At sunset, the children lay down to sleep. The aardvark [note 1] hole in the mound was large enough for Clara and Kobus to lie down to sleep. Susanna and Sara wrapped themselves in a blanket and slept on the hard ground near the entrance. Lying in the dark, listening to the soft sighs and snores of her siblings, Sara’s calm and controlled façade collapsed. Tears ran silently down her cheeks and she shivered uncontrollably as the pain of loss, coupled with devastated horror at her parent’s gruesome deaths, overwhelmed her.
The moon was full when Sara awoke to the soft tones of Mama’s lullaby. Standing up, she looked out over the beautiful expanse of rippling veld [note 2] grass, shimmering like a calm lake in the silvery moonlight. A flickering shadow caught her eye and she turned towards the mound. In the soft light it looked slightly furtive, as if concealing secrets in the soft folds of velvety darkness that rippled across its rough exterior. She was not alone. One of the shadows separated from the others and came towards her. “Mama,” Sara whispered, “Is it you, Mama?” The ethereal shape moved closer until Sara could see her mother’s features clearly in the pale light. Her yellow hair hung down her back in a thick mass and her white skin shone like polished bone. She was beautiful. The careworn look that had
characterised her face in life was gone, replaced with an almost holy loveliness. She’s an angel, thought Sara. Mama’s come back as an angel to guide us.
“Sara, my dear girl,” Mama-angel said, moving closer and enfolding Sara in a protective layer of love and comfort, “Papa and I are just beyond the veil. We can’t move on to our eternal rest until Kobus, your sisters and you are all safe. It is up to you, Sara, to lead them back to Fran’s Malherbe’s party and safety. His group is not far away and is moving slowly because of the many cattle and sheep they have with them. You must walk with the sun, due West, and you will find them.”
Mama-angel released her and looked into her eyes. “I love you, Sara. Do not dwell on Papa and my untimely deaths. You must focus on the future and ensuring your survival. As you travel, look out for clusters of trees and shrubbery. They grow near water and you will need to replenish your supplies. Goodbye, Sara.”
Mama-angel faded into mist and blew away in the light early morning breeze.
Note 1: The aardvark is a medium-sized, burrowing, nocturnal mammal native to Africa. The staple food of the aardvark is termites.
Note 2: Open, uncultivated country or grassland in southern Africa.
Written for Sue Vincent’s weekly write photo prompt. You can join in here: https://scvincent.com/2020/06/25/thursday-photo-prompt-silver-writephoto/