Day Of The Serpent 3

By Drum Digital
30 April 2014

This was a do or die operation.

I noted her use of the word “you” and not “we”. I’m alone here, I thought dismally.

“You don’t have any weapons with you,” she said.

“I don’t need a bazooka for a snake. Man was born with natural weapons.” Despite my words, I could feel my voice wavering. The baby seemed perplexed at what was going on – two grown-ups arguing in front of a house under the burning sun.

I looked at my clammy, trembling hands and uttered a brief, silent prayer. Then I rolled up my shirt sleeves, wiped the sweat off my brow and snapped my fingers.

“You’re not going to do that, are you?” she asked, stepping back further and pushing the child behind her, shielding her from potential danger.

“Snakes are only legless lizards! Harmless – if you know how to handle them.” The words spilled from my mouth easily but I didn’t believe a single word. I could feel more sweat breaking on my brow and I thanked the sun for giving me a good reason to perspire!

But Lesego was watching, and I knew that I had better put on a good imitation of a brave man, even if I believed, deep inside me, that I was a coward who would never deserve a woman like Lesego.

I stepped onto the porch. The snake squirmed again, swiftly followed by my stomach. Then I breathed deeply, closed my eyes and dived on the snake like a missile!

I heard Lesego scream. Then everything went black and silent.

I heard the scream again, like a distant wail, getting louder and louder. My eyes opened and I saw the dirty grey cement of the porch floor. I was unsure of where I was and what was happening.

Lesego shouted my name and I could hear running footsteps pounding the ground. Other neighbours were rushing to the scene having heard her screams.

I lifted my heavy head and looked back. Lesego’s face was wet with tears and her hands cupped her mouth. There were three other women with her, looking inquisitive.

Then I remembered the snake. I felt something wriggle under my stomach. Something warm writhed against my body, and my mouth opened to let out a yell. But the man in me scorned making a noise, and I shut my mouth.

I knew two things: One, I was lying on top of a snake. Two, I had no chance of surviving. My head was spinning. There was a possibility that if I stood up, the snake would strike. Unless I had suffocated it? No such luck – it was still wriggling!

“Are you hurt? Did it bite you? Where is it?” She was shouting from behind me and I didn’t respond. An idea had struck me. If I stood up slowly and pressed the snake’s head against the floor, it would not bite.

After all, it was in a crack, it should be easy to hold down.

My safety, or rather life, was at stake here.

-by Legodile Seganabeng

To be continued...

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