Digital Ischemia


Neohaguich 4/11

Neohaguich series starts at part 1/11

Calluna’s politeness does not extend to acquiescence.  “No, you have come at last.”

Through the dust cloud, and the gloom, the Stranger radiates allure.  Curse him.  But his face contorts as if his programmed script has skipped a track.

“You are the new cailleach, the neohaguich.”

“Any idea why?”

He produces an unfeasibly large section of tree trunk from his pocket.  “It is written.”

“Aye, last week by the looks of it.  Bit of bored whittling?”  There goes the politeness.  In the moment while he clutches for a response, with the benefit of clearing air and adjusting eyes, she peruses his appearance.  Not bad.  Still.

Calluna realises the fleeting conversational initiative has ebbed away as he replies.

“Since you left, all my time has been whittling away.”

Clever.  But what does that mean?!  If in doubt, snipe.

Calluna retorts, “good for you.  While you’re creating dust, I have to sort spiders and midges and things that scrabble in the eaves.”

“Whatever you need.”

Was that smarm or sincere?  She grabs a chunk of card, regardless of any attached hechlers, and flaps it shooingly at him.

He calls back from the front path.  “Springs Creek will be ready when you are.”

More ambiguity!  Ready for what?  Why should he be involved?  How does he know what she named it?!

Not wishing to whittle away any time, Calluna scrambles for the spring.  She’ll be first there by ages.  He won’t expect that.  Unfortunately Droopy Alf is already dangling parts of himself in the pure water as an exercise that illogically leaves the water dirtier than he gets cleaner.  Calluna is not having this blatant disregard for the community.

“Out!  Get yourself out of there, Alf!  This is a community resource!”

Alf retracts and complains limply, “I am the community!”

Calluna takes several seconds to fashion a lame dumpling of a comeback, which is way beyond Alf anyway, “aye, you’re the ‘nit’ in the community.”

Alf looks predictably boggled.  Calluna relents.  “I need you to make boxes, containers.  Etcetera.  Out of wood.  The Stranger will show you.”

“I shouldn’t talk to strangers.”

“Alf, you’re stranger than he is.”

Alf leers nervously and lurches away.  With a melodramatic exhalation, Calluna whumps on the river bank.

The Stranger’s thrilling burr: “You should be more careful.”

Of course he would be here already, ever lurking in the shadows.  Of course Calluna scurries back to her own shadows.

“Believe me: I know.  If I could have times over again, especially times with you.”

“I’ll choose to take that… positively.  But I meant when you piss in the burn.”

“You know that’s Alf.”

“So you’re doing something else.”

“So you’re watching me.  Pervert.  Voyeur.  Stalker.”

“I don’t need to watch you.  I always know where you are.”

“Shite.  I still have something of yours?  Cursed tracking beacons.  What is it?”

“Apparently something close to your heart.”

Calluna snorts over her botherment.  “My bladder.”  Handy drinking water in his justly proud invention: birch leaf fabric, ‘bettex’.  His carefully sculpted stone neck with its perfectly fitting stopper, bound in seaweed fibre.  Watertight.  “You charmed the stone.”

“Closest I could get to you.”

Does he mean close to track her, or close to charm her?  Or that emotionally she’s closely related to stone?

Sensing sufficient impact for now, he closes.  “North-east wind: late snow.  Dig in.”  With a slight rustle he’s gone.

Calluna exhales more disbelief and discomfort.  Snow?  Three weeks past the spring equinox?

continues at part 5

1 Comment »

  1. […] …continues at part 4 […]

    Pingback by Neohaguich 3/11 | Digital Ischemia — 25/07/2019 @ 12:40

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