Are things what you think they are?
|The great circle around the fire glowered in the flickering light. The heat lent a mystic air to the scene, as they danced around and around. Feet beat the red earth, dust stuck to the sweaty skin of the men and women. The throbbing sound of the drums accompanied the heartbeats. And as the rhythm of the music went towards a frenetic humming, eyes rolled back and knees buckled. The dancers lay on the ground, motionless, the silence ringing in the ears of the musicians. They stayed like that till dawn, the fire burnt down to embers but they moved not a hair breadth. As a blinding sliver of sun pierced the horizon, the tallest percussionist brought his hand down heavily on one of his drums. The dust that had settled on the skin flew into his face. Another beat resonated through the empty land. Steadily the rhythm got faster, more complex. As the sounds from the different instruments and players intertwined one of the men twitched. His hand closed, his eyes swiveled until they were staring at the ground. Slowly the others started stirring. The first one to get up was a woman. She heaved herself to her feet, wavered slightly but stood her ground. Soon they were all walking about the camp, blinking some moisture into their aching eyes, working some of the muscular pain from their limbs. The drummers kept up a beat, just enough to keep themselves awake. The day was spent in silence, food was made and eaten, water was drawn and absorbed fast. As the sun started to go down in a red flare, preparations started. Mats were set around the fire, wood was gathered and the fire was fed. A feast was prepared and set on the ground. The men, women and children started seating themselves. Still the drummers went on, now on a slower rhythm. One of the younger musicians had died earlier and been replaced.|