Perspectives from the Himalaya

Cloud Story 7: Joyride of the Leeches (delectable!***)

Sun was in a foul mood, brooding in fury.

He blazed the blue mercilessly, drawing moisture from earth to sky, so much so that, the leeches which had frenziedly soaked up all the water from the monsoon rain were sucked magnetically upward with the process of evaporation. The people living in the blue metal roof houses were usually not bothered by bizarre occurrences in the Himalaya for anything goes in this part of Earth. This is to say, common rules applied and understood elsewhere were sometimes defied here. Therefore, everything is acceptable. Most would agree that the sight of billions of black parasitic worms being pulled up against gravity was a vexing and irksome sight. The people knew what went up must come down. Now – was an exceptionally tense moment because when a child pointed his little finger up towards a hovering shadow above their heads, all eyes saw the ghastly wriggling black cloud impregnated with bloodsuckers that threatened to torment all below it.

As untimely as it seems, Arya appeared quietly with Kevin and Professor Goat. Enveloped in the darkest shadow of the Oh-No Valley and through an ancient passageway that was built by her descendants centuries ago, they emerged through a secret back entrance from the City of Yetis.

The belly of the towering mountain is the darkest underland known to the living. And in that deep abyss, a strong sense of timelessness bears down heavily like a thick fog. Professor Goat was clueless about the length of time he had spent there. But his thin and pale physique was wearing him out and he had the urge to return home. As he approached the opening to the Oh-No Valley, he gulped in long breaths of fresh air, craving to soak in the sunbeams across the other side of the valley. The City of Yeti was not a place known to accommodate guests from the plant-eating kingdom. In the weeks he had stayed, he had chewed only on fungi and algae to quench his hunger, the only possible hardy plant that survives without sunlight.

Arya was 18 years old, the youngest and quietly rebellious daughter of the King of Yetis. It was her duty to harvest the berry notes at this time of year at the Oh-No Valley. Now reader, if you can remember, the berry note is a very special berry. A berry note has the potency to make the consumer very very happy, sometimes to the point of no return if eaten excessively. Arya thought that Professor Goat might delight himself in the enchanting spinach that grows in tandem with the berry notes. Both of these plant species grow wildly and abundantly in the Oh-No Valley and have never been obliterated from its geography. One might argue that the seed of this spinach is enchanting because it thrives in any and every condition. One might also argue that its enchantment is in its medicinal properties for it cures every ailment of the body except an overdose of berry notes.

The most celebrated festival in the City of Yetis was to come. Kevin has always been obliged to create his speciality, a masterpiece of a pie famously known as the Black Chewy Pie in the City of Yeti. It was a decennial treat that every Yeti looked forward to.

The main ingredient for this pie is almost preposterously impossible to attain and exists only in the Oh-No Valley every 10 years, which is when the stars are aligned in a fashion that would horribly irritate the Sun.

And it was precisely at this moment that Kevin knew it was time for him to harvest this indispensable ingredient. He skilfully laid out a vast piece of muslin cloth lightly soaked in salt water, held 5 corners down with a sizeable rock planted precisely at 108 metres apart so that when observed from above, the muslin took the shape of a 5 pointed star. When he was contented with the setup, he slipped on his yellow moon-shaped headphones and tapped his fingers to the rhythm of ‘Demons’ by Imagine Dragons, belting out in shameless sorrow and delight, waiting for the massacre to occur.

“When the days are cold and the cards all fold, …and the blood’s run stale… But with the beast inside, there’s nowhere we can hide. No matter what we breed, we still are made of greed. This is my kingdom come, this is my kingdom come…”

The people in the blue metal roofs had retreated indoors, window shutters and doors tightly shut. Arya stood watching, without fear of standing out like a displaced Yeti and not having the ability to camouflage in the green landscape. Professor Goat stood with her at the threshold of the back door from the secret passageway, curious to witness this phenomenon that was pronounced as a delightful horror. He was struck in understanding the ways of the Yetis. They were a breed of gentle, cultured and clever hairy creatures but their culinary practices were questionable and rather extraordinary.

There was menace in the sky. The darkest cloud was at its fill, threatening to burst at any moment. But this was not a normal cloud by any means. It was constipated. But we know that what goes up, must still come down, constipated or not. That being so, it started with:

A speck of black, a faint swirl of dust.

Then, a scatter and a sprinkle.

Followed by a borborygmus,

The rumbling and gurgling of the bowels.

Alas! A drizzle, jolting in glee from freefall.

The state of deliriousness of these wretched worms,

Only to be greeted by near-death upon ground,

Writhing at the touch of the salt-soaked cloth.

More came. The drizzle painted the cloth

in blobs, patches and puddles.

In horror, they struggled and wriggled in nasty proportions.

The cloud, adamant to rid itself, refused to tango with the breeze.

The icky black, broadly brushed itself over the white.

Them twisting, curling, contorting, squeezing

A distressing and nauseating sight it was

and as such, made narrating utterly intolerable.

Those caught in the muslin, eventually

paced down slowly, rendering to stillness.

Their fate, unbeknownst to them,

Was soon to end in a pie, fit for the Yetis.

Whilst all this was happening, Kevin was still crooning, his eyelids still together, sinking deep into the spirit of the song, “When you feel my heat… Don’t get too close; it’s dark inside. It’s where my demons hide, it’s where my demons hide…” When the song finally came to an end, the last twitching leech had just laid to rest in the near-death bed.

A trickle of leech juice was dripping from the cloth and oozed down into the wilderness of the motherland, where the wind blows the spores from the flowers of berry notes and enchanting spinach, far and wide.

Kevin snapped out of his melancholia and checked on his harvest. He would wait until the percolation stopped and the leeches were sufficiently unconscious. This was quite a delicate process for it was vital that the leeches were not dehydrated to death. They had to be merely inactive until he gets them in his kitchen back in the City of Yetis. The dough for the pie was proving beautifully and the sweet sauce was simmering to a thick consistency, awaiting the final flavours of the leeches. The leech shape had to be kept intact during stirring at a mild temperature. The yetis would not approve of a minced, dead version. The texture of the pie was expected to be wriggly and chewy and this would ultimately dictate the superiority of his masterpiece.

Arya led Professor Goat out to the green leafy fields for nourishment whilst she harvested the berry notes. She did it swiftly before the sun heated up the valley again and would become unbearable for a furry yeti. The berry notes were deftly packed in a wicker basket (large enough to fit three goats in it) and tied securely with straps. She heaved the weight gracefully on her back with ease. Her time was up to return home. She bid goodbye to Professor Goat whose companionship in the City of Yeti was most engaging for a young reclusive creature. Professor Goat knew that her boundaries were limited and she had rules to adhere to – to invariably stay out of sight from the homo sapiens for they were troublemakers.

“There will be a time, where and when, I have to walk alone,” Arya spoke her thoughts aloud as she waved goodbye.

“Only, if you are certain, and that it is necessary,” he replied quietly with a little smile.

“It will be necessary.” she paused, “Because it will be a place that I will have to find on my own.”

She uttered her last words softly as she turned her back. Her icy demeanour that she carries is but a veil to hide her innermost thoughts.

Kevin had picked up the 5 corners of the muslin cloth and brought them together in a tight bundle. He knotted the corners and tucked in the edges neatly. The two yetis with their bulging loads retreated toward the back entrance and Kevin closed the opening with a solid boulder.

Where the scent of cinnamon lingered in the adjacent field, Spinosaurus was teaching his 73 pet chickens the technique of spinjitsu for self-defence. “Just in case that abominable yeti appears again!” he convinced his pets. He had also discovered that eating the enchanting spinach instead of the chickens had miraculously taken his art to heightened levels of mastery. Hence the technique of spinach-jitsu came to birth on that very day when Spinosaurus had vowed not to eat chickens again. It turned out that the chickens were naturally adept at learning the art of spin-jitsu for they had mastered the technique wonderfully in their own ways. Spinosaurus spins with his tail to create momentum but the chickens take flight with their wings to achieve an incredible velocity. It helped that Spinosaurus was a dedicated master and the chickens were obedient and compliant students.

The next afternoon, Spinosaurus led them to peck at the fields of enchanting spinach. It didn’t take long for the chickens to elevate their mastery to spinach-jistsu. So here we have, in the heart of the Oh-No Valley, a brood of chickens that could beat the living daylights of a thug or a hooligan or a bandit that would have the misfortune to come their way.

For the first time, the hens and roosters felt empowered, unfettered and liberated. And they adored this foreign feeling. We get the hunch that they would not be happy living their old ways, caged in their cramped coup.

Meanwhile, back in Astam, Spot and Arlo were distressed at losing their friend to a whirlwind. They suspected that anything out of the ordinary would have its origins in the Oh-No Valley. In the hope for clues in search for Spinosaurus, once again, they found themselves reluctantly taking the same route back to Oh-No Valley. Fortunately, luck was on their side because their travels went undisturbed and the leech cloud had dissipated when they finally got there.

From a distance over the hills, they could see chickens leaping up and down in the air, spinning with their wings at incredible speeds and legs stretched out in unison. Spot and Arlo had a good warm feeling about it. They recognised the moves and knew Spinosaurus may have something to do with it.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Imagine Dragons is one of the boys’ fav too! They got me listening to a bunch of their songs, so they had to be in the story somehow.

  2. Oh- No Valley I would like to visit and meet Professor Goat and Arya, to get hold of some of her Berry notes. Your explanation about the constipated clouds is so incredibly interesting. Such amazing sentence in explanation.Rhythm of Demon by Imagine dragon is my favourite artist . Thunder sung by them is my ever favourite. “ Rumbling and Gurgling of the bowels,Spinach Jitsu, plus love to try a piece of the black chewy pie . Your imagination of words referring to the sky, leeches, clouds , and the characters in this Cloud Story Chapter is simply fantastic. Am amazed reading every paragraph more than twice just because your explanation and imagination is truly fantastic. Never a bored moment reading it. Keep going my dear.

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