The Tortoise the Jackal and the Milestone

The Tortoise the Jackal and the Milestone

A short story about an adventure one of many but this one is special. Characters names have been changed to protect their identity.

Two mischievous brothers follow a large game drive vehicle as they follow the steam rises from the tar road. They are in the Lowveld deep in the bush the small town they past lays far back in the distance. It is late in the afternoon and the sun is setting they have driven a while now on the quiet tarred road.

The flashing light of the vehicles indicator ahead says we are leaving the safety of the tar and will now venture far into and onto rough, dusty dirt road. The story which will stay in their minds forever is about to begin. It has been a while the numbers on the milestones along the rough road have changed from single to double figures.

They all reach their destination where a long, good evening is about to begin. After the evening disappears it is now time to leave. John and Paul get into their bakkie they will now head back to their small cottage overlooking the Elephants River. Before they get to the tarred road they must travel beside the many milestones on the dusty sand road.

After a while of diving Paul is now bored, stop he tells John pull over to the milestone. John pulls over Paul climbs out he wants to challenge himself. He wants to pick up a milestone and carry it to the next where he will leave it. Perhaps he wants to confuse other motorists but in reality it is just another silly part of him coming out to play.

Paul struggles for an hour or so to remove the milestone from the ground it has been put there to last a long time it has been buried deep. Eventually it is out and it is heavy the milestone is made from concrete. It will not break from the many falls it will take off of Paul’s shoulders as he carries it to the next milestone-a mile away. He walks ahead of John who drives behind him in the bakkie. They are amongst the big five deep in the bush it is not safe to walk here the night hunters lurk behind every tree. This is of no concern to the two brothers they have had plenty to drink and they are courageous. After reaching the next milestone the plan changes Paul will not leave it behind he will put it in the back of the car, with a last lift the milestone is dropped into the back.

The milestone will now find its new home in their home amongst all the other trophies they have collected from their time whilst living in their cottage in the bush on the Elephants River. The two brothers continue on their journey home Paul is tied, sweaty and bloody another beer will heal the pain and add to their laughter. A while later the two brothers are both driving John sits on the driver’s side window ledge using his one foot to press down the fuel pedal. He faces Paul who sits on the passenger open window ledge using his feet to steer their vehicle.

The wind blowing in their hair is funny for them as they face each other whilst sharing the driver’s task. They laugh aloud as they now drive home in the Quiet warm air of the bushveld. The two of them stopped twice again before they got home once to collect a Jackal which had obviously been knocked over by another vehicle.

Eventually they are home and stumble into their beds. Beep, beep sounds Pauls alarm it is loud and it is now time to get up for work. Last night’s adventure has been lost and forgotten well at least for a short while as he slept. He walks out to where their vehicle parks it is still in one piece which is a good thing. He cannot understand why his muscles are so sore and why is there blood on his neck, head and shoulders. He did notice as he got out of bed that the sheets were covered in blood.

As he walks over to their vehicle he notices the weirdest event taking place. Hundreds of large black beetles are flying into the back of the bakkie. He knows these are Dung Beetles they collect dung from many animals and roll it into balls. The dung beetles roll the balls to where they are taken and lay their eggs in them where the next generation of beetles will emerge.

He is curious and walks over to the car he then peers over the side panel not knowing what he will see. What the f… happened last night he thinks as he sees hundreds of dung beetles rolling dung around the back bumping into the side panels. Turning and then off in another direction they go trying to avoid the three other obstacles lying motionless in the back except one of them it is also moving slowly around trying to avoid the two other objects.

The moving animal is a tortoise the beetles are collecting its dung and the other two mysterious objects are the Jackal and the milestone. So how the heck did a tortoise a jackal and a milestone land up in their car he wonders. His brother now walks out and falls down in laughter. Are they still there he says as he rolls around laughing. What happened last night says Paul sit down I will tell you the whole story.

Another adventure by two brothers previously lost to the abyss but now it has returned perhaps to tell your children what not to do. Why drinking too much can lead to strange awakenings in the morning.


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