A macabre case would take them on a twisted journey to Africa. Dark Continent Continental.
July 20, 2013
A VG Serial: Dark Continent Continental
Angus Carlyle and Kerry “Skeeter” Sherwood are drawn into a mysterious case that reaches half a world away, and is totally out of their jurisdiction. Their anger escalates—the murders involve several people in the Austin community and their friend, Bradford Cooper, FBI agent, has fallen into a tangled and deadly web. What, if anything, can they do? They are pretty much strapped to the Austin Homicide Division with no wiggle room. Hang on to your hats as Angus and Skeeter travel on a macbre and twisted journey—they must solve these diabolical crimes which zap innocents down with no warning.
* * *
Masamba’s gazelle-like spindly legs skimmed over the bare spots of the baked savannah—spots that had been left by grazing zebras. His long, naked toes curled and flexed with precision. He surveyed the nearby zebra herd for unusual activity. Simba. A lioness could be lurking in the tall grasses that had not been grazed upon yet—a lioness that would just as soon drag off a ten-year-old boy as a zebra. Two members of his village had met such a fate recently, and they were grown men. The zebras would let him know if danger was near by wiggling their ears.
The basket on Masamba’s head wobbled a bit as he turned backward to check his own dust wake for predators. As he raced onward toward the village thoughts ricocheted in his head. I have many things to show the man. Maybe he will like some of them. Maybe he will give money. My brother and sister can have more to eat.
His white teeth exposed themselves to the daylight in a huge grin. At last…at last, he saw the edge of his small village, the sight of his young brother running to greet him.
Masamba hid his basket under a pile of straw. He crept around to drink cool water from the gourd. His mother did not know what he was doing—not yet. She might soften if he could help the family with some of their needs. She might soften a bit, but she would never like it.
* * *
Before the sun came up, Masamba pulled his basket from its hiding place. He rode in a buffalo cart with Baako, a farmer taking bags of cotton, sisal, tea and coffee to the larger village of Garissa to sell. He had to get back before noon when the sun was too high to cast shadows. He had to help his mother hoe the garden and crack millet to make flour. He spotted the British man from a distance, jumped from the cart, and with basket in hand he raced toward him.
The large British man wore khaki and his silver hair peeked out from beneath a pith helmet. His ruddy face was covered with rivulets of perspiration. Steel-rimmed glasses sat on the bridge of his nodular nose.
The man looked down to see the young boy grinning up at him and shook his head in irritation. His demeanor quickly morphed as he surveyed the contents of the basket being thrust toward him.
He picked up each item, one by one, and examined it closely. He reluctantly smiled at the boy and put most of the items in a pile.
“Masai?” He asked and the boy nodded.
“Masai! Uh huh! Uh Huh!” Masumba responded, excitedly.
He gave the boy a few schillings for the pile and said, “No!” He did not know Swahili or Bantu, so he used hand signals. “No!” He emphasized again. One of the items from the basket had the man’s decided interest. He smiled and pointed to the item. “More! More!” He looked at the boy and the boy nodded back.”
“More!” Masamba replied, pointing to the item.
The British man gave the boy one pound for the item and two others just like it.
Masamba was grinning as he hopped into the buffalo cart for the ride back to his village. The farmer was glad to have the company of the giggling boy and noticed that Masamba’s basket was now empty.
* * *
After helping his mother with her hoeing and millet grinding, Masamba rushed off to the marketplace in his own tiny village. He appeared again at mealtime and beamed as he placed a bag of oats, a block of cheese and a small sack of oranges on the table.
His mother was singing, her baby daughter, Machumba hanging around her waist in a sling.
“Aha mwiko kinkigwa ni tale
Hada ukakaa, khana wako
Mamdemi mlasi wangu
Kinkwa ni tale
Hada ukakaa kahan chako”
Masamba’s mother gasped when she saw his offerings. Her brow began to furrow.
“I found extra work to do in the village.” He explained.
She began to smile.
Chapters of Dark Continental by Sara Marie Hogg will be published on Saturday and Sunday.