The Wayfarer (mnfaure) wrote,
The Wayfarer

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A haunting of a very brief, but very human kind

For those of you who don't know, J mostly works evenings, though the specific hours of his shifts change. This cycle it is 7pm-6am.

For those of you who don't know, I'm not afraid to spend the night by myself. But sometimes, things happen that make me wish he was not out on the moondark seas, unable to come swiftly back when I need him. Last night was one such time.

I was sitting tranquilly on my sofa, reading rabiagale's wonderful ms, The Changeling, my back to the wide-open window and the quiet Halloween night. I heard footfalls and then, "Bonsoir," spoken in a low, breathy, creep-me-out, don't-turn-around-and-look voice. Mayotte is 98% Muslim. I don't know if they've ever heard of Halloween, much less participate in it, so I knew the voice was no prank. I didn't turn around.

But sitting there as I was, in only my pareo tied around my chest, leaving my shoulders, back, and a good amount of leg exposed, I very much wanted to jump up and shut the shutters and lock the door. I waited a few moments. No footsteps receded into the night. I picked up the phone and pretended to call someone. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man standing outside my walled porch, looking over his shoulder at me. He whistled. Not the, Hey, Sexy! whistle, but the soft, secret code kind. I carried on the phone charade for a minute or so, taking things into the kitchen (open plan and gives a view out onto the street) saying, Yes, she's here. blah, blah, blah.

Still, the man outside didn't move on.

Well, that's not quite true. He did move. To the other side of the narrow street where he could look baldly into the house. Not wanting to give the impression I was afraid, I "hung up" and casually went over to shut the shutters. He whistled again, a bit more urgently. I did not like that one little bit. After securing the shutters, I turned the key in the lock as quietly as I could, still not wanting him to think he had cowed me. I listened for several minutes, but couldn't hear him walk away. Thinking he might have been signaling someone to go over my back wall, I went and put on a t-shirt and shorts. The better to run or fight in. Yeah, call me paranoid.

I gave the guy fifteen minutes to get bored and then turned on the porch light and went outside to bolt the gate leading onto our porch. Not a soul was in sight. Our night-owl neighbors were all a-bed. Not even a stray cat could be seen.

I hurried back inside and bolted all three locks. I tried to stay awake until J got home, but gave up the fight at 2:30. By three I was asleep, knowing I was so tired that if anyone wanted to sneak in, I probably wouldn't even stir.

But this morning, the jangle of the padlock on the porch woke me at a few minutes before six. My wubs had come at last.

I survived my first Halloween on Mayotte.
Tags: the creeps
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