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During my youth, I frequently traveled the world, sightseeing in the most exotic places. Few people can boast about having visited far-off and unheard of lands such as Oman, Kosovo and Swaziland. Traveling and exploring different countries became a passion, one that I enjoyed doing to no end. My reasons for getting such unprecedented joy from seeing the deepest parts of the world are my own, but I can only imagine being anywhere aside from home would give me pleasure. I have visited countries that some men have never even heard of, not even in their wildest dreams, but of all the experiences I’ve had and of all the people I’ve met, there is one event that I will never forget.
I was on a guided safari tour in Kenya, in the Hell’s Gate National Park, which received its name from the steep cliffs that opened up like a demon’s jaws. Was I wrong for going there in the first place? Well, no sane person should ever venture to a place called Hell’s Gate. I was with a few other tourists and four native tour guides, only one of whom spoke English and all of whom carried large tranquilizer guns. We were twelve in total, and traveled via a large tour bus that carried ample supplies for surviving in the wilderness, if the need to do so arose.
Unfortunately, it did.
We were in the heart of the park when a storm came, one of the harshest thunderstorms I’d ever experienced. The winds were so strong they battered the bus about like a limp tree branch, knocking it clean on its side at the edge of the cliff, in a small clearing between the tall savanna grass and the rocks. When the storm passed and the clouds parted, it was late in the afternoon, too late to repair the bus and far too late to try and make the trek back on foot. After a heated conversation in Swahili, which was roughly translated to me by one of the other tourists, we learned that no rescue buses were coming for the rest of the night. Therefore, it was the head guide’s expert decision to set up camp and stake out the night until a rescue squad came the next morning.
Everybody contributed in setting up the tents. We arranged them as close together as possible, between the rocks and the overturned bus. By the time this task was completed, many of the other tourists had retired, but I was still jazzed, feeling a rush of excitement that I hadn’t felt in years, not since the last time I experienced a beating from my father. I went to go find the English speaking tour guide, but he was occupied, as were the other three. Three of them were putting up a large chain-link fence, which had been rolled up in the trunk of the bus, and they were positioning it in a semi-circle around the bus and tents, keeping the wildlife out. I’d dismissed it as purely routine, until I saw them open a large trunk, and shortly after I watched as they distributed large guns to each other, military grade, guns that were meant for killing, not tranquilizing.
Soon after that, the sun ceded to the expansive darkness, a darkness so thick that it was difficult to move from one end of the tent to the other. Eating was difficult when one was blinded, and the dampness from the storm rendered the idea of making a fire impossible. The only things that didn’t seem to surrender to the black were the large cliffs called Hell’s Gate. They seemed to glow a dark red, contrasting the darkness and giving slight illumination to the tents. I’d developed chronic insomnia due to traumatic childhood trauma, so the idea of hell casting its red shadow over me didn’t help my slumber. But I was determined to lose myself in dreams, and so I did.
However, my sleep was curtailed by the sound of something snickering in my ear. I awoke drowsily as I turned my head to find the tourist with whom I was sharing the tent fast asleep, the red light from the cliffs cast over his blanket. I closed my eyes to sleep again. Then came the snicker, followed by a surge of maniacal laughter. Like lightning I sat up, the red light snapping off me like gum stuck to a shoe. My heart was racing as I stood, threw on my jacket and exited the tent into the hot, steamy night. Fog had moved in on account of the moisture from the storm, and the light from the cliffs was making it glow red as well. I stood silently, listening, then I heard the deranged laughter.
I moved swiftly, dodging the arms of the devil’s fog as I made my way to the overturned bus. I looked up and saw one of the tour guides sitting atop it, gun grasped in both his hands, staring out at the sea of tall grass and fog. I attempted to speak to him in English, asking him what was making the laughter. He chuckled and spoke in Swahili. I would later translate these words upon my return to civilization.  He told me, “Return to your bed. You walk in a place that all men fear.”
Not knowing what he meant, I turned and looked at the chain-link fence, approaching it with extreme caution. I wrapped my fingers into the loops and stared out into the grass, the pitch-black grass. There was nothing at first but complete and utter silence. Then the rustling of the grass followed by the laughter again. I backed away in fear as a hole in the grass parted, giving way to a massive hyena with two red eyes, the same color that the cliffs were excreting. It was charging towards the fence, and I jumped back in shock, but it came to a complete stop before reaching the metal divide. It’s wandering eyes glared at me, then shifted to the tour guide, who was aimed at the beast with his gun, then back at me.
I looked back at the guide atop the bus and motioned, with a fairly obvious hand gesture, to him to put the damn beast down. He ignored me and lowered his weapon. I felt furious at the time. At first, I’d assumed he’d not seen my gesture, but later the English speaking tour guide told me the real reason he didn’t fire. I’d had my suspicions, but when I looked out at the grass again I suddenly knew why the man had lowered his gun. Although I’d only had a rough idea, the words of the English speaking tour guide sill echo in my head today, “If you stir one, the pack will strike.”
And stir it did, regardless of whether or not a gunshot was fired. One by one, Hades hounds swarmed out of the grass and began patrolling the perimeter of our fenced off camp, searching for a way to infiltrate it. But the Alpha, the one I’d first seen, sat there silently, as did I. Eventually, the rest of the tribe settled as well, taking relaxed positions as they seemed to fight amongst each other and laugh at demented stories. To this day I wake with nightmares of the beasts standing there, laughing at me as I stood motionless.
But the Alpha, his laugh was the one that was loudest. It sat there, like a gargoyle, glaring at me with its demonic, red eyes gifted by the devil. Its only movement was a sort of taunting motion when it turned its head sideways so as to intimidate me. When it laughed, it displayed two rows of disgustingly yellow teeth. I stood, mesmerized by its grotesque allure, unable to move away from it or respond, only able to stand silently as it glared into my soul and laughed at the memories of my painstakingly tragic past. Although it had not meat, the Alpha seemed as though it was feeding.
Time passed quicker than I had thought, and as the sun came up the hyenas began retreating into the grass. I turned my head to the East and caught the first rays of sunlight. The Alpha mimicked my motions, then it turned back to me. Our eyes met for a long moment, and I half expected him to charge the fence, causing the pack to return and attack as well. It didn’t. It broke its crouching position and turned back the way it came. I bellowed a final, maniacal laugh and I disappeared into the grass, leaving a part of me missing.
Hours passed, and eventually a bus came to pick us up. I spoke with the English speaking tour guide again, told him of the incident and the sleepless night I’d had. He explained the mounted guide’s actions and the nature of the hyenas. He told me, “They come every night and scavenge for food. The Hell’s Gate is apparently where they go to breed during the season. Because of this, the region was branded taboo by the ancient Africans who used to live here.”
I asked him where they went during the day. He chuckled and says, “Nobody knows. All we know is that they emerge from the grass at dusk, and return to it at dawn.”
Years later I returned to the site with a larger group of people, each armed. We set up a large camp ground, with infinitely more defensive fiber-glass walls. I sat out there all night, gazing at the grass as the red light from Hell’s Gate covered me. Finally, the Alpha, my Alpha, emerged from the grass and sat down, recognizing me, and we spent the entire night laughing at each other’s deranged appearance like devils in a destitute sort of divine comedy.
The title of this came from the video game Fallout; New Vegas, but it is not related in any other way to it. I was inspired, oddly enough by a thunderstorm that has been passing by for the past few hours. It took me about two hours to finish this and I think it's pretty good.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2013-04-16
A highly original thriller, There Stands the Grass by ~TimtehGrey, quickly draws you into his memoir and cranks up the tension nicely but also manages to infuse it with real authenticity, proclaims a recent feature from #WritersInk. ( Featured by Nichrysalis )
:icontimtehgrey:
TimtehGrey Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2013  Student Writer
Well, I consider a Daily Deviation and about 1,500 views a success. I just wanted to post a comment thanking everybody who took the time to read "There Stands the Grass". I hope you all enjoyed and I hope you'll read more of my writings in the future!
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:iconmissdudette:
MissDudette Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2013
Very intense. Wonderful color.
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:iconstreakpie:
streakpie Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013  Student Writer
This was awesome. I could picture it all so vividly. ;A;

My only critque, and this is hardly even relevant: the highest-ranking hyena would be a female rather than a male, and I'm not sure laughing hyenas would be a definitive alpha. But this is all mechanics and science-- in regards to the actual writing, fantastic work. A hearty well-done from me! <3
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:iconsakuranakamura:
SakuraNakamura Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This is pretty good! Congratulations on the Daily Deviation! This is one of the better writing DDs, at least of the ones that I've read.
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:iconsimplysilent:
SimplySilent Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013
:heart: Congrats on the DD! :clap:
Reply
:iconfandieftw:
FandieFTW Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
we mak fanfik too [link]
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:iconthegalleryofeve:
TheGalleryOfEve Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Congratulations on your well-deserved DD!!! :iconflyingheartsplz::iconlainloveplz: :iconflyingheartsplz: :clap::clap::clap:
Reply
:iconcatwithwings:
CatWithWings Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013  Student General Artist
Very well done! :D I was convinced it was real until I read the description. Nice job! Congrats on the DD! :D
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:iconkarinta:
Karinta Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013  Student General Artist
Really an unusual story, but it's also really cool.
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:iconblacksand459:
Blacksand459 Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
What an excellent piece!! I too, think this is completely authentic in it's setting, characterization, and pacing. I had to check the category it was listed under just to see if it was real or not. B-)

An encounter like this would be intimidating even in controlled, daylight surroundings, much less the one you proposed.

By the way, I have Fallout I, but I've never played New Vegas. It sounds cool, though.

Congrats on a well-deserved DD!!! :clap:
Reply
:iconderpstash:
DerpStash Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013
This is amazing ♥
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:icongryffgirl:
Gryffgirl Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013
An amazing and chilling story! I love the imagery and language. I was hanging on there until the last word! Congratulations on your DD! :clap:
Reply
:iconpray-then-go:
pray-then-go Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013  Student General Artist
This is amazing. The imagery is so sharp, it's pretty scary. I really like the build-up of the story and the way it ended. Great job. :)
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:iconlintu47:
lintu47 Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
    Congrats on the well deserved DD! :dalove:
    Have a nice day! :heart:
Reply
:iconvanmall:
vanmall Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Congrats on the Daily Deviation! :happybounce:
Reply
:iconmonstroooo:
monstroooo Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Congratulations! :party: You've been featured in our Weekly Round-up! :clap: :boogie:

Thanks for sharing your work with the group :love:

:iconwritersink:
:iconlawooplz:
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:iconbrietta-a-m-f:
brietta-a-m-f Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I can see where Crusnick is coming from in believing this to be a true story. The way you've written it, even with the fantastic elements thrown in, it doesn't feel like fiction. It is very easy to imagine everything from the narrative's perspective, and what imagery it is! I became tense whilst reading, wondering what would come next, how would it all end? Instead of wrapping it up nicely and throwing a little bow on top, you left it with that tenseness, leaving the reader with a few things to think about. This isn't a story that will be easy to forget!

I have two small critiques, however they are nothing more than a few mechanical errors.
---"I’d developed chronic insomnia due to traumatic childhood trauma,..." Describing a trauma as traumatic is a little redundant. Changing either the object or the adjective should help it flow more smoothly.
---"I bellowed a final, maniacal laugh and I disappeared into the grass, leaving a part of me missing." I am inclined to believe that you meant 'it' in both instances of 'I.'

Storywise, this is fantastic, and very much a joy to read. Thank you for sharing it!!
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:icontimtehgrey:
TimtehGrey Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Student Writer
Wow...I didn't even catch those grammatical errors. Now I feel a bit stupid. Thanks, though. I'm glad to see you enjoyed it and critiques are always welcome.
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:iconbrietta-a-m-f:
brietta-a-m-f Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Sometimes it takes a different set of eyes to catch them. Those buggers slip past me all the time in my own works.

I really did enjoy the story, and have a good day!
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:iconcrusnick:
Crusnick Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Stunning work ! :) I love how precise this is written, I feel the tense feeling in this story. The further I started to read, the more the question to my head approached. It is really happened right ? As you described in your story, but still it sounds so unbelievable ( not that it couldn't happen ) but it's sooo far from whatever I ever witnessed.
You could say that this a precious memory to you, and for people that are reading this.
Thanks for sharing your memory with us !
Reply
:icontimtehgrey:
TimtehGrey Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2013  Student Writer
Thanks! It's actually not a true story. I got inspiration after watching a lengthy (and boring) documentary about the African savanna, so i decided to write about it. Although I must admit I did sort of feel myself falling into the main character, which I imagine is why it seems so believable. Thanks for the feedback, i really appreciate it!
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:iconcrusnick:
Crusnick Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Your welcome ! Ohh lol :P You got me in there man.
I could see this coming thou :) with an amazingly talented writer as you !
I don't know you, but I know i can expect lots of amazing stuff from you man.

I should thank you !

Np.

You should write stories as in a book :) I would love to read it.

See u around...Gl writing :D
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