Shaba’s eyes rounded in horror and he clasped his hand over his mouth to keep from vomiting, or worse yet screaming. He couldn’t keep from staring at the charred bones in the pit of ashes. At first he was totally frozen to the spot then completely involuntarily his foot nudged at the bones. Yes, it was a skull, a tiny human skull. He knew it was, had known it would be. A shadow felt across the pit, a huge black shape holding a machete. Before he had a chance to flee or even scream he was yanked by his hair and dangling a foot above the ground.
“Ha! I knew your curiosity would get the better of you sooner or later! Yup, that’s your kid sister alright. Made a mighty good sacrifice, she did, but not as good a one as you would have.”
Shaba wanted to wriggle free but was too terrified. The monster-like man whipped the machete within a hairbreadth of his neck then slowly pressed it closer, drawing blood.
A small crowd was gathering around, some cheering him on.
“What do you think guys? Should we take this one?”
“Nah,” one of his companions drawled. “He’s too skinny. One brute a night is plenty or it will get too common.”
Faintly over the breeze they hear someone with a strong voice speaking. Shaba saw the crowds’ attention shift from him to the distance preacher. Mobid’s grip slackened and Shaba fought desperately to get away.
“Hey, I didn’t say you could go!” But Shaba had vanished, a ripped piece of his tunic dangling from Mobid’s hand. Mobid lunged after him but he didn’t have a chance. Shaba was fleeing for his life.
“You okay, Shaba?” The small boy shrank back in terror into the dark recesses of his thatched roof hut. He was pretty sure who was looking in on him but wasn’t about to let his presence be known. Not yet.
“C’mon Shaba, you’ve been hiding here most of yesterday and all night. Mobid and his gang are picking on other prey. Let’s go find out what Preacher Noah is talking about. It’s pretty safe if we get up close to the ramp.”
Shaba knew that was true. People hurled insults or even rocks from a distance at the old man but they seemed afraid to do it within twenty feet of him. Did they think he would strike them dead or something? It took a long time for Raibo to convince him to come out, and when he did it was only because Raibo had slashed open a pineapple and coaxed him to come out and help him eat it.
The boys slipped stealthily through the lush, over-grown jungle, ever keeping a wary eye open for vicious animals and even worse humans.
Raibo pushed his way through the restless, scoffing multitude hanging around the ark that was being built, with Shaba at his heels.
Shaba felt his tension slowly ease away when he gazed into Noah’s kind, gentle eyes.
Most of his sermon was hard to understand but he knew that Noah was pleading with the people to repent of their wicked ways. Shaba knew what wicked meant. He saw it every day. Every day someone was being abused. He didn’t know the words to describe what was happening mainly to little kids like himself and Raibo, but he knew it was evil, very evil, and terror haunted him wherever he went. He looked longingly at Noah and his wife, his three sons and their spouses and knew with a certainty that they never ever had treated each other in the way that every kid and women in his village were molested.
Noah was begging them to find safety in the Ark because a flood was coming to drown all the bad people. Shaba didn’t need anyone to tell him what a flood was. He would never forget how some older boys had thrown him over a small waterfall and he had thrashed and screamed his way to shore. How he had survived he would never, ever know.“Shaba!” The barked command made Shaba’s knees buckle. Was it Mobid? No, but it was just as bad.
to be continued...https://www.createspace.com/4837922