Where did you leave the children?

When I walk into the kitchen, I find her gently stirring something in the deep, black, metal frying
pan. She turns towards me. “Where did you leave the children?” she asks.

I’m a little confused. There have been no children in this house for a long time. But wait, she’s looking right past me. I instinctively turn back to see if someone else is standing behind me – irrational, I know, considering no one else lives here now.

“You shouldn’t have left them alone,”she says in that clipped, angry tone and returns to stirring her empty pan on the unlit stove.

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I wish the neighbours would fight

Last night was peaceful. You’d get my meaning if you knew my neighbours. They fight. They fight often. It’s loud. It’s ugly. It keeps everyone up.

Last night we all took the night off. I was happy to hear my own heartbeat again. I drew the blinds. I dimmed the lights. I got my bowl of popcorn. I burrowed into the couch and started the film.

And then I heard that eerie sound again: the kitchen door opening, distinct footsteps slowly coming my way. I froze. My pounding heart rose to my throat. How I wished the neighbours would fight.

Vegetarian for a day

A distant vibrating sound rouses me from my deep slumber. For a few seconds, I think I’m dreaming. And then I hear it. The hooves of a herd of cattle, pounding the stony earth road, the whoosh of a whip cutting through the still air, the deep bellow of a full-grown  bull. My sleep disappears with the moon. The herd disappears through the gate to oblivion. Onward to the slaughterhouse that supplies the city with fresh beef every morning.

I drag myself out of bed and through the day in a sleepy daze. On my way home, as I wait to be served at the local butchery, my thoughts are drowned by that staccato sound of hooves, and I walk away in a stupor, to my dinner of salad and fruits.

 

Are you looking at me?

“Are you looking at me”

I start violently. The kettle tips and spills hot tea on my cousin’s foot. She shrieks and glares at me.

Am I the only one hearing grandpa’s booming voice?

We’re in his bedroom, or more accurately,  what used to be his bedroom. You see, we’re at his wake. His corpse lies in the front room, in a home-made wooden coffin, atop three stools placed in a neat row. Continue reading

That thing that was in your room last night

Sometimes you wake up feeling exhausted. Your limbs ache, you’re feverish with indistinct memories of a nightmare.

If you examine your skin carefully enough, what you thought were mosquito bites turn out to be light puncture wounds. The truth dawns on you.

The thing that flitted past your kitchen veranda last night was not a shadow. When you thought you heard your dog growl and then whine in fear, you heard right. The single tree outside your window, whose leaves were rustling in the wind, well that was not the wind. Something was in the room with you last night.