The Diamond King – Excerpt 1
The two riders had ridden almost non-stop for the last three days. They had studiously avoided all settlements and townships on their route. Previously they had been proud members of Hennie van Groot’s Commando, until it had been decimated by the machine guns and rifles of the British army.
They were fleeing to the mountains to escape what they believed was pursuing British Cavalry. But they were sadly mistaken, the war was over. The remainder of their comrades in the Great Boer Army had already disbanded and returned from whence it came. The two men were Bitter -Enders, determined to fight the British until their last breath.
Now it was just a matter of time which collapsed first, the men or the horses, Then it happened as they knew it must, one of the horses stumbled on a patch of uneven ground and threw its rider. The other rider halted his horse and went to the aid of his companion.
His comrade, a younger man, with little more than stubble beard, was exhausted but only a little shaken by the fall. On examining the horse however, his comrade made the decision that it was no longer any use for their purpose. Not wishing to alert the enemy with a rifle shot, he took out his hunting knife and slit the horse’s throat. The horse fell to the ground, spasmed and died.
The older of the two men, Hans Pieterson, had been a member of The Commando since the beginning of the conflict. He was in his mid-twenties, a tall stocky man, coloured mahogany by the sun. Prior to the war he had been a hunter and sometime prospector and knew the area that they were heading for like the back of his hand. He had long hair and full moustache and beard and appeared much older and wiser than his years, but confidence can have that effect.
(C) Damian Grange 2019