Archive | January, 2013

Zambezi

31 Jan

Chapter 4

The crackling of fire and the aroma of roasting meat roused Sandy. She opened her eyes to behold a full rodent hanging on a stake over a fire. As she sat up on her sleeping bag, another aroma hit her. It was the aroma of heavily spiced soup. The soup was boiling on the same fire as the meat. She wondered how all of this could be happening. Where was Illuminada? She was not in some kind of dream, was she?

This morning she could see much clearly where they had camped last night. She could hear the water much clearly now. She got up from her sleeping bag and rummaged around her backpack for a tooth brush—part of the loot from yesterday’s crash. 

The memory of her parents disappearing after the crash left her with a deep sense of foreboding. She was alone in the wilds with an old woman who appeared stronger than her age and could hunt game all by herself.

She finally found the tooth brush and a tiny tube of paste. She had to use this sparingly too, she supposed. Now the problem of water. It has been said the Zambezi is one of the rivers with the least pollution. Surely its waters should be safe for drinking.

She wondered if it was safe for her to go to view the river now. Illuminada had been all against it last night. Speaking of which, where was Illuminada?

She got up with the brush and paste in hand to find Illuminada heading towards her from the direction of the river. She was carrying a real spear and a container of water.

‘Good morning Illuminada’, Sandy greeted her. ‘You gave quite a fright’.

‘Sandy girl, did you sleep well?’ Illuminada radiated so much energy, it surprised Sandy.

‘You look very fit for your age’, Sandy pointed out. ‘How did you come about the spear’ turning to the cooking, ‘and all these? You should have woken me up to help you.’

Illuminada examined the roasting meat and tasted the spiced soup.

‘Ready for consumption’, she nodded to herself then turned to Sandy. ‘I hope you are no vegetarian.’

‘Are you avoiding my questions or is it just me?’ Sandy did not sound at all pleased.

Illuminada served the soup into paper plates. Sandy noticed something that looked like intestines in the soup. Could it be the intestines of the rodent? Gross!

Illuminada stretched her plate of soup toward her and Sandy held up her brush.

‘I need to attend to this first’.

‘You are in the wilds Sandy girl’.

‘That doesn’t mean I should disregard the basic laws of hygiene,’ Sandy quipped.

Illuminada laughed, ‘in these surroundings, some of your basic laws of hygiene would just have to fly out the window…if there is any window.

‘What I need now is water before I submit myself to your rodent intestine soup’.

‘Suit yourself’.

‘Would you let me have a cup of water or I should go to the river myself?’

‘If I remember correctly, you burnt your cup last night’, Illuminada reminded her.

Sandy stamped to her backpack and rummaged through it again until she found it.

‘Aha!’ she exclaimed. ‘I found it; you can rest assured I am not going to lose this one.’  With that she stamped off in the direction of the river.

Sandy was still angry when she got to the thick clumps of shrubbery that banked the river. When she pushed herself through it she was greeted by a very lovely sight.

‘Wow!’ she exclaimed. The sun streamed across the horizon from the east in a golden glow that seemed to illuminate the clear blue waters that seemed to be endless.

Sandy did not know what she had actually expected. This was no beach with giant waves crashing down. This was a serene beauty. She wondered how deep the water was and if it was alright to swim in it but she was still angry with Illuminada and did not want to ask anything of her. She might as well risk it, she thought. There is no harm in trying.

She moved to the river’s edge and bending down scooped some water with her paper cup, the water appeared remarkably clean. A close look at the river revealed some algae and plankton, food for the fish she thought.

She took a sip of the water. Refreshing. She drank all of it and scooped another cup. She noticed a movement up ahead. It seemed something was moving in the undergrowth. Whatever it was, it was moving toward her.

‘Illuminada…is that you?’ she asked getting really scared. She took a couple of steps away from the river bank prepared to break into a run any minute.

Whatever was moving suddenly stuck out its head. It was a magnificently terrifying sight. Was it a crocodile, an alligator, a giant snake? Whatever it was Sandy did not wait to verify. Dropping everything she had on her, from the cup to the paste and brush, she broke into a run.

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Zambezi

28 Jan

Chapter2

Sandy was woken by the over powering smell of smoke. She opened her eyes to find herself still strapped to her chair in the middle of nowhere with the debris from the plane scattered all around her. She tried to stand but found her hands were strapped down too. She panicked.

‘Help!’ she screamed at the top of her lungs.

‘Mum!’ she looked around her for any movements. There was none.

‘Dad!’ this cannot be…this cannot be happening’ she struggled to undo the strap but her fingers won’t get to the release button. A fire burnt nearby and she saw her hands were covered in soot. Her denim as well as her sneakers had soot on them too.

She began to sob as she took a careful look around her. It looked like she was on some kind of grassland or plateau. What she could not understand was why her hands were strapped down with the seat. Was she someone’s captive? She tried again to reach for the release button and then she heard it.

It was faint at first and as she held her breath it became clear. It was the sound of someone or something moving. Sandy took another frightened look around her. She could hear the wind teasing her, a telltale sign that there was a large body of water somewhere close by. Was this a forest in Africa? The Americas? Europe? What if that was a wild animal approaching? This could be the wild jungle for all she knew. Then she got quite angry with herself, how could she have slept through a plane crash?

‘I shall never touch alcohol again’ she promised. ‘Just get me out of this alive’.

The sound drew closer and closer and she could see the source of the sound. She breathed a sigh of relief as she recognized her seating partner. She looked quite disheveled but it was her alright. Her perfectly coiffed hair had lost its pins.

‘Over here!’ yelled Sandy

The old woman looked in her direction recognized her and hurried towards her. ‘My child, I am so glad I found you’.  Apart from the disheveled look she appeared unscathed by the crash. She stooped awkwardly to undo the strap.

‘Where are the others?’ asked Sandy.

The old woman did not reply at first. She helped Sandy up and dusted her denim. ‘It’s just you and me kid’.

Sandy stared at her incredulously. ‘You can’t mean that…’ she said staring around as if expecting someone to pop out from behind the trees. ‘Where is my mum… and my dad?’

The old woman walked slowly up to her. ‘We really have to support each other kid’.

‘Where is everybody?’ wailed Sandy. ‘Even if they are dead, we should see their bodies. They could not have simply disappeared’

‘Vapourised is more like it,’ answered the woman matter-of-factly.

A terrifying scream pierced the air and it took a moment for the woman to realize the scream came from Sandy. She cupped Sandy’s lips to stifle the scream. ‘Do you want to get us killed?’

‘I just want my mum and dad back’ cried Sandy.

The woman held her to her bosom and let her cry. Sandy cried for a while and gradually her cry died down to sobs.

‘We must get a move on, this kind of scenes often attract predators’ she suggested.

‘By predators you mean wild animals right?’ asked Sandy.

‘Man eaters actually’.

‘Do you know where we are?’ Sandy asked scared.

‘I have no idea. But we are somewhere in the heart of Africa.’ She turned to Sandy, ‘you came on tour of the Zambezi right?’

Sandy nodded

‘We might as well be there’ she continued. ‘We were nearing descent when the crash took place.’ she gave Sandy her hand and Sandy took it. ‘Together we shall find our way out of this jungle or swamp or desert…whatever it is.’ she smiled at Sandy. ‘Are you ready?’

Sandy smiled in spite of herself. ‘Just one tiny aspect that we have left out’.

The woman looked at her enquiringly.

‘We have not introduced ourselves. I am Sandy Simpson.’

‘Nice meeting you Sandy. Do you mind if I call you Sandy girl?’

Sandy shook her head. ‘Not at all.’

The woman made to move and Sandy held her back. ‘Are we not forgetting something?’

‘You don’t have any luggage, do you?’

‘Your name… I would like to know your name’.

‘Just call me Illuminada’.

 

Zambezi

26 Jan

Zambezi.

Zambezi

26 Jan

This is the first chapter of a book I made. Please I expect you to help me critic it.

PROLOGUE

Zambezi is the story of an American girl who has her own unique adventure around the Zambezi River. She does not this all alone, she has helpers…

1

It was a clear blue sky, a sky beautiful enough to fly in. As Sandy and her parents—Greg and Yolanda Simpson, boarded the Boeing 747 heading for the summer vacation exploring the Zambezi, Sandy was full of excitement and anticipation.

Sandy had never been to Africa. She had heard so much about the land where men jumped from tree to tree like monkeys and wore loin cloths like Tarzan. Did all Africans actually live in tree houses? She had enjoyed the Tarzan series on television and loved the wild life programmes on the discovery channels, but that definitely would pale into insignificance when confronted with the real thing, she assumed.

Sandy took the seat across from her parents and strapped herself in. this was always her turn off when it came to traveling with her parents. They were always wont to riding the economy class when they sure could afford the executive class upstairs. They were always so security conscious fearing kidnapping and hijacking. As hijacking crossed her mind she said a silent prayer for a safe flight and closed her eyes as the plane took off bound for Africa.

Sandy was the only child of her parents and has been that for twelve years now. She had hoped against hope to have a brother and as the years went by the hope waned and she asked for a sister, just for company. But what she got in return was an endless flood of nannies to take care of her. She was quite big for her age and was almost always mistaken for a sixteen year old. She had sandy coloured cropped hair and a sunny disposition.

Her family was a close-knit one, spending numerous vacations together. Sometimes her mum and dad took off on their own for some dangerous expeditions. Like when they had taken a swim in the Devils pool at Livingstone Island of the Victoria Falls. The pictures of her mother hanging over the cascading waters and looking down at the gorge below had filled her with dread. Thankfully that was in the dry season when the strength of the cascades over the lip of the falls was very minimal. But this was the wet season and she hoped to see the falls in all its glory.

Her parents were very busy people and it was quite a wonder that they could afford the time for these travels. But she was grateful all the same. Her father was somebody in the engineering field. He called her his little princess and though she enjoyed the attention she would have preferred a sibling.

Her mother worshiped the ground her father trod. Yolanda Simpson was born Yolanda Graham. She came from a small village in Scotland. Greg had discovered her in one of his work related travels. She had been mesmerized by his knowledge and sophistication. His showing any attention to her had come as a shock and she had been overwhelmed when he asked her to marry him. They had been living happily since then. She had been quite disappointed when she could not have more than one kid but Greg had been very supportive.

This was the family’s first group trip to Africa, though Greg and Yolanda had been there thrice, this was Sandy’s first. She had been to other places of interest. Two years ago she had visited the Ganges River in India. She had wondered what the fuss was all about, the water was polluted anyway. But the crowd of devotees that actually drank that water was astonishing. It made a big impression on her ten year old mind. When she was much younger a trip to Disneyland always impressed her. She would give anything to go on a ride on the ghost trail—scary though it was so much fun

‘Care for a drink?’ Sandy’s eyes flew open to find a lovely air hostess with a trolley of drinks and juices. She knew she was not allowed to take alcohol and so settled for a can of Alcopop. The air hostess smiled at her and wheeled her trolley to the next row on the aisle. Sandy sat up on her seat and released the strap. She took a sip of her drink and winced from the biting effect. She downed the drink in no time flat reveling in the giddy effect it had on her. She always stole a drink or two back home when no one was watching, but it had been a while since she had the opportunity. She really had to stop herself from breaking into giggles as she had an attack of the hiccoughs. An elderly African American seated next to her gave her a look of mock disdain.

‘We are off to visit your ancestors,’ Sandy said to her.

‘Really?’ the woman answered amused. ‘You mean the gorillas and ape-men?’

‘Is that story really true?’ Sandy asked wide eyed.

‘That depends on you,’ said the woman as she turned to the magazine she was reading.

‘Me? How’s that?’ Sandy was clearly getting confused.

‘It is all in your head my child’. The woman answered frankly. ‘People are what you want them to be. If you want my ancestors to be apes, they may well be apes’ and as she noticed Sandy’s eyes were losing focus added ‘I think you should lay back and sleep you have quite a trip ahead of you.’

Sandy wondered why she was so tired and sleepy. Was it the Alcopop? No, she had had drinks stronger than this. Maybe it was this splendidly soothing woman seated next to her. Whichever it was did not matter as she allowed the drowsiness to overtake her.

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