Deep in the African jungle where even the bravest are afraid to venture, lies a truth that will propel James through his improbable American journey, if he can come out alive. James a village boy in Africa receives a scholarship to go and study in America and he becomes the envy of the whole village. His girlfriend Janny is however skeptical of what a long distance relationship can do to love. But when Janny vanishes from the village, James and his dog Simba plunge into the belligerent forest at the risk of his life and his American dream. Love transcends all. A Whisper In The Jungle is a suspense story full of love, humor and adventure and mystery.
About the Author
When we were kids in Africa, our parents diligently tried to teach us African ways and customs. But with the introduction of books and the TV in Africa, it was the appeal of the western world that caught our full attention. As a young boy, I wrote stories that journeyed me across oceans: from the jungles of Africa to the Statue of Liberty in New York City; from the Eiffel Tower in Paris to the Taj Mahal in India; from the beautiful Islands on the Pacific Ocean to the Arabian deserts. I keep imagining a world without stories or novels and it makes me realize of my obligation and that of other Authors, to the kids and the next generation, to tell the stories of our time.
A Whisper in the Jungle
“It’s all my fault,” James exclaimed as he held his head in his hands. “No it’s not your fault,” his mother said firmly. The back and forth argument had been going on for a month since that fateful day when James’ Dad had been a no show. “How do you know? You weren’t there!” James yelled as he ran out of the hut. “Come back here James, I’m still talking to you.” But by the time she finished her sentence, James had vanished behind the houses. Tears cascaded down James’ face as he ran through the gardens and headed for the hills. Vegetation here was sparse with sporadic trees and brushes, the grass was a solid green and bushes of wild flowers scented the air with a variety of smells… honey… pungent… unexplainable mostly. James ran up and down the hills until he could see the village no longer. Ever since his big brother Isaac had vanished in the forest on that dreadful day, solitude had become his refuge.
He finally slowed down and collapsed behind a huge boulder where uncontrollable tears consumed him. Why? he cried. Why had they taken his brother away from him? He cried for a long time and didn’t hear the approaching footsteps. By the time he looked up, it was too late. A beautiful girl stood next to him with a sympathetic look on her face. It was Janny, the girl James had always dreaded talking to. “Are you okay James?” She realized that it was a stupid question under the circumstances but she didn’t know what else to say. “I’m okay,” James replied as he quickly stood up, simultaneously trying to hide his tears. Boys in the village rarely cried, of course unless they lost in sports. She reached out to touch him but he recoiled. “Don’t,” he warned in a cold tone as he started to walk away. “Please don’t leave James. I just want to talk to you.” She had always been curious about the shy boy. She had noticed how quickly he turned in the opposite direction when she approached and how cut his replies were when she tried to talk to him. James didn’t say a word as he quietly sat down. Apart from being embarrassed for crying, he was completely intimidated by the beautiful girl beside him. What could he possibly talk to her about? “Were you thinking about your brother?” Janny asked as she carefully sat her white skirt on a boulder.
“Yes,” James replied as he tried to regain composure. “I miss him a lot.” The blue blouse she wore indicated a full bosom and he stared hopelessly at her perfectly curved figure. She looked like she had stepped out of a picture. Everybody in the village was aware of the incident and had paid their respects to James’ mum, but still Janny wanted to hear it from the horse’s mouth. “What happened in the forest James?” Janny blurted out despite her fear that James would bolt away. It got deadly quiet as James tried to fight back the tears. He didn’t want to cry in front of her again. Once was embarrassing enough. He cleared his throat. “On that day that it happened, we waited for our father and when he didn’t show up, we went hunting into the forest. My brother in his anger refused to go back for our dog Simba and was so out of sorts that he led us to parts of the forest that we had never ventured before. Something chased us and we all fled in panic.” James paused as a wave of melancholy hit him. “As I ran, I could hear the thudding steps of the creature gaining on me and I knew that it was only a matter of time before it got me. I turned around and saw a ghostly shadow hovering behind me but I couldn’t make out what it was. My time was up and I readied myself to die.” Janny stared in horror. James continued. “But the ground underneath me suddenly opened and I fell into space. I kicked my legs out for contact but there was none. Then I felt the coldness engulf me and realized that I must have fallen over a cliff and into a river. It’s the only thing that saved me. My friend Peter and I made it back to the village, but my big brother Isaac never did.” James turned his face away. ”I’m sorry James. What did the police say?” ”Nothing,” he replied angrily. “A few policemen came from the city with sniffing dogs but after a few days of fruitless searching they gave up, anxious to get away from the whole mess.” “Do you think he was eaten by animals?” Janny looked like she wanted to get to the bottom of the matter. To her, James’ story sounded like something straight from the movies, surreal.
“There were no remains. No traces. He just vanished from the face of the earth,” James explained. The thought of that day still made him shiver as he shamefully remembered how fast he had fled. For a minute he wondered why he was spilling his guts to this girl and something hardened inside him. “I’m sorry your brother is dead,” Janny said softly. James erupted like a volcano and jumped up from the boulder. “Don’t you ever say that again… ever!” Bloodshot eyes burned into her and she was shocked at the transformation. “I’m so sorry James,” she said as she also stood up. “I didn’t mean to say that.” She had regretted the words as soon as they had left her mouth. An uncomfortable silence loomed in the air as both of them sat down. A perfumed breeze blew into their faces … the fragrance of wild flowers … the distant chirp of the birds in the trees could be heard. James’ mind drifted back a month ago and the events were as vivid as yesterday.
One search party after another had fervently combed through the forest to no avail, and days had dragged into weeks and eventually a month. Eager anticipation had turned into mere desperation and ultimately the inevitable feeling of hopelessness. James still cried in the middle of the night wishing for his brother. He would wake up sweating profusely from bad dreams of creatures chasing him and his biggest dilemma was making out the creatures and figuring them out. What was this thing that had chased them through the forest? What was this thing that had taken his brother away from him?