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.


One Response to “Zambezi”

  1. Russel Ray Photos March 9, 2013 at 2:07 am #

    Thanks for letting me camp out in your blog for a little while today. I had a great time and tried to leave my campsite as good as when I arrived. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks!

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