We were sitting around the enormous hearth at Klavworster’s Grotto when the subject of ghosts came up. “Africa is filled with ghosts,” old De Toit said. He closed his eyes and we watched as he conjured the spirits he spoke of. I closed mine too and felt the racing of the dead, human and animal, across a cave painting, the endless hunt, frozen in time. We were all similarly engaged when Cheryl came in out of the darkness. Under her arm the familiar worn out portfolio, bursting with drawings, pastel dust falling into the light of a table lamp like motes of a rainbow that has lost its way. “Ghosts! I’ve been drawing them all day. Mira!” she said, pulling out a piece of paper like a magician pulling a scarf from his sleeve.
"I don’t see any ghosts, Penn,” Col. Van Zyl said. “No? I do. I see their feet bending down he blades of grass. I see them peering from behind the Eucalyptus trees and sitting on the meandering pipe, bending their ears down to hear the water passing through,” she said, her voice laced with laughter and gentle scorn. “I guess I need more port,” Van Zyl said humorlessly. “I see them, Cheryl,” I said. “You do? You need less port,” she laughed. “I know this place but in a strange way. I had this photo of this place on my refrigerator for years but I never knew where it was. I found it on a shelf in the closet,” I related. Cheryl did not look at all amazed. “I had it placed there to confound you.” “Mission accomplished,” I said.
“Was there a brick archway nearby?” I asked. “Yes. Un Portique Mysterieux. I watched the ghosts coming and going for two hours. I think it had been a bakery long ago.” Van Zyl harrumphed and he went back to reading Dinesen.