Digital Ischemia


Neohaguich 3/11

Neohaguich series starts at part 1/11

Penitence.  How appropriate.  How timely.  Udderfiddle means the moor, named for its drippy bleakness that attracts those overwrought neurotics wishing to absolve guilt through self-flagellation.  But a stranger who once was not strange ought indeed to approach via Penitence.  But of course he can’t.  Not possible.  No more brambly picnics on the riverbank.

Completing the geographic re-familiarisation loop and returning via the afterthought shed at the village limit, Calluna hears a dodgy rustle.  Alf, the small, droopy, wrinkled, male member of the parish, will not be overlooked.  Since before even the time of mists, the parish has kept two fairs yearly, with official notices displayed to wit: some chattel and small wares are exposed for sale.  Alf finds in this announcement an endorsement to offer his small wares.  No-one has bought in fifty-eight years but he enjoys the spirit of the ritual.  And the ritual of the spirit hastily produced by some concerned citizen to keep a lid, or a coat, on things.

Calluna is suddenly in Aunty Gail’s cottage’s bedroom.  Her tour of local disinterest must have concluded.  There’s only the one bedroom, and it remains unoccupied as the other inhabitants prefer their idiosyncrasies.  She keels over on to the thin, bare mattress to think.

In contrast to the divisive gossip and individual grasping over the natural water source, Calluna recognises potential benefit and improvement for the whole community.  If the local hydrology needs a good bradawling, she will happily wield the instrument.  Conversely, if Udderfiddle’s toxic soup is counter-balanced by a natural spa, the status quo may be safer.

A snippet of wisdom from the distant past worms out of its dust: you should inhabit a place for several years before you take any notions to change it.  His wisdom.  Drat.  Him again.  Her cogitation is truncated by an ache; probably hunger.  Definitely not heart-related.  Heaving herself over the bed frame, a small inspiration strikes: we shall call it Springs Creek.

The pantry is prettily decorated with gingham curtains and brightly painted, marine-themed ornaments.  It is inhabited by the lady from Spain, who recently arrived from South America.  How she persuaded Aunty Gail to invite her to stay in anticipation of Calluna’s arrival is a mystery.  But not one worth bothering to resolve.  Señora recalls Calluna’s retirement a couple of decades earlier.  Calluna is not an octogenarian; she just feels like it sometimes.  She retired from conventional life.  But Señora, well, she seems quite moved in recollecting Calluna’s peculiar ways.  She has pinned up a series of postcards that Calluna sent from the other side of their shared office.  Such subversive humour.

Calluna retreats to the living room and perches on the wooden frame of the only unoccupied seat: its upholstery long since perished or combusted or eaten. In a rare moment of lucidity, Aunty Gail opens her eyes and stares fixedly ahead while remaining bolt upright on the sofa.  She announces to Calluna, “When I’m gone, you shall have my box of letters.”


“Not before.  I keep it locked.”


“The key is inside me.”

“For how long?”

“When I pass it, I give it a rinse then swallow it again.”

Calluna adds another item to her list of reasons to establish a separate washroom.

Gail chunters on, “as long as I’m alive, the key is in me.”

“What does that achieve exactly?”

“Only once I’m dead may you unlock my box of letters.”

“How do I get the key at that stage?”

“Since I will be dead, I won’t be reswallowing it, of course.”

“My dear Aunty Gail, if you’re dead you won’t be shitting it out either.  I won’t be going looking.  You haven’t thought this through.  I won’t be rummaging through your bowels nor cutting you open.  I’m not that sort of niece.”

“Oh, Calluna, you’re so very agricultural.  Why would you think I would die with it still inside me?  Of course I shall wait until it is out.”

“Good for you if you have that level of control.”

“Do you doubt it?  Is that not the very mantle I pass to you?”

“Of all your skills I would wish to inherit, being able to delay my death until after having one last shit wasn’t high on the list.”

Señora rattles vibrantly by and over-helpfully enlightens Calluna regarding the hechlers: “they live in the fridge.  Don’t look at me this way!  They colonise it while the power cut.  I unplug it then: I am not responsible for massacre.”

Calluna bites down on her frustration.  “They’re on my list: repatriate hechlers to loft space above wardrobe.”  After ‘ensure Jardine is safely landed’ and ‘give Alf something constructive to do with his hands.’  Mess!  Mess and filth and muddle everywhere.  Lax housekeeping.  Years of neglect.  Years of avoidance.

Calluna finally boils, leaping up and thumping a fist on the kitchen counter.  Through the abundant puffs of dust and suddenly airborne and startled hechlers, she calls out, “enough!  Enough wacky distractions.  Where are you, eh?”

She turns about.  Obvious.  She clenches her hands firmly at her sides, determined to start politely.  “Hello.”

“You have come at last.”

continues at part 4

1 Comment »

  1. […] …continues at part 3 […]

    Pingback by Neohaguich 2/11 | Digital Ischemia — 24/07/2019 @ 12:29

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