finally climbed back into the Land Cruiser, they were both breathing heavily from all the work. “Shouldn’t we take them, or bury them or something?” Nick asked. Bernard exchanged a glance with Kikanae and said nothing at first. “It is impossible,” he then replied. “There is no place for them in the jeep. And besides, we can’t bury them. The constable will want to see them, and identify them. He will want to see exactly how it happened.” Bernard looked back at them over the seat. “It has been a problem… robberies.” “What?” “They are thieves, no different then the hyenas; thugs preying on the tourists and the guide services. It has been a big problem, really, having an impact on the safari industry as a whole.” “You will just leave them?” the British woman asked. “The constable will be out here to tag them. He will gather up the bodies,” Bernard said. “He needs to see them exactly as they are.” Bernard looked over at Kikanae. Kikanae said nothing but turned on the ignition and let it idle. Then Bernard looked back over his seat at the group. “It is standard procedure in cases like this. The constable will take care of everything. He will notify the next of kin.”
The four of them; the blonde, the British couple, and Nick remained silent as the vehicle began to move. “Sorry you had to witness this,” Bernard said. “But it is Africa as it really is.” As the Land Cruiser began to move ahead, Nick thought of the three men left heaped on the roadside. In one moment they were living, breathing things; in the next they were a pile of dead flesh on the dry earth. He turned back and looked, resting his chin on the top of the back seat. He could barely make them out, hidden in the shadows of the acacia trees and as the Land Cruiser continued to accelerate away, they blended in with the earth. Now they were part of the indelible Kenyan landscape, he thought. And through the descending sunlight he saw them coming, the pack of hyenas, out from the underbrush and down the hillside in quick flashes of grey; their glitzy eyes caught in the angling light. As did all the good animals of Africa, they were returning for the carrion; to replenish from the dead, strength back to the living. Nick turned, stared forward, and said nothing. There was nothing to say, he thought. It was nature at work, the way of Africa; Africa as it really is. Life was given back to the savannah as it had been given back over many generations.
resides in Nipomo, a small town on the California central coast. His short stories have appeared in numerous literary magazines including The Emerson Review, Berkeley Fiction Review, Minetta Review, and the Hawaii Pacific Review.
Summer 2014 Volume 2, Issue 2
A compilation of the Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review, Volumes 1 and 2 (2013-2014)