We hit the road in the morning after a night in a surprisingly comfortable hotel. Again, Africa wasn’t so bad. This wasn’t a rich part of Africa, either. It felt open and airy, and I wasn’t too hot despite not really having air conditioning.
Maybe they just knew how to build for the climate better. We did have to sleep under mosquito nets, but after all the flying even my endurance was fading a little. Point is, I didn’t really care.
In the morning, after a breakfast of bread and fruit, we hit the road in a rather banged up Land Rover. I didn’t ask where Thruor had rented or borrowed it.
It didn’t exactly have much in the way of suspension, but I figured it would at least not really care if we ran out of pavement.
On the way, she filled me in, although it was hard not to be distracted by country so different from anything I’d ever seen. Nothing here caused any flicker of lost memory. I could tell I had never been to Africa before. Palm trees, other tall trees. Rice fields. And yes, we did go past some villages that were basically mud huts, but others were modern houses with porches and balconies, more like something from the American south.
And there were few lingering signs of the plague that had recently ravaged the place, although I saw some houses that looked suspiciously empty. We stopped for lunch in a place called Bo.
I now knew that her candidate, who did indeed have spiders, lived in Kenema, which had been hard hit by the outbreak. She worked at a hotel, and she wasn’t really anyone special. Although she at least wasn’t a housekeeper. Concierge, Thruor told me.
About all I could do was contemplate that and, once she stopped talking, enjoy the view and the ride.
I sensed supernatural presences, but they were different – but of course they were. I was different from Anansi, and this was a different land, different wildlife. Different dangers and challenges. A different feel altogether. It was exciting, but…
“I feel very out of place.”
“We are very out of place. This isn’t our land.”
“I know, but it’s also pretty.”
She grinned, without taking her eyes off the road. “In its own way, it is, isn’t it. But we should stay out of things here as much as we can.”
By the side of the road, a woman was holding an injured child, who was whimpering. Hit by a car maybe.
With a shudder I knew the kid should be dead, a reminder of our mission. A reminder of the craziness that was going to envelope the world if we didn’t stop it now. At the same time…no.
Stay out of things here as much as we can. I hoped we made it to Kenema without something neither of us could resist intervening in.
I knew how likely that was.