Arriving at Makhadzi and alighting from the car, Jeremy found his shaky legs would scarcely carry him as he was still in the grip of the terror of the unearthly spectre he had encountered a few kilometers back.
He staggered to the first ablutions to the left of the picnic grounds and struggled up the wooden stairs, holding on to rail and helped himself to the basin.
Over and over he threw hands full of water over his face and wiped the wetness away with his bare hands, splashing the water over his head and shoulders until the chill of it brought him back to reality.
“That’s better,” he mumbled to himself. “Much better. Oh, man! How could Danny have endured seeing these things all the time?”
He fetched the picnic basket from the car, greeted the caretaker of the site as he passed the lapa where the latter was sitting, and searched for the ideal spot. He found it behind the kitchen on the right hand side of the place, close to the stream.
Every spot had a wooden slated table and benches surrounded with a little fence made of tar poles. It felt private. The venue as a whole was very peaceful and lovely. All the buildings were re-structured in wood and thatch. A warm, inviting place indeed.
Swiping away some spider webs Jeremy put the basket on the one bench and started unpacking the goodies, soon after sat down with a steaming mug of coffee and leisurely taking bites from a sandwich.
Trying his utmost to push the spooky visions from his mind.
Watching the birds, the gentle sway of the tree branches in the light wind, the first feathery drops of a misty rain starting to fall…
The sound of splashing water pulled him from his reverie and he saw he had already finished off the sandwiches and drank half the coffee from the mug.
The splashing, he hadn’t even noticed up to now, were two elephants playing in the water or whatever elephants do when they come across a pool. From this short distance they seemed to be complacent enough so he just sat there and watched them for a long while.
Glancing at his wristwatch he noted the time. It was nearly twelve o’ clock.
Leaving the rest of the food for nibbling in the car as he was going along the rest of the day, he packed everything back in the basket, went to put it in the car then took a stroll around Makhadzi carrying the mug and taking little sips of coffee now and again.
The atmosphere of days long gone hang heavily all over the place. Jeremy didn’t know if it was normal or whether his imagination was at its peak now with this uncanny feeling of unseen people walking around, resting, watching, waiting…
At last he ended up at the little museum, the information centre depicting the history of this particular location which had once been an outpost of the regiment Steinacker’s Horse.
He walked around the small building thirstily reading everything and looking at the artifacts. When last he had his fill and was ready to leave he turned around and walked slapdash into the game ranger he saw at the river.
Only he was not a ranger but a soldier.
“Bl…. he..!” Jeremy screamed, getting such a fright he could have fainted on the spot.
To be continued.