Age of Extinction
The reddening sky silhouettes the trees of the Kruger National Park.
Ancient Baobab trees and fruit bearing Marula trees, fading against the oncoming night.
The changing of the guard, as the heat of the African day transforms to the cold of night. Creatures, big and small, begin the ageless rituals, of preparing for the night.
Inhabitants of this wild utopia continue the endless cycle, of finding food and surviving the night.
A young Rhino brakes from the confides of his protective shelter, he runs out to greet the cool evening air. A grunt from the darkness, he stops, turns around to see his mother’s head slip slowly in to the clearing. She moves her massive head around smelling the air for any feint traces of danger. A second grunt signals to her young calf that he can carry on. Being one of the biggest animals in the park, was no reason to avoid being vigilant. The wild was no-one’s friend. They move till they come to a patch of wild Buffalo grass, where the young rhino and his mother can eat. They have been doing this for as long as he could remember.
A loud crack startles him. He stops eating and raises his head, seeking the source of the noise. When he cannot find the source, he turns to see if his mom heard the noise.
When he turns, he sees her lying on the grass her head resting on her front legs. He grunts, waits for her answer, is it safe? He gets no response. He grunts again but still no answer. He walks over to see what his mother is waiting for. When he arrives, she is still lying with their head on her front legs. To him she looks like she is resting, but there is a difference. Where her left eye used to be, there was a giant hole, blood ran down her face.
The young rhino stood looking at his mom not understanding. Then he heard another crack. This time he felt a sting behind his ear. His mother’s face started to fade then it disappeared. He falls over dead.
The sound of men breaks the silence. A chain saw revs to life. Two men move the head of the rhino into position while a third man tears through the Rhino horn with a chain saw. A fourth man walks out of the dark, he lifts the baby rhinos head shining a torch on the young rhino. He wipes the blood from it faces. Then he drops it back to the ground.
“hurry up, let’s go” he shouts at the men.
“what about the other one?” one of the men inquires.
He waves his hand at the corpse of the baby rhino.
“na, Leave it, waste of time, too small”
The chain saw stops. The men hoist the bloody horn into a bag. They turn back into the bush, disappearing as quick as they arrived.
Within seconds the park is quiet, soon the noises of the veld continue their song.