Work in Progress – Chapter One, Scene One

In this snippet, the main character (Uhuru/protagonist) is enjoying his breakfast as Hardwood (guardian) watches and worries about the state of things. Introduction of both characters and experimenting with some dialogue.

*****

Up to his ears in love-grass, stretched out in a pocket of shade beneath an overhang of buffalo thorn Uhuru enjoyed the benefits of the unfortunate bongo. The ground beneath him stained crimson where the grass and earth had taken on the hue of a life drained. Uhuru had seen his mother hunt, that was before she disappeared in the long shadows beneath the evening stars. His tail twitched as he worked for a better purchase on an unforgiving knuckle of joint and sinew, teeth denuding bone. It was Hardwood that watched over Uhuru now.

Haven’t you had enough?” thundered Hardwood.

I feel it, I feel it,” replied Uhuru, exhausted. Uhuru needed to sleep but was afraid of what was waiting for him there.

An aubade of light was replacing the cool blanket of dawn allowing a new day’s warmth to wash over a waking savanna. Uhuru shook his head, pawing at snags of flesh caught in his teeth and the debris that affected his whiskers. He had finished but decided to keep his place in the shade.

It can wait, it’s good here,” continued Uhuru. “Come, keep me company.”

Hardwood obeyed, her allegiance never waned, she knew the order of things. The pads of her feet threatened the ground as she moved. Her mass now casting an additional layer of protection to the umbrella of shade thrown by the reach of the acacia, but Hardwood worried. She worried about Uhuru and she didn’t understand what the bongo was doing this far north of the veld, and she worried the dry earth, driving a tusk deep beneath the hard pack looking for water. Hardwood did not know such fierce temperatures in her lifetime. She worried that Uhuru was not getting enough sleep and that he was hallucinating again.

They would wait in the shadow for dusk and the cover of the easterly breeze before moving on. The mountain had been there since the land had erupted from the sea. A few more days wouldn’t matter as the sky emptied and the wake of vulture tore at what Uhuru had left behind.

*****

Uhuru snapped awake to the sound of cruel laughter.

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