Old Man's Blog

Dec
03
The Hunt

This would not end well for one of us. She had already tasted my blood and I was out for hers, now.

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I had known, of course, her power to wound and kill. The long, warm wards lined with pale, fevered faces, the fetid smells blowing in from the choo, the empty beds that greeted me each morning were proof enough of that. She is capable of so much damage. I have seen her take even small children, days from the womb, eyes staring in horror, or closed in resignation as they die. She works with other beasts, of course, but you know she is there, out there, all the time.

After a long day and a troubled evening, I retreated to the safety of my protected haven, feeling my anxiety melt from the taut attention I had not known I had devoted to her. She would come closer in the night, circling my place, but I was safe, within. Almost immediately my eyes were closed. Perhaps I slept. The nights are so warm, and the rushing air of the fans cools only by imagination. I wager she came through the window, past the zamu, the guard. She could have been there all the time, hiding in a corner, waiting for me to come and lock us in together, so she could feed.

I was awake enough to rouse as she started. She was wise enough to leave her meal as I roused.

Now, despite my internal armor, I am at her mercy. She always leaves a little of herself behind. Even so, I will find her, and we will do battle.

I turn on the small light and look inside the cone of my mosquito netting that covers my bed. She is there somewhere, waiting for me to fall asleep again, so she can feed again. I see her in a faint crease and launch an attack. She flies off. I bring out the big guns and the next time she lands, my pillow comes away with a large smear of blood, my blood. I have been avenged. I sleep.

At BMC Nalerigu, Malaprusi District, everyone is presumed to have malaria, to have just been over it, or to be just about to get it. Safe money. The female Ades egypti mosquito is the final vector. Malaria complicates all disease, weakening the patient and opening the door to other diseases in those she does not kill outright. I should have looked for her before I turned out the light.

This would not end well for one of us. She had already tasted my blood, and I was now out for hers. I should have been warned. All evening, that busy, crowded evening, I had caught just the suggestion of her high pitched cry. I had stopped each time, trying to localize it, track it, in the world of noise: native drums, cries, a ceiling fan, clunking and slashing its way to its inevitable destruction, and the myriad of night birds’ calls, I had lost her cry each time.

I had known, of course, her power to wound and kill. The long, warm wards lined with pale, fevered faces, the fetid smells blowing in from the choo, the empty beds that greeted me each morning were proof enough of that. She is capable of so much damage. I have seen her take even small children, days from the womb, eyes staring in horror, or closed in resignation as they die. She works with other beasts, of course, but you know she is there, out there, all the time.

After a long day and a troubled evening, I retreated to the safety of my protected haven, feeling my anxiety melt from the taut attention I had not known I had devoted to her. She would come closer in the night, circling my place, but I was safe, within. Almost immediately my eyes were closed. Perhaps I slept. The nights are so warm, and the rushing air of the fans cools only by imagination. I wager she came through the window, past the zamu, the guard. She could have been there all the time, hiding in a corner, waiting for me to come and lock us in together, so she could feed.

I was awake enough to rouse as she started. She was wise enough to leave her meal as I roused.

Now, despite my internal armor, I am at her mercy. She always leaves a little of herself behind. Even so, I will find her, and we will do battle.

I turn on the small light and look inside the cone of my mosquito netting that covers my bed. She is there somewhere, waiting for me to fall asleep again, so she can feed again. I see her in a faint crease and launch an attack. She flies off. I bring out the big guns and the next time she lands, my pillow comes away with a large smear of blood, my blood. I have been avenged. I sleep.

At BMC Nalerigu, Malaprusi District, everyone is presumed to have malaria, to have just been over it, or to be just about to get it. Safe money. The female Ades egypti mosquito is the final vector. Malaria complicates all disease, weakening the patient and opening the door to other diseases in those she does not kill outright. I should have looked for her before I turned out the light.