BIGGLES IN AFRICA
by Captain W. E. Johns
VII. GINGER COMES HOME (Pages 111 – 119)
“For Ginger the long night passed slowly”. Ginger is unable to sleep in case he falls out of the tree. As soon as the sun rises, he gets down and sees at the edge of the forest a tumble-down shack and the black Puss Moth. Finding the shack empty of any human occupant, but stacked high with petrol-cans, food and spare parts, Ginger gets in the Puss Moth and takes off to fly back to Insula. Ginger hears a problem with the plane’s engine and throttles back. He gets within a few miles of Insula when there is a sharp explosion and Ginger has to make a forced landing. Abandoning the aircraft, Ginger sets off on foot for the rest of the journey back to Insula. He arrives and walks towards the rest-house when he hears Sarda’s voice. He catches a sentence about going outside to “hark at them frizzling” and hears the whoof of petrol ignite. Sarda walks out and sees Ginger and immediately goes for his knife. Ginger goes for his automatic. “Both weapons came out together. There was a flash of steel as the knife sped through the air”. Ginger shoots Sarda in the chest at the same time as he feels a sharp stinging pain in the cheek. Ginger goes into the burning hut and sees Biggles and Algy. He pulls Algy out first and then Biggles. He then goes back for the kit-bags and saves those, but is unable to save the stores. Sarda is lying near the doorway where he had fallen when the building collapse “burying the half-caste under the debris”. Ginger feels close to collapse but gets water for Biggles and Algy. “It was a good five minutes before he could get any response”. “Hello” says Biggles. “Where the dickens have you sprung from?” Ginger tries to speak but “his knees crumpled under him and he flopped down like a coat falling from a peg”.