‘Lion, specifically,’ he said, ‘disdain hyenas, and will chase them down and kill them – at times relentlessly killing hyena little guys in the sanctum to check the quantity of hyenas in their region.’ When being pursued by a lion, he clarified, a hyena would vanish down a tunnel in an ant colony dwelling place and never come out. The lion would give a frightful wail of baffled disturbance, however regardless of how lengthy a lion paused; regardless of whether a pride of lions alternated to be wary for a month, the hyena could never come out – this was on the grounds that the hyena was no longer there. ‘Whenever a hyena assumes control over a tunnel in an ant colony dwelling place,’ he said, ‘it is his goal that his psyche and body be broken somewhere near an ocean of termites.’ This was totally different to a dead creature being eaten by red subterranean insects. It was the transforming of the hyena into an aethereal life force that parasitically joined itself to all individuals from the termite Queendom. After an uncanny swallow of held breath he clarified further; the termite mind is an aggregate brain, it thinks as a one psyche spreading and dividing its synaptic perspectives among Queendoms right across underground Africa. Since the hyena had guilefully implanted his soul into this perpetual termitine mind – their ‘all over the place’ and their ensuing attention to all shrubbery goings-on had unavoidably turned into his for his own unreasonable ruses. By a similar willed purpose, he would then combine his virtual soul being out of the termite world and back into his actual reality: to reemerge any place he felt his genuine presence was required – or not required, as on account of the lion.
What’s more, with that, the old soothsayer got back to his tobacco pocket, passing on me to process his great words.
What might have been a drawn-out venture home, flew by. The long edges of evening shadows dissolved into a profound velvet of woodland dim; there to be planted up for the night with slender strings of wood smoke from town charcoal burners along the side of the road. Before long we would be back in Luanshya with its lively electric light windows and warm tarmacadam streets. When home I requested that my dad offer the old seer a lager and a lift home – which he thoughtfully acknowledged; fortunately the prude was in a rush to get back and compose his report. For me it was a reluctant speedy shower with Dettol, a willing fish finger and pureed tomatoes sandwich, and bed. I didn’t actually protest.
Hyenas moved a wily mix on the cinema of my blurring cognizance. I realize that they had been there in the hedge, they were all over the place, even in my room, yet actually, you just couldn’t see them.