“ALIWAL” by Adam YAMEY is available on Amazon websites (Kindle and Paperback) & also on:
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The prospect of seeing his friends in Burgersdorp put Henry into a good mood, and that made Jenny happy, because although she admired his serious approach to things, he was far more fun when he was cheerful. Around midday, several hours away from Middelburg, she noticed a dark mass on the horizon. Its shape kept changing, it was growing bigger. The sky darkened. She stared at it with disbelief, and horrified when she realised that it was approaching them rapidly, emitting a noise that sounded like the rushing of water, or heavy rain. She shrieked:
“What is that dreadful thing coming towards us, Henry?”
At the same moment, the wagon driver yelled:
“Iintethe! Iintethe! Ukuma!”
And Henry ordered:
“Stop, everyone get down!”
All of this was unnecessary, because the native helpers had already seen what was heading towards them. Without waiting for instructions, they had jumped on to the ground, curled up small with their heads tucked closely against their knees, and covered themselves with the rugs they usually kept wrapped around their waists.
Henry shouted to Max and Jenny:
“Get into the wagon quickly. Cover your selves with blankets, especially your faces!”
Moments later, the swarm engulfed them. The noisy little creatures flew over, under, and through, the wagon. Jenny felt as if she was engulfed by a tidal wave of scratching insects. A deafening noise filled the air. It was the grating, clicking, humming and buzzing made by millions of beating wings. Numerous locusts collided with the wagon’s taut cloth, adding a sound that resembled a hailstorm to the prevailing cacophony.
Jenny let out an anguished cry. Some locusts had found their way under the blanket which was covering her face, and into her mouth. She coughed, and spat out those that had managed to find their way in between her teeth. There was a woody, smoky taste in her mouth, and her stomach churned. She had bitten into one of the crunchy beasts. She shrieked again as she felt the little creatures scratching her skin as they scurried about trapped in her undergarments. Limpet-like, she clung onto Henry, trembling, and praying that her ordeal would end soon. But it lasted for at almost an hour.
When the locusts had moved on, Henry, Max, and Jenny stepped outside, and shook themselves free of the few insects that were caught within folds of their clothing. After Jenny had brushed away what she hoped was the last of the locusts from Henry’s jacket, he checked how the crew had fared during the onslaught, and then ordered the journey to be resumed. Jenny, looking pale after her ordeal, said to him:
“That was quite awful.”
Henry rummaged in his pockets and as he threw handfuls of the wriggling locusts on to the ground, he laughed and said:
“Welcome to Africa!”