When she’d first arrived in Kenya, Maribelle had found it a little disconcerting how early night came. Not even seven PM and already the world had gone dark. Now she didn’t mind it. The heat, the routine of life here wore her out. By dusk she was often ready for sleep. Tonight she was exhausted. If only the noises didn’t keep her up.
“Goodnight, dearest,” Judith said, lying next to her under the mosquito netting. Maribelle murmured a response and was asleep before the older woman had settled herself beneath the covers. Maribelle saw or heard nothing else until she woke in the close darkness of the hut with an immediate awareness that they were no longer alone.
The previous night in the Warumbi village, a monkey had come into their hut looking for scraps of food. Judith had shooed it away the way one might a cat. It had made Maribelle laugh. But this was no monkey. Maribelle heard breathing, heard movement. Close. The hut was so small, and something was inside with them. Something big. She could smell it, the odor of an animal.
Before she got up the nerve to move, to roll over or to sit up even, Maribelle knew what it was.
Then it touched her leg.