Strong and sturdy stood the young baobab tree as he welcomed guests into his home. His skin shimmered and to Cally it looked as though someone had carved him entirely out of gold. The butterfly man at the wheel, he wore a blue fisherman’s hat that made him look particularly out of place yet ever more himself than she had seen him be for months. They entered Richterveld, to come across the valley of a thousand hills dancing all the way to the border and beyond. Looking out Cally could only think that this was a magnified version of human skin; its rough textures ran flat with only the occasional shrub cropping up here and there like the beauty spots on someone’s back. Cally longed to trace the Nama Karoo with her fingertips, feel the slight bumps and deviations that made it so naturally unpredictable. Sleeping that night with the Lada Niva’s seat pushed as far back as they could go, a strange chill crept up over them and they found themselves shivering even after the sun rose that next day. The body seemed to be experiencing a new temperature, one that sat firmly between ice and heat. Confused it reacted in all sorts of strange ways from sweating profusely one moment to chattering teeth the next. After that evening it was no wonder the Namibian border officials turned them away; they had come from nowhere with a dust covered car and their bodies convulsing as though under the influence. The sounds of the space had also driven them to believe that they had encountered some sort of spirit at midnight, who had told them that they did not belong here. Desperately thirsty they beelined as far south as they could go, feeling their heads spin as they drove in circles.
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