Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bloodletting

This Week’s Theme: Tell about your characters feelings toward an animal, and why she feels that way.

The long thin black and yellow striped leech inched its way across the camping table. An unearthly screech and an enormous long fame shot out from the firelighter incinerating the leech immediately, and leaving a smoldering plastic burning smell in the air.

“Honey, don’t you think that’s a bit over board for one leech? There are thousands of them out there,” Phil gestured toward the bush.

Fearful eyes met his. “Lets pack up and go – I can’t sleep here tonight” Heidi pleaded.

“No no, I am just joking. settle down. That must have been a rogue one.” Phil tried to calm Heidi down.

Heidi furtively looked around shaking and sweating.

“Whats with you?” he asked handing her a hot mug of tea.. Heidi stiffened and began to explain.

“When I was a kid, we traveled around a lot. My dad took odd jobs where he could find them. We ended up on a cattle station once where Dad helped the Jackaroos rebuild a lot of the boundaries after the floods. We lived too far out to go to school, so sat in with the graziers kids for School of the Air. I didn’t mind it ‘cause we only did school work till lunch so could then go off riding or fishing. Anyway - there was a section of the fence going through some swamp and it needed everyone on the station to come and help out. The kids had the job of walking the wires through the marsh and water to the other side. At the time we had a lot of fun – throwing clumps of muck at each other and rolling about it in – it was pretty hot that day – so a welcome respite. It wasn’t till we all got out and had to peel off our wet muddy clothes to get into he utes that we discovered the marsh was literally crawling with … leeches” Heidi gave a involuntary shudder as she paused.

“They were all over us, a writhing living mass of blood sucking parasites, guzzling the life force out of me.” Heidi started shaking again, tears in her eyes.

“Hey its ok – there aren’t that many here” Phil said – with a crooked smile – “ And I have alot of salt. Let those little suckers try and mess with me!”

Heidi gave a weak smile and took a sip from her hot mug.

“Hey what happened?” Phil asked finishing off his tea.

“My mum freaked out screaming and jumping around. I guess I caught on to the hysterics too and totally flipped out. The Jackaroos were trying to hold me down , one had a knife out and was scraping them off. I thought he was going to butcher me like I had seen him cut up a lamb the day before. The other jackaroo had lit a cigarette. I though he was trying to burn me with the smouldering tip. I looked down and all I could see was blood pouring out of me.”

“Yeah.” Agreed Phil, “ Once those little buggers have a hold of you that anti-coagulant they pump into you is pretty effective in letting the blood flow.”

Heidi ws breathing a little more deeply now. “I dunno. I just see one and I freak out. All I see is blood. One of the other kids, Jack, was in the same boat – they were pulling leeches off and filling his hat with them. I just remember his legs streaming with bright red blood. And the screams. Mum, Jack and I. The men all yelling at once and the dogs going mad around us.”

“Hey kiddo, if you want to pack up and go somewhere else we can.” Offered Phil.

Heidi smiled. “Nah. I’m with you. We have been planning this hiking trip for ages. Its just a silly thing, really”

He smiled and kissed her gently on the lips.

“Honey, how much salt did we bring?” Heidi asked as they lay out their sleeping bags.

“Why?” asked Phil.

Heidi smiled, “Can we put a circle of salt around our tent?”

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3 comments:

gautami tripathy said...

Leeches seem pretty harmless until they suck our blood! But, incinerating seems to be a bit overboard as Phil said.

So did Phil had the salt ready?

animal instinct

CHEFDRUCK said...

Really nice piece. I love the way you interwove the smells. you really gave a good sense for their relationship in the way he listened and comforted her.

Paul said...

Urgh, slimy things make my flesh crawl. I love the way you paint the fear through the eyes of the woman as she was when she was a small girl, and how the blood (which would in reality be only small amounts smeared around) combined with the knife and cigarettes mix into a nightmare scenario.