They were a pair of eyes. She could see them clearly just looking out into the darkness. It was past nightfall, by over six hours. She had been fast asleep already and doused all the lamps around her. Then something woke her, in the middle of the plains and she crawled through the tiny space to find it out. She unzipped and almost like a trance, five feet away from her tent were those eyes. The two strangers stared at each other for a while before she dove back into the tent and rushed up the zip nearly tearing her skin. In the dim gaze of the moonlight, she could still see the eyes. They had come closer.
In moments like this, you start to think in strange ways, clearer ways than you ever could before. It seemed to her that the whole savannah drew itself in her head, with every bush, tree and stream. She positioned her tent somewhere in the middle and could tell how far she would have to run to find help. To the east was the fence, but impossible to get to. To the west, a river, but better those eyes than the rhinos. To the south was the rest of her party, in tents; she had been foolish to leave them behind. And to the north, well, she didn’t know what was out there; she was going to find out tomorrow. If it came! The only other option her mind could fathom was inside the tent with her. Her phone.
In the darkness her hands touched everything until she felt the smooth surface of her blackberry. She grabbed it, poked a button and it shined unbelievably bright for her current situation. She could tell it roused the creature by the snort it made. Snort? If I rule out lions and leopards all am left with are rhinos and buffalos. Oh no! It can’t have snorted. She dimmed the light and found her contact list. Mathew? Must be first asleep. Mommy? Maybe, if it is necessary. Here it is, Sammy, the guide. He must be with the others and with the guns.
BRING, BRING. NO ANSWER.
“June? Why are you calling this late?”
“There are eyes outside my tent.”
“Then, go tell them we’re sleeping.” Low laughter.
“I don’t have time for this. We are paying you to keep us safe and get us our lions…I think it’s a Rhino.”
“Are you still in your tent?”
“Then it won’t hurt you if you are in your tent. You remember the long speech I gave today about safety?”
“I am really not in the mood for this…” There was a rustle right beside her. She turned her head and saw a moving blackness covering that entire half. It blocked out the moon and made an eerie looking shadow. It was trying to find her. “It’s heard me…its here.” She tried to whisper.
“Don’t panic, usually they won’t know what to do with the tent. Am coming.” There was the unzipping sound that made her happy and one of fast jogging.
But then the tent ripped from the other side and she saw a horn poking in.
“They are buffalo, they are tearing through the tent.”
“Okay listen,” the jogging stopped, “I can’t see much in this darkness and I may not make it in time.”
“What do you mean?”
“Reach for your bag, at a side pocket there is a revolver.” Moving like a frightened spider, she felt her way quickly and carefully until she felt the hard press on the side pocket. She pulled out a gun. “Do you have it?”
“Shoot it into the air and whatever it is will be frightened and…run away.”
“Okay.” She pointed it into the air and was about to pull when Sammy’s voice squealed from where she had dropped the phone. “Wait, wait,”
“What? What?” she managed through hysteria to return the phone close to her ear. The bulls outside noticed and moved closer to the tent, new rips could be heard all over.
“Get down. If they are buffalo they may…attack the tent. Its better if you are on the floor.” She could hear the strain in his voice. “But don’t worry, I am coming.” The phone went silent. She breathed and lowered to the ground. She placed the gun above her head and…
There was someone pulling at the zip.
She looked up and saw a man looking at her. “Am sorry to wake you, my cows are hard to control in the darkness. But…” he looked at the gun, “What are you doing out here?”
June saw the cattle behind him and almost laughed. “I didn’t expect…you…here. I was…changing my mind. I was going to hunt…but I will leave tomorrow!”