Greetings! Sorry I’ve been so spotty on posting this last month. School, however, has become rather busy. Hopefully in future I’ll be more consistent. Expect a post once a week on Wednesday or Thursday. Enjoy!
Keeja crouched low, spear in hand, as the rhinoceros approached him. He moved to the left, and the creature continued to move after him. He frowned. He never before had seen any animal approach any human in such a deliberate and calm manner as this rhino did now. Then, as it came within about three yards of him, it stopped.
“Hail, Keeja, son of Oman,” said the rhino.
Keeja stepped back in surprise. “How do you speak, and how did you come by my name?”
“I was once a man, who lived and walked much as you do. As for your name, it is spoken among the beasts in awe and fear; for you are most courageous among humanity, having struck down many mighty beasts. I come to you, in knowledge of this to seek your aid, so that I may perhaps return to my human form.”
“I shall do what I can to aid you then,” said Keeja. “Come, I believe there may be one in my village who could aid you.”
He led the rhinoceros through the sea of grasses until they reached a kind of clearing, where several huts had been assembled around a large firepit. As the villagers gathered, Keeja explained the situation. One woman, the village shaman, stepped forward.
“I can undo this curse,” she said.
That night, she began a ritual, full of chantings and herbs and other shaman things. Then, at the very climax, right after she stopped the chanting and plunged the village into utter silence, she took a knife and slit it down the belly of the rhinoceros.
A man fell out and rolled away. But then the shaman frowned. Keeja leaned forward for a better look, preparing himself for anything else that might happen.
With a cry like a laugh, a hyena leaped out of the belly, soon followed by another, and another, and then five more. The village warriors jumped to their feet, racing to their weapons, while the women quickly gathered the children and grouped together before the advancing hyenas.
They attacked, fearlessly, unlike any hyena Keeja had ever seen. But in some sense, he was not surprised, not when the beasts had bright red eyes and greenish skin. They tore through some of the women, and then through some of the men trying to help. Red blood flowed, but there was something odd about the wounds. In moments, the blood was turning a greenish color, and the first victims of the hyenas’ assault seized up.
The warriors returned and began to drive back the hyenas, Keeja in the center, a fierce look on his face. But more cries came up from behind him, and he turned in shock.
Those the hyenas had struck had turned on the others, screaming inhumanly with wide eyes and teeth turned sharp. Keeja raced back to defend the women, but that only added to the chaos as the hyenas pounced upon the distracted warriors.
Then, amidst the screams of the villagers, the sky flashed red and dozens of small stones rocketed to the earth, impacting the hyenas and their victims on their way.
Keeja stood alone in the middle of it all, the grass beginning to smolder from the impact of the stones. Somewhere behind him, the shaman appeared from behind the skin of the rhinoceros.
“You know,” said Keeja. “I remember that, some years ago, you prophesied that all this would happen.”
“Did I now?”
“Yes. You said that we would find a man turned into a rhinoceros, who would unleash a scourge of hyenas upon us, who in turn would turn their victims into mindless thralls. Then fire from the sky would slay them all, and then I’d turn into a sapling. So, I suppose–”
And then he vanished, with only a small tree in his place.