Thursday, 28 February 2013

An excerpt from

Two war orphans and a young elephant forge a bond
transcends time, place and possibility

‘In this great future you can’t forget your past’
- Bob Marley

She will remember the intimate detail of these final moments until the end.
  Long grass whispering all about in the dark.
  Her mother’s solid presence.
  The voice of the herd, rumbling like distant thunder.
  The scent of dew on perpetually thirsty earth.
  It is that most quiet time between the song of cicada and bird, the deferential pause before the world's final roll to rebirth.
  It is like any other instant before the dawn in the thousand dawns she has seen.
  Yet something sinister slides beneath the surface of her consciousness. Some dreadful sense of impending change.
  The depth of this premonition is inexplicable, given the dearth of dramatic experience in her young life.
  Her mother does not feel it, nor do the others.
  Grey seeps into the obsidian air. Now their great, still forms are darker than the night, ink splashed on charcoal.
  The air hums and her mind glimpses a dragonfly darting by.
  The first crack brings no more alarm than might the snapping of a branch; a simple sound of the wilderness.
  But they stir. They raise their trunks and test the air.
  It seems they have beckoned to death, for that is what now comes with no more hesitation.
  Hot lead smashes through hide and flesh, opening vein, shattering bone. The ka-ka-ka-ka-cracking is a growing wall of sound met with screams of sudden pain and disbelief and outrage.
  Her mother is among the first to fall. She would never have left her side but for the mind-bending agony as a fiery ember bores into her shoulder; it is like some living thing, some ferocious beast plunging a single, white-hot talon into her, and she spins, lashing out impotently at the supernatural aggressor.
  The second bullet hits her in the side of her head and all light is snapped out.
  She stumbles against a flailing mound, knows even in this unseeing nightmare that it is the sister of her mother, and no less than her mother, suckled, comforted, protected, loved equally by her.   The stench of hot blood is intoxicating, she staggers and her front knees buckle, she is down.
  They lie together, facing each other, their trunks touch and entwine. As the matriarch shudders and breathes her last, the young cow feels an uninvited, unwanted surge of strength. She lumbers to her feet and begins to walk, head down, in no particular direction. She does not flee, she simply keeps on moving. The physical pain is now as nothing. Whatever will be, will be. There is no self purpose, no will of her own.
  But the code for survival is imprinted on every fibre of her being, activated by a dying breath and by the memory of all embracing love and the coming of this new dawn against all odds.

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