Chameleon – Lucky Ndlovu

The mine-dust tickled Lucky’s nostrils. Buckets jangled in the wheel-barrows. Babies coughed in their beds. A car spluttered to life. The eight-year-old rubbed the sleep from his eyes then caressed the indentations on his body. To ease the pins and needles from yet another night on a reed-matt.

‘One-day I will get me a comfy bed and sleep for more than a week.’

Umgodi Squatter Camp

Rats scurried over the rooftops. They leapt the few inches between the shacks. A rancid smell of garbage and open sewers turned Lucky’s stomach.

Lucky Ndlovu shivered at the grotesque images in the firelight: Ghoulish eyes and hollowed cheeks. Teeth reflected in the new moon and heads bobbed in unison.

In their grim expressions, he read his own sad loss and short-lived past. The young boy fell back into the recesses of the night shadows. Goose pimples covered his body. A spiral of sparks spat and silenced the crowd. He held his breath.

It was time.