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IS ANYBODY OUT THERE?


Today is a chilly day somewhere in the year 2009. It might appear strange, but I seem to have lost track of the date. It must be spring by now. I have been in self-imposed seclusion for quite some time – I think several months. It was the only way I knew myself to be out of harm’s way. Some might call my little safe-haven a pigsty, but that would be very unfair to pigs. It was a disgusting hovel; a growing monument to all stages of the digestive tract; a place where what the stomach had rejected, mingled freely with what the stomach had already accepted and processed.

The rejection part happens more frequently these days, as it is becoming difficult in keeping the hygiene levels to any acceptable standard. I am feverish and I itch terribly. I have skin ulcers that smell putrid, but then - the smell could also be coming from my feet, or my scalp, my teeth, anywhere. It is very hard to tell. But at least I am safe from them. They cannot get to me as long as I keep them shut out. And if I keep them shut out long enough they might forget about me - and just…go away, back to the hell-hole where they were spawned.

Why am I writing this? Why do I bother to explain? Do I think anyone will ever read it? Sometimes my instinctive optimism gives rise to danger. It causes me to follow actions that could very well cost me my life. To survive, it was best to be utterly cynical. But I will write this for whomever is still out there, who can view this with human eyes and comprehend with a human brain. It is a human trait to leave a legacy, to leave some feeble record of a prickly path led.

This morning was a catastrophe. I was searching for something to read or maybe some pornography – I can’t remember which – when I stepped into something wet and extremely smelly. I couldn’t even identify it. All that enveloped my thoughts at that moment was to get out, to escape this dank enclosure. I wasn’t thinking clearly and before I realised it, I was already outside, breathing the fresh air and feeling the glorious (spring?) sun on my face. I stood there for a while, and felt a sensation growing inside me, like a parasite. It was hope. Maybe they were gone! Maybe I can finally be released from my prison!

To my horror I then heard footsteps and noticed one of them ambling past the house. I involuntarily gasped with fright, which caused it to turn and stare directly at me with soulless eyes. It cocked its head and attempted a human smile (quite horrible). I never could figure out why they tried to mimic us. What was the point? They were useless at it, anyway. Did they really think that humans would be fooled for one second? It then started towards me. It made some appalling, throaty sound as it approached.

I was so solid with fear that the creature was only a few paces away before I reacted. I picked up a broken pot plant and threw it at the approaching thing. It clumsily tried to avoid the flying pot but it hit the creature a glancing blow on the head. It staggered slightly and howled in surprised anger. I used that moment to flee back inside my stinking fortress, feverishly bolting the door. The creature proceeded to pound the door and emit its ghastly sounds for some time. At length it left, most probably to fetch reinforcements.

I was drained. I slumped down against a filthy wall and started crying out of desperation. All my hard work was undone in a short, disastrous turn of events. All the months of enduring the loneliness and filth were for nothing. I cursed myself. I stomped my feet. I tore at my straggly hair. I even bit my wrist till it bled. The only certainty that was left was that they will return.

But I will not go easily into that horrible night. I have sharpened a broomstick and will have my revenge before they have me. I am writing this factual account while the silence creeps up to me and starts devouring my resolve.

I am now lost - but you, dear reader, …dear human, might one day appreciate what I had endured and have empathy.

Good bye.

© Etienne A.  Marais – 22 August 2006