Plugs

Kat Beyer’s Cabal story “A Change In Government” has been nominated for a BSFA award for best short fiction.

Alex Dally MacFarlane’s story “The Devonshire Arms” is available online at Clarkesworld.

Edd Vick’s latest story, “The Corsair and the Lady” may be found in Talebones #37.

David Kopaska-Merkel’s book of humorous noir fiction based on nursery rhymes, Nursery Rhyme Noir 978-09821068-3-9, is sold at the Genre Mall. Other new books include The zSimian Transcript (Cyberwizard Productions) and Brushfires (Sams Dot Publishing).

A Lamu Story

by JeremyT

Once, in Lamu, a small island off the coast of Kenya, I stopped for lunch in a small restaurant near the center of the island. The place was empty, except for a stern looking Islamic man with a grey-streaked beard who I took to be the proprietor. I took a seat, and he joined me in at my table and smiled. “I would like to tell you a story,” he said.

“That would be nice, thank you,” I said. It is not often that strangers approach you and offer such a thing. I was curious.

“When I was a boy, I traveled to a neighboring island as part of a football team. We sailed in three dhows down the coast, for three days. It was a big deal then, to go so far from home. I had never left our island before.”

“On the second night, we beached our boats on a tiny island, not much bigger than my shop, and built a campfire from driftwood. We slept under the stars, and talked about the victory we were sure to have when we arrived the next day.”

“I was the last one awake. The ocean was calm, so when I heard splashing, I knew it wasn’t just waves. I searched for the sound. In the starlight, I could just make out the shape of some thing, large as a man, heaving itself out of the water and onto the beach.”

‘Its shape was like no shape I’ve ever seen. It had eyes in places where eyes should not be. And the breeze brought its smell to me; like a rotting corpse. Yet it moved, like a living thing, towards our camp.”

‘I could not scream, or shout at the sight of it. It paralyzed me. Do you know what happened next?” He smiled at me again, but this time, the smile did not look friendly at all.

“What are you doing here again?” suddenly shouted a young man, beardless, from the door of the kitchen. Before I could utter a word, the old man was up from the table and darting out into the hot street, laughing madly. The young man apologized to me for taking so long in the kitchen, and asked what I would like to have. I had forgotten to read the menu.

“Who was he?” I asked.

“A mad man,” was all he would say on the subject. “A very sick person.” He pretended not to understand any of my further questions. I searched the island for the remainder of my stay, looking for the old man. I needed to hear how his story ended. I never found him. I was left to imagine how such a strange story would end. What troubles me is, have I imagined something worse, or less so, than the truth?

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One Response to “A Lamu Story”

  1. Daniel Says:

    January 2nd, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Great story to start off the year. I enjoyed the insinuation that the storytelling man was the Lamu.