When I was 16, I saved up and took myself on a package holiday to Africa. I met up with the group of people who were also on the same safari holiday. Early in the second week, we were taken to a lodge in the middle of no where. It was a lovely place with giant moths on the lawns and humming birds flitting from flower to flower. I was so excited that I decided to step outside of the lodge's grounds and soon found myself by a riverside, surrounded by long grass and 'upside down' trees (that was the local name).
After walking further along the river I came upon two men, both at least a foot taller than me, wearing a uniform of some kind and hats with an elephant badge at the front. I was 16. I had no idea who they were. I was nervous but decided not to run because both were carrying rifles. So, calmly I began a conversation, my voice steady because I feared sounding afraid. They spoke in thick African accents, in clipped English, but I got the gist of what they were saying because they kept pointing at my binoculars. They wanted my binoculars. I told them they weren't mine, they were my parent's (I wanted them to think I would be missed. I was a smart cookie at 16), and pointed up the hill to the lodge. They looked at each other and smiled.
I began to walk back towards the lodge, talking all the time about how amazing Africa was. I mentioned the upside down trees, the fact I'd seen a cheetah the previous day and that I'd not seen many animals around here today. One of them then told me I wouldn't ... because they 'shoot small animals'. Again they smiled. Looking back at that scene as a 60 year old, I can see they were likely winding me up (but that's still only 'likely', not 'definitely'). The long walk up the hill felt like the longest walk I'd ever taken because the closer I got to the lodge, the further back they fell. I turned at one point and asked them 'will you be here tomorrow?'. They never said anything. I continued, 'Maybe I'll see you tomorrow and you can tell me about this place.' I finally got to the top of the hill, rounded a corner til I was out of sight and then ran like fuck.
I was terrified throughout, shaking inside, my heart beating like it's never beat before. When I had my back to them, as a 16 year old boy, I was convinced they may shoot me. Think about that. But I stayed calm, collected and only when I reached the lodge did I turn white and begin to shake. It wasn't bravery, it was self preservation.
I enjoyed the story, but i dont't get what that has to with ellie character, she been through shit, where she doesn't fear death anymore.