As Nuru and the herd have pushed across the savannah and away from the claws and roars of the lion pride, things have started to get strange.
For one thing, all the delicious acacia trees have gone. In fact nearly every type of tree seems to have disappeared, leaving a flat landscape covered in sparse green grass.
With no trees around this is all they have to eat. To do this Nuru has to spread her legs and lower her neck, grasping dusty, horrible hunks of grass with her tongue. Yuck. Mum keeps watch while they eat but even so Nuru feels vulnerable lowering her head to the ground.
And they keep having to cross long dusty patches of ground cutting across the savannah. Every so often a noisy, speeding box zooms along them - making tooting noises as it goes. Very strange.
Different animals have started to pop up too. Large herds of horned, lumbering things - a bit like buffalo but much more stupid - grazing everywhere. They eat so much there’s hardly anything left for anyone else and most of the zebra, antelope and gazelles have had to turn back. They may have been annoying, but now they’re gone the plains feel more alien.
On the horizon Nuru notices a cluster of grassy mounds and leads the herd towards them.
They reach a clearing and start to inspect the potentially tasty treats. Disappointingly, they seem to be made of mud like a termite mound - but the tops are coated in grass. What are they? The herd are nervous, but with no trees and almost all the grasses eaten, they don’t have much choice.
Cautiously they move closer, shoulder-to-shoulder, watching out for attack. The calves stick close to their mums. The horned animals watch them stupidly, eyes glazed, mouths chewing.
Nuru is the first to reach a tufted mound. She sniffs the yellowed grass on top and takes a big bite. Ergh. It tastes horrible.
Suddenly, a strange animal jumps out of one of the mounds and points a stick at Nuru. It’s small, smaller than a newborn calf even though it’s standing on its hind legs but, judging from the loud noises it’s making, it’s very angry.
It keeps pointing its stick at Nuru.
Mum comes charging over. Everything’s going to be okay. She always makes everything oka…
Panicked the herd stampedes, running as fast as they can across the dusty plains. They run, and run, and run with no idea where they’re going. Just away.
They run until they reach a circle of dusty trees. The giraffes are exhausted, panting, foaming at the mouth.
Nuru looks at the tired group. Suddenly, she notices something. Where is Mum?
Watch out for chapter four coming soon!