Red in tooth & claw (Part 1)

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Horus
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Red in tooth & claw (Part 1)

Post by Horus » Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:54 am

They say that nature is Red in tooth and claw, but Africa is just red, the soil is red, the dirt roads are red, the bush is red, just about anywhere that you see bare earth, it is red. The correct term for this rock or soil is Laterite and the red colour comes from the high iron ore and Aluminium content that gives it this rusty red colouration. It can still grow crops, but it lacks the nutrients that more fertile lands posses and that is reflected in the flora that grows over most of Africa. There are really three main seasons, a Winter when it can be frosty in a morning and even though the day starts off bright it is advisable to wear a jumper over your T shirt and shorts as it can feel really cold up until around 11 am when it starts to warm up, the evenings are very cold and a small fire is required in the evening. Winter is followed by a lovely time of year, the mornings become warm and it feels good to be alive as you step outside just after sunrise and feel the warmth of the night air, the blood streaked black skies rapidly turning to gold. The day progresses getting slowly hotter, but never uncomfortable for those that are acclimatised, no need to seek shelter from the burning sun, just seek the natural shade of trees and buildings as you walk about and life is good. The evenings are balmy and warm, the skies are crystal clear and very black, we can see the stars as our ancestors used to see them, small twinkling diamonds cast upon a velvet blanket, its hurts your neck to keep gazing skywards and hurts your brain trying to ponder the vastness of our universe.

A continuous buzzing can be heard high in the Jacaranda trees their rough bark concealing the strange Cicada beetles that live there in their thousands. About the size of your thumbnail and some with the likeness of a skull and cross bones on their backs will call in unison trying to attract the females. They are completely harmless and some species can spend as much as seventeen years of their lives underground before emerging into the sunlight to drive us to distraction with their synchronised chirrup sound. It becomes an incessant background noise as each beetle matches his call to that of his rival that results in a deafening cacophony of sound, but suddenly they all become silent, not a slowing down or a lessening of volume, just an instant stop as if a conductor had waved his baton to end that particular rendition. It is then that you are aware of a complete and utter silence, you are intensely aware of it like some impending doom, then just as suddenly it begins all over again. Later the frogs from the nearby river will start to croak, at night Africa is far from silent, we call this Summer.

As the Summer progresses it steadily becomes much hotter and the nights uncomfortable, we have no air conditioning that is a thing of the future, so restless nights are the order of the day. This is the Dry Season and everywhere starts to go brown, leaves do not fall, they just take on a tired look and linger on the trees and bushes, withering away like pensioners in a care home. Soon the grasses will match the Laterite in their reddish brown hue and become tinder dry, bush fires are rare, you always imagine that it would just take one spark, but it rarely happens.

Eventually you reach October, suicide month, the heat becomes unbearable and it seems like forever since it last rained. Water becomes scarce and the rivers and dams are low, everything is listless, a lethargy hangs over everything, we pray for rain. Towards the middle of October the sky taunts us with the promise, but all we will see for a few weeks is an ever darkening sky with voluminous building clouds roiling and boiling like a witches cauldron then subsiding to become yet another unfulfilled promise of rain. Then one day, about the end of October when the heat is about to drive you insane, it will begin. Black thunderclouds will start to form, the previously still and stagnant air will start to stir, a chill will make your body shiver from the sudden drop in temperature. You may hear a distant rumble just before the most violent clap of thunder booms above you, then instantaneously the most savage flash of lightening will almost tear open the sky above your head. Slowly, almost imperceptibly you start to feel the heavy drops of rain hit your body, one by one. The sky turns black and the sun is hidden, it is an awesome thing to experience, you know that you are at the mercy of the elements and at any moment this colossal force of nature could strike you down. More thunder and streaks of lightning, the very air is on fire, some bolts are striking within spitting distance of where you stand, dissipating their charge into the huge natural body of Copper ore that lies beneath your feet. The rain now comes in a biblical deluge, it runs from the roofs of buildings and cascades over the edges like waterfalls to splash back up again several feet as it hits the ground, why do you think all those programs you see about Africa have buildings with a brown stain 4 foot up the walls. Roads flood, storm drains 6 feet wide and 6 feet deep at the side of roads fill to the brim and gush over like swollen rivers until the drains and the road become one ribbon of reddish yellow water. Rivulets of water gush over the grasslands, but the ground is so parched that very little water sinks in, it simply washes over everything then washes everything away.

This is the beginning of the Rainy season and for a few months this pattern will continue on a regular basis that you could set your clock by. At around 2.30 pm each day the clouds will gather, by 2.35 pm the thunder and lightning will start and the air will chill, by 2.40 pm it will start to rain and if you are not under some sort of shelter by 2.42 pm you will be sodden down to your underwear. By 3.00 pm it will have stopped, it will have been short but very violent, by about 4.15 pm everywhere will be dry again and you would never even know it had rained, but all the tension that was building throughout the day will have been released, it is against such a day that I set my short story.

To be Continued:


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Re: Red in tooth & claw (Part 1)

Post by LovelyLadyLux » Fri Dec 04, 2015 4:56 am

Wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy interesting H!!!! Can't wait for the next chapter :) :up :up :up

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Re: Red in tooth & claw (Part 1)

Post by Kiya » Fri Dec 04, 2015 12:19 pm

Interesting & exciting times :) its amazing that you manage to set times by these weather conditions :)

Roll on chapter 2 :) :)

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Re: Red in tooth & claw (Part 1)

Post by Horus » Fri Dec 04, 2015 12:44 pm

Yes Kiya, once the rains had settled into a pattern, after say a couple of weeks, it would rain like clockwork every day thereafter.
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Re: Red in tooth & claw (Part 1)

Post by Ruby Slippers » Fri Dec 04, 2015 3:31 pm

:clap: :clap: :clap:


More! More! Great stuff, Horus!

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Re: Red in tooth & claw (Part 1)

Post by Grandad » Fri Dec 04, 2015 7:16 pm

You've set the scene H, where to now? We await patiently ;)
:gg:

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Re: Red in tooth & claw (Part 1)

Post by Jayway » Sat Dec 05, 2015 11:06 am

Has this been published? I would buy it . . . of course "the others" would put it on their Kindles -

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Re: Red in tooth & claw (Part 1)

Post by Horus » Sat Dec 05, 2015 11:46 am

:lol: :lol: Thanks Jay, no never published, I just put it on here for you all to read ;)
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