I think most bloggers don’t really want to spend too much of their blogging time on one post. For this reason, among others, running long stories doesn’t generally attract much readership. However, I would love some feedback on whether a short segment like this is preferred, or if there should be something longer like Segment 1. I have set up a poll, below, which allows multiple answers and also enables one to put in a different answer.
(Eish! We hev a praw blem with the poll. Please be patient – lie down on that hospital bed and wait and wait and wait … )
(Ah, wrong code. Let’s try again. *raises voice* Dr Poll will see you now …)
CHAPTER 1 (ii)
(For links to previous segments see Side Bar)
‘That’s strange,’ Donald said, his attention again on the valley, ‘no signs of activity.’ For an instant Hugh thought his father had also become aware … but then he realised that he was talking about the distantly-visible and scattered farms. They did seem unusually free of any visible movement of animals or humans; even in what could be seen of the tiny village.
In silence they set off again, and were nearing the bottom of the pass when a sharp bend brought them unexpectedly upon a heavily-laden open pickup, stopped and taking up most of the road in a part that hadn’t been visible from the view site. ‘That bakkie belongs to Dengana’s dad,’ Hugh said. ‘Yes, there is Dengana with his father and mother and brothers.’
‘That tyre seems to have had it,’ Donald remarked, and went over to inspect a thing so depressed it was clear that nothing would ever cheer it up again. He exchanged proper greetings in Zulu, and then asked if they had a spare. Apparently they did, but their jack had broken. Donald took his out and started adapting it.
Hugh moved back to the car and Dengana followed. The two were old friends from the previous visits, when sometimes Hugh had shared his herding duties, and whenever possible they had gone on various expeditions together.
Hugh looked curiously at the piles of furniture and luggage strapped all over the pickup. ‘You have many things loaded here,’ he said, also speaking Zulu. ‘Are you moving to another home?’
‘Yes; we go,’ Dengana nodded. ‘We all go.’
‘All? You don’t mean the whole village, do you?’
Again, Dengana nodded. ‘Everyone go away already. We are last ones, because of wheel broken. Valley is bad place, now.’
‘What about the ones who work for The Two Old Frogs? Surely they haven’t gone?’
Dengana looked nervously to where the adults were still wrestling with the jack. ‘Old Frogs go away. All go away. Nothing left there,’ he said abruptly, and when Hugh asked further questions he only responded by shaking his head.
It took a great deal of time and labour to get the wheel changed. Most of the load had to be taken off before the jack would lift the wheel clear enough from the ground to be removed, and then it turned out that the spare was buried under another section of load. Finally the job was completed, and all of them helped with reloading.
Just before climbing aboard Dengana rushed up to Hugh and said quietly but urgently, ‘Not go Old Frogs. Not go! I see tokoloshe. Bad tokoloshe!’ Then he cast a guilty look at his father and dashed back to clamber onto the pickup, which resumed its journey out of the valley swaying rather alarmingly beneath its pile.
© Colonialist May 2013 (WordPress)