Before me, I see waves sluggishly pound a pebbled shore as the sun purples into evening. To my left, see shadows stretch long and blend into night as surely as the black velvet sky unrolls over head. To my right, I see deer and antelope feeding at twilight, moving through Serengeti grasses. But what I see with my eyes and what in I know to be true stand sharply opposed. And so, with night’s advent, I wait breathless for my fears to be realized. As surely as I knew, a moon rose three times; yellow, red, and silver.
The yellow moon flickered and wavered, shuddering as waves below rolled to shore steadily, rhythms of inevitable doom. Then the red moon’s light lanced into the forest and trees were ignite with angry crimson. To my right, silver beams slit sharply, knifing into the long grasses, gleaming dangerously on the backs of night-feeding animals: highlights and targets.
Then I feel it. A cold damp mass in my stomach: a leaden lump of terror. Predators can sense fear - they can taste it in the air, sharp and metallic and tangy acid black. The night feeders scatter with spastic jerky movements as dark shapes converge, moving stealthily.
I stand stock still, terrified that if I moved even slightly, the gripping fear will betray me. Like the night that has now erased all thoughts of escape, waves of fright, new and yet so familiar, crash into me. Traces of the damp fear slurp at the base of my spine. With every short ragged breath, I feel it sucking nearer to my lungs.
Then with a blurred whirl, the three windows coalesce in a brilliant flash of blazing light. Suddenly I no longer stand trapped in a room with three windows to three worlds. Suddenly, I stand on the precipice to one new world under one new moon. And the bone white light of the last moon rocks me. Dry. Arid. Hard.
It is before this brilliant and terrible beacon of night that I feel my soul quiver. As smoothly as sand through my fingers, the tattered shreds of my defence dissolve. Stunned, I crouch, my fear open and quivering and alive in every joint. I feel it when my shoulders twitch. I feel it sting in my nostrils and burn in my lungs. Beneath the hammer hard light, I am reduced to helpless scraps tossed about in the pooling, shifting, and menace-rippling bone-white light. O God. Please let me wake up. It’s all too real. My whisper dropped, nearly splashing.
With every ounce of energy, I willed myself somewhere else. With every ounce of energy, I willed myself somewhere else. With every ounce of energy, I willed myself somewhere else. With every ounce of energy, I willed myself away from this horrible drenched place. With every ounce.