The Lion Hunter


The Lion Hunter
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About The Lion Hunter

It was an incredibly hot and sticky morning and the sweat poured off Jimmy, Chris, and Thabo as they worked among the animals in the pens.
It was nearly thirty-eight degrees Celsius and was not yet ten thirty in the morning. This was unusual for the time of year and they had been baking like this for several weeks.

The dry season usually lasts until the end of March, but this was only the second week in February and if it continued the land would become totally parched and many of the animals would die.

It was becoming a desperate situation and Chris could not remember it ever being as bad as this before. They urgently needed more medical supplies for the animals and he thought that they could also do with getting another freezer and so he asked Thabo to make the journey to Nairobi to get what they needed.

The only real road that ran through the park was the A109 from Mombasa to Nairobi and the tarmac was so hot that it had turned molten and so sticky that it was too dangerous to drive along during the day with tyres sticking to its surface like superglue. It was only really safe to drive at night when the temperatures dropped.

It was nearly midnight before the roads had cooled enough for Thabo to drive. It was a long hot drive and he had needed to stop several times to allow the vehicle to cool down. He still managed to get to Nairobi before dawn but was now worried about the return journey. He was hoping that he could get the animal medical supplies and buy a new freezer early in the day and then he could rest up and make the return journey to Tsavo during the night.

The freezer that Thabo was bringing from Nairobi was desperately needed because many of the medicines they used for the animals needed to be kept in very cold conditions and now with so much space being used to cool water it was becoming a desperate situation.
Thabo was not usually bothered by the intense heat but even he was feeling irritable and beads of sweat pushed out onto his black brow. Nobody knew how old he was but he had several wives and numerous grandchildren all living down near the Cape who he visited on occasions. His previous completely black hair was now starting to show a few silver threads and he smiled ruefully as he noticed them in the driving mirror of the land rover.

Normally he enjoyed the occasional visit to Nairobi but the buildings in the city seemed to exacerbate the already sweltering heat. He had been and purchased the biggest and best freezer that was available and it was perched precariously in the back of the rover. It was a twenty one Cubic Foot Tropical chest freezer and he had been lucky to find this one, most of the refrigerators and freezers had been sold in the previous weeks with everyone trying to get whatever they could to help cope with these conditions.

Thabo left the land rover parked in the shade of a large palm tree in the car park of the Westgate Shopping Mall. He wandered around inside simply because it was fully air conditioned and he wanted to cool down before beginning the hot drive back to Tsavo. He stopped and chatted to one or two of the sales assistants that he knew from previous visits and he was beginning to relax knowing that he would be in this cooler environment for at least three more hours.

He sat on a stool at the cold drinks counter enjoying the rare opportunity of doing nothing for a few hours when suddenly his blood ran cold as he heard a man speaking to a sales assistant just out of sight around the end of the bar.
He had heard that voice before and it brought terror into his mind. At first he could not remember what it was, only that the sound terrified him. He tried to get a glimpse of the man but all he could see was his back. He was an older white man with shaggy white hair which still had one or two strands of its original very crinkly dark brown. He stood just over six feet and was broad shouldered and very powerful looking,…. but that voice?

He was speaking in English but there was a definite timbre to the voice that he could not make out. He wasn’t from England and Thabo had not heard too many white voices from anywhere else but England and South Africa. He wondered if he was from Australia and as he listened he began to tremble, desperately trying to recall why he was afraid of this man. Thabo remained on his stool racking his brain but he still hadn’t remembered when the man strolled casually away.

Then Thabo remembered and in a flash he vividly recalled everything as if it were only yesterday; this was the man that had killed his father when he was just a young boy. He recalled watching in horror and disbelief as this man butchered his father in cold blood, and now Thabo was trembling more violently in fear, anger and outrage. In all those years this sadistic killer had never been brought to justice.