"He swears he will return one day. In her arms he swears he'll be...Over the Hills and Far Away..."
Over the Hills & Far Away
The shrill sound broke the long and peaceful silence in the hide. They had been waiting for the perfect shot since three that same morning. Swearing was not sufficient to express the sheer frustration and the worst thing was that there was no one to blame but herself.
The sharp sound of the Nokia rang out once more around the small mustard coloured canvas hide. It was approaching ten in the morning and the fabulous Hornbill was long gone by now. Although it was not even the height of the day, the heat of the unforgiving african sun burned down in all its intensity causing a thin sheen of sweat to cover the woman. Her dark eyes glared menacingly down at the cause of the disturbance and she did not even bother to check the caller ID as she threw it into her ruck sack. Her hands worked deftly as she packed away her familiar equipment. There was no chance of seeing anything of interest at this time of day; she had missed her opportunity for now. It was a fact that grated on her few remaining nerves. The woman was due back in Johannesburgh in a weeks time and although she had filled her quota of the usual shots; she was in desperate need of capturing the Hornbill. It was proving to be a difficult task and at that moment, not for the first time, she despised her editor's choice of african birds for January's issue. "I mean, what the hell is the average reader, all the way in little old England, going to care? Are they actually going to be more interested in a bird or a lion?" Her voice was different. She had been born in africa and educated in Europe; her voice was representitive of neither continent. With considerable force she pushed through the make-shift hide door and her trainers landed on the dusty floor with a thud. She straightened and retrieved her bag from behind her with the shutting of the hide door. The woman wore blue jeans and a black strapped top with a white linen shirt left open to protect her shoulders from the fierce sun. Her long hair was pulled back from her face by a simple twist and she made for the Izuzu parked several hundred metres away. Her feet traced the familiar path that would have been unseen by a foreigner. From her pocket she retrieved her i-pod and grimaced as she noted the power bar. "Nice to be alone, but civilisation has its benefits", she said to herself in a rueful tone. One ear was seranaded by the sounds of The Siren by Nightwish and the other remained listening to any sudden noises around her.
The sky was a beautiful blue. A blue unmatched by spring bluebells or the eyes of a darling cherub and it stretched endlessly out and beyond. The land was green rarely and now wasn't the time for spring. It was December and the peak of summer in the southern hemisphere. When the woman had first been sent to Europe she had found it strange how it snowed all through December and into the January after living all her christmas's by the lake. Now the dry grass was whithered and the colour of hay, but it was beautiful. In fact the perfect time of year to catch the wildlife at the waterholes; the tourists were out in droves, but thankfully not many knew of Hwange reserve.
Lost partially in her jumping thoughts, she reached the parked truck and Tatenda was their to meet her as usual or more precisely; he was sitting in the back with sandwiches and hot sweet tea. "Ah madam", he jumped as soon as she appeared in his peripheral vision. "I did not see you-"
"Why? Would you have made an effort to look more concerned over my welfare?"
"Perhaps, but I highly doubt it madam", replied the local. He was the colour of pitch and had been with the woman in her efforts for a very long time. He was younger and in her often opinion, "Damn useless and good for nothing". Tatenda put his own affairs to one side and noticed his employer's lack of good humour and he correctly presumed it was to do with her latest endevour in the need to capture a Hornbill on camera. "Is the Bundu getting the better of you Welanga?"
"The bush will never get the better of me", she said and switched Nightwish off. The headphones were rolled and placed back into her jean pocket. She opened the back door of the twin-cab and deposited her bag not waiting for Tatenda to join her. He soon caught up and sat in the driver's seat starting the engine. "Back home please Tatenda", she said simply.
"Cinematella or Main Camp Welanga?"
"Head Main Camp, I need a few things and for the last time: my name is not Welanga".
The engine was started and they made their way along the broken and beaten path before he said, "It took three months before I ever knew your real name, therefore I named you according to the personality, Welanga: girl of sunshine".
"I am neither a girl nor do I have hair the colour of sunshine-"
"According to personality, not looks. Pay attention", he corrected her. She darted him a dangerous look and he smiled. "Named because you love the sun and are just as hopelessly fiery as it is. I believe it shall eventually consume you-"
"When I want a wet blanket, I'll visit the Witchdoctor myself Tatenda thank you very much", she said to her employee.
They drove for the next hour or so before they reached the area known as Main Camp. It was the more well-known destination compared to Cinematella which partially explained why the woman was always to be found far from Main Camp. Now by "well-known", it wasn't exactly a booming area for tourism; simply that more people visited it than Cinematella and it had a tared road. Tatenda dropped her off by the reception and went on his own promising to fetch her again at 2.30 in the morning instead. Perhaps half an hour earlier would significantly increase their chances of catching that illusive bird on film. For now, the woman walked past the recpetion and went in seach of her lodge. From her other pocket she retrieved a crude key and made her way to the furthest lodge. It was large and served her purpose as she ditched her bag by the front door. Stripping herself of the white shirt she passed into the bathroom and opened the slatted windows. The sight that met her eyes made her smile. She loved this land like no other and there was the added advantage that you could have a magnificent view during a relaxing bath without a soul walking past to disturb the tranquility. The warm water flooded into the procelain bath and beyond her lodge the light of the sun began to dim into mid afternoon. The woman slipped into the bath and watched the sky extend into the far reaches of oblivion. The sound of the Go-Away bird echoed in her ears as she closed eyes and enjoyed the peace.
Later, dressed in black jeans and a white halter neck top she sat with her back to the bar over looking the waterhole far into the distance. Her hair fell partly over her honeyed flesh and she sipped on a light tonic held up by her long arms. On one of these arms rested a perculiar silver band which carried strange inscriptions she had never been able to have deciphered, but had kept with her none the less. The fading light of the sun fell in streaks over her head and caught the red tints in her hair like a glowing halo. She watched the distance despite the feeling of two very focused eyes boring into her back. She tried to push the feeling to the back of her mind with absolute difficulty. Some time a little later she sat at a table and all around her was the soft light of the lamps. The night breathed gently around her and there was the light sound of chatter on the fringes of her hearing. Night had come and nothing could be seen beyond the protection of the lamps. The breeze that drifted into the bar area was cool and caused a fine shiver to run up her spine as she focused on her prelimanary prints.
"I've been watching you all night and never have you looked my way", said a voice from behind her. Despite herself there was a skip in her heartbeat at the sound of his voice. It was strange she suddenly felt so compelled by a total stranger. "Will you at least look my way now?" She remained perfectly still as the sound of his voice covered her senses like smooth dark chocolate; incredibly decadent.
"I'm busy", she replied and didn't look up, but reached for another print to examine more closely. She felt his presence way heavily on her mind. The woman sneaked glances to the side gathering an image of his tall figure. She immediately noticed the aura and striking appearance in black. "I'm very busy", she repeated quickly. She was further taken back as he hovered by her shoulder, snaked his arm around her and took hold of the print she was supposedly examining. "My dear", he started. "You will find plently of time for this in the morning, but now...". The last of his words she never heard or understood as her mind was running riot with his sudden close proximity and intoxicating scent. She was mentally cursing herself and putting down her strange reaction to too much sun. The woman made a further mental note to add a hat to her list of items tomorrow.
She heard his deep voice prompting her, "What?"
"It's pardon", he replied softly and tilted her face gently to look at him. The action caused her hair to cascade down her back and their eyes to finally meet. The woman was immediately snared in his intense blue gaze and he, in turn, drowned in the deep depths of her dark eyes. In that moment a rare occurance became known to them both on a subconscious level. A lost soul had found another after so long.
"Pardon?" Her voice was gentle and both their eyes reflected a type of awe that would take a lifetime to fully understand.
His hand drew away from her and he said in response, "I am all alone this fine evening and I would very much enjoy the company of a beautiful woman-"
"You think I could help you find one?"
"I was hoping I had found the one, if only she was gracious enough to slum it with me", he replied.
"What a charmer", she said in a light manner indicating to the chair opposite.
He took the seat and responded evenly with a handsome smile, "Indeed".
...The END...thank you very much and GOOD NIGHT