On the Letaba River Bridge Jeremy climbed out of his car. The weather was changing again and it was getting warmer despite the cloud cover. He took off the windbreaker, tossed it onto the backseat and went to lean over the rails, scanning the half dry riverbed and surrounding area for anything that moved. Here he saw a small crocodile, green-backed heron and some hawks, a lone buffalo and far off, towards Letaba camp and just before the bend to the left as seen from here, a small herd of elephants.
Something else caught his attention though and he frowned, slightly baffled.
A thin, horizontal and very flimsy cloud of mist rose from a pool among the reeds and the weird way it was moving made it seem as though it was being gently propelled along by a breeze. As the fingers of this mistiness slowly curled and lifted upwards, an icy cold swept over his body and gooseflesh made his hair stand on end.
Around him the very air became charged with the eerie presence of some unknown factor.
Jeremy ran for the car, jumped onto the driver’s seat and slammed the door shut. He rubbed his arms to massage some heat back into them while he stared bewildered at the misty cloud following him. In the middle of the road it suddenly disappeared, evaporated into nothing and left in its wake the most absurd sense of a black hole or something.
“Good grief!” Jeremy shouted. “What the heck was that?!”
The terrifying chill would not leave his body. He wanted to start the car but was shaking so uncontrollably that his fingers kept on missing the key.
Around him on the bridge the strangest darkness started to close in, foreboding, menacing in essence.
That was it!
Beyond himself with fear he exerted the strongest of willpower, reached out and found the key in the ignition, turned it and pulled off with a screeching of tyres on the tar.
He didn’t look back. All he knew was that he had to get out, get away from whatever the hang that was!
Kilometers further his reeling senses started functioning more or less normal again although he was still pretty much breathless.
“Never stop on that bridge ever again!” he yelled to himself. “Look, look around! Aha, waterbuck…more ellies, millions of mopane trees and shrubs…beautiful, looks like apple orchards at places…overcast day so grey…”
He screwed the lid off one of the little bottles of fruit juice he bought at Letaba and downed half of the contents in one go.
Only now did he feel a bit more relaxed.
“Phew!” he exclaimed and leaning back against the seat started concentrating with greater alertness on his surroundings once more.
To be continued.