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Weird Tales SEPTEMBER, 1951

How had I got out to my refuge
in the darkness of the night
?

Church in the Jungles

BY ARTHUR J. BURKS

I HARBORED no fear of the supernatural. There was more than enough Nature around me of which to be afraid. I had roamed into the Central Brazilian jungles south of Belterra that morning. I had lost my party. I had played the fool as so many adventurers did. I had left my outfit to search the woods myself. They were all armed; I was not. I did not believe in firearms. I didn't even carry a stick to smash snakes. I knew it was possible, even with a compass, to lose myself within a hundred yards of the camp. I did just that.

When darkness fell terror rode me. I was not afraid of animals, particularly. There was a possibility of being bitten by snakes, and I had had narrow escapes; but the balance of chance was against it. The other animals of the forest, the jaguar, ocelot, the great otter, gave man a wide berth. Other men had vanished into the jungles, to be seen no more, but I felt pretty sure that one of two things had happened to them: they had been shot by Indians, or stepped into holes.

There was one other possibility; animals sometimes broke off tops of shrubs, leaving spine-sharp points which hardened to rock-like consistency. If one fell on one of those points it would be like Saul falling upo...

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