Rough Diamonds

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Chapter 27

Jako Retief

Jako found an unlikely ally in Chris. The boys had got into all sorts of trouble for being at the mine dumps the day that Fleck had fallen in and nearly been burnt alive.

Jako reminisced: “We nearly lost Fleck that day.”

“Hawu, baas, that was scary,” Chris exclaimed.

“I cannot imagine him burning alive in that fiery hell-hole,” Jako added.

Chris nodded in agreement. “I saw that coming... the dog dying. Fleck...”

It was Jako’s turn to exclaim: “What? What do you mean?”

“I saw him floating in the reeds in the water, and I saw that he died later. Before it happened, I mean...”

Jako looked at Chris.

Chris went on. “I have powers to tell some of the future. There was another time when my brothers and sister, who as you know, died at birth, spoke to me.”

“Oowegh!” Jako thought he now saw in Chris some qualities to predict the future. Am I off my head? he wondered. Is he like a budding witchdoctor or sangoma who has the ability to see into what is to come?

Chris said: “I feel the Retief family are going away.”

Jako looked at him enquiringly. He didn’t know whether Chris was born on Christmas Day and that was it, or whether Chris was one of those rare people to be blessed by whoever it was. He didn’t think it was God. He wondered who the other creatures were that Chris worshipped. Maybe it was a zombie or a snake god.

“What do you mean: ‘going away’?” Jako asked.

Chris looked at Jako. “Angaas, I don’t know. I just have a feeling. Babu, great one. I’ll be by your side whenever you need me. I agree to join you wherever you go.”

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