Friday, November 23, 2007

The Mystical Wombat's Guide to Life - excerpt 7

McBee closed his aching eyes and heaved a huge sigh. He tried to get a hold of his mutinous feelings which, at present, were running round in circles inside him, like a crazed bunch of lab rats too delirious to know which direction to head in after someone had released them from their cage. He attempted rounding them up and getting them to account for their current status – with little success – finally resorting to let them dash around for a bit until they’d calmed down sufficiently to be able to hold a constructive conversation with him.

In many ways, he found himself glad to be alive after all. He had the potential for many more years to live – the prospect of which both intrigued and scared the hell out of him. He was still a young-ish man, he reasoned; he had never really known anything other than being a journalist; never married, never ‘settled down’ – whatever that meant. He couldn’t remember the last time he had laughed, been in love, or taken a holiday. All his days had consisted of, year after weary year, was The Oktaban Times – deadlines, leads, exclusives, reports… Indeed, he realised now that he had spent over twenty years of his life writing about other people’s lives, instead of experiencing a life of his own. The paper alone had been his family, his wife, his mistress, his Master – but had never allowed him to be himself.

When Old Sid brought the bowl of steaming broth over to him, McBee found he was just about able to lift his body into an upright seated position. Sid folded up an old bearskin coat and propped it behind McBee’s back as a makeshift pillow. The smouldering broth was lumpy and tasted faintly fishy, but it was something to eat and McBee was surprised to discover how ravenously hungry he was. As he ate, he could feel his body warming and his strength beginning to return.
After he had eaten, he slept - a deep, heavy slumber with few dreams, simply shadowy images moving indeterminably through his subconscious mind.

© Miranda Dickinson 2007

Coming soon... McBee's epic journey begins in earnest...

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