenty feet above the ground. Their combined momentum swung them beyond the edge of the clearing to land out of sight in a tree. There she held Vic close while staring fiercely into his eyes.
“Tell me why I should not kill that man right now, VicCasey. He came with the monsters who are killing our mother trees.”
“I don’t have a good reason,” Vic admitted honestly. “In fact, killing him would probably be easiest for all of us — if you want to risk killing an innocent man. Per his claims, all he wants to know is how you’ve become so strong, so healthy. He wants to be able to bring that gift to others. Animals and maybe people too.”
“You know why. It’s the sacred sand from under the mountain. The source of the Healing Sands.”
Vic nodded. “Which brings me to the reason I was coming here. I learned that a Chinese businessman is in cahoots with the Tigoran government and they’ve brought in a ship full of massive bulldozers. The largest ones they make, each weighing nearly 120 tons. They can push down any tree.”
“I faced them today, VicCasey. The monsters are too strong for us to stop. In two days, they will reach the Mountain.”
Vic blanched. “Already?”
She sagged tiredly to lean against him. “They shot me, VicCasey, and their guns killed two Zambouli this morning and one yesterday. They have many guns. Many soldiers. Even if I summoned all the animals of our land, and all the Zambouli warriors, they could not stop such machines. Such men. So many guns.”
A thought that had long been in Vic’s mind came to the surface. “Maybe they could not, but there may be another way. How much of that glittering sand remains in that wooden box?”
“Most of it.”
“That is what your parents came here to find, Sheena. They thought it would revolutionize medicine.”
Sheena sighed as she shook her head. “Yes. Mother Shaman told me all that before she died. But I will never give it to outsiders. All outsiders are evil. All except you. My parents were wrong. We must protect the Mountain’s secrets at all costs, yet I cannot stop their machines. Our entire tribe, me along with them, would be wiped out if we tried.”
“Then what about consuming more of that glittering sand? Has the Shaman given you any to consume since her mother died?”
Sheena shook her head. “No. And now only I know where it is.”
“And you have not grown stronger since she died, right?”
“I am already far stronger than any man. Stronger even then Shobula, the greatest gorilla in our lands.”
“But you do not truly know how strong you can become, Sheena. I think Mother Shaman planned to keep giving you that silver sand, a tiny bit at a time. But what if you took more of it, more quickly? Then perhaps you could grow strong quickly enough to protect the Mountain. Didn’t Shaman tell you that you were to be Goddess of the Mountain? And that the Mountain would give you the power to protect it? That power is in that box of glittering sand.”
“She did,” Sheena growled, sounding as fierce as the jungle cats she protected. “That box was indeed my gift from the mountain.”
“Then it is simple, Sheena. We must fulfill your destiny.”
She hugged Vic tightly, her despair suddenly replaced by determination. “You speak great truth, VicCasey.”
Before Vic could say anything more, she swung down to drop Vic in the middle of the clearing, and then landing just beyond him herself. She walked determinedly over to stand beside a boulder that was far larger than she was tall. There she braced herself against the cliff the boulder lay against and began to strain, trying to alternately pull and push it away from the cliff face, her teeth gritted from the strain.
The Professor saw what she was doing and ran toward her, fascinated when he saw the multi-ton boulder grinding slowly away from the cliff bottom. “Then it is all true,” he cried. “You are stronger than many men combined! I must know how!”
Sheena ignored him as she put both her legs to work to give the boulder another mighty shove. A small cave became visible behind the boulder. She wormed her way in, and then returned with a small wooden box. She walked over to hand it to Shaman, who opened it, and gasped as she saw the glittering sand. “This is very powerful medicine, Sheena. You must be so very careful.”
Sheena shook her head determinedly. “There is no more time to be careful. Within days, the machines will reach the mountain caves. If the mountain shook down that cave when my parents entered, killing them, imagine what it will do if machines and many men try to dig their way in. The mountain will destroy them, and possibly all of us given we brought them. It might erupt with fire and burn all of our lands.”
“The Zambouli did not bring them here,” Shaman replied.
“No, I did,” Sheena grimaced. “And VicCasey. Even your mother is to blame, given she saved my life. Those secrets should have died with my parents.”
“No,” Shaman said as she grabbed Sheena’s shoulders, holding her tightly. “She swore you were our protector. A goddess from inside the Mountain. Without you, other evil men would have come before now. This will be your biggest challenge.”
Sheena hugged the Shaman. “Then let me fulfill her prophecy and truly become your goddess.”
“The glittering sand might kill you, Sheena. Or you might go insane as it changes you and then you might kill us. There is no knowing. Legend says our protector must consume it slowly, a grain at a time.”
Sheena took the box of silvery sand from Shaman and walked over to dump a small handful into a bowl. She then scooped out a ladle of water and poured it over the sand to begin stirring.
Vic and the Professor moved closely behind her to see that the bowl now appeared to be filled with quicksilver.
“This wasn’t what I had in mind,” Vic gasped. “Not this much. Surely you’re not going to drink all of that at once!”
Sheena turned to face him, holding out her arms. “Bind my arms open with the heaviest vines. My feet too. Have the entire tribe help you. And then when you are done, bind them again.”
“What is this all about?” the Professor asked.
Vic turned to face him. “Sheena has regularly consumed a small portion of this peculiar substance from inside the Mountain while growing up. It’s why she’s so strong. Drinking a handful at one time might make her many, many times stronger yet. Or it may kill her. Or she, us.”
“My God,” the Professor cried. “And I have no cameras. No instruments. Nothing to record this.”
“You have your eyes,” Vic said as he ran off to help the tribesmen tie huge bundles of vines into massive ropes that were thicker around than his legs. Given strong vines were everywhere, and were used by Zambouli in lieu of ropes, they quickly lashed the thick bundles ends around Sheena’s wrists as she dug her fingers into each bundle. Others they attached to her ankles, spreading her feet, the far ends wrapped many times around the biggest tree trunks.
“Now bring me the bowl, VicCasey,” Sheena said.
He brought it to her lips and tilted it, and she began to drink. Behind him, he heard the Shaman chanting. Soon all the Zambouli joined in, hundreds of tribesmen chanting and singing, circling Sheena, leaping and waving their arms. Above them, the sky suddenly turned black and was punctuated by approaching lightning and thunder.
Sheena choked and gagged as she worked to swallow the bitter liquid metal, but she finally got most of it down. Vic handed the nearly empty bowl to the Professor as he walked forward to kiss Sheena. “Now go with the gods, Sheena. Become one of them.”
“Get… get away… quickly,” she gagged. “Starting to work. Something…”
He jumped back a second before a bolt of lighting suddenly flashed down to strike her, and then another, the explosion of thunder so great that it threw Vic backward, his clothing and hair singed, his hair standing on end. Sheena’s eyes opened wide and she screamed after every bolt struck, dozens of them striking her body in short succession. The bolts finally paused as she pursed her lips, her hair glowing brightly. Vic heard the massive vines creaking as she pulled against them.
He retreated further to stand beside the Shaman, only to once again be knocked off his feet along with everyone else as a dozen bolts struck at the same instant. Sheena screamed out in pain, her voice so loud this time that their eardrums nearly burst. The chanting stopped as everyone moved back, all eyes on Sheena as she slowly pulled her arms inward, muscles tensing. The iron bracelet around her arm shattered with a loud ping as muscles far harder than mere iron rose from beneath it. They stared in astonishment as the massive vines began to stretch noisily and then tear apart as she closed her long legs, one huge tree bending over as it was nearly ripped from the ground, roots and all. She began pulling her arms inward now, the massive vine bundles creaking loudly before cracking and splitting apart as she suddenly clasped her hands over her breasts. White flames burst from between her fingers, the heat singing Vic despite being fifty feet away. The Shaman shouted for the Zambouli to run far into the jungle, and Vic and the Professor followed them in panic. Everything inside the clearing had begun to smoke; even the Shaman’s hut burst into flames. Likely the forest would have as well if not for the heavy rain that now fell from the black storm.
Vic stumbled and ran with the Professor beside him, nearly blinded by the heavy rain, but they were barely a hundred yards into the jungle when a flurry of lightning bolts flashed down in rapid succession to strike inside the clearing. Vic stopped and turned to stare at the near continuous flashes, only to have the Professor tackle him as the flashes grew so brilliant that the jungle briefly looked like an x-ray image, the light shining through everything. Both men crawled behind a very large tree a second before a supersonic blast snapped most of the closer trees in half, the shockwave throwing the trunks around like mere sticks. The massive tree they hid behind bent far over but did not break, saving their lives.
Once things stopped falling from the sky, the two men crawled from beneath the piles of fronds and small limbs that lay over them to find that all the trees closer to the clearing had been snapped off in a perfect circle. In the middle of the now much larger clearing, a glow shone so brightly they could not look at it. Waves of heat washed over them even from this distance. Vic’s helicopter had exploded and was burning brightly.
Crawling closer as the white flames diminished to cooler orange and then red, Vic could begin to make out Sheena’s form inside the flames. Her hair was spiraling upward high over her head, and all traces of her clothing were gone, yet she otherwise looked the same as she had before. Moving closer to the burnt ring of the original clearing, Vic saw that the Shaman’s hut was gone along with everything else.
And then, just as suddenly as they’d appeared, the remaining flames vanished, looking almost as if Sheena had sucked them into herself. She was now standing naked inside a blackened glass bowl in the ground. Vic stared down and saw he was mistaken — she wasn’t standing. She was floating.
Her eyes opened to meet his, her irises unnaturally blue. She looked down at her feet and wiggled her toes. She began to flap her arms slowly while floating on thin air, and then laughed girlishly as she pretended to walk on air. Her face glowed like it always did moments after an orgasm, only more so.
As usual, she remained completely unconscious of her nudity.
“Do I still look like me?” she asked Vic after a few minutes of experimentation. He nodded vigorously, and then shook his head slowly, too much in awe to say anything at first. She was even more perfect than before, her skin and hair giving off a soft golden glow, her body tight with muscle yet smoothly sculpted and so very feminine.
The Professor arrived to kneel next to Vic, staring up worshipfully at Sheena. “Never in my farthest imagination…” he started to say softly, his voice trailing off. He leaned closer to Vic to whisper, “Most drawings of angels have this kind of special light around them.”
“She’s no angel,” Vic replied with a chuckle. “Trust me. Well, maybe an avenging angel if you get between her and the Zambouli.” He held up one of the vines she’d casually torn apart, singed and black now. A dozen of these had made up each bundle. “You could tow a truck with just one of these vines. Yet she broke dozens of them like they were pieces of cotton string.”
The Professor shook his head. “There is no possibility of human muscles growing that strong. Absolutely none. Ligaments, tendons would tear, even bones would break long before then.”
Sheena floated down to land barefooted in front the men, standing proudly with hands on her hips. Her breasts sat higher and firmer on her chest than ever before, her muscle tone completely off the map now.
“Well, she looks pretty damned human to me,” Vic said, smiling at her. “More correctly, like a superwoman.”
“We don’t know where that silver sand came from,” the Professor reminded him. “I think it has to be alien given what we just saw. I’ve studied everything known to science, and this is far, FAR outside anything I’ve found.”
“It’s really very simple,” Sheena shrugged as she floated back off the ground, her legs slightly parted. “I’m now the goddess of the Mountain. I was given the silver sand by the Mountain for this reason. There is nothing else we need to know.”
Vic laughed, realizing she was taking this in stride, just like she’d done with every other amazing thing about her life. She was very brave and incredibly well centered, but also very innocent in some ways.
“Shaman has always said it was to be so,” she continued. “Since I was a little girl.”
Vic smiled as he held out his arms. “Well, you’ve always been my goddess. From the time you first saved me.”
She beamed at him as she stepped forward to embrace him. Yet instead of melting into his embrace as usual, her hard nipples pressed almost painfully against Vic’s chest, her breasts giving only slightly as they hugged. She held him so tightly that he gave up even trying to breathe, his spine bending slightly inward under her arms, his ribs bending against the steel of her chest as well.
She felt Vic go limp, and quickly released him. “Oh, sorry. I have yet to understand my new strength, VicCasey.”
Vic took a deep breath as the pressure came off, knowing she’d come very close to breaking a rib. Or worse. “I don’t think a bear’s hug has anything on you now, Sheena. Perhaps you need to test yourself a bit. To see what you can do. Before you hurt anyone.”
She spun around to walk off as if in near zero G, each gentle step floating her forward ten feet. She came to a stop in front of the huge boulder she’d struggled to budge earlier. Squatting down, she grasped it with arms spread wide. Then, with her back and legs flexing powerfully, she rose with the boulder in her arms, lifting it high over her head to bounce it on her hands as if it was merely an oversized beachball. “Doesn’t feel heavy at all now,” she declared.
She casually tossed the boulder behind herself, and it landed with an earthshaking impact that knocked nearly everyone off their feet.
The Professor did the math in his head, given the size of the boulder. “At least ten tons,” he estimated. “Maybe a lot more. I’m just guessing at the density of the rock.”
Sheena picked up a piece of granite that had broken off the boulder, and slowly crushed it to powder in her grip, the tendons across her wrist and forearm standing up like steel cables. She then brushed off as she leapt up onto the top of the boulder to stare back at everyone, hands on her hips, her blonde hair flowing around her shoulders, half covering her face, still completely unconscious of her nudity. Or perhaps more likely, proud of it.
Vic went to hunt around for her things, and soon found her charred bag from beside Shaman’s burned hut. He pulled another of her tiny leopard-skin outfits from the bag and tossed it to her. She pulled it on while floating down to land a few feet in front of the Professor, who stared with a dazzled, worshipful look in his eyes.
The moment she finished adjusting the top to cover her breasts, she floated across the clearing to wrap her arm around Vic’s waist and hugged him tightly as she soared upward, this time without swinging on any vines. In seconds, they were high above the jungle canopy. To the east of them, the summit of Gudjara Mountain stood high and alone in the sunshine.
Vic marveled at the feel of her body pressing against his, her muscles tensing and adjusting as she somehow used her strength to fly. The sensation of floating free was beyond anything he’d imagined. Freer than the birds. Freer than any dream of flying he’d had. Yet none of it made any sense. How was she defying gravity.
He shook his head as part of him decided he didn’t have to understand anything. He was flying with a goddess who was also his girlfriend. It was the grandest moment in his life.
The other half of his head was racing, thinking ahead, planning.
“We don’t know if this is a permanent change, Sheena, or some temporary power surge,” he said softly. “But I think we should use this gift immediately to get rid of the bulldozers and those men. To cleanse Zambouli land of them. Before there is any risk of your power fading.”
Sheena laughed. “Now you sound like Shaman. She’s always saying I can do anything. Pushing me to act boldly. To do, not think.”
“She’s right this time.”
“Perhaps. How about I put you in a tree so you can watch me do… whatever. I have no idea how to stop those things.”
“Caterpillar bulldozers are all about brute power, Sheena. Perhaps you should approach them the same way. Push them back. The men will understand that kind of power. They will be afraid.”
“You really think I’m that strong?” she asked, her blue eyes sparkling. She made a fist with her free hand, extending her arm, and tendons rose like steel again.
He ran his fingers down the smoothness of her arm, her skin feeling so very soft as it stretched tightly over steel-hard muscles. The sensation of raw power she gave off was overwhelming. Yet instead of being scary or intimidating, it turned him on. “I… I think you can do anything want now.”
“Good. Then I will deal first with the soldiers before they hurt more Zambouli.”
Before he could say anything, she tilted her body and began flying toward the mountain, dropping low to skim just above the canopy, moving at great speed. The slipstream grew so fierce that Vic had trouble breathing for the second time today. Her silky hair whipped his face, making it hard to see.
Fortunately, it was only minutes before the Mountain loomed high over them. Sheena flew them up the side of the mountain to circle the summit before turning north towards the invading men. Clouds of black diesel exhaust rose before them, the air filled with the creaking and grinding of machines and roaring engines, so alien here in the deep jungle. The bulldozers were staggered behind each other and slightly to the sides as they scraped a wide pathway through the virgin jungle, felling aboriginal trees in their path. Given the width of the road, they were clearly planning on bringing some even heavier machinery in.
Flying just to the side of the dozers’ path, Sheena dropped Vic off in the upper branches of a very tall tree, hundreds of feet from the ground, and then flew forward a short ways to hang in mid-air as she stared down at the monsters.
Floating there in front of him, almost nude, her body outlined against the impossibly large bulldozers, Vic shook his head, astounded that he had dared imagined that she might have more power in her slender body than those massive machines. Machines that Sheena saw as monsters, equating them as she did to oversized animals or dragons, not understanding that they ran on gears and engines and hydraulics, things she would think were magic if she thought of them at all.
“Your strength against the beasts,” he called to her, remembering the story she’d told him of wrestling a large male gorilla at age twelve. “You will never lose if you believe.”
She dropped down to fly through the canopy of some shorter trees to emerge directly over a group of mercenaries. They quickly looked upward, their rifles following their gaze, and two of them instinctively fired on her, their jacketed bullets pinged harmlessly off her bare skin. Their minds rebelled, disbelieving that they were actually staring at a flying, bulletproof woman. Before they could fully grasp what was going on, she dropped down to grab the closest man’s rifle and tore it in half in front of the other soldiers.
The remaining soldiers did what they knew how to do — they unleashed a hail of automatic fire at her. Their bullets sent puffs of torn fur into the air when they hit clothing, but most of them merely pinged away when they hit bare skin.
Sheena just hung there in mid-air, letting them shoot at her, a hundred rounds at least, sensing the feel of the bullet impacts, which felt curiously sharp but did not hurt or leave a mark, other than when they hit her fur outfit. More interesting was the look in the men’s eyes as they realized their guns were completely useless, no matter how fast they shot at her. Two soldiers dropped their rifles and ran away. Two others struggled to change empty magazines, hands shaking. One soldier pulled out a very large sidearm and began firing it into her face, each impact sending her hair flying. She tolerated that for a few moments before moving closer to the shooter, bullets crashing into her face at point-blank-range as she reached for the pistol, jerking it away from her face. His last round deeply dimpled her breast just as the man screamed, the bones of his fingers and hand crunching loudly as she crushed flesh and steel together into a bloody mess.
She was just starting to turn around when another soldier jammed his rifle barrel against her forehead, telling her to freeze. Smiling, she reached up to wrap her fingers around the hot barrel and squeezed, the hard gun steel crushing once again in her grip. The soldier jerked the trigger too late and the barrel exploded, peppering his face with shrapnel.
Sheena was suddenly thrown forward as the last soldier fired an entire magazine of automatic fire into her back from only a few feet away. Shaking it off, she jumped back to her feet while spinning around to face the shooter, who’d quickly ejected and inserted another magazine. She smiled as she walked toward him with half her outfit blasted away, leaving one breast bare. His eyes were wide with terror as he fired another burst of full-auto at her mid-section. Her taut skin dimpled only slightly before the bullets bounced back toward the shooter. One of the ricochets found the shooter’s chest, and he staggered and dropped to his knees, blood spurting from beneath his hand as he clasped it over the hole in his chest.
Now that the first squad was out of action, she quickly moved on to the second group of soldiers, then the third, with similar results. The group protecting the fourth dozer threw a grenade at her, and she caught it to jam it between her thighs as she closed her legs tightly and leaned down to smother it. It was a mistake, given the over-pressure of an explosion is directly related to the strength of its confinement. The grenade blew her legs open to send her flying backward, the last shreds of her outfit turning to bright confetti. She landed on her back, but was instantly back on her feet, just in tome to catch another grenade. This one she gripped as tightly as she could in her hand, and when it burst, a stream of white-hot plasma blasted outward from each side of her fist as the explosive burned instead of exploding.
Terrified by her power and invulnerability, the remaining mercenaries dropped their weapons and ran.
Satisfied that the risk to the Zambouli had been eliminated, Sheena flew back to land on the closest dozer, which happened to have the same driver she’d attacked before. Once again, he pulled his 44Mag and hollered into radio — this time without answer. She jumped up to wrap her long legs around the narrow side of his armored cab, and easily crushed the steel bars inward with her legs until the bulletproof glass exploded to shower the driver with fragments.
He began firing at her, his first heavy bullets ricocheting their way up between her longs legs to their apex. She quickly dropped down to tear the rest of his metal cage away with a sweep of her arm, advancing on the driver as he unloaded his final .44 mag rounds into her chest, the bullets dimpling her breasts deeply before blunting back fast enough to bruise him. She ended the fight by ripping the heavy handgun from his fingers, and then used both hands to crush it into a ragged, smoking ball of gun steel, which she tossed back at him.
He stood there juggling the hot steel, eyes as big as saucers.
“Run for your life,” she growled at him. “Get off this beast before I kill you along with it.”
He dove over the side.
She stood alone on top of the dozer, and cried with triumph, her call echoing into the jungle. Hours before, these same men had nearly killed her. Now they were helpless before her, unable to harm her in any way.
But she still had the dozers to stop. Looking around, she was startled to see that one of them was approaching the largest of all the mother trees. Every tree within a mile of this mother had grown from her seeds.
Desperate to stop the mother’s destruction, she leaped from the idling dozer to fly in front of the one driving forward, pushing back against the massive fifteen-foot-high blade, which weighed twenty tons all by itself. The dozer slowed but kept coming, its tracks churning the ground. She gritted her teeth and flexed every muscle in her body as she concentrated on pouring all her strength into flight, and the palms of her hands began to dimple the thick steel of the blade. Moments later the dozer stopped, its treads still churning as she began to slowly drive it backward.
Confused and unable to see what was happening behind his blade, the driver lifted the blade, and Sheena took advantage of the opening to drop down to grab the bottom of it. With a might thrust, she lifted the blade high enough to tilt the front of the 120 ton dozer off the ground. The terrified driver dove for the ground as she began walking her hands beneath the dozer until she could grab the center of the frame. She thrust it upward, using the strength of her back and legs despite not touching the ground, pouring her strongest muscles into flight power as she lifted the massive machine completely into the air. She rose higher and higher, and at four hundred feet altitude she walked her hands back forward to unbalance it, flipping the dozer on its back before driving it downward toward the first dozer. The giant machines collided with a blow that shook every tree limb for as far as Vic could see.
Encouraged even more now, Sheena flew over to do the same with the third and then the fourth dozer, smashing them all together into a huge 480 ton mass of twisted steel and leaking hydraulics and spilled diesel. Flying high into the sky, she spun around and accelerated downward to land hard with her feet on top of the wreckage, again and again, each powerful impact crushing the dozers tighter together, fusing metal as her feet sank into the machines all the way to her chest, the mangling effect of her impacts making it harder and harder to see where one dozer ended and the next began.
Vic stared down at her in astonishment from his treetop, deciding that her strength far exceeded even his wildest estimate. Yet that thought had barely crossed his mind when he had to multiply it by four again. Unbelievably, she dove under the ground to rise beneath the mountain of broken dozers to lift them all into the air together. She was clearly straining now, but she still managed to fly them off to the north, gaining altitude to several thousand feet before he saw her drive the pile of twisted machinery back into the ground at the construction company’s base camp. He saw a flash of flame in the distance, but it took several seconds before a sharp shake of the ground rumbled beneath his tree, shaking it so wildly he nearly fell.
After the tremor had passed, the jungle was completely silent, every animal and bird holding their breath, as was Vic Casey.
Minutes passed as he stared off the north, looking for her, only to be startled when Sheena’s arms and legs wrapped warmly around him from the back, her firm breasts pressing deliciously against his shoulder blades. Her hand slipped boldly under his belt to find that he was very aroused. Giggling in his ear, she quickly tore his clothes off before turning him around to pull him down on top of her, the two of them floating upward above the trees, climbing high into the sky.
“Make love to me, VicCasey. Make love the way the eagles do. On the wing.”
It was dark by the time Sheena landed back at the Shaman’s clearing with an exhausted Vic Casey in her arms. The Zambouli had built a huge bonfire on the exact spot where the lightning had struck her so many times. The younger members of the tribe were dancing around the fire as their parents and grandparents sat and pondered the meaning of this day. They all cried for joy when Sheena told them that the beasts had all been destroyed, and the men had been defeated. No more Zambouli had died this day. None would tomorrow or hopefully ever again.
The Shaman’s news was not as cheerful. She said the Professor had disappeared into the jungle, taking with him the remaining silver sand in the wooden box, along with residue from the bowl where Sheena had mixed it into quicksilver.
Sheena wasn’t worried. The entire jungle was awake, responding to the power of their new goddess. Every big cat would be hungry and hunting. An outsider, alone in the jungle night, had no chance.
Unconcerned as usual with her nudity, Sheena walked through the crowds of cheering Zambouli, greeting nearly everyone by name, hugging most of them, After she’d made her rounds and drank and eaten with them, Sheena rose to step into the huge bonfire. Everyone gasped as she stepped into the center of the flames, her blonde hair rising to swirl in the intense heat, flames licking upward through the chimney of her long legs. The entire tribe, Vic Casey included, began to dance and sing as they circled their goddess, praising her for their deliverance from evil.
It wasn’t until the flames burned low that Sheena stepped out of the fire to find Vic. She took his hand in hers — her skin no warmer than usual— and led him to a bed of furs that the Zambouli had made for them. There were no walls, no privacy, for none was needed among the Zambouli, especially not in the black of night. Those closest to them enjoyed the sounds of their lovemaking, which lasted until the first rays of the morning sun.
It was the most beautiful sunrise any could remember seeing.
Three months later
Professor Fraser stood in the office of head of the Chinese pharmaceutical firm who’d financed the failed expedition to Gudjura Mountain. They were on the 90th floor of a glass skyscraper in Shanghai.
He set a case with two syringes filled with a silver-looking liquid on the Chairman’s desk. “This is the last of the quicksilver from Sheena’s supply of glittering sand, Chairman. It’s clearly alien in origin, that much I’ve decided, given it has the power to convey great power to whomever injects it — assuming the proper amount of electricity is available at the exact moment required to assist the transformation.”
The Chairman pushed a button on his computer, and a hundred million US dollars was transmitted to a Swiss account. The Professor’s phone beeped and he glanced at it, smiling. He was now a very wealthy man.
“It has been such a pleasure working with you again, Professor. Where are you off to now?”
“I’m looking for another way into that mountain. Thanks to your generous gift, I’m going to form a small team of former Special Forces soldiers, and we are going to parachute onto the summit from extremely high altitude, landing at night. The Zambouli will never know we’re there, especially after we enter a series of cracks and caves that satellite photography has identified near the summit.” He smiled enthusiastically. “And once we disappear inside their sacred mountain, we plan on doing a little spelunking.”
“Well, good luck. Few have returned from the center of Zambouli land. May you succeed yet a second time. You know I will always be an eager customer of yours.”
The Professor and the Chairman shook hands, and then the Professor turned and walked out the door. On his way out, he nodded to the stunningly beautiful Chinese woman who was the Chairman’s personal assistant, sitting as she was among the extensive flower arrangements that always decorated the Chairman’s outer offices, and then headed to the elevator and back down to the rest of his life.
Xi Lin waited until he was gone before slipping an identical container to the one the Professor had just put on the Chairman’s desk into her purse. She alone knew that the syringes on the Chairman’s desk were fake and that she had the real ones. By the time his scientists realized the switch, she planned to put the real ones to good use.
As the Chairman’s assistant, she’d arranged for the Professor to be rescued by helicopter from the Zambouli jungle, thanks to the tracking device he’d swallowed before leaving the airport. She’d also read the Professor’s confidential report to the Chairman detailing his encounter with the jungle girl. She had a far better plan for the remaining quicksilver, one that she planned to execute as soon as she arrived at the new hydro-generator facility at Three Gorges, the largest in the world. There she hoped to find enough power to make the serum work even better than it had in that jungle thunderstorm.
It made no sense to her that Sheena had decided to remain a jungle goddess, trapped in a small land with primitive people. It was such small thinking for someone with so great a power.
Xi Lin did not plan to make that mistake. Never again would men rule women on her planet.
Her planet. She really liked the sound of that!
To be continued…