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Violent Beauty

The leaves in the trees rustled, towering high in the sky looking down on the ant sized human. Birds flew from tree to tree singing, whistling; calling their young. The sun spilled through the trees oozing in warmth that made the dew on the leaves glisten like diamonds. The air was icy, rich, refreshing, completely untainted.

Ben arose from his tent; he walked to a nearby tree trunk to relieve himself. Smoke arose from in between his feet lifting with it the stench of early morning booze laden pee. Ben smiled as he zipped up and stretched himself and let out a huge moan. The birds let out a violent collection of cries and fluttered away startled by the unusual sound.

Ben grinned cheekily and returned to his tent, he saw an unusual movement from within; he rolled his eyes and called out. The stirring stopped. Ben looked at the tent more keenly; he inched closer to the opening. He picked up a huge branch nearby and whacked the sides of the tent wildly ripping it open. He screamed like a wounded animal, and something slithered out of the tent. The throat of the snake was swollen, it had caught something.

Ben cringed and shivered and stepped back a few inches trying to mentally shake off what he had just seen. He stepped on a twig! Snap! Ben jumped and ran toward the tree he had just ‘visited’ a few minutes before and held on to its trunk. He closed his eyes tight, muttering something under his breath. He was grateful to be alive. The reality of an innocent outdoor adventure turning deadly, shook him to his core for some reason. After 5 years of wild outdoor adventure, Ben didn’t understand why this trip made him jumpy.

Ben pushed away from the tree trunk. And walked back to his ripped tent, he carefully lifted his sleeping bag and slowly pulled it out of the tent. Then violently flicked it up and down, making weird faces of distress and disgust. After a few seconds he calmed down and rolled it to store it. He sighed and wiped his brow with the back of his hand and walked back to the tent to pack the rest of his things.

He heard a cracking sound and fell to the ground in a heap of panic. He looked around him and there it was; beautiful and gracious, its wet nose emitting warm air causing little clouds with every breath. Its wide eyes on either side fixated on Ben’s. Ben’s fear oozed away and he fell in love with a gorgeous furry and brown Waterbuck before him. His smile turned into a grin. Ben slowly reached into his pocket for his camera.

He slooooooowly pulled out his pocket camera to take the breath taking shot. He sat upright steadily raising his arms in readiness for the shot. Just as he pressed the button to snap a shot there was a violent movement. He looked at his camera, it had taken a shot but not of what he had expected; though equally beautiful and dangerous. He looked again, steadily easing down his hands, he felt the pee ooze through his pants to the ground, he didn’t know how to escape this pictorial marvel of a leopard know dragging its kill.

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Super Book

There was a huge suction sound, followed by a scream and a huge thud and moan. Larry quickly jumped to his feet frantically looking around and trying to make sense of how he got to his current location. It was pitch dark. No sound at all. But in the distance there was a flickering flame that seemed to magically draw him to it.

“Oh! No! Ooooh! Noooo!” The suction sound again, and in an instant Larry stood on the edge of a cliff. He was 10,000 metres up in the air, he screamed and a rumbling sound followed. “Noooo!” he was free falling from the cliff down, down, down, further faster, faster, faster, his heart was racing so fast he began to feel faint. As he closed his eyes sure of his certain end, the sound raced in mid air and Larry found himself whisked in the opposite direction. He was relieved but his heart was beginning to tire from the constant shocks and jolts from one direction to the next.

His eye lids slowly opened in an expansive green field filled with daisies and dandelions. The air was laced with a gentle fragrance. He took a deep breath and exhaled with a huge smile on his face. He wanted to be here forever. The fresh air, the silence only disrupted by birds and bees, the beautiful clear blue sky. Larry closed his eyes again, but had this eerie feeling that this beautiful feeling was about to end. He was right.

The beautiful innocent buzzing sound of singular bees slowly built to a swarm casting a shadow over Larry’s body. The bees aligned themselves and made a beeline for him. It was over. Larry was so distraught, he was paralyzed; there was no saving him for sure death. Then the ground began to shake shaking violently. That could only be one thing, a stampede! And that stampede had a musical trumpet to it. This was going to be an ugly death; bee stinging and elephant trampling.

Just as he said Amen to his final prayer, he was sucked in again and opened his eyes and screamed hysterically. He found himself cradled in the arms of what looked like a dead woman. The elderly woman snapped out of the daze she was in. Her hair was a grey blanket with a bony face with skin hanging limb from it, like someone tried to peel some of it off but it was too sticky to peel off. She smelled of defecate and urine. Her breath was a mixture of halitosis and rotten eggs. It made sulphuric gas smell like the daisies he was lying in. She coughed and Larry fell off her lap with a raw thud. He hurt his hip. He lay on the floor moaning.

“What now?” He was so agitated. He was overwhelmed with so much emotion; he had escaped death twice. He looked at the frail and hooded elderly woman. She pointed with her bony fingers at a cauldron on the fire place. He raised his shoulders questioning. The boney finger pointed at a large wooden spoon about the height of a 6 year old. And then pointed at the cauldron, he put two and two together, he stuck the spoon in the cauldron and stirred. He stirred gently then after three stirs, the spoon took a life of its own bludgeoning him.

He screamed helplessly, he sounded like a gargling wounded animal. It was painful to hear. Just when he was on the ground bleeding in full surrender, the suction sound followed by the yank, which he still had not got used to, pulled him to safety.

Larry opened his eyes arms flailing screaming hysterically, shaking himself of whatever could have been crawling all over him. When he calmed down he looked around and realised that he was in his bedroom. He touched himself to check that all was intact. And then ran from corner to corner of his room just to make sure he was in his room. On his bed was a book of short stories for teens his parents had bought him, it was open. He flipped through the pages and saw pictures of where he had been. He quickly closed the book and tossed it out his bedroom window. He felt the suction, but this time it wasn’t him being transported. The book disappeared just like that. Larry saw it disappear and fainted.

0

Seductive Path

My palm was really itchy. I am the superstitious type, so when my right palm gets really itchy, I know I am about to ‘make it rain.’ The longer it itches the more cash I will get. Then for the first time I didn’t just scratch my hand, I took a good hard look at it. Have you realized just how artistic your palm and hand prints are? You know the lines that palm readers ‘read’?

I fell in love with my mammoth hands. The lines did look like they tell a story; I was just wondering which one. I looked at my left hand; it is the ‘less stressed’ one I can say. It is lighter and more graceful. In a moment I was lost. I was sucked into a grid, a hidden path, a new pursuit. But what was it? Where was I going? Could my palm be the key to a great treasure or an answer to a clue in my past?

I looked harder, and right there in the centre of my left hand there was the clue. I quickly dashed to the bathroom and washed my hands clean. My right hand still itching, definitely going to make it tsunami with the cash, I will receive, from where? I have no clue, but my palm says its coming.

Where two lines crossed on my left palm, as the water drained from my hand, a dot of water refused to shake off. It was centred right where the two lines crossed on my left hand and right there. At that single moment as I looked through that droplet at the crossing lines on my palm something unexplainable happened. There I was standing at the bottom of numerous stairs heading to high heavens. There was no sign of any life form around me.

I took to the stairs and climbed till I got to a point I started to experience vertigo. The height paralysed me. I remember sitting on the stairs sideways afraid that if I moved an inch I would fall to my death. Then after about 10 minutes of sitting I felt a gentle grip on my shoulder. I didn’t want to turn and see who it was. I was afraid of falling. Hot air filled my ear; it was an awkward sensation that set my toes tingling. It was seductively reassuring if that makes any sense? I felt my feet lifting and the warm breath in my ear gave way for a deep seductive voice. I don’t remember what he told me. But I was on my feet and the fear was completely gone. I was now running up the stairs.

When I finally got to the top, I stood and there was nothing there but blue skies, no door, and no house. My heart sank. I stood there shoulders arched over and disappointed. The gentle touch came back, this time it turned me round as if to face its owner. Then…

“Then what?” Lucy asked with pleasant anticipation.

“Then….”Sally continued then froze with a  dumbfounded look on her face.

“Then….come on Sally… who was he? Was he hot?”

“Then….I…”

6

Stripped, beaten and it can only get worse

Anala had been crying for the last 20 kilometres, we were in plain sight anyone with an ill intention could easily spot us and kill us. But she just kept at it. Hour after agonizing hour Anala kept crying, we almost got spotted. We had to wrestle her to the ground and gag her; we almost choked her to death just so that the unknown group of men we saw in the distance would not spot us.

We kept her gagged all night; it was either that or draw the wild animals to our location. We had had near misses with Goni trampling snakes in the grass, if it wasn’t for Juri’s gladiator swing with a machete that snake would have bit and killed Goni. Right now the four of us were left with no idea of the direction we need to head. All we knew was the smoke from burning villages was getting thicker, closer and faster. The rebels were advancing and we had to pick up the pace.

The wild berries that had initially weighed down our satchels served handy. The sugar was what kept us going, we found a stream and were able to clean ourselves, rest under a tree and sip on cool fresh water. There were weird looking buds we weren’t sure would be good to eat, we didn’t want to risk killing ourselves over them, so we survived on the wild berries and stream water.

“Ioli move faster. We need to get to shelter before nightfall.” Goni kept shouting that at me and it was really driving me up the wall. She had the audacity to yell at me yet she wasn’t carrying rock heavy Anala on her back. I was weak and cranky, my limbs were falling asleep. We had kept going through the previous night to get a daylights head start from the rebels.

“Ouch! Ouch!” Thud! Anala let a blood curdling scream; I dropped her after tripping over a huge tree root. The forest foliage was getting thicker and heavier and harder to maneuver. I was tired and fell to the ground. Anala cried again and none of us bothered. It was now like the backdrop of this trip, nothing really alarmed us with her anymore. “Ioli! Gag!” Was all Goni barked, I really wanted to get into it with her. I was fedup of Goni’s bossing around. Sigh! It just wasn’t worth it. I leaned over my foot to grab the cloth we used to gag Anala who was now still.
It was unusual, I looked at her and tapped her, she was frozen and I felt something hot flow on the ground toward me. “Damn it! Anala don’t pee…” I looked up and there it was face to face with Anala a huge silverback gorilla. I peed on myself.

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Saved

Whizz! The first bike sped by. Some people turned, but not with much concern. When a second and a third sped by, conversations on the street stalled and finger pointing began. Everyone was trying to gauge what this was all about. A little boy holding his father’s hand began to jump up and down pointing and counting out loud.

“29, 30, 31…..wooosh! Daddy! Daddy! Woosh! Woosh! 32, 33, 34, 35, Woosh! Woosh!” His father barely moved his lips, he was in awe yet concerned at what this meant. In days long gone when he was a little boy, he believed that the village sage would have foretold of this day and warned them accordingly. This was the city’s capital, no sage, just statistics, with weird and curious coincidence. “50! Dad! Dad! 50…Woooooosh! Wooooosh!” His son was now screaming hysterically and tugging at his arm for acknowledgment. He lifted his son up on his shoulders. His son was so giddy he could barely stay still on the top of his shoulders.

“DAAAAAAAAD!”

“Yes Shaka!” He responded with much warmth and affection. It left a smile on his adorable son’s dimpled face.

“WOOOOOOOSH!” They chimed in together and began to chuckle. Polycarp lifted his shoulders and wriggled them Shaka laughed so loud, long and cute. Everyone around them began to laugh as well. Just for a moment Polycarp wasn’t thinking of what had just happened. He had heard of Biker gangs rising across the region, the terror they reigned subduing all form of political leadership and taking economic control of markets. They did not bribe, they maimed and killed.

Then a deep revved engine whizzed by again. Polycarp and Shaka chimed again, Shaka giddier, Polycarp not so much. His worry was somehow subdued when he saw the back of the biker’s leather jacket. “We come in peace” it said with a picture of a red rose in the centre. He sighed cupped his brow and began to laugh first slowly then steadily building to an earth shattering laugh that almost ripped his son from his shoulders. He lifted Shaka off his shoulders and cradled the four year old boy in his arms still laughing, now hysterically.

Shaka just followed his father’s lead. He thought Dad was excited about the bikes as well. And they would periodically “woosh!” 10 minutes later as the street turned back to normal. Polycarp decided to try and seek where the Bikers had gone. These were the “Revving Crusaders” a group of Bikers who were mostly ex-military and police intelligence who were slowly and steadily getting violence out of biking and working with authorities to keep the cities safe. Polycarp wanted Shaka to meet his heroes. A few turns and curves across the city and 15 minutes later they were standing right next to the last Biker to wheel in.

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All clucked out

The chicken crossed the road and so did the egg right next to it. They hadn’t been talking for a quite some time. After chicken had dropped the bombshell on egg, egg was pretty yolked. “What the hell do you mean I will be like you?” egg exclaimed, he was so angry he cracked. Chicken just clucked and walked away, he had had ‘the talk’ with his parents when he was the exact same age as egg.

“You are not a freaking novelty egg. We all grow up someday and our kind of growing up is painful, you break.”

“The hell I will chicken, that loud overbearing mass that you are, no way, I prefer simple and compact.” Egg stormed off and nested.

Chicken went about its business and exactly 21 days later from a crack in the barn shed he heard a very scared voice call out his name. “What the hell is it now egg?”

“That’s the thing Chicken, I am not egg?”

“What the hell egg? Stop fooling around, roll out and let’s get this over as adults.”

“I can’t!”

“Don’t make me come in there and beat you to a yolk, egg!”

“Fine! I am tired of arguing with you anyway!”

The door of the barn flung open and there in full glory was a majestic snow white cock with bright red comb. Eyes darting left and right suspiciously. Chicken saw it and walked past it. “Where the hell are you egg?” Chicken called out. The cockerel crowed in Chicken’s ear. Chicken eye balled it and brushed passed it irritated. “When I see that egg I will beat it to death.” Chicken muttered under its breath.

“Say what Chicken?” Eggs voice was now emboldened after it saw that Chicken couldn’t match up to its new cockle stature.

“Egg?” Chicken turned, “where are you?”

“Can’t you see me?”

“That is a dumb ass question to ask. If you were in front of me I would beat you?”

“Oh really Chicken? You are looking straight at me and you don’t seem to recognize me?”

Chicken fluttered and clucked away flapping frantically as egg crowed and laughed his guts out.

“Who’s the Chicken now huh Chicken?”

0

Pungence

In the smelly town of Viatu, with a population of 10,000 no one seemed bother by the gut wrenching stench of its existence. I lie there was an unusual exception, a teen called Ngolova. Ngolova, was corked finesse, with a soled bold stature towering above other city folk.

Ngolova wasn’t one to care what people thought, he was more concerned with coming up with a way to rid the city of its pong that everyone seemed to find normal. Ever since Ngolova was a child, he always knew that there was something wrong with the state of the city. His fashion conscious celebrity mother, Wedge, was always wary about the chatter around the city about her son’s bull dozing of city officials to resolve what he called, Hygiene issues.

Ngolova would insist on a weekly clean as opposed to the occasional annual cleaning for the few in the city. Most of the people of Viatu, 98% to be exact, spent lifetimes, as long as 7 years without showering. Life expectancy was 10 years maximum. By the age of 7 viatu residents would be sent to a ‘retirement home’ where they would be transported to a new city before they are eventually cremated and ashes used to reproduce more lush looking residents who equally smelled after a few months of birth.

One day when Ngolova had grown to 2 years and a productive teen not too far from the era of aging wear and tear, an idea came to mind. He went to school and asked, Mrs. Bata Prefect to share an idea with the class, to which she obliged. “How about, to raise funds for the school charity event, we encourage people of Viatu to wash and polish?”

Mrs. Bata Prefect was stunned, Ngolova didn’t have to look back to see her tense up, he could smell the perspiration oozing from Mrs. Bata Prefect’s leather body. His classmates were all bug eyed with their tongues raised. “You what?” Stiletto blurted with her usual uppity tone. Akala butted in to try and ease the tension in the classroom, “That is an idea that we can refine, we can polish instead of wash?”

“Shut up!” the Patapata twins chimed in irritation. Then all hell broke loose in class, needless to say, Ngolova lost a few inches that day. But it never stopped his quest for a cleaner, fresher city.