28 April 2011

In the dead of the night

We could hear nothing. It was 2am and all was quiet yet we could hear nothing. But he could and motioned us to listen more keenly. Still..nothing. We had sat up half the night waiting for this and yet could hear nothing. Then I heard something. It was the slightest swish, but it was there. At last I had something to write home about. I had just witnessed the passing of one of the most feared creatures alive. A giant serpent.
We had heard about the story of the snake catcher who lived upcountry on the hills not so far away from our village. The stories had so fascinated us that we had decided to visit. And so, with the help of a relative, the catcher had agreed on a meeting at my relatives home. It was an area well known to him. That day after we had dinner and sat basking in the moonlight a while the stories had begun. Well into the tales that seem unbelievable to anyone but him I had gone to cross check if all the windows were closed shut because i was leaving nothing to chance.
The setting was ideal for a perfect night to just sit by, listening to the wind blow in the hills and watch the moonlight. But not that night. We were there for a different mission. An encounter with the dreaded of the village. Close to midnight, we got into the house and secured the doors. Then we sat waiting in the sitting room listening to him. He had stories that were so out of this world. Then he called out. He could hear it! But we could not. Not just yet.
It is quite an experience being in the presence of something so dangerous. Even with the walls around us we could feel the presence of evil all around. The catcher went into details to explain the habits of the serpent. He comes out in the late night to hunt. Then goes in search of water. He told us that the snake is so huge he could swallow a whole goat. I didn't even want to imagine what else would fit inside there.
We didn't get to wait for the return of the serpent up the hills in the wee hours of the morning. But he did. You see, the catcher had adopted some weird mannerisms too. He could stay awake four days and nights, complete with no sleep. Then go to sleep three days and nights nonstop. And nothing or no one could wake him up. But that's a story for another day.
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