by Captain W. E. Johns



XII.         ELEPHANT ISLAND  (Pages 182 – 188)


When Biggles sets off, he knows he can’t force a way through the jungle so he has to go down the beach.  The sand gives way to a rocky foreshore.  He covers three or four miles and sees nothing suspicious.  Reaching a point where the cliff slopes down to the sea, Biggles finds himself in quicksand.  “He perceived afterwards that, had he stood still, even for a few seconds, when first he stepped on to the sand, he would certainly have died the most dreadful of all death”.  Biggles manages to quickly grab an overhanging shrub and pull himself out.  Working his way inland, Biggles reaches the peak of a fairly considerable hill and can survey the whole island and its coastline.  There is no submarine base anywhere.  Convinced this island must be just a watering-place, Biggles is having a cigarette when a kris (a large native knife) is thrown at him and sticks into a tree.  Biggles runs for his life.  “Out of the corner of his eye he saw a number of figures take shape, flitting through the trees like shadows not ten yards distant, and he swerved like a hare away from them”.  “Dodging, twisting, ducking, and jumping, he sped on”.  Reaching the cliff top, Biggles trips on a loose rock and stumbles and crashes heavily to the ground.