Last month, Wild Weeklies sent a news reporter to the deep and dark depths of Africa. The following is an excerpt from the subsequent story which ensued from the rather surprising visit.
It was evening, and a full moon stared silently upon a world of mystical darkness. I wondered, as I stared into its unblinking gaze, what this evening might hold for me. Little did I know the horrors, the adventure, the fantastic deeds I was to witness that very night. Had I known, I think I may have simply caught the first aeroplane home…yet now, I would not trade that one evening for a million others, filled with gaudy trinkets and passing fantasies; meaningless nothings, empty times filled with empty people, searching…for what? Maybe I had found what I was really looking for, I mused, as I looked out on the magnificence that faced me in the bleakness of a muted evening, basking in silvery shadows.
I was in the Rift Valley, a region of Kenya and Tanzania. I had heard that three English girls were staying with the Maasai people who inhabited that area, and although I was rather scared at taking such a long trip away from home: England, beauty, and all that I held dear to me, the pay package was such that I simply could not refuse the generous offer that was proposed to me by my beneficial employer, the owner of ‘Wild Weeklies’. Anyway, back to the Rift Valley. Certain spine chilling sounds were echoing around my befuddled brain, and I was sure that an animal was going to reach out from the depths of the darkness and eat me for its tea. I have never experienced such gripping fear in my entire life.
I crept along, part of the shadows that the evening graciously gave me. Not too far away, I saw a campfire. Drums were rattling incessantly in the distance and I wanted to scream, shout at them to stop, but I didn’t dare open my mouth in case a mosquito got in there. Malaria is a life defying disease, you know. I was by the camp fire now and I saw that three African men were sat around it, warming their feet and speaking seriously to one another. Suddenly, I heard footsteps and a small, thin messenger boy ran up to the fire and began wailing something in a language I did not understand. I wanted to shout, scream at him to translate what he was saying, but I didn’t dare as that may have encouraged a spotted hyena to accept my wailing invitation and hunt me down for tea. Suddenly, one of the men, a tall, handsome African bloke with black eyes that suddenly lit up with anger, jumped up and began stamping his feet in rage. One of them caught the edge of the fire and he hopped around for a short while, crying in agony mixed with anger. Suddenly, he sat down again and began to speak in English, to my extreme relief.
“What do you mean, they are gone? They can NOT have gone, it is my wedding day tomorrow and I must have someone to marry, how can you so calmly walk here and then just tell me that my bride has disappeared? They must have gone to the deep of the forest, it is madness at this time of night, madness, and they will be eaten alive!” (Aaarrghh! Cannibals, I thought, but I let out a huge sigh of relief as he continued) “Do they not realise that the forest is not a good place to be right now, there are dangerous man-eating animals everywhere? FIND THEM!” he thundered, pointing with a shaking finger in the direction of a little clump of trees.
I crept stealthily to where the trees were situated. I was scared by the howling noises I heard, but when I investigated further, I realised it was the girls I had come to find. They were dancing round a fire, with long dresses on, their hair in braids and, shock horror, NO SHOES ON THEIR FEET? Didn’t they know that there were scorpions inhabiting this unspeakable place? They were yelling and hooting, their happy cries echoing around the little clump of trees.
Elisabeth, the one with blonde hair, looked at her sister Jo and said seriously, “You don’t know nowt. Admit it. Let’s just ‘ave a brew cup an’ then ya can tell me why ya don’t wanna get married yet. It’s just the stupidest thingy I ‘ave ever ‘ad the misfortune o’ ‘earin’.”
Sarah looked nonplussed. “Put't'wood i't'th'ole, tha clothead! it's reet parky in here!” she said, frowning. “Don’t waste precious time talkin’ ‘bout Joanna and Andy, it’s just ridiclious.”
After they had fed the fire with more wood, they sat down in an orderly group to talk some more about the problem which now faced them.
If you want to know how the story ends, you will have to read my book, as I decided that the money that 'Wild Weeklies' had offered me was not good enough; I wanted to be paid properly for all the scares I went through, which included: nearly being eaten by an African tiger, almost being eaten alive by mosquitoes, being chased by a hairy spider plus many other things it pains me to remember. Literally.