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A ground spreading plant like a bramble or berry bush. The smell captivates me: Tickling my memory. A most delicious assault on my senses.

Ray looked at what he had written in his notebook and tried to focus on the plant again. He glanced quickly behind him to see if his teacher was still there waiting. She was.

Green leaves with fine “fur” of a lighter green. Flowers are basically pink with darker pink/red parts leading to the center and white highlights.

He studied the sign in front of the plant and wrote down the text:

Peppermint Pelargonium

Pelargonium Tomentosum


Afrikaans: Wildemalva

His teacher hissed at him, “Don’t focus on the words, focus on the plant! Forget all that American schooling, use your senses. Open your soul.”

He took a deep breath and tried to focus on the plant.

He wondered what they must look like to the tourists of Kirstenbosch Gardens. He was tall, lean, and had light brown skin with golden brown eyes. His hair was trimmed and brushed into the latest American style. His teacher was small with dark brown skin and black eyes. She was all curves and her hair was covered with a jaunty red beret.

He had traveled all the way from the United States to South Africa because of his “calling” to be a Sangoma. Sangoma was a general term for a South African traditional healer and/or diviner. Ray came from a family of healers where each child heard their calling when they turned eighteen. His brother had gone to Hong Kong to study Chinese traditional medicine, his sister to the United Kingdom to study with the Druids. His youngest sister, Gilda, was not yet eighteen. Trusting the call, he’d journeyed from St Louis, Missouri t0 Johannesburg, only to be told by the Sangoma he found there to go to Cape Town.

Cape Town was one of the most beautiful cities he had ever seen. The legacy of Apartheid was still present, after all most of the tourists and staff of Kirstenbosch were not African. However, there was a smattering of black and brown skin people along with Asian tourists visiting the Garden.

With a sigh, he brought his attention back to the plant. His journey brought him to this plant.


The plant answered, Yes.

The garden faded as Ray was transported to another time in South Africa to a more arid place, maybe the Karoo Desert. He was with a man who was walking alone with a backpack, a cylinder of arrows, and a hip pouch all made of animal skins. He carried a gourd and an ostrich egg that both sloshed while he walked. The man smelled like peppermint pelargonium.

Into Ray’s consciousness flowed all the ways the man used the pelargonium to heal people and to repel insects. But there was more. Ray was transported to the man’s past to the time that he discovered his connection to the plant, his initiation, and how, step-by-step, the plant taught him its secrets.

From Cape Town Curios, a collection of Urban Fantasy stories by Colin Cloud Dance. Available March 2, 2020 from MVmedia. Pre-order your book today!

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