Head On

A few weeks later, Jack, my friend and foreman, Shakwe, my dog, and I were travelling one of the tracks in the area east of Inhaminga on a Saturday morning. It was sandy and narrow, winding through thick semi-deciduous Millettia forest. The cab of the Landy had been removed, so it was open to the sky, the way I preferred it when there was no chance of rain.

Then a fully laden Bedford timber truck appeared in front of me, on its way to a sawmill. I swerved left and threw out the anchors. My left front wheel climbed a termite mound, tilted my Landy over and back into the path of the truck where we met head on. My head smacked into the windscreen before I landed on the road in front of the lorry.
I saw sand and blood and was vaguely aware of someone talking to me, and answering, before I passed out again, lying in the road.

When I regained consciousness, Shakwe had disappeared, Jack had a sore back, the Landy was on its side and the truck still stood in the road. My pistol, normally kept between the cushions of the front seat, was missing. Three men, who had been on the back with the load of timber, told me that the Portuguese driver, after checking to see that I was alive, had locked it in the truck’s cab. Then he had set off on foot to a small station and siding on the railway line, about ten kilometres away.

Determined to get back my pistol, for which I had no import permit, before the driver fetched the police to the scene of the accident, I set off after him. Running, I caught up with him just before he reached the station. He didn’t hear me coming due to the soft sand and turned just as I reached him. He nearly had a heart attack from fright as he turned to find me just behind him, my gruesome face still covered with blood!

He refused to give me the key to return ten kilometres to the truck as he reckoned that I was too badly hurt. He promised to look after the pistol and return it to me in Inhaminga. He would ask the garage owner there to fetch the Landy and Jack, after the police had been to the scene.

Land Rover in bits

Land Rover in bits

Feeling dizzy, and at the insistence of the station master, I rested there while the driver headed off towards Inhaminga and getting a lift shortly thereafter. Eventually, I also got a lift with a passing vehicle and was taken to the little hospital where the local and only doctor pulled bits of glass out of my scalp. (thirty years later, tiny bits of glass were still surfacing!)

Poor Jack, Shakwe and my wounded Landy finally returned, as well. When I located the driver, he had handed my pistol to the police!

Now what? Making a fuss would only draw unwelcome attention.

About peterjearle

Writer of thriller novels. 6 Published: 'Purgatory Road', 'The Barros Pawns', and the Detective Dice Modise Series:'Hunter's Venom - #1' 'Medicinal Purposes Only - #2', and 'Children Apart - #3; and 'Tribes of Hillbrow'; all from Southern Africa.
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