Rangi Ya Bahari – Eight


Rangi ya bahari …now mixed in with the rapid peppering of rifles and the wet rip of outboard engines. Distance closing between the pirates angling ever more acute, explosions drowning out the shouts and warning cries from Ativa. Defenseless tourists separated from their vessel and ship’s crew. And now the righting moment; there were no helicopters, there were no airplanes, they were under attack.

Dropping a daggerboard against the wind, Ativa instinctively placed herself between the dark bandits and their intended targets. Punda grabbed a length of anchor cable across his blunt teeth and began hauling. Shakwe launching himself high into the sky with a piercing alarm,

scra-heeeee scra-heeeeeee…

…what now what now …there’s nowhere to go …Punda groaned straining against the pull and resistance of the anchor raking the sea-bed and Shakwe burst out with a new and more shrill call of distress,

screeeeeeeee-haa screeeeeeeee-haaaaa…”

A cry that surfed the airwaves back to the old coral rags and the feathers and ears that were roosting within the ruins of Takwa and shelters of Shela and then the French horn began to vibrate in reply and the black notes that flew from the twist of gold bell were smooth and rich and the blue shades of the paint that cast the image of the whale came alive to the call and the enormous creature peeled away from the sail and entered the sea with a thunderous splash.

Another hand-grenade exploding, this time landing fore of the mast of the abandoned tour boat, sending chunks of split planks up into the air and blasting a hole clean through the thick hull of hard African wood.

Black notes now the true black that reflects back in deep purple, twisting and turning, unfolding and flapping and spiraling upward and coming to life.

Night fell in that moment, the midday sun blocked out by the confluence of hundreds of thousands of clockwise gulls and the counter-clockwise rotation in speed and density of an endless stream of incoming crows and seabirds strangling the breath from the air, creating a vacuum that corrupted the tide, generating a magnificent vortex.

Flocks circling and circles tightening, from the depths of its sounding the blue whale now erupting and striking the pirate craft from beneath, sending it into the air, and denting and folding it deeply in half and spilling the stunned occupants over the side.

And the craft fell back to the sea from an improbable height sucked into the maelstrom created below, and the aluminum skiff and the grenades and the pirates were last seen descending downward clean out of sight. The hole in the water that had been there or not had closed over behind them leaving a flat calm and a very dead silence.


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