Rumour had it that there were lions around, so everyone was being very cautious. People had dragged thorn bushes into a circle and placed their livestock inside it to protect them. They themselves were sleeping on top of their vehicles or inside their carts. There was also a large bus with people from the city who had come to visit their rural relations. They were shut up tightly inside the bus and refused to venture out at all. Lesedi could see their noses pressed against the windows, their terrified eyes peering out into the night. They were definitely not coming to this wild place again with all its scary creatures. Give them the crime-filled city streets any day.
Lesedi got Mary and James fed and safely put away in the thorn bush enclosure. They weren’t too keen on this as they had a bit of a snobby attitude and didn’t feel they ought to mix with less fortunate animals. Lesedi told them not to be silly. It was just for one night and he wasn’t going to sit up all night watching out for lions. Once everything was done, Lesedi and Lorato settled down in the cart to sleep. It was going to be a long and tiring day the next day and they needed as much rest as they could get. Kgatwe, who had been sleeping most of the day and who wasn’t terribly worried about lions (everyone knew lions didn’t eat geckos), went for a walkabout to see if he could pick up any information. Maybe someone knew about this wall that was supposedly being built up river or they might have information on what Bosula was up to.
Lesedi was having a dream. He was dreaming that Kgatwe was jumping up and down on his tummy as if it were a trampoline. He was trying to figure out why on earth this gecko would be doing this when he realised it wasn’t a dream and that Kgatwe was actually jumping up and down on his tummy. He was shouting something…
Lesedi sat up wide awake and stared out of the cart. The moon had come up, illuminating everything very clearly. There were at least twelve lions. Most of them were prowling around the animal enclosure, the rest sniffing around the vehicles. Kgatwe had taken up his position on top of Lesedi’s head where he could see over into the enclosure. The animals, smelling the lions, had huddled together in the middle. Mary and James, however, being the snobby lot they were, did not want to get too close to the riff-raff and were hanging around on the outer edges, which meant of course that they would be the first to go if the lions did manage to get in.
“Oh, those silly donkeys,” cried Kgatwe, still jumping up and down on Lesedi’s head. “Why do they have to be such snobs?”
One of the lions had managed to pull away some of the bushes and it wouldn’t be long before they managed to clear a way through. At this stage quite a few people had woken up and were staring helplessly at the scene in front of them. They were far too afraid of getting eaten themselves to get out and do anything. The people in the bus, who hadn’t gone to sleep at all, were staring out in horror, thinking their last day had come.
“What shall we do?” Lesedi said to Lorato in a small voice while he put a hand on top of his head to try and stop Kgatwe from jumping up and down.
“You must call Ledimo,” said Lorato softly.
“I…” stammered Lesedi, “I must call Ledimo…? How can I do that? I never call him.”
“You did it before. You did it when the snake was in the hut,” said Lorato.
“But…I didn’t call him… He was…just there…” Lesedi was starting to feel a bit panicky. What made Lorato think he could call Ledimo just like that?
“You have the power. Now you must do it before it is too late.”
Lesedi looked over at the enclosure. The lion was pulling away at the bushes and making good progress. It wouldn’t be long now. He closed his eyes and concentrated on Ledimo. Kgatwe was now completely still, realising the gravity of the situation. Lesedi felt himself being pulled down a long dark tunnel. There was a faint light at the end that gradually became brighter and brighter. It was a strange intense light that constantly changed colour from blue to green to red. As he got closer, the colours all flashed at once and the light become so bright that he felt he could not bear it anymore. He put his hands over his face, too scared to open his eyes and then he felt Kgatwe tugging at his hair.
“He’s here!” he whispered.
Lesedi peered out between his fingers. The lions had broken through the protecting bush and were stalking in ready to pounce. The animals were all huddled at the far side of the enclosure visibly terrified. Even Mary and James had forgotten their social standing and joined them. But something was different. Now another animal was there that hadn’t been there before. This animal definitely didn’t belong to anyone at the ferry. It was a kudu, one of the most beautiful kudus Lesedi had ever seen. It had magnificent horns that twirled up to the sky and it stood proud, facing the first lion that was crouching ready to spring. She sprang. The kudu sailed effortlessly over her head. Lesedi was convinced he saw the lion’s paw go right through the kudu’s back leg. It landed and ran around the outside of the enclosure, causing great consternation amongst the other lions. Then it seemed to develop a limp and moved off towards the nearby trees. The lions completely forgot about the domestic animals and fanned out in hunting formation to go after the kudu. It moved into the trees, drawing the lions with it, always staying just out of striking distance. Then suddenly they were all gone. The place burst into life, people jumping out of their vehicles and running to block up the hole in the enclosure. Before they could do that, Mary and James had rushed out and were now standing shivering next to the cart. Lorato was trying to calm them down and get them to go back but they were having none of it. The only people who didn’t move were the bus people. They just sat there, eyes wide, paralysed. The only time any of them had seen lions was on the television and that was scary enough.
Lesedi felt drained. He sat there still not quite believing that he had actually called Ledimo. Lorato patted him on the head, catching a nip from Kgatwe who was still firmly ensconced there.
“That is just the beginning,” he said.
Lesedi was far too exhausted to question what he meant or get the significance. He just wanted to sleep. He lay down on the bottom of the cart and pulled the blanket up around him. He fell into a dreamless sleep, while the noise and discussion went on around him, and didn’t wake until the dawn broke, washing away the mysteries of the night.
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