A Hunting Trip
News of the tiger’s attack on a woman spread like wildfire. This was not the tiger’s first appearance in the village. Before this attack, the villagers had lost a few goats and poultry but the disappearances remained a mystery as nobody could confirm that they were a tiger’s doing. Then the tiger struck.
This time, the victim was a 32-year-old woman who was washing clothes by Tasik Bina. The villagers at once organized a hunting party. Armed with machetes and rifles, the hunting party, comprising six stocky men and me, left the Kampung Tempayan on 10 June. The leader of the hunting party was an aborigine named Awang.
We had an early night. Mosquitoes and eerie sounds made by the nocturnal creatures of the jungle kept us awake for most of the night. I had almost made up my mind to give up. At first break of daylight, we were up. We ate the food we had brought and set off for Kampung Melur. Our walk slowed down to a snail’s pace as we had to make our way cross muddy paddy fields. As it began to get dark, we frantically searched for a site to set up camp. Suddenly, we saw the flicker of kerosene lamps in the distance.
Our stomachs growling with hunger and our aching bodies in dire need of good rest, we decided to spend the night at Kampung Melur. The hospitable villagers provided us with a tasty meal of hot porridge and salted fish. After we had discussed the details of the ambush on the tiger with the villagers, we went to sleep.
At the break of dawn, we headed for the hills to the north of the village. After meticulously searching for the tiger’s paw prints, we came to a clearing. Awang waved us to a stop. We exchanged glances, unable to contain our excitement. All of a sudden, some bushes rustled and there, among some bushes and shrubs, the figure of the king of the jungle loomed into sight. A shiver crept up the spine of every single man present.
Awang steadied his rifle, aimed it between the tiger’s eyes and...