Dare to Dream

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-06-05
  • Publisher: Textstream
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The faction leaders eyed one another benevolently, wanting to discuss their terms for peace, yet loath to begin until the murmurings had ceased among their followers. Suddenly there was an eerie silence as the two opposing groups turned to face one another across the crowded square in the township. An errant wind whistled mournfully across the dry earth. It whipped the dry, dusty soil into a miniature whirlwind that sped off between the buildings, and then, for one pregnant moment, nothing moved. Bulala! The chilling cry rose up from some unknown quarter. Kill them! And the explosive situation among the supporters instantly erupted into a savage mini war. Shots were exchanged between the two factions; and Jenna, caught in the middle of the angry, riotous mob, crouched low in the back of the van and stared down at the man who was lying cradled in her arms. Blood was pumping from a chest wound and spreading in a dark red stain across the front of his blue shirt. There was surprise in the dark eyes that looked up into hers, and then there was fear when the realisation that he was going to die dawned on him. His lips formed the words "Help me!" but his eyes glazed over before she could reply. A scream reverberated around the room, and Jenna Reeves awoke with a jolt. It was the sound of her own strangled cry that bounced back at her, off the pale cream walls of her bedroom. She was sitting up in bed, her body damp with perspiration, and the frightened pounding of her heart making her gasp for breath. It was an old dream that still returned periodically to haunt her. It was a dream born of reality, and over the years, it had lost none of its terrifying clarity. She buried her face in her hands for a moment while she fought her way back from the horrors of the past. She wasn't in the tiny flat she had shared with Clive in Sandton, Johannesburg. She was in her light, airy bedroom on the upper floor of her duplex flat against the slope of Tygerberg Hills in Cape Town. Her heartbeats were slowing down, making it easier to breathe normally, but she couldn't suppress the shiver that raced through her. Her forehead and cheeks felt as cold and clammy as the rest of her body, and she shivered again as she combed a heavy strand of hair away from her face with unsteady fingers. On the nightstand, the digits of the electric alarm clock glowed a luminous red in the dark. 4:06 a.m. Jenna's fingers found the switch of the bedside light, and she snapped it on. It was pointless to consider going back to sleep; she was wide-awake now. She pushed aside the duvet and got out of bed to put on her woolly slippers and her warm winter gown. Her tongue seemed to want to cling to the roof of her mouth, and her throat felt scratchy every time she swallowed. She hoped that these familiar symptoms weren't signalling the start of yet another bout of flu. She brushed this thought aside impatiently and went downstairs instead to make herself something warm to drink. She switched on the electric kettle in her small modern kitchen and spooned instant coffee into a large mug with a smiley face on one side and a slogan on the other that read, "Have a good day." It usually coaxed a smile out of her, but not this time, as she sugared her coffee and fetched the milk out of the refrigerator. Her mind wasn't on what she was doing; it was elsewhere, locked up in the past with memories that would remain with her forever. Jenna had dared to dream once. She had dreamed of a long and happy future with the man she had promised to love and cherish for the rest of her life, but that dream had been taken away from her one hot and dusty afternoon, when the world had exploded around her in gunfire. Now the only thing left of that dream was the ring she still wore on the third finger of her left hand. She lowered herself onto the stool beside the counter in her kitchen and curled her cold, trembling fingers around the mug of hot coffee while she dragged her thoughts back to the present. This was not a very good way to start the day. She had worked until late the previous evening on one of her assignments for the magazine, and four hours' sleep was not enough to get her safely through the day ahead of her. She would have to draw on all her physical resources to sustain her because she knew that she could expect to start flagging during the early part of the afternoon. She tired easily these days, but taking time off from work wasn't an option she liked to consider. She had a busy schedule ahead of her, and that was the way she preferred to keep it.

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