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The Smiling Mask - an African short story ch 9
Searching in Central Mozambique but for what?
The Smiling Mask – Chapter 9: An African short story
It had been a long 10 hours on the road and the whole trip had been a really new experience for them all. As an experienced tour guide John could not believe that this was happening. How had he been sucked into this situation? He did not believe in over organizing things, but at the same time he liked to at least know what was going on. From the moment he had received the phone call from Jennifer with her strange request he had been somewhat confused. This was a situation he did not like to be in. Now this whole trip seemed to have taken on a life of its own. He had become just the driver and a rather confused one at that.
Mary was enjoying the trip. She liked the idea that her Dad was somewhat lost. He always seemed to be so in control and now his condition both amazed and amused her. She was caught up in the mystery of “the mask with a message” and did not mind going along for the ride. Jennifer was after all paying her to just be a chaperone and so it was all a bit of an adventure, especially as she was not in charge and so felt no real responsibility.
David still had no idea what was happening, although in a way he was more in touch with the reality of the situation if there was any reality at all. After all he was the only one who really believed in the supernatural and spirit world. If any sense was going to come out of this situation it would be through the supernatural.
Jennifer did not know what she believed any more. Ever since the mask had smiled at her on the East London beach front she had seemingly moved into another world. No one understood why she was doing what she was doing; she least of all! Now, as they arrived at Cala, had she come to the end of this crazy journey?
David called on someone he knew who arranged for a place where they could stay. It was called a boarding house and Jean, the owner of “Jean’s Den” welcomed them like long lost family. They each had a room and a bed and she prepared a meal of local ingredients that they were too scared to ask about, but never the less ate and enjoyed. Jennifer was glad that Roy had not come along as they were miles out of his comfort zone and somewhat out of hers. David had made some enquiries about the mask and some of the locals believed that it came from a village near the Zambezi about 50 km away.
Some suggested that one of the locals could probably take them there in the morning as he knew the area well. They met the young man who would guide them and he seemed very pleased that he had been chosen.
As they went to their rooms that night, in this small town in central Mozambique, the journey for some of them, if not for all, had only just begun. (To be continued)