He suddenly feels terribly alone, small and insignificant. If he has to be totally honest, he also feels afraid, very afraid. Of what, he cannot say with any certainty, he only knows that the fear is there like a palpable beating living creature. All his life he has placed curses on others. Now it feels as if those curses are returning to haunt him.

A single wispy cloud momentarily moves in front of the copper sun, throwing a light shadow on the back of the scaly creature. It opens its predatory eyes and warily surveys its domain. Satisfied that all is well, it momentarily drifts back to dreamless sleep.

A white bird pecks slivers of rotten meat from the creatures’ open mouth. Rows of razor-sharp teeth glint deadly in the hot midday sun. The female of the creature digs a hole with her strong hind legs in the sandy side of the riverbank. Checking that none of her kind is near, she laboriously lays her eggs in the hole, then slowly, lovingly covers it with sand again. She stays there awhile to rest then returns with a splash to the river again. 

The male lies lazily, drowsy with the heat of the midday sun. Soon, the female joins him, two creatures from the Jurassic age. Another of their kind slowly drifts past them, motionless as driftwood, eyes and nostrils the only indication of its silent passage. 

On the far horizon, the sky is slowly darkened as rain clouds accumulate. Although too far away for human eyes to discern, the animals of the veldt know with an inner instinct that relief from the heat is on the way.

The Springbok flicks its ears nervously and leaps high over the brush. The baboons stop their frantic combing for lice and look at each other inquisitively. An eagle calls for its mate as it flies high in the air over mountains and dales, effortlessly riding the gentle breeze that lifts its wings aloft.

Silver-white tongues of lightning pierces the sky. The light breeze increases in force, ruffling the leaves of the trees and rustling through the long grass. The sky darkens menacingly. 

There is a loud peal of thunder. The children shriek with fright. In one of the huts a child starts wailing. Mothers call for their children to come inside. In some of the huts, paraffin lamps are lit. The dogs move quickly for cover, tails between their legs.

As the first raindrop plops on the creatures’ scaly back, it opens its reptilian eyes once more. Slowly, it moves towards the edge of the water. Then it slides into the river with a splash. 

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