By Captain W. E. Johns



XII.                 A HECTIC NIGHT (Pages 123 - 135)


Our heroes walk through the incredible downpour with the Wong brothers and watch their elephants at work as they push the logs into the river.  There is a huge Malay foreman supervising by the name of Kayan.  His back is cut to ribbons followed a vicious flogging by the Japanese.  Our heroes then go down the river to view the damage done by the logs but no damage has been done because a fallen tree has literally caused a log jam.  At that moment the Japanese army cross the river on the pontoon bridge.  Biggles notes that if the dam made by the log jam was to burst the million tons of water and hundreds of tons of timber would sweep the bridge away like tissue paper.  Kayan runs out over the logs and using a metal bar breaks the log dam causing a mighty tidal wave and is fatally swept away in the deluge.  The results wave strikes the bridge and sweeps away Japanese soldier, lorries and guns.  The logs then go on to strike the loaded barges like torpedos.  Biggles and co. return to their plane to assess the damage to it.  It was upsteam of the dam breaking but rising water had forced it into the trees damaging the fabric.  The drop in the water level had then left it caught up in a branch so that its nose was held up clear of the stream.  Suddenly an enormous mad bull elephant comes running through the trees and the only place of safety in on the aircraft on the water.  Biggles cuts the rope causing it to drop down onto the river again.  Mud and weeds are cleaned off as best as they can as they drift down the river.  They then come under fire from Japanese soldiers on the bank but they are then attacked by the mad elephant.  Then the rains start again in earnest and blots out the river banks.  It would be impossible to take off in this rain in any event and if the rain stopped they would be under fire from the Japanese.  "In other words," put in Ginger, "we are between the devil and the deep blue sea".