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.
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”
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
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.
Otto is dead. Four of his hairy legs fell off. I figure he was male, because he was constantly marking his territory. I first spotted him one month ago, on my bedroom floor, behind the couch by the window. He was so large I thought he was a rat. I sprinted out of the room in alarm. He disappeared for the next two days.
Needless to say, I was quite nervous. Until I saw him peeking out from under the dressing table. A spider, not a rat. Small comfort, but definitely better than a rat.
He was sensitive to sudden movements – a trait that helped him escape missiles and insecticide sprays. He always came back. He was everywhere – on the wall above the television, under the kitchen sink, on the book shelf.
Today I found him under the storage container. He’s been missing for a week. A peaceful week. I think I murdered him. I swept up the legs and threw them away. I couldn’t find the body.
As I was making myself a sandwich a few minutes ago, something crawled out of the fruit basket. A smaller version of Otto. Otto Junior is now hiding behind the fridge.