The following day, Linda comes back to fetch water from the river. The river is not flowing with water as it was yesterday. The small pond that every villager gets their water from is drying up.

A fizzing sound rumbles in Linda’s ears. The river starts to flow with water again. Crabs are swimming in and walking out of the water. Mthunzi and Langa appear from the void circle.

Mthunzi: Let us play a game of tag. Do you like the game of tag?

Linda: I do, but I can’t play now. I must go home early. My grandmother will shout at me if I do not come early. She is sick, you see? All this heat has caused her to be sick.

Mthunzi: We are friends, aren’t we?

Linda: (reluctant) Yes, we are friends, but you see I must go home early.

Langa: The child does not even know why we are here. Why not just tell her, Mthunzi?

Mthunzi: A game of tag will reveal everything, be patient.

Linda: Reveal what?

Mthunzi: I just want you to meet our master. She is like…a parent, you see? She likes meeting children like you. But she likes to meet them when they are tired because they can get too excited, you see? Can we play for a few minutes, then you can go back home?

Linda: Uh-huh, I guess.

Mthunzi: Langa, you will join, right?

Langa: (grunts) Yeah, fine, I will join.

A ball pops up in Mthunzi’s hand.

Mthunzi: These are the rules of the game: I will throw the ball in the air, and whoever catches it is safe from tagging. If you do not catch the ball and someone else does, then you are the one to tag. Are we clear?

Linda: Yes.

Mthunzi: Good!

Mthunzi throws the ball as high as he can. It goes high up. Langa and Linda are eagerly waiting to catch the ball. Langa pushes Linda and she falls to the ground. Langa catches the ball.

Mthunzi: Looks like our new friend is the one to tag.

Linda: That was not fair, he pushed me.

Mthunzi: I never said you cannot push him.

Linda: Fine!

Linda picks herself up and starts running towards Mthunzi. Mthunzi moves too fast for her. She runs to tag Langa, who stands with his arms folded and his face frowning. She tags him but he is hollow — her hand goes through him. Langa pushes her away from him.

Linda: I tagged you.

Langa: (grunts) No, you did not.

Linda: I touched you, and you pushed me. If I remember the rules of the game, you do not touch the tagger or allow yourself to be touched.

Mthunzi: She is correct, Langa.

Langa: (grunts) Fine!

Langa walks toward Mthunzi and touches him.

Langa: Done. I did my share of tagging: you next.

Mthunzi: Oh, I did not think you had started with the game yet, silly me. I shall go then.

Mthunzi runs to Linda, who dodges him excitedly. She dodges him until she gets tired. She stops and Mthunzi tags her. They both lie down on the floor, laughing.

Linda: I got cramps in my tummy. I never had this much fun.

Mthunzi: You never had this much fun?

Linda: Yeah, I do not have friends.

Mthunzi: (grins) We are your friends, from now on.

Linda: (laughing) Yeah, you are my friends. I can’t stop laughing. It feels like something is strangling me. I can’t breathe.

Linda tries to gulp for air. Her vision becomes clouded; she does not know if she is imagining a huge snake wrapped around her. Her vision is blurry. She thinks she sees Mthunzi standing up. Langa comes over. They stand over her. A glowing light cloaks Langa and Mthunzi as if they are fairies.

Mthunzi: Our game has come to an end, Linda. This is the master that I was telling you about. Enjoy your meal, Master.

Tell us: What do you think of Linda so far? What do you think will happen next?