Tag Archive: maluleka


“Oh, but you always lose your hands inside the freezer, John. What’s wrong with you?” She asks me.

“It’s not my fault, mom. I didn’t ask to be like this.”

“Well, clean yourself up before the neighbours see you.”

I put on my body suit and gas-mask and make sure to tuck each and every one of my tentacles away. Mom has a terrible habit of making me feel like it’s my fault that The Accident happened. Mind you, I wasn’t even born then.

All the pictures in the hallway break as one of my stray tentacles runs amok.

“How is it that I can be both one way and another?”

Mom brings me a cup of red tea to calm my nerves. She’s long since forgotten the name of the South African wild grass from which it’s derived. I tell her that today I want to sit in the atrium. I hold the cup of tea some distance away as I watch the two-headed birds playing on the barren branches. One of them flies onto the ground and periodically bobs its head into the mud…

I was sleeping when the sirens went off this time, my cup of tea having cooled amid my slumber. Apparently some kid fell into a well and awakened some of the mutants in the depths waiting for him. Now the mayor’s afraid they’ll ransack the town. Perhaps if he’d played in the mud like the birds, there’d be no siren. Especially today, on my birthday, of all days…

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Clear your mind like a carriageway, the voice from the cassette tape says, with faint hissing and cracking. I attempt not to think about the line I’ve drawn in the dark. Clear your mind like a carriageway… That’s what I’ll do alright. My arms throb with the effort of keeping still. My hand is starting to get numb under my ass. Just the effect that I’d wanted. I try not to think of Julia lying there in the dark, her head lolling around. Who knew a head could so easily be coaxed loose?

I’m trying to lose all feeling in my arms, chanting the nonsensical mantra from the tape, breathing deeply. The tape is just about to finish. I’ve been listening to it for the past two hours. Outside I can hear the raindrops falling, like tap-dancing spiders on the glass.

“Mr Davies, we know you’re in there,” says the police inspector, through the loudspeaker outside.

Clear your mind like a carriageway…

I remember once Julia and I went to watch Swan Lake at the community theatre. It was a ham-fisted attempt but she enjoyed it. How the ballerinas floated up and down the stage, like they were suspended there, from sinews up high. I remember she laughed at the way I kept on looking at their necks, not believing that swans could be that way. I guess I should have known then that the distance between two points is always the shortest, and that necks, just like bridges, collapse in the wind