the massive headland of the Robberg that thrust out into the sea across
The playroom was scattered with the litter of last night's party, twenty
house guests and as many others from the big holiday homes along the
dunes had left their mark, spied beer, choked ashtrays and records
thrown carelessly from their covers.
Mitzi picked her way through the debris and climbed the circular
staircase to the guest rooms. She checked David's door, found it open,
and went in. The bed was untouched, but his denims and sweat shirt were
thrown across the chair and his shoes had been kicked off carelessly.
Mitzi grinned, and went through on to the balcony. it hung high above
the beach, level with the gulls which were already dawn-winging for the
scraps that the sea had thrown up during the night.
Quickly Mitzi hoisted the gown up around her waist, climbed up onto the
rail of the balcony and stepped over the drop to the rail of the next
balcony in line. She jumped down, drew the curtains aside and went into
Marion was her best friend. Secretly she knew that this happy state of
affairs existed chiefly because she, Mitzi, provided a foil for Marion's
petite little body and wide-eyed doll-like beauty, and was a source of
neverending gifts and parties, free holidays and other good things.
She looked so pretty now in sleep, her hair golden and soft as it fanned
out across David's chest. Mitzi transferred all her attention to her
cousin, and felt that sliding sensation in her breast and the funny warm
liquid sensation at the base of her belly as she looked at him. He was
seventeen years old now, but already he had the body of a grown man.
He was her most favourite person in all the world, she thought. He's so
beautiful, so tall and straight and beautiful, and his eyes can break
The couple on the bed had thrown aside their covering in the warmth of
the night, and there was hair on David's chest now, thick and dark and
curly, there was muscle in arm and leg, and breadth across the
David, she called softly, and touched his shoulder.Wake up. His eyes
opened, and he was awake instantly, his gaze focused and aware.
mitz? What is it?Get your pants on, warrior. My papa's on the
line."God. David sat up, dropping Marion's head on to the pillow. What
time is it? Late, Mitzi told him. You should set the alarm when you go
visiting. Marion mumbled a protest and groped for the sheets as David
jumped from the bed.
Where's the phone? In my room, but you can take it on the extension in
yours. She followed him across the balcony railing, and curled up on
David's bed while he picked up the receiver and with the extension cord
trailing behind him began pacing the thick carpet restlessly.
Uncle Paul? David spoke. How are you? Mitzi groped in the pocket of
her gown and found a Gauloise. She lit it with her gold Dunhill, but at
the third puff David turned aside from his pacing, grinned at her, took
the cigarette from between her lips and drew deeply upon it.
Mitzi pulled a face at him to disguise the turmoil that his nakedness
stirred within her, and selected another cigarette for herself.
He'd die if he knew what I was thinking, she told herself, and derived a
little comfort from the thought.
David finished his conversation and cradled the receiver before turning
He's not coming. I know.
But he is sending Barney up in the Lear to fetch me.
It figures, Mitzi nodded, then began a convincing imitation of her
father. We have to start thinking about your future now, my boy. We
have to train you to meet the responsibilities with which destiny has
David chuckled and rummaged for his running shorts in the drawer of his
bureau.I suppose I'll have to tell him now."Yes, Mitzi agreed. You sure
will have to do that.David pulled up his shorts and turned for the
door.Pray for me, doll.
You'll need more than prayer, warrior, said Mitzi comfortably.
The tide had swept the beach smooth and firm, and no other feet had
marked it this early. David ran smoothly, long strides leaving damp
footsteps in a chain behind him.
The sun came up casting a soft pink sheen on the sea, and touching the
Outeniqua mountains with flame, but David ran unseeing. His thoughts
were on the impending interview with his guardian.
It was a time of crisis in his life, high school completed and many
roads open. He knew the one he had chosen would draw violent
opposition, and he used these last few hours of solitude to gather and
strengthen his resolve.
A conclave of gulls, gathered about the body of a stranded fish, rose in
cloud as he ran towards them, their wings catching the low sun as they
hovered then dropped again when he passed.
He saw the Lear coming before he heard it. It was low against the dawn,
rising and dropping over the towering bulk of the Robberg. Then
swiftly, coming in on a muted shriek, it streaked low along the beach
David stopped, breathing lightly even after the long run, and raised
both arms above his head in salute. He saw Barney's head through the
Perspex canopy turned towards him, the flash of his teeth as he grinned
and the hand raised, returning his salute as he went by.
The Lear turned out to sea, one wingtip almost touching the wave crests,
and it came back at him. David stood on the exposed beach and steeled
himself as the long sleek nose dropped lower and lower, aimed like a
javelin at him.
Like some fearsome predatory bird it swooped at him and at the last
possible instant David's nerve broke and he flung himself on to the wet
sand. The jet blast lashed him as the Lear rose and turned inland for
Son of a bitch, muttered David as he stood up brushing damp sand from
his bare chest, and imagined Barney's amused chuckle.
I taught him good, thought Barney, sprawled in the copilot's seat of the
Lear as he watched David ride the delicate line of altitude where skill
gave way to chance.
Barney had put on weight since he had been eating Morgan bread, and his
paunch peeked shyly over his belt. The beginning of jowls bracketed the
wide downturned mouth that gave him the air of a disgruntled toad, and
the cap of hair that covered his skull was sparser and speckled with
Watching David fly, he felt the small warmth of his affection for him
that his sour expression belied. Three years he had been chief pilot of
the Morgan group and he knew well to whose intervention he owed the
It was security he had now, and prestige. He flew great men in the most
luxuriously fitted machines, and when the time came for him to go out to
pasture he knew the grazing would be lush. The Morgan group looked
after its own.
This knowledge sat comfortably on his stomach as he watched his protege
handle the jet.
Extended low flying like this required enormous concentration, and
Barney watched in vain for any relaxation of it in his pupil.
The long golden beaches of Africa streamed steadily beneath them,
punctuated by rock promontories and tiny resorts and fishing villages.
Delicately the Lear followed the contours of the coastline, for they had
spurned the direct route for the exhilaration of this flight.
Ahead of them stretched another strip of beach but as they howled low