The Journal of Henry Jenkins, Explorer

A certain Dr. Thompson has disappeared in the midst of Africa while investigating the enigmatic "Mountains of the Moon" that divide the continent. Henry Jenkins mounts an expedition of his own to locate the missing doctor. However, his own past and a mysterious force are working against him...

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2. 17 April, 1865

Now that I have found my journal (Those idiot servants...) I may write that we have arrived in Africa! we docked near a small village on an inlet leading into a river that should take us to the mountain range.

I wish to hasten our journey, however, as the second I stepped off of the ship I felt a curious feeling of dread. I shook it off at first as my sea legs wearing off, but I can't help but worry. could this be some kind of sickness? No matter. I don’t have time to think about such things. The men are terrified enough about the expedition, they need a strong leader.                

                                                                                                      ***

As the sun rises over the steamy forest, a small army of men march along a winding river. Like the head of a snake, Henry Stanley is at the front of the line, slashing at the vines with the ferocity of a doomed spartan. He continues to slash at a particularly thick root before Benjamin stops him with a question.

“Aren't you paying someone to do that?”

A moment of reprieve fills the forest as Henry pauses the cacophonous slashing to consider this. After a moment, he replaces the noise with a guttural laugh.     “I suppose I am, Ben. But that’s the thing about leadership. If I can’t do my men's jobs, why should I be able to tell them how to do them? If I don’t respect them, how can I demand respect? I figure I should earn my keep too.” With that, Henry gestures to a man beside him, who takes the machete and hands him his pipe. As they walk, the man takes over vine chopping duty.  A few minutes later, the sound of panic reaches the two men. Henry darts towards the sound, ignoring Benjamin’s hesitant calls. As Henry reaches the source, it reveals itself. A lion, about 2 and a half meters long, in the process of tearing out a man's throat. Henry momentarily admires the beast before snapping out of it. He swings his rifle around his arm and begins to aim with one swift movement. A shot crackles through the humid air, and the lion falls to the ground. The man it was mauling lays squirming on the ground. He clutches his neck and tries to speak, only increasing the fountain of blood shooting out of his neck. Henry looks at his face, thinking “he couldn't be older than twenty, he’s just a boy.” Henry notices that all the men around him, including the injured boy, are looking at him. He looks down at his shotgun and remembers the second shell. Henry begins walking towards the boy. As he cocks the shotgun, Benjamin speaks up. “Now, Henry, you shouldn't have to do that yours-” “Of course I do. It’s my fault he’s in this position, Ben. a leader who delegates all the work he doesn't want to do is no leader at all.” Henry replies, cutting him off. A short time after the second shot rings out, the pack is moving again.

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