Monday, April 27, 2020, 14:01

The Adventures of Keagan & Nala - Midnight Fishing!

Introduction

It was late at night, the moon was high up in the sky and the stars were blinking. Keagan stood at the window, the house was very quiet. He could see the shape of Nala snuggled up at the foot of his bed, and he could hear her snoring, just like the old lady she was now becoming.

He wondered how many more adventures him and Nala would have and he silently hoped that they would be many; he loved her so very much. Nala is a cross long-legged Jack Russel with Staffordshire, she has soft gold fur, warm brown eyes and a dogged persistence that is natural for her type. She is a most courageous and intelligent dog and you would definitely not meet one more special. 

Keagan woke up Nala, which he did by pushing her off the bed, she snarled at him and then laughed in her talking voice that only Keagan could understand. “Why did you have to do that?” said Nala. Stretching her back legs first and then her front legs, Keagan bent down and kissed her, “Just keeping you young old girl,” he said, with a gentle smile.

Keagan has one of those open faces with brown eyes and long dark lashes that outline the perfect almond shape of his eyes. Nala sighed, “What time is it?” “Eleven,” said Keagan. “Well best we get on with it,” said Nala, stepping out into the darkness of the passage.

Keagan joined her, looking right towards the bedroom at the end of the passage. “Quietly,” said Keagan and together him and Nala tiptoed to the end of the passage. They both froze in their tracks as the loudest snore came roaring down the passage. “Hells teeth,” said Nala. “I almost jumped out of my fur, was that Mom?” Keagan laughed. “No, that’s Luke,” he said, Mom sounds more like a cat purring.” “Grrrrrrr, said Nala, where is that cat Sanura, is she coming tonight?” “No,” said Keagan. “She takes too many detours and makes too much noise, she is in there with them,” he said, pointing at his parent’s bedroom.

“Food, said Nala, do we have any?” “Yes, “said Keagan patting the pack on his back. Sneaking out of the house seemed to take forever, and getting into the Landrover was another story all together, for once, they got there Sanura was waiting for them.

She stood very regal, her skinny tabby like frame and small sharp face was not happy. “Where are you going without me?” she said in a steely voice. “Sanura, you can’t come with tonight,” said Keagan. “I will scream,” said Sanura. “I will sharpen my claws all the way down the front of this vehicle, that will bring them running,” she said lengthening her claws. “We thought you were sleeping,” said Nala. “I am a cat,” said Sanura, rolling her green eyes. “I do not sleep at night; I have been waiting for you two, where have you been anyway?” “Sleeping,” said Nala, yawning, “now buzz off and if you are a good kitty you can come with tomorrow.” Sanura was livid and did not leave without threatening revenge of all kinds.

The night sky was truly amazing, the African bush is was one part of the world where there are so many stars you could never count them, they seem to blend together in one long stream of light as you raced by them in the vehicle. Keagan loved putting his head back and staring into the sky, bit difficult when you are driving though, as he found out, as he turned a corner at the same time as putting his head back, and Nala flew off the front seat onto the bonnet. They both laughed as it was pretty funny. Keagan and Nala were infectious together, and she sat near to him, both finding a necessary comfort in the warmth of the other as they drove through the game reserve in the darkness; with only the stars and moon to guide the way to the waterhole.

Once they arrived, Keagan parked the vehicle to face the waterhole so that the headlights flood-lit the entire length of the dark water. He then grabbed the search light, the one they used to find animals on the game drive, and placed it on the bonnet of the car.

Taking a blanket off the vehicle he placed this on the ground, and then grabbed wood and matches from the back, making a fire was essential to keep the predators away. He made a big fire, all the while Nala was skirting the surroundings and checking nothing was close by. There was a white rhino bull on the far side of the waterhole but Keagan and Nala knew him, and he was pretty gentle, he would not stay long now that they had arrived.

Keagan got out the fishing tackle, line and hooks and bugs they had collected earlier that day and once they had each thrown a line in the water he and Nala lay on the blanket next to the fire and they waited. Midnight fishing had become a bit of a habit for Keagan he loved the peacefulness of the night sky, the gentle sounds of the bushveld as animals lingered in and out of the bushes, avoiding each other and moving from one place to the next to find food and rest.

Over the years, growing up in the bushveld he had become used to the sounds of the night, the call of the Scops owl, the wide-eyed stare of the bush babies, as they watched quietly, and then without caution they would wildly jump from one tree to another swinging away into the darkness. The flames flickered high, red and yellow curling into orange and blue, the heat was warm on his face and Nala’s fur shone. The fire ensured no predators dared to come close and they had never had an encounter yet.

Keagan pulled out the sandwiches, and Nala did not hesitate to quaff her portion of cheese and ham. Nala loved cheese even more than Keagan so Mom had to buy an endless supply of it for them both and of course Luke and Cora.

Cora was Keagans little sister that was still too young to enjoy these adventures but she was growing. Keagan decided not to give Mom a heart attack too early in life, if she saw him now that would be the end of it. Mom was very protective and had no idea that Luke had taught him how to drive at the age of eight, and that he borrowed the vehicle at least two nights out of every week.

He often wondered if his step-dad knew, as he was sure they never left the vehicle exactly as they found it, and Luke often gave him that look that boys have, that women will never understand.

Keagan was also becoming a pretty good fisherman he could catch them without a rod and far quicker than any of the men on the reserve. Seeing he had been sneaking out and fishing twice a week for over a year now he was not surprised.

Keagan sat up quickly and Nala’s hair raised ever so slightly on her collar, there was a stir in the bushes to the left of them. At the same time Keagan felt a tug on his line, typical he thought and he gave it a hard jerk. As he did this he saw his fish with a flash in the dark water, and then to his dismay he saw something dark with a flash of white, dive into the water, grab his fish and then scuttle out of the water running, there seemed to be something running slower behind it, and the two creatures ran together along the edge of the bank before heading into the bushes on the far side.

Keagan jumped up and shouted, and Nala ran to the water’s edge, and tore round the side of the waterhole ready to take revenge, she knew not too chase too far though, as it was not safe to be out of the light and away from the fire at this time of night.

Nala was furious, “There goes dinner,” she snarled. Keagan was amazed, “Now that is a first,” he said.

Time passed quickly, they normally stayed out for two hours, this way they still got some sleep. He looked at his watch it was now one ‘o clock in the morning, and he thought they should get going home, when he felt another tug on his line. “Hey, Nala I have a fish,” he said. “Cool, said Nala, lets sup before we go.” Keagan smiled at this reference to the nursery rhymes Mom had been telling him since he was little. Nala was not only a good listener with a tremendous memory for a dog but a real – Greedy Nan.

Keagan jumped up ready to pull in his fish, when suddenly there was another flash of white and a splash as something as fast as lightening this time grabbed his fish, once again ran onto the bank and cleared the side of the waterhole in a fast run with a dark strange shaped creature hobbling behind it. Nala was furious and she jumped up and down, her hind legs way above the ground as she barked angrily, with teeth snarling. “Shush,” said Keagan to Nala, “We better go.” He was disappointed but also curious as to what creature in the bush could be so brave and so cheeky. “Better Luck next time Nala Noo,” he said, stroking her head. She looked forlorn and Keagan dug in the bag for a treat of chocolate before they left. Nala seemed to brighten a little, and she kept furious guard while Keagan packed up and put out the fire.

The drive home seemed longer tonight and they eventually snuck back into the house, they could not wait to crawl into the bed which seemed much warmer than normal, it also came with a loud screech as Nala lay on top of Sanura who had strategically spent the last few hours sleeping in her spot. “You will give me hayfever,” Nala snarled at Sanura, who grimaced as she stretched out her legs that were almost crushed. “You are a beast of an old lady, and you eat too much,” said Sanura as she walked out of the room with her nose in the air.

 

Then there was a loud noise as she half tripped up Luke who had woken up from the screeching sound. “What is going on Sanura?” said Luke, picking her up at taking her back to the bedroom with him. Keagan and Nala giggled as they could hear her purring her head off, as if she had won a triumphant battle. “That was close,” said Keagan, before nodding off to sleep.

Part 2

A week passed, before Keagan and Nala where once again able to escape the house and go fishing. Mom had been working late the whole week, sitting at her computer typing away late into the night. Keagan and Nala stayed up one or two of the nights listening to her tick, ticking on the keyboard, once they even thought she had gone to bed, and almost got caught sneaking out of the house.

They were incredibly excited, and they anxiously awaited  Sanura, she walked into the room and told them, it was safe. They had agreed to take her with as she had threatened to expose them. So there they were; Keagan driving; Nala in the passenger seat licking the wind; and Sanura in the middle curled up as if ready to sleep.

She did not need to see the view; she was after all only interested in the warm blanket, the fire and the promised fish. Arriving at the waterhole, Keagan unpacked the vehicle; Nala ran around and chased her tail before skirting the surroundings for predators; Sanura waited until the fire was lit and the blanket was laid out before alighting from the vehicle and settling herself next to the bright flames.

Keagan cast his line into the water and waited, tonight he was certain he would catch lots of fish. After all no one had been fishing for a week, or so he thought. The sky darkened and the moon glistened a little brighter, as a cloud moved from in-front of it. Nala thought she saw something on the otherside of the waterhole, and she let out a small warning bark. “What is it, Nala?” said Keagan. Keagan stood up and slowly started pulling in his line, he could see the silver fish glistening on the hook and as he pulled it up and it broke the water’s surface. Suddenly out of nowhere a large mongoose was flying through the air into the water, snatching the fish into its jaws. At this exact moment, Nala jumped into the air, and with one single bound landed on the mongoose, sending mongoose and fish straight back under the water.

There was a commotion on land as well, as Keagan screamed when a porcupine jumped out of the bushes, (the largest one Keagan had ever seen) and started shouting from the water’s edge. “It’s okay white-tailed mongoose,” he said, with a rasping voice, and as he said this dog, mongoose and fish landed with a great big splash in a pile at Keagan’s feet. “What’s okay?” said Keagan, looking at the porcupine, “You are,” said Mr Porcupine. “Oh”, said Keagan. Looking at Nala, he said,” I am talking to a Porcupine!” Sanura laughed and said, “You spend most of your time, speaking to a dog so why not a Porcupine?” “Not just any dog,” retorted Keagan, looking at Nala. “Am I going crazy?” he said. “Stupid question,” said Sanura defiantly, she was bitterly jealous of Nala.

She looked away and started licking her paws, pretending that she was not in the least bit interested in the fat porcupine and his friend, who was now stretching himself out and shaking the water off his body. A fine specimen she thought as she peered out of one eye, he was tall with a shiny black coat and a beautiful white tail. He walked on two legs over to Keagan, and held out a paw, “I am white-tailed mongoose, and this is my friend Mr Porcupine,” he said looking at the fat Porcupine. “Pleased to meet you,” said Keagan, I am Keagan and this is my dog Nala, and that is my cat Sanura.” White tailed mongoose, gave her a large smile, “Pleased to meet you all.”

“Why were you stealing my fish?” said Keagan. “Was it you last week?” he asked remembering. “We were hungry said White tailed Mongoose, matter of factly. Infact we still are!”

“Where are you from?” asked Keagan. “We are from the Kruger National Park; one night we were following a potential Mrs Porcupine,” he said frowning at his friend. “We snuck through a hole in the fence and followed her tracks and found ourselves here, and we have been here catching fish ever since.”

“My fish, said Keagan sitting down on the blanket; he invited the others to sit with him. Sanura, Keagan, Nala, White Tailed Mongoose and Mr Porcupine sat on the blanket by the fire for what seemed a very long time, and it was only when the first ray of sunlight glinted on the horizon that Keagan hurriedly said goodbye, and Sanura and Nala jumped onto the vehicle for the drive home.

Waving, Keagan yawned and said to them all, “I think this is the beginning of a long friendship.”

Ends


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