I just got in!

The tail end of the powerful storm unleashed strong winds that battered our area half an hour ago. Along with it, continuous rains fell, giving us the scare of an all night watch for flooding. Hopefully, the situation would improve before midnight.

I was at the neighbors (again) to check the news. It was a short trip, balancing myself precariously on the slippery one-foot wide pathway between paddy fields to my godson’s house. Because of the rain, there was erratic signal so I decided to forego my viewing and walked home using the longer route which was the safer village road.

There were random vehicles that passed by. It was only eight in the evening but it seemed the road would be deserted even before nine. The wet surface often discouraged motorists: accidents normally occurred during the night and mostly when it rained.

I wore my hooded raincoat just in case rain fell while I was on the way, the boots protected my legs and feet against mud and more importantly from the crawling creatures of the night. Even with a flashlight in my hand, illuminating the road in front of me, I had to be sure I would not accidentally stepped on dangerous objects.

Only a few meters away from the gate, what I was afraid of fell hard. I had to seek shelter in a small shed by the road, primarily used by passengers waiting for a ride.

Something moved in the corner, which I noticed immediately. The grassy portion of the shed was thick with growth so I suspected it was a good hiding place for any animal, that like me, sought cover from being drenched.

If it was a snake, I would have ran at once, no doubt about it. If it was a rodent or a bear cat, I could have stayed and shared the dry place with it. However, once I dismissed all those probables in my head, I was suddenly frightened. What if it was something I had encountered before, something that sowed fear to everyone in the village.

I turned the flashlight toward the commotion, trying to make sure my guess had no basis at all. When I saw the small snout, every hair in my body rose. In a split second, if I made the slightest motion to startle it, a chemical reaction would set off inside its body, producing a sickening odor that would foul the air. To be near ground zero was tantamount to being gassed toward unconsciousness.

Ran, I did, dashing more or less like a sprinter, as quickly as possible away from it. A ten-second distance was enough to escape the sticky smell after it farted.

Soaked wet, panting when I reached my house, my nose concluded that it successfully released its potent countermeasure against predators. I was a hundred meters away but the wind carried the odor to my direction: the stink was suffocating.

I was lucky. If I stayed a little longer, I would have been a sorry victim. To remove the stink from my person, body and clothes, I could have stayed all night, bathing myself with smoke from the burning pile of assorted dry leaves of trees. In some way that would be a minor disaster in itself: where would I find dry leaves after the all day rain?

It was another lesson learned. Perhaps tomorrow I should stay at home. 😀



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