The lighthouse illuminates past the waterbody bordered by a precipice pile of rock leading a trail of the harbour of Monte Claire’s bay. A plantation bordered the harbour on either side. Past the harbour was a grove of vegetative labyrinth around the trail. The trail ended in front of the lake where the water got deeper. One could see pebbles in the bottom reflect clearly in twilight.
No one knows what’s down there and no one has tried for a century. All who visit the bank threaded carefully even in high summer sun. More glorious than the black sea, the waves flowed in unison. Sea urchins from the far end of the water washed up to the shore. A delightful melting pot of invertebrate critters resided there.
Legend had it that a mermaid also existed in the lake, somewhere in the far Northeastern border. Even the most agile swimmer cannot escape the sea witch’s grip.
No one wandered into the territory of the sea witch lived to tell, and worse was for the naive unsuspecting holiday makers .
25. 05. 2008.
Two brothers, both in their 30’s visited the bay for a picnic, after which they went for a swim.
Arthur thrust his hand in the current and Philip was slapped across the face as a consequence. Noting his facial expression, Arthur dashed to the deep end of the water as his brother chased him. Few splashes were tossed around along with hearty laughs, but the fun disappeared and the waves silenced. Right then, something long and slippery wrapped around the elder’s ankle. He wiggled his foot, damn sea weed, he thought, but the more he wiggled, the tighter the grip became alarming the young man. His left limb was gradually obstructed.
He yelped and yowled, till Philip noticed something was amiss. Philip grabs Arthur’s hand and yanks desperately, but now streaks of blood escaped to the surface because Arthur’s limb was almost amputated. Philip tried desperately to save his brother but the “octupus claw” was stronger so Arthur drowned. More blood resurfaced.
Philip’s head bowed as a tear fell from the corner of his eye and touched the water. When he raised his head, twelve meters from him was a maiden so beautiful and alluring. Her golden flaxen hair reached into the water, her supple lips told of her innocent and her chest was humongous compared to the proportion of her lanky body. Philip’s grief was suddenly exchanged for enchantment. Without saying a word, she reached and cradled his face. They disappeared.
Abigial pondered under a coconut tree admiring the glistening surface of the lake. Seldom she glanced down and scribbled into her journal. It’s been a little over 2 months she broke up with her boyfriend. She thought she might be fine but it was increasingly harder to get up in the morning and prepare for work, try as she may. So her boss suggested she take her vacation early. He needed his top sale’s manager in tip top shape.
When she arrived home, she broke her piggy bank and checked her account before searching for a holiday spot. It must have been her lucky day too because the Island of Monte Claire had a discount, much unlike these Island destinations. she was paying next to nothing.
She raised her head again to glance at the water when she saw a striking figure in the lake looking at her. Without her glasses she couldn’t see well but it looked like a maiden with golden flaxen hair and juggers, the size of watermelon. In the blink of an eye, she disappeared.
Abigial felt her anxiety melt, for the first time since the break up and although she didn’t plan to, the circumstances was perfect for a swim. She dipped her toes in the water and started to untie her robes when she noticed a bottle float to shore. She picked the bottle and opened a paper stuffed inside. One word; HELP !!.
She immediately dived into the lake. She was tired of obsessing over her ex and somewhere here was an adventure she couldn’t turn down.
She was a young sweet Bavarian virgin who had been moonwalking on clouds for a long time. Wearing unconventional boots that spread across the sky like a butterfly perching on a rainbow. She’d been riding on the waves of unorthodoxy. Certainly unlike others she was.
At first it was just blathering jokes. Slithering tongues and whatnot. Women at the lake, those gossipy analysing lots, addressing one another in satirical tone. “She always staring at me with her buggy eyes”. Another affirmed, “she stares a lot that one she does, you’d think she’s plotting something vengeful”. A little laugh here and joke there before they started on their way back home. But the birds sang to the whispering leaves of a weeping willow in the breasted forest and the wolves that nested beneath its roots chatted with the wild dogs. The dogs relayed to their owners. In a couple of days the town had formed a council.
“I hear she’s a kleptomaniac”. One said
“They say she’s a Parsel mouth”, said another.
Witch. Witch. Burn the Witch!”, they yelled in unison.
Our young sweet Bavarian girl took careful baby step on the gloomy road of torture. To a chamber where the executioner invited her to marvel at the edge of his chilling axe that bore the crest of early Christendom.
She was summoned before the council board and accused of sleeping with a nightmare-demon, among other grievous crimes, to which she confessed none.
The man with a black hood and a heavy axe vowed to be both her enemy and saviour wrapped nicely with a demented bow. She swore she hated him when he chopped off her tongue, but hatred consumed her when he crushes her joint and shove her into a sarcophagus. He said, “Your friend wants you to acknowledge your fate and curse your very soul”.
She screamed day after day and week after week. Even in the times she lost her voice, her breath panted on her behalf. For four months she was subjected to every kind of torture imaginable, including sitting on a spiky witches chair that had been exposed to heat. The young girl was dying , and much to the executioner’s rage, without a confession.
She was melting away. She didn’t look so young anymore, wasn’t so sweet either, more like a tattered condemned wench. The executioner got tired of waiting so he stripped her naked and flogged her so her will would be crushed. Then he made her walk in the market square wearing a bulky confession around her neck.
She walked through the rowdy market, only a faded ensemble of her former self, leaving footprints on the dirt as she headed towards the gallows. Death pecked her supple cheeks like they were destined to be lovers. It was no news that she didn’t belong to the universe dominated of humans.
No one who smiles different, or walks different does. In time, they would be escorted on deaths powerful wings to a place, where it didn’t matter so much to be different.
The past week has been terrifying, exhilarating and oddly memorable. The events which were all except subtle started out with me preparing for an Interview. The journey from Pécs, Hungary to Rodewisch, Germany lasted 9 hours, not including rest stops and Highway tickets we needed for crossing a few borders.
Our destination was a sleepy little town in east Germany. By the time we arrived, the town was in it’s default quiet mood. Even mosquitoes managed to turn in for the night. Our hotel’s reception was only available by phone call and no restaurant was open.
It reminded me of a movie I saw a while back, Silent hill If I’m not mistaken. But really any film where people disappear in small cities and no one ever remembers their last seen location. I half expected a man with a chainsaw and a mask of human skin to stagger across the road behind us as we checked into the hotel. In my defence, I gotta stay sharp and ready.
But no wonder, I was all anxious. This was my first interview ever so I did what normal people do, deliberately conjure up a series of apocalyptic events in order to take the edge off. That is what people do right? if the town was eradicated, I wouldn’t have the face a panel of healthcare experts judging my intellect and character. Alas my horror fantasies remained only fantasies.
Although the interview went better than my subconscious played it out, I did something that is unlike me. I chickened out.
I know I’m not a big city girl. As it turns out, I’m no small town girl either. I couldn’t imagine spending no less than 4 years doing my residency there. Even a caged phoenix like myself needed to feel the bustle and grind of life saturating the air around me. Neither my desperation for the position nor the amazing hospital staff could convince me to call Rodewisch home.
Hence, it wasn’t even midweek yet and I was devastated. So my hubby rode the spontaneous wave and detoured to Prague on our way back. It was my second time in the city. The first time I was in Prague, I tried tandem-jumping. This time, we visited the Thrill park.
Everything about thrill park was horrific. I thought it was odd that my husband found the place because he scares easy but perhaps he knew it would help me cease whining about the Job.
By the end of our talk with the host, we were more scared than ever. She added that we could simply yell out a safe word, “I am chicken”, at any point during the experience that we couldn’t continue. What kept me on my toes was really the fear of the unknown and a rumor that more than 800 people had chickened out.
We then made our way into the dungeon in complete darkness.
It was adrenaline surging, gut wrenching and utterly horrific. We held onto each other like we were each other’s breathing machine. I laughed each time I freaked out which was probably not the reaction the host expected.
It was as though all my favourite horror movies came to life around me and I was the protagonist. I wasn’t fazed by the costumed people or the wax figures. However, a period did come when my stamina was tested. After a spook from a monster, a red light turned on to indicate a key inside a toilet bowl. Being a huge fan of the saw franchise, I appreciated the reference. However I wasn’t about to put my hand down there even if it was clean.
I just couldn’t. I was chicken.
My husband reached down there and found the key attached to a long chain that attached to the toilet. We felt our way around the prison bars and found the key hole. We soon continued our journey once again in darkness.
The exercise ended at the 24th minute with Jason pursuing us up a flight of stairs with a sputtering chainsaw.
In the end, I had an amazing week because I learnt a couple of things. Since the world didn’t end like I thought it would, I would recommend travellers visiting Prague to check the thrill park out and if brave enough, try tandem jumping too, because truth is, you never know what you’ll discover when you decide to wear your heart on your sleeve.