The Spotted Hyena by Daniel Doggett


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SUMMARY: Spotted hyenas of Africa are quite vicious. However, for the sake of literature, I have tweaked this hostility to make them more relentless and aggressive than is actually possible.

Sept. 22, 2001--Tanzania: A five man geological team led by Dr. Pitt got lost here two weeks ago. They were studying a layer of strata that dated back to the age of the dinosaurs in a cave not far from here. Dr. Pitt is a professor at Northwestern University in Chicago and a colleague of mine for five years. He is simply too intelligent to just get lost in my opinion, yet here we are looking for them.

We are a three-man team led by myself, Dr. Kilmar, sent to retrace the path they took and find out what happened to them. George Envall is a woodsman and expert tracker, and Lisa Rivieccio is Dr. Pitt's fiancée' who insisted upon coming despite discouragement from the scientific department and local authorities.

It is winter now in Tanzania and we are in Serengeti National Park. The rainy season will not start until November, so we have plenty of time before their tracks wash away. We have enough supplies and George has had us learning how to live off the land a bit by foraging for food some. We are making good time getting to the cave but we haven't found any clues as to Dr. Pitt's disappearance.

Sept. 23, 2001: Lisa's cell phone won't work. That was our only contact with the outside world. More importantly, George has noticed tracks of large, heavy carnivores near our campsite. He believes curious hyenas are examining us. There are about twenty different tracks, so it is a large group of them apparently.

Sept. 24, 2001: I regret to report that Dr. Pitt and his team are dead. Lisa is distraught. We found bones in the cave that had been partially gnawed on, as well as their equipment. I won't be continuing his research. We will bring their remains and gear out of the savanna.

Sept. 25. 2001: George is dead. I heard him scream last night and saw his body dragged into the darkness by three spotted hyenas. I have surrounded the camp with a ring of fire to protect Lisa and myself. She won't talk and just stares into the darkness with a frightened look.

The worst thing is I don't have enough wood to burn to keep the animals at bay for long. If this log should suddenly end you can assume I am dead. There is barely enough light to write by now. Most of the fires have gone out. I can see shapes in the darkness and occasionally catch a glint of red reflective eyes that seem to be almost glowing. I can hear their strange whining and excited yelping and it horrifies me.