The beasts were huge and looked twice the size of a fully-grown human being. Their teeth were sharp. Their growl sent shockwaves of fear down my spine. Hope seemed far away and all that we felt was fear and regret.

I regretted listening to Muzi. I wished I could’ve listened to my gut instead. Now we were in the mist surrounded by two jaguars. And like the saying “curiosity killed the cat”, Muzi’s curiosity was about to get us killed too. It seemed the beasts had been living in the woods but how come nobody had noticed? And if anybody had, why hadn’t they put a warning sign at the entrance? A simple “do not enter” sign would have deterred me!

It got darker so that we couldn’t see them clearly, we could only see two pairs of glinting red dots glowing in the dark.

“Muzi, drop the torch, it’s just adding fuel to the fire,” Londi said.

“Are you crazy? If I drop the torch now then we won’t be able to see them and it’s better to be approached by something you can see than what you can’t,” Muzi explained.

The starving jaguars were slowly running out of patience, and crawling closer to us in slow motion. I could feel myself overheating, sweat drops releasing from all over my body. My legs trembled. Londeka had started praying.

“Now I really wish I had my dad’s hunting gun with me…” said Muzi.

“It is like we’re in a thrilling horror movie or something…” Mbali said.

“Guys, don’t you think we should figure out a way out of this catastrophe instead of crying? Whining isn’t helping,” I said.

“Why don’t we just split sideways then?” Muzi suggested,

“Are you crazy?” Londeka replied.

“Well, it’s the only way out other than waiting to get eaten alive without any attempts to try and escape,” Muzi said, in a lowered voice.

“Fine, let’s do it. Muzi, you count down to one, then we all split into two teams and we split sideways,” I said.

“I still think this idea is crazy and it’s dark out here…” Londi added, but we all just ignored her. Muzi started the countdown.

“Oh my goodness…” Mbali exclaimed. There was no turning back now. We marked positions as planned, and finally Muzi finished counting and then we all ran sideways. The jaguars immediately went after each of us. We were running with no clue where we were going but we just ran for our lives.

“Aaaaaah! Aw!’ I heard a cry coming from behind me as I ran as fast as I could.

“Thando!” Mbali called out to me. She had tripped and sprained her ankle. The jaguar was just a few metres away from us. I had to decide as quickly as I could whether I should run for my life or go back to save my friend, which could endanger both of us.

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