Written by: Adam Davis
Disclaimer: Kit Cloudkicker, Baloo,WildCat, Molly Cunningham, Rebecca Cunningham, Don Karnage, "The Air Pirates", Ernie and "The Jungle Aces" are copyright 1990/1991 Walt Disney Company and are being used without premission. The writer has made sure that no money was made in the production of this fanfic and all material is used with the upmost affection and respect to the Walt Disney Company and the Tale Spin Team.
Disclaimer#2: John Roxton, Toby Dalton, and Jonathan Dalton are all the creation of Adam Davis and cannot be used without prior premission from the writer of this fanfic. You many make copies of this fanfic if you wish as long as it is unaltered in any way and proper credit is given to the writer of this fanfic; not the webmaster.
PROLOGUE: A year previous to the story, Thirty miles south of Cape Suzette
A bright blue sky was the backdrop for a small island in the middle of the ocean. A rich explorer by the name of John Roxton, best known for his safaris into the darkest parts of every uncharted jungle known, privately owned it. Newspapers scoffed his recent discovery of an ancient city deep in one of these jungles. But to air pirate, Don Karnage, this was not important. He had come for the man himself. Roxton's right hand man had been making trouble with the pirates. And since they couldn't find him, they decided to target his boss.
He had approached the island silently, and was poised to attack...
Inside, Roxton sat calmly, reading a book. Suddenly a window broke, then another. His front door was kicked down. He was soon surrounded by a horde of gun-toting pirates. A shadowy figure entered the room. As he emerged from the shadows, the explorer immediately recognized him.
"Don Karnage!" He said angrily.
"Yes, it is I, the feared..."
"Yeah, yeah." Roxton cut him off. "I know who you are. Let's just get this over-with, okay?"
"You seem eager to lose your life." Karnage said, holding the sword to his throat.
"If it means I don't have to listen to you yammer on about yourself, sure."
This insult angered the pirate. "Tie him up!" He shouted. " Don't let him get away! I'll deal with him in a moment. All right my minions, do, uh... pirate stuff."
They all started to work at once. Out of this band of pirates, one stood out. He was obviously much younger than the rest of them, and he wore a worn-out green sweater. He came across a drawer with some odd looking maps. He looked at one. Then read a note attached to it. "It is the location of a lost city with wealth beyond imagination! After all these years I have finally found it!" Deciding it might be of interest to Karnage, he takes it.
"Back to the planes!" Karnage shouted. "I have done what I needed to do!"
The pirates started to flock out every opening, leaving the explorer bound and gagged inside.
The pirates left the island, heading towards the Iron Vulture. Moments later an explosion shook their eardrums. Karnage looked back to see the orange fireball rise slowly into the air. He laughed, and picked up his radio. "Well done, my men." He said.
Back on the Iron Vulture, Karnage wrote happily about the day's events in his diary. When he was done, he stood up, and called for Kit.
"It appears that you have salvaged some sort of valuables." He said. "Come, come, let us see it."
"I found this captain." Kit said, giving him the map and notes.
Karnage looked them over, and frowned. "What is this?" He shouted.
"It's a map to a lost city, I guess with a lot of treasure..."
"I know WHAT it is! The man was a loony! Do you not read the papers? He made it up!"
"I... I thought you would like it..."
"I have no interest in a myth! Don't see me until you get something valuable!"
Sulking, Kit turned away. As he returned to his cabin, he started thinking. Nothing he ever did was good enough. He thought the map was worth a look. One day he'd find someone that at would least listen to him. In his cabin, he got out a box, and opened it. Inside were various items he had found and kept to himself. He took one last look at his new find, and put it away with the rest of them.
PART ONE: KIDNAPPERS
PRESENT DAY (at least in the Tale Spin time frame)
"Move it Little Britches!" Baloo shouted. They were on the Iron Vulture. Pirates were trailing close behind, with loaded guns.
"How do we get into messes like this?" Baloo half-joked. A bullet grazed his shoulder. He howled, clasping his shoulder with his other hand.
"Baloo!" Kit said. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah... I think so..." He grunted. With Kit's help, he pulled himself into the closest room and locked it. He pulled his hand away from his shoulder. His fingers were red. It came as a slight shock.
"Don't worry." Kit said. " It looks bad, but I think it just broke the skin. I'll see if I can find a bandage." He started to look around the room. Then it hit him. "Baloo, this was my old cabin."
"Yeah, I'm sure of it." Then he remembered. He went to the corner of the room, and pulled away part of the wall. There was a box hidden inside. He removed it. "I have a lot of mementos in here."
"Let's just hope you can get a chance to enjoy them again." The pirates outside were now banging on the door. "We've got to get outta here!"
But the box wasn't the only thing that Kit remembered. "There's a hidden passageway in here. A lot of the cabins have them. It'll take us straight to where the Sea Duck is!"
"Well then, lets not waste any more time here!" Baloo said.
Outside the room, Karnage had arrived. Fortunately for him, he had a master key. He unlocked the door, and kicked it open. They were gone. The room was empty. They had escaped his grasp once again.
Kit and Baloo were already taking off by the time anyone had discovered them. They watched as the pirates scrambled to their planes. Hopefully they hadn't traveled too far from Cape Suzette during the time they were captured. Baloo wanted to avoid a dogfight. The pirates were following at a distance, but it wouldn't be long before they caught up.
"Do you think we can shake 'em?" Kit said.
"Is the grass green?" He replied, scanning the horizon.
"What are you looking for?"
He said nothing for a moment. "That." He pointed to a fog bank. "There are caves down there." He lowered the plane into the fog.
The fog was very thick, a perfect cover. He could hear the pirates searching. They sounded confused. He got the plane deep inside the maze of rocks. For a few minutes they listened to the pirates voices as they searched for them. They started to sound discouraged. They were giving up. Baloo waited for a few minutes before taking off, making sure they weren't trying to trick them out. Then they took to the air again, heading home.
CAPE SUZETTE: Higher for Higher air cargo co.
Rebecca Cunningham waited at the dock for the Sea Duck to land, tapping her foot. It obvious that she was mad. Baloo was late again, and she had a busy day ahead of her. She didn't even wait for him to get out of the plane. She stormed down the length of the dock.
"DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW LATE YOU ARE?" She growled as Baloo stepped down out of the plane. "And don't give me that pirate excuse again!" Assuming the bandage on his shoulder was a fake, she tore it off.
"OUCH!" He screamed.
Her expression immediately changed. He was really hurt this time! "Oh no, I'm sorry!" She apologized. "Are you all right?"
"Yeah, it's not that serious." Kit said.
She wrapped the bandage around his shoulder again. "Are you able to fly?"
"Yes, thanks for your concern." Baloo replied sarcastically.
"I'm sorry Baloo, but we've got shipments piled to the ceiling that we need to get delivered in the next 48 hours."
"Well, I guess it would be all right if you took today off. But tomorrow I want you working HARD."
Meanwhile, an ex-colleague of the late John Roxton was arriving in town after being gone on safari for two months. His name was Jonathan Dalton. Roxton had fired him years ago because of his recklessness, often using deadly force to get what they needed. He had been arrested twice in the country he was visiting, but was able to escape unaided each time. His main goal was to find a place that Roxton had discovered just before his untimely death one year ago. But with the information to the location destroyed, he had no way of knowing where to search. He would have to look for someone who knew about the legends behind it...
Back at Higher for Hire, there was a knock at the door. Kit answered. Ernie stood before him.
"Hey Kit," He said, "I'm going into town to do some stuff, wanna come?"
"Sure." Kit replied. "Hey, Baloo!" He shouted upstairs, where Baloo was tending to his shoulder. "Me and Ernie are going out for a while!"
"Can you bring me a cheeseburger? "Baloo replied. "Uh, and some fries too. And maybe a hot dog."
Kit grinned. "Okay Baloo."
Later, in town, Kit and Ernie stopped at a hamburger stand to get Baloo's cheeseburger. They decided to sit down and get something for themselves. Ernie noticed that Kit had been carrying something the whole time they were out. He decided to inquire. "What's that?"
Kit showed him the map. "It's supposed to be a map to a lost city this guy found. According to what he wrote in his notes, there's supposed to be lots of treasure."
"Oh. Have you told Baloo? You said he really likes treasure hunts."
"No, but I'm going to."
A shadowy figure disappeared behind the stand.
"Did you see that person?" Ernie said. "I think he was spying on us!"
"I don't think so." Kit said. "But let's get going anyway." He stood up, and put the maps away. "I think I should be getting back."
"So soon?" Ernie said.
"It's six o'clock. Don't you think that's late enough?"
"I guess so. Don't forget Baloo's cheeseburger."
Dalton grinned, watching from behind the hamburger stand. That kid had Roxton's notes! He didn't know how the kid had obtained them, but Dalton was determined to get them into his possession. He'd follow the kid, and wait for a good time to strike...
HIGHER FOR HIRE: later
"Rarrr! I'm gonna eat you up!" Molly growled, waving a toy Tyrannosaurus Rex at Wildcat's smaller toy dinosaur.
"Eeek! Save me! Save me!" Wildcat squeaked, making the little dinosaur run away. Molly giggled.
Kit and Ernie were just arriving. They watched the two playing for a minute, amused.
"Cute kid." Ernie said.
"Which one, Molly or Wildcat." Kit said. They shared a laugh.
"Uh, I'd better be getting home Kit." Ernie said, now aware of how late it was getting. It was almost 8:00, and he needed to get home by dusk.
"Yeah, you don't want to be late. See you tomorrow?"
"Uh, how `bout the day after? I got some stuff to do tomorrow."
"That's fine." Kit said. "I'll see you then. Be careful."
"You too Kit." He said as he turned away, and started a halfhearted jog toward home.
Kit went inside to check on Baloo. He guessed he was still upstairs. He climbed the stairs up to their room. "How are you doing, Papa Bear?" He said.
"Hungry," Baloo said. "Did you bring me my cheeseburger?"
"Yep." He handed Baloo the doggy bag. His shoulder was looking fine. He told Kit that the doctor checked it out earlier. The doctor had said it shouldn't effect his flying abilities. "Swell." Baloo had said. He knew he would have to be making lots of runs tomorrow. Rebecca was of course, pleased. None of the shipments would be too overdue.
The next morning, Baloo was awake as he could possibly be. He didn't want to go. He hadn't slept well that night. Kit was as always, eager to help, and was doing a lot of the loading.
"You could learn a few things from Kit." Rebecca said, watching them. "Look at how hard he's working."
"Yeah, yeah." Baloo groaned. "And Kit could learn to relax a little."
Soon they were all loaded and ready to leave. Rebecca approached the pilot's window. "Baloo!" She shouted. "No stopping at Louie's along the way!"
"I'll need to get gas."
"No you won't. I had the tank filled last night." She turned to leave, and then turned back, and said three simple words: "DON'T BE LATE!"
The Sea Duck slowly moved forward. She watched as it continued to gain speed, and lifted into the air.
Kit yawned; already tired from the day he knew was coming. Then he noticed that they were off course. "Where are you going, Baloo?"
"Louie's? If Ms. Cunningham finds out, she'll have our heads!"
"Aw, she won't know. We'll just stop for a minute."
LOUIE'S: 10:00 am
The place was pretty much empty, as it usually was this time of day. Louie sat behind his cash register, tapping the buttons, obviously bored. He saw Baloo and Kit come in, and his mood changed.
"Hey fuzzy!" He shouted.
"Louie! What's shakin'?" Baloo said.
Louie laughed. "Take a look around man, slow as usual."
"So, what's good on the menu today?"
"Nothing for you. Your tab's gone through the roof."
"I think I got a few bucks on me." Baloo said, feeling through his pockets. He frowned. They were empty. "I--I thought I had it. Oh, yeah, I left it in the plane
Kit got up. "I'll get it for you." He said.
As Kit made his way to the Sea Duck, he saw another airplane that wasn't there when they arrived. `Where was the pilot?' Kit thought. He should've seen him walk in. Kit looked around slowly, looking for whoever it might be.
Someone grabbed him from behind.
"I wonder what's taking Kit." Baloo said after a few minutes. Then they heard the sound of a plane taking off.
"Funny, I didn't think there was anyone else here." Louie started.
"I'm gonna go look for Kit. Be back in a minute."
The first place he checked was the Sea Duck. He couldn't see him. "Kit!" He yelled. There was no reply. He then checked around the outside of the building, calling Kit's name. There was still nothing. He was starting to get worried. Louie joined him outside.
"Any sign of him?" Louie asked. Baloo just shook his head lightly.
"You don't think he was kidnapped?" Louie said.
"Now let's not jump to conclusions. Can you have your guys search the island?"
"No problem man. What do we do in the meantime?"
"Wait and see if he shows up."
"What do you want from me?" Kit said. He could tell just from his appearance that the man was trouble.
"Quiet!" Dalton shouted. "Any and all questions will be asked by me. Now, I saw you with that kid yesterday. What was the map you were carrying?"
"None of your business."
Dalton slapped him hard. "You'd better change your attitude. People have been seriously injured talking to me like that. I want that map!"
"I don't have it with me."
"You're lying! Give it to me!"
"I'm not lying! I really don't!"
"Then you'll have to show me the way."
"What will happen if I don't?"
"Do you really want to know?" Dalton laughed. "Watch him." He said to another passenger, a cat with floppy red hair. He was older than Kit, about 15. Dalton went to the cockpit with the pilot. The young feline waited until he was out of sight then went over to Kit. He felt Kit's jaw.
"I don't think it's broken." He said. Kit immediately shoved him away.
"Don't touch me." Kit said.
"It's all right. I don't want to hurt you."
"Who are you?"
"Name's Toby. And you are?"
"Oh, uh... Kit, Kit Cloudkicker. Why are you here?"
Toby seemed to be reluctant to answer. "Because that guy's my father."
"He's got a temper, doesn't he?"
"Oh, yes. He's the embodiment of congeniality. He said sarcastically."
"Don't you have a mother?"
He was again reluctant. "He-- killed her."
Kit's eyes widened. "Why?"
"She tried to leave him. He doesn't like betrayal."
"Didn't you try to help her?"
"Yes." He said, then lifted the side of his shirt, revealing a long scar. "He did this with a dagger because of it. He treats everyone who crosses him like this. I'm sorry he had to find you." He said in an apologetic tone. "I mean, you're too young for this kind treatment." He stopped for a moment. "You were at Louie's. Do you know a pilot?"
"Yes, his name's Baloo."
The name rang a bell in Toby's head. "Baloo?"
"Have you met him?"
"No. But I've heard pilots talk about him a lot. About the best darn pilot there is so I hear." He noticed Kit's smile. "Tell you what, I'll help you get a message to him. Is that all right?"
Kit smiled a little. "Thanks." He said.
Night fell with at Louie's with no sign of Kit. They were now convinced that he had been kidnapped. Baloo had almost worn a hole in the floor from pacing. Louie just watched. He could tell how worried he was. He spoke up.
"Maybe you should call Higher for Hire, let `em know what's going on."
"You're right." Baloo said.
He dialed the phone. It rang a few times, then a tired voice said: "Higher for Hire, how can I help you?"
"Becky, it's me." Baloo said.
"Baloo!" Rebecca said. She was mad. "Where are you? I've had a lot of angry customers calling!"
"I'm uh...err...uh...uh I'm at... Louie's"
Louie listened to Rebecca explode over the phone. He looked Baloo, who looked dismal. He sighed. "It's best to just let her finish."
She ran out of breath after a few moments, and had to stop. Baloo jumped in. "Becky, we have a problem."
"I know, you're about to be FIRED!"
"I'm serious. We think Kit was kidnapped."
Once again Rebecca's tone changed. "What do you mean?"
"He disappeared this morning, he hasn't come back."
"Oh..." She paused, she started to sound worried. "I never thought the day would come when I'd say this. Don't leave Louie's. I guess my customers will just have to wait. Please let me know what happens."
"I will." He hung up the phone slowly, and collapsed into a chair, nearly breaking it. He faced the entrance, looking dejected. "Aw Louie, If I hadn't had to stop here this never would've happened."
"Hey man, you couldn't have known." Louie said. "He'll show up sooner or later."
Louie's attempt at optimism didn't help Baloo, who just sat there. "Yeah..." He said softly.
PART 2: RESCUE
HIGHER FOR HIRE
Dawn broke, with no sign of Kit. Rebecca had checked with everyone of authority she could, but they had received nothing about a missing kid, or any SOS's.
Later that morning, Ernie dropped in. He was by himself. "Morning ma'am." He said. "Kit was supposed to meet us this morning. Is he around?"
"I'm afraid I have some news." Rebecca said. She told them what had been happening the previous day.
"We can look around town for him!" He said enthusiastically. "No one could spot him better than us!"
"Thanks, I guess. Are you sure?"
"Yeah! If he's anywhere in the city, I'll find him. But if he's not, I'm afraid I won't be much help." He left, waving.
Kit groaned. He had been tied up for hours now. His jaw hurt. They had stopped at a port not far from the jungle of Pakeno, one of the largest and most uncharted jungles in the world. Dalton had made his son go with him, so there was no chance of getting any help from him soon. They had left a guard, a very large one, carrying an elephant gun. He didn't want to chance having that big guy after him, so he just sat where he was.
A few minutes later, Toby returned. He waved to the guard. The guard left. Toby looked disappointed. "He's getting some porters to carry the supplies. He'll be back in a few minutes. I don't think there's time to radio for help. And good luck finding a ride out of here. We're the first ones here in two weeks."
"Thanks for wanting to help." Kit said. "I hope I can tell Baloo where I am soon. He's probably worried."
Dalton returned to the plane, with five extra, the porters he had sent for. "We'll be taking off now." He said. "We should reach our destination in a couple hours."
The time passed remarkably fast. They could see the mountain range the city was beyond. Kit now realized why no one had found it. Only the best mountain climbers in the world could've scaled those crags. But now, with an airplane, it was no trouble.
"Alright, everyone prepare for landing." Dalton said. "We're going down the moment we're over these mountains."
From above, the valley seemed to be just jungle, as unimpressive as the rest. But they all knew, or at least assumed that there was more than just jungle. The pilot was starting to lower the plane when an impact shook the plane hard.
"What was that?" The pilot shouted. They saw the silhouette of a large flying animal as it disappeared into the clouds.
"I don't know." Dalton said. "But it just tore out an engine, and there's nowhere to make an emergency landing." He grabbed a parachute. "Everyone get what you can carry. We're bailing out."
Porters immediately started to dive out of the plane with whatever they could get. Toby had his parachute on, but was frozen with fear. "D-Dad... I-I can't jump!"
"Oh, don't be a baby!" Dalton said, and kicked him in the back, making him tumble out the door. Kit listened to him scream as he went down.
"That was mean!" Kit said, glaring at Dalton.
"Who asked you?" Dalton replied. He picked him up by the collar of his sweater, and threw him out the door.
They all landed without harm, except for Toby. He just stood there, shaking. After a few minutes he regained his composure, and they continued. None of them knew exactly where the city was. But Dalton was adamant on finding it. No matter what the cost.
The day passed, and they hadn't found any evidence that there was a city at all. The porters were growing impatient, and Kit was tired. But as much as Dalton wanted to continue, he knew a tired crew was useless, so he stopped. "All right, fall out." He said.
"Fall down, more like." Toby said, collapsing.
"We'll set up camp in this clearing. You can rest when everything's set up."
Everyone began to work at once. Toby tripped. He turned around to see what he had fallen over. "Dad!" He said.
"What? Why aren't you working?"
"I-I think you should see this." He showed him the animal lying in front of him. Half of it was missing.
"What killed it?" One of the porters said. "Tiger?"
"No. A tiger would've left remains. Bones or parts of the animal it didn't want. This thing's been bitten clean in half."
"But that would've taken an animal with a head bigger than any predator known!" Toby said.
"I can't believe that my own kid's this stupid. There ARE known predators that could've done this." He said, pointing to the big three-toed footprint by the carcass. "This animal looks to be what is called an Allosaurus."
"You're saying a dinosaur did this?" Kit said.
"Are you saying I'm a liar?"
"You keep quiet. You're to talk only when I say you can."
"Aw, Dad." Toby said. "Can't you ease up on him a bit?"
"You taking his side? You know I don't like traitors." Dalton asked. Toby didn't answer. Dalton was getting annoyed. He grabbed Toby by his hair, and lifted him up to his eye level. "Are you?"
Toby just closed his eyes, looking dismayed.
"Didn't think so." Dalton let him fall to the ground. Toby squinted in pain as he rubbed his head. "Watch the kid. And don't try anything stupid like you did with your mother. You haven't forgotten what happened then?"
That was it for Toby. He was all rage now. He lunged at his father, knocking him to the ground. Dalton quickly got back up, holding Toby by the collar of his shirt. To everyone's surprise, he dropped him.
"You don't seem to mind getting hurt. But..." He paused, grinning. "What about your new friend?" He hit Kit in the stomach with the butt of his rifle. Kit doubled over, falling to his knees. Toby lunged at his father, but the porters held him back. Toby glared at him.
"Don't look at me like that!" Dalton shouted. Toby's expression went blank. Dalton turned away, and went to help the porters set up camp.
Kit got to his feet. "I'm okay." He assured Toby. "Any ideas on how to get out of here?"
"Of course. It's very simple." Toby said. "If everyone's asleep tonight, we'll just swipe the radio transmitter, get to high ground, and find someone who'll rescue us. Who knows, we might even find your friend, Baloo."
The Jungle Aces attempt to find Kit were futile, as he was not in the city. Baloo flew back to Cape Suzette after Louie assured him that if there was anything from any pilots or over the radio, he would phone them immediately. Kit was obviously not anywhere on the island either.
"If only I knew where to look." Baloo said.
"Kit will find a way to tell us where he is." Ernie said. "He's smart."
The entire camp was asleep, except for two porters posted at each end. But they were watching for things trying to get in, and were unaware of what was going on inside the camp. Toby searched as well as he could in the dark, with Kit helping. Eventually he found the radio. "Come on, and quietly!" He whispered.
They sneaked out of the camp as silently as possible. Surprisingly, the guards didn't react. The moon shone brightly, and the jungle was illuminated with a silvery light. They used the moonlight to find their way. Suddenly, Toby stopped. He shushed Kit. "Did you hear that?" He whispered.
"Hear what?" Kit said.
It was sound of padded footsteps moving through the underbrush. And they were large footsteps. There was something big moving through the forest with them. Toby grabbed Kit by the arm. "Come on!" He ran hard; Kit's feet barely touched the ground. He spotted an outcrop in the rocks. It was steep, but he was sure they could make it. "Okay Kit, we're going to have to climb this rock, fast."
He bolted up the rock, with Kit keeping up alongside. They could hear several things following them now. They continued climbing up the steep rock. They were almost fifteen feet up. "Faster!" Toby said, but Kit had already pushed ahead, only a few feet from the top. He could tell what was following them was at least the size of a horse, and they walked on two feet. They reached the top, and listened to the creatures, now out of sight, as they searched for the two. The unseen creatures eventually gave up, leaving the outcrop, and the two refugees behind. Kit and Toby took a sigh of relief.
There were high cliffs a few miles away. They looked high enough for them to transmit a good signal, maybe not strong enough to reach Louie's, but possibly someone near Louie's. Maybe even someone close to the valley. They could reach the cliffs by morning.
The hike continued.
A few hours later they reached the base of the cliffs. They seemed impossibly high from up close. The two decided to rest for a moment before they started.
Finally, Kit stood up, ready to climb. Toby followed. He threw the backpack carrying the transmitter over his shoulders, and started to climb. By dawn they had reached the top. Toby immediately set up the transmitter. Kit picked up the mike, and started giving the SOS.
It was 11:00 am. The phone rang at Higher for Hire. Baloo grabbed the receiver. "Louie?"
"Got news for ya', fuzzy." Louie said.
"Well?" Baloo said impatiently.
"We found him. A few pilots came an a few minutes ago telling me about someone sending a SOS. A guy named Dalton took Kit. When he mentioned Baloo, they came straight here. There are a couple people out there searching for him already."
"Where are they?"
Louie gave him their location. Immediately Baloo was out the door. Rebecca followed close behind. "Good luck." She said before he started the engines. "And no stopping at Louie's along the way." She added jokingly.
Minutes later, Baloo was over open ocean. He checked his map. He only had a few hours to fly. He started to wonder what had happened. Why did the name Dalton sound familiar? And why would he want Kit? His thoughts were interrupted by a crash in the back. He put the plane on autopilot, and went to take a look. He was shocked to find that the Jungle Aces had stowed away.
"What are you guys doing here?" Baloo said.
"Uh, we're helping you?" Ernie said.
"No you're not. I'm taking you back."
"Hey, Kit's our friend too. And we want to help!"
"Yeah!" The others said.
"Okay. But do exactly as I say. Got it?"
JUNGLE: the base of the cliff side
After getting a reply from one of the pilots, Kit and Toby started back down the side of the cliff. They were off to find an open place where a plane might land. Kit was ecstatic. He knew Baloo would be the first one there.
Kit felt a hand grab his shoulder. It was Dalton. He held Kit to the side, and grabbed Toby with his other hand.
"Surprise!" Dalton said. "Where do you to think you're going?" He saw the transmitter in Toby's backpack. "Trying to radio help huh? Why? And my own son, too. What happened? You used to be pretty loyal."
"I never liked what you did, I just kept quiet. But now you're doing this to a kid, that can't be allowed."
"Oh, really?" He paused for a moment. Then kicked Toby in the stomach, knocking him to the ground. Toby rolled onto his back, only to be pinned down. "Who are you to say what I can be allowed to do, huh?" Toby gasped something, but Dalton's boot was crushing his lungs.
"Let him up!" Kit shouted.
Dalton laughed. "Uh huh, right. And what are you going to do if I don't?" He said sarcastically.
Kit grinned, then sunk his teeth deep into Dalton's wrist. Dalton howled, and dropped Kit. He also stepped off of Toby.
"Run!" Toby shouted. He and Kit raced through the trees and underbrush, trying to escape. A bullet ricocheted off a nearby tree.
"Here!" Kit said, diving into a patch of tangled wood. Toby followed blindly.
"Ouch!" Toby said. "You had to hide in a thorn patch, didn't you?"
"Shh! Quiet!" Kit whispered. "Just keep going in deeper. He wouldn't think we'd go in here, would he?"
"I don't know..."
They listened to him searching. He came up alongside the thorn patch and stopped. Toby and Kit watched anxiously. He was looking right at them.
He moved on.
Baloo could now see the high ridges surrounding the valley. There also was another plane flying in the vicinity.
"Are you Baloo?" The pilot said over the radio.
"The one and only." Baloo replied. "Have you found Kit?"
"No. I've been flying overhead, hoping I can see him. But nothing so far."
"I'm gonna go ahead and land. You can stay in the air and search if you want."
"Landing's impossible. The forest is too dense. You can't make it."
"Watch me." He lowered the nose.
"Good luck." The pilot said.
"Are you sure we can make it?" Ernie said.
"No doubt about it. But hang on, it's gonna be rough."
They disappeared into the trees. Baloo was careful not to hit any of the large branches, though he seemed to be hitting every one. The kids held onto whatever they could. Baloo spotted a clearing ahead. He'd try to land there. He lowered the landing gear, though sure they wouldn't do any good. They hit the ground, tossing chunks of dirt and plants everywhere. They slid a few yards, then came to a stop at the tree line.
"Is everyone all right?" Baloo inquired.
"I think so." Ernie groaned. "Where do we start looking?"
"I'm not sure. If he knew someone was coming, he might've left signs. Well anyway, we've got to find him before this Dalton guy does. If he hasn't already..."
A LOST WORLD
An hour had passed since Baloo and the kids had set out to search for Kit. They still had nothing. Then, Spot noticed footprints along a path. They were shoed. Baloo's hope was returning.
"Let's see where these tracks lead." He said.
The tracks went through the jungle for a few miles, eventually leading to the remnants of a camp. It was just recently abandoned. They couldn't be too far ahead.
An enormous reptilian animal lumbered through the jungle about a hundred yards away. It was twice the size of an elephant, with rows of long spikes running down its back. Its head was comparatively small for its body size.
"Hey, look at that." Baloo said.
"Let's get out of here." Spot said.
"No, stay quiet." Baloo whispered. "I don't think it sees us."
The animal slowly moved out of view. They relaxed, and continued forward. Suddenly, the animal reappeared. They all froze. This time it was very close. It could see them now. The animal raised its head, and bellowed in rage.
"Look out! It's gonna charge!" Ernie screamed.
Baloo dragged the kids down into the foliage as the beast thundered past. It's tail hit a tree above their heads, showering them with splintered wood and twigs. Baloo peeked out of the foliage. The thing was gone.
"Big, aren't they?" A voice said from behind them.
Baloo turned around to face the person. They were standing about ten yards away. There was Kit, with someone else. A cat it looked like. But that didn't really matter at the moment. They'd found Kit.
"Baloo!" Kit shouted, bounding toward him. "I'm so glad to see you!" He said, hugging his friend. Toby just watched with a smile.
"You gave me a good scare." Baloo said. Then he noticed Kit had some bruises. "What happened to you, little britches?"
"It's nothing. I'm okay."
Toby cut in. "Hey listen, we need to get out of here before dad finds us again. He won't let us off that easily next time."
"You called that easy?" Kit said.
"Believe me, to him, that's getting off easy." He turned back to Baloo. "We've got to go now."
"Okay, but it's going to take a while." Baloo said. "The Duck's grounded."
They returned to the Sea Duck. Toby hoped they weren't being followed. Baloo and the Jungle Aces inspected the damage while Toby and Kit bandaged up. Later, Kit introduced Toby to his friends, and told Baloo about the situation. Baloo then remembered who Jonathan Dalton was. He had known him through a friend years ago, but had always hated his almost lethal disposition.
Baloo inspected some damage taken to one of the propellers. He cursed himself for not bringing Wildcat. He didn't know jack about mechanical stuff. Much to his relief, Toby was a skilled mechanic. He inspected the propeller for a few moments. He could fix the damage, but he guessed it would be about midnight before he finished. He just hoped his father wouldn't find them before then.
Night fell as the repairs to the damage were continued. Thunder rumbled overhead. A storm was moving in. A few random drops of rain spattered on their heads. They decided it'd be best to get out of the rain and finish the work in the morning.
It was midnight, and the storm had only grown worse. The rain was coming down in buckets, and Baloo was afraid that they'd be stuck in the mud.
"Look at it come down out there!" Ernie said, peering out the window. "I can barely see a foot on front of me!"
Toby was worried. A downpour like this could make it easy for his father to ambush them. He knew that Dalton wouldn't want anyone else finding his "lost city". He knew he wouldn't let any of them get out of the jungle alive. Eventually, the rain started to let up. Enough so that they could continue with the repairs. Toby grabbed the toolbox.
"Can you guys help me..." He felt a the floor move under his feet. "Did you feel that?"
They shrugged. Just then a large vibration shook the plane, rumbling deeply in their ears. Then, another vibration, and another. Each one slightly stronger than the one preceding it.
"What in the heck is that?" Baloo said, bewildered.
"Oh man." Toby said. "It's something big."
TO BE CONTINUED...