The river roars in anticipation as it rushes to meet the sea. As the level of the muddy waters rise, the banks of the river start giving way bit by bit, crumbling here and there. Great clods of mud plop into the furiously rushing waters.
The creature lets the waters rush over him, unmoving and uncaring. Instinct tells him to wait, that prey will be available soon in great numbers. He is patient, ignoring the thump of driftwood as it is smashed into his scaly body. Now and then he submerges, only to resurface a little further down the river. Never does he let the village out of his sight, knowing that food is plentiful here.
The creature bobs along with the rushing current, death in its cold and predatory eyes. It watches and it waits, sure of its survival, untroubled by the ever-increasing downpour. As it watches, the sangoma exits his hut. Clad in leopard skin and masked, the sangoma beats his drum. The frenzied drumbeats reach the ears of the villagers, and they come out to watch. It also reaches the ears of the creature, and many others of its kind. Coming together near the riverbanks, they lie and wait silently, deadly intent on their prey.
As the sangoma beats his drum and chants, some of the villagers take up the beat. They jump and dance in age-old tradition, moving ever nearer to the riverbank. Unaware of the lurking danger, they sing along with the sangoma’s chant, feet tramping rhythmically in the black mud, eyes closed to the world around them.
The creature dives below the surface. A little while later, it surfaces not very far from the nearest dancer. For a moment, it watches the movements on the riverbank, then it lunges forward. Strong front feet grip the edge of the bank, and the powerful tail propels it forward with a mighty lunge.
Razor sharp teeth grip vice-like around the nearest dancer’s leg, and a sickening crunch is heard even above the sound of the drums and the rain as the bone splinters in its grip. With a tug, it pulls the poor man to the ground, and the bony head tosses him to and fro.
The sangoma chants even louder to be heard above the screams of the man, and the villagers watch in shocked silence for a moment as the man is dragged into the churning, muddy waters. Then the wailing starts, as panicked villagers try to scare the creature away from the drowning man.
They bang on the water and on pots, yelling on the tops of their voices. The creature is focused on his prey, and all their efforts are to no avail. Turning and twisting over and over, the creature pulls the man into the murky depths of its lair. Here his prey will stay until the meat is rotten before being eaten.