Archive for August, 2010


The Village of Wails

“Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.” – Japanese Proverb

There was no doubt that I was being followed. The only question was how long could I continue to run? This was a chase where the rules were changed at random. It was just a matter of hours and exhaustion was setting in. The desire to lie down and sleep was great but the sharp trilling giggling sounds and an occasional wail was never far. I had to find shelter before sundown. For they were at their grabbing best when it became dark!


Leaning against a tree I tried to control the rasping that was lacerating my chest. Not a leaf moved. Holding my breath I checked the trail behind me and strained my senses to capture the sounds that I had learnt to recognise. Nothing!

Releasing my breath slowly I carefully moved towards the spot I had identified earlier. From a distance the cluster of rocks and the dark area within had suggested a cave. Anything – I would have burrowed into a hole in the ground – backwards like a wild boar.


By the time I reached the rocks, the sun was about to kiss the treetops goodbye. What I mistook for a cave was actually a jigsaw of boulders and rocks piled on top of each other. A landslide in the past had created this niche with a natural roof and everything was knitted together with roots. There was a large chunk of rotting tree trunk that I dragged and gathered as many dry sticks I could.

As it happens in the mountains, the sun suddenly disappeared and it became cold and quiet. Shivering slightly, I squeezed myself inside between the huge rocks and settled down to lick my wounds.

Fumbling in my small rucksack’s pockets for the matchbox, my fingers slid over the smashed camera case and the doll. What If I just let them have the camera and film rolls?

Would they leave me then?


Dried sticks spluttered flames and carefully I coaxed one end of the trunk to burn itself.

The gases trapped in the thick log exploded with a sharp ‘pffhsssthak’ sound and splattered hundreds of pieces of cinder all round – like a miniature pyrotechnics display. The wood burned steadily now and the flames created shadows that changed shapes and danced hand-in-hand with the gathering darkness.

How in the name of whatever did I get into this situation?  Why couldn’t I have just…….?


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August 2010