Authors: John Farris
"Three weeks ago you ran a temperature of a hundred and four from a little tick bite. High enough to boil both our brains."
Eden shrugged, with an expression of contentment.
"Tom says I should have seen Shungwaya thirty years ago," she mused as they crossed a nearly dried-up creek. "But it's plenty good enough for paradise now. What's a bite, a fever, a rash now and then? I want to stay forever. Bertie's father Joseph told meâ"
"'The best part of having lived in a beautiful but hard land is knowing that you never gave in.'"
"How do you know that?"
"I know what you know, of course. Soâare we staying?"
Eden drew a pensive breath, didn't reply. She watched an African hoopoe, magnificent in orange with an orange and black crest, drift down as if leaving the orbit of the sun to light up the shady side of a baobab tree. She raised the binoculars that she wore around her neck and focused on a small herd of kudu moving single file through a
a quarter of a mile away. The lead bull was huge, probably more than six hundred pounds, with a gray coat smooth as flannel, thin vertical white stripes on his body behind the shoulder and a long tuft of white on his spine. His horns were long and spiraling, two and a half twists.to rapier points.
Tom had told her of the time he had come across two such bulls near a grove of
, one of kudus' prime feeding grounds. They were both kneeling on the red earth facing each other, bodies torn and black with flies at the bloody places, eyes growing dim in death, their twisted horns locked fatally together after a rutting bout. Bateleur vultures had begun their wheeling stalk in the sky. Each bull had fought as he was born to fight, and neither had given in. The heat of their struggle was still vivid in the air. It was a lonely, bleak, but untellably beautiful scene: the essence of life, the pride in death.
Eden lowered the binoculars.
"We're going back," she said. "I don't know about this new guy. If there's goodness in him, or pure evil. All I know is, the vultures had better keep their distance."
Eden Waring, Tom Sherard, and Bertie Nkambe will return in
THE FURY AND THE POWER.