“Stay alert, men,” I say, “Watch the grass!”

One minute, three minutes, five minutes. My “rhino” knee is aching, I have to adjust my position. I look at my watch. It has now been seven minutes. Seven anxious minutes, listening for sounds, watching for movements up ahead, and hoping for Makali’s whistle that all is safe. Nothing so far. In the distance I hear the song of robins and warblers. The wind seems to be swirling now. This could be very bad! Ten minutes. Nothing. Suddenly a sound of swift movement in the grass behind us. I turn, raising my rifle.

“Easy Cowboy. Careful with that thing. It could go off and hurt someone, Mate.”

“Damn, Myles.” I’ve never been so happy to see anyone before. “You made good time.”

“Felt the need to hurry, Mate.”

“Glad you two are here. Lock and load.”

Myles and Benga fall-in besides us, loaded and ready. In a low whisper I quickly update both as to the situation. The four of us re-assume our kneeled positions. Twelve minutes!

A whistle. Finally. I painfully stand and see Makali walking towards us at about 20 yards.

“Bwana! Bwana!” almost in a scream. “You no believe. No simba now. Yes, they here. Bwana you no believe!”

The four of us start walking swiftly toward Makali. “Stay alert, men,” I say, “Watch the grass!”

Makali continues to walk toward us. He is covered in mud from the crawling and I see blood dripping from a long scratch on his right arm.

“You ok?” asked Myles, reaching for his arm.

” Jambo Bwana Myles. Yes, many thorns.” His face turned cold again. “Bwana, no believe! Come see!”

Makali turns and leads the four of us toward the shadows under the trees. As we approach, from about 10 yards I see what looks like white branches or sticks laying all around the largest of the trees. At five yards I become aware of scattered pieces of clothing, a lone sandal, a badly ripped cap, and a human skull.

“Bones, Bwana. Man bones, Bwana!”

“Oh my God,” I exclaim.

“Holy shit,” utters Myles.

“Man-eaters,” says Benjamin.

Benga says nothing. He falls to his knees and begins praying.

“I’ve never seen, I’ve never even heard of anything like this,” Benjamin says.

“I count 3 skulls, so I guess were looking at the remains of as many victims,” Myles responds.

“This is their liar, their ‘trophy’ room,” I added. “I’ll use the camera in my phone, we must make a record this.” taking it out of my pocket. “Makali, what can you tell us from the tracks?”

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Suddenly, from the bushes 5 yards to my right,…

As we start walking again, Benga is still to our left. I need him watching for signs and movements on our left flank. He is still carrying my 455. I don’t feel like I’m close enough to elephant to switch, yet. We have walked about 200 more yards. Suddenly, from the bushes 5 yards to my right, we hear a loud snort and breaking twigs. Three startled birds take flight as the bush shakes violently. All of us jump back in reaction. Just as sudden, it was over. Two scared dik dik take off running out of the bushes. They look like dwarf antelope, about the size of a Texas jack rabbit. That bush is probably their home, and we almost walked right over them. As I take a deep breath of relief, I realize that I have drawn my pistol and I am ready for a close range encounter. Miles and Bryce have their rifles drawn and pointed at the poor dik dik. I twirl my pistol back into my holster. Oh yeah, ‘Wyatt Earp’, I think to myself.

 “I smell water, Bwana. Not too far,” Makali said.

“Ok, let’s do this,” I said.