Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Youthful Frights vs Adult Fears

As I considered all things frightening for this month's blog hop, I realised it is not the supernatural that scares me. There is a supernatural God who is bigger than all of that. No, here in Queensland, it is the natural world which leaves me gasping and cringing:  Opening the pantry to see a master cockroach scurry away; walking through a clinging spider web and not knowing EXACTLY where the spider is; watching a grass snake make its way toward my back step. These are what send chills through me. And so for this month's blog hop I thought I'd share a humorous piece about something perfectly natural and something which could be potentially horrific: an overseas holiday.

Mort blew the formaldehyde from his nostrils and breathed deep of his new location. The consequences of a quiet night at the morgue hit him completely now. Twenty five words or less had moved him from the clinical, orderly and dead to this seething mass of life. The woman leading a cow, the man on his bicycle selling coconuts, the snake charmer playing his hypnotic tune, vibrant fabrics and the smell of parrotha bread cooking. It all became a single jostling and colourful entity around him.
Twenty-five words or less was also the full extent of his Hindi vocabulary. Someone pushed him; another shoved something exotic and unexplained in his face yelling ‘Arey, Dost. Arey Dost.’
Mort shook his head, palms up, ‘No.’

‘You are English.’

The little merchant repeated the word and became animated. He continued to repeat it as he dragged Mort into a shop. ‘Australi. Australi.’

The fellow gestured and called people to him. They came as swarthy spectres to envelop Mort. He remembered a nightmare that felt like this. All the bodies in the morgue had risen to threaten him. Like swirling zombies they pulled at him, drawing him to their side of eternity.
Someone picked his pocket. He saw them dash away and dissolve into the dust of the market place. Mort wriggled his way to the door gesturing and pointing. ‘Dekkho. Dekkho. That kid took my wallet.’

His futile chase ended when the culprit, and one by one, the surging shadows, disappeared. Alone in the marketplace, the colours about him blurred and the smells were replaced. A new miasma filled his nostrils as the monsoon arrived to mock him. If he ever made it home, he would cancel his subscription to ‘That’s Life.’