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The group returning from the river were keening and wailing and in deadly fear. After a frantic Fundani had run back to relate what he had found, the headman had snatched up one of his concessions to the modern world – a powerful rifle – and hastened to see for himself. Everyone in the village, and scores more of the villagers who seemed to have returned from their normal tasks as if by magic, had followed him; even the old grandmother had kept up somehow. All the men were armed with their own guns or sticks or spears.
‘As many big ones as that – it is not possible,’ Fundani repeated yet again as they re-entered the village.
‘All the signs were there to be read,’ the headman responded dully.
Fundani shook his head. ‘Signs only; and how could so many hide in water so shallow? Or drag all our missing women under to hide them there?’
‘No crocodiles in this place for half my lifetime, and now there must be many, many, many,’ a woman stopped her wailing for long enough to sob out. She would normally have been with the others at the river, but had been visiting a friend at the Field of Bees.
Someone cried out that it must have something to do with tokoloshe or devils, and this was taken up by several voices. The headman stopped in his tracks. ‘We must speak to the sangoma; now!’ he said with sudden resolution. ‘Why is the sangoma not here with us?’
© Colonialist May 2013 (WordPress)