We are startled by a brilliant flash of lightning. A rumble of thunder rolls around us, as the wind begins to whip and swirl through the trees. Big cold raindrops, begin to fall. The lioness lets out another deafening roar, as the sprinkle instantly turns to a downpour. A clap of thunder booms from almost overhead. We turn to run for the camper. The light on the pole above us explodes from a lightning strike, momentarily blinding us and showering us with bits of glass and splintered wood. Now no light, total darkness. Makali trips and falls over someone. Another clap of thunder, followed by an instant flash of light. Jacob grabs Makali with one hand and carries him toward the motor home. Marble size hail stones are pelting us and sound like rocks slamming the camper. All but one of us reach the motor home.
From five yards away, Benga screams, “SIMBA! SIMBA!”
“Kukimbia (run), Benga!” Makali yells, turning to run back.
We all freeze in our tracks and look in the direction Benga is pointing.
“In the light flash, me see simba. Big male, Bwana!”
As Makali reaches Benga, I find that I have instinctively run back to help. His face is bleeding from several cuts and a large piece of glass is lodged in his left shoulder. The front of his shirt is turning red from the blood and spreading due to the drenching rain. As we both grab an arm and pull him toward safety, there is another lightning flash.
“There Bwana!” pointing toward the cage.
In the flash we catch a quick glimpse of the male man-eater about 30 yards away. Thunder… then darkness.