The Baobab Tree (4 )
The Baobab Tree (4)
Thulani’s robe shone brightly against the dark wall of trees towering over the river. The water moved silently between the banks. Glimmering ripples appeared here and there on the surface as strange creatures rose to take their release from the murky depths.
Busisiwe watched As he swung the boat into mid-stream. The bow of the dugout was gilded in silver as the wake ran high along the fast moving vessel. Pearls of moonlight glinted palely as they rolled down the staff, then flared again as they impatiently stretched themselves in desperation to return to the river.
Thulani bent his knees and sent his pole deep into the water. It bobbed back quickly, shredding white lace as it did. The boat dipped and rolled as he worked harder to push against the fast flowing current.
‘What was he searching for as he clambered around inside her mind? He had behaved perfectly before his ‘invasion’. She didn’t feel he had violated her, no, it was more like disappointment. Thulani had broken her trust. He had no right to have taken that liberty’.
She smiled. Remembering the crocodile, she focused on the surface of the water just in front of the boat and imagined an even larger and more terrifying reptile.
The water began to heave. Two huge nostrils snorting steam and water spray burst through the surface. A thick, wet, knobbly hide trailing vegetation and dripping water covered a massive maw. Two bulbous eyes blinked in unison as the black beast wriggled quickly out of the river and sunk its huge curved talons into the gunwale of Thulani’s boat. With its head swinging from side to side and its huge tooth filled jaws dripping,it began to pull itself into the boat. A wide fan of white water sprayed out to either side as the behemoth’s powerful, thrashing tail forced it further and further out of the river.
The water running off the flat bottom of Thulani’s canoe sparkled as it cleared the surface. The back legs of the crocodile scraped loudly on the side of the dugout as they searched hungrily for a grip; finally they found purchase on the wide lips of the axe carved canoe. The crocodile roared and the water heaved as the black beast drew itself wholly into the narrow vessel.
Thulani sprung quickly onto the rear of his boat, using his staff he righted the canoe and lifted his pole above his head. Hand over hand he spun. Faster and faster it went, soon it became a bright spinning disc, Drawing himself to his full height he stepped toward the beast.
There was a bright flash, the air cracked loudly, and the huge crocodile disappeared. The river continued to slice its way between the banks. The quarter moon shone palely as it kept its silent vigil.
Thulani turned his head toward Busisiwe; his eyes flashed fire inside his hood. Holding his staff in his left hand, he raised his open right palm in innocence towards the medicine woman.
“You learn quickly Sangoma...Why did you send the ingwenya against me. I have done you no harm?
Busisiwe’s eyes blazed, lifting both arms in disbelief, she half turned, then spun back with her right hand raised and pointing accusingly towards the boatman.
“No harm Thulani?”
“You who pretend to be my protector... You who say you care for the spirits who find themselves in your charge.”
She pointed again, this time more forcefully,
“You, who go tramping around inside someone's head, sticking your eyes and fingers into my secret places, you who say this is doing no harm. Why have you done this to me? My ‘protector’”
Thulani pushed his boat back towards the jetty. He stepped onto the platform, and leaning with both hands on his staff, he beseeched the medicine woman.
“You fascinate me Busisiwe. Everything here is without life, but you...You glow with life's energy. You are alive where all is not.
He swung his left arm in an all-encompassing arc.
“Time has no meaning here Sangoma; here it is always night. The passage of one night to another is measured in the lifetimes of men.”
He took a few steps towards her. His eyes were pulsating embers in the darkness of his hood.
“You are alive Busisiwe...You have brilliance, a radiance. You are vibrant, and there is a power in you. Maybe it’s your need to save your people Sangoma. Maybe it’s just life itself, but your aura glows. I have never seen this before.”
He stepped off the jetty, and still speaking, he walked steadily towards her.
“When you passed from your world to this, and appeared before me, I was astonished. You are unique Busisiwe.”
As he neared her, she took a step backwards.
“I mean you no harm Sangoma. When I tramped around inside your head,’ as you put it. My intent was in response to you. You gave me the time honoured signals that male and female have been giving each other since the beginning of time itself.
Although I am Daemon, and not Human, I have the same natural response to a human female as a man would have. My intentions were dictated by your actions Busisiwe.
When we kissed you lowered your barriers, your mind was laid bare before me. With you being what you are, I couldn’t refuse the opportunity”.
Busisiwe placed her hands on her hips and tipped her head. While walking towards the boatman, she smiled mischievously as she asked.
“Beautiful,-- Thulani... You said beautiful.”
She continued towards him.
“Fascinating,-- Thulani, You said fascinating”
She stretched up and wrapped both her arms around Thulani’s neck, she drew him towards her. When their lips touched there was an explosion.
She found herself in a quickly spinning and rising emotional typhoon. As she rose into the clouds of Thulani’s consciousness, all of him was laid bare. His memory, his desires and ambitions, all that he was, was revealed to her. He held nothing back. She was amazed. Thulani was as old as time itself.
The spirits who had found themselves in his care through the ages, passed in front of her one after another until they merged into a faceless stream. All that the boatman had said was true. His fascination with her, his sorrow at having upset her, and strangely, for such a short time of meeting,his love for her.
To be continued.