If Looks Could Kill – SHORT STORY

guylain doyle getty image staring indian

COCOA-SKINNED LOCALS watched me, flat lipped and glistening eyes, perched on the edges of their open plan huts. My translator was discussing something with an elder twenty feet away, wrapped in loose clothing cataracts forming the centre piece for wrinkled skin. The old man waved his crude walking stick, his voice raised, my translator who went by the moniker Michael, looked back at me grave faced.

Standing with my backpack pulling on my shoulders, I waited on the perimeter of the huts, smiling at anyone who caught my eye only to be met by sombre expressions. Even the children had mastered it already. The elder wagged his finger at Michael who returned head down, stumbling in his flip flops, walking straight towards me, stopping abruptly.

“We must leave! Come, come!” Michael pulled my arm, directing me back to the only path out. “The village elder says we must not go to Peliqa Da..” walking past the huts he spoke in quiet notes, although I doubted any villagers spoke English. “He says we will die.” Michael gauged me for reaction.

Frowning, I looked at him, all five foot, a native of the valley thousands of feet below. “Are they cannibals?”

“No! Nothing like that.” We were passed the huts now, venturing back down the narrow mud path surrounded by rich green foliage. “My friend, I can see you want to go. The old man does not lie. The people of Peliqa Da, there is a myth…but no myth! A people who can kill just by looking at you.”

I stopped immediately, pulling a face. “Is that right?”

Michael looked at me, sinking a bit in the mud, his eyes as serious as I’d seen. “If you are going I leave now.”

I dug into my backpack and fished out some dollar bills, counting them, adding one more for Michael’s hard work. “Here.”

He took them slowly eyes still affixed on mine as if compelling me not to go. “Thank you sir.” Pressing his hands together he bowed then turned, meandering along the path around sepia puddles.

I pulled my map out, scanning for my current location. Peliqa Da was not on it, but given the terrain, it could only lie beyond Canto, itself flanked by steep jungle hillsides.

Skirting around the edges of Canto using trees and giant ferns for cover, I hoped to avoid detection. I was nearly past the last huts when a small girl stood by herself pointing at me.

Beyond Canto I felt relieved, although I could have used a machete or stick on the faint trail that had fresh grasses sprouting. I couldn’t be sure how far I walked, but over two hours later I heard voices. Pushing through some trees I found myself on the edge of a small village much like Canto.

As soon as I appeared a dozen people jumped up, jabbering and looking at me. I waved. They all startled and ran for their huts, huddling next to each other.

I walked on into the muddy square, looking around, smiling, having finally made it to the mysterious Peliqa Da, laughing inwardly at Michael.

I lifted my sun glasses off, and rested the backpack on the ground. What’s everyone so scared of? Four locals appeared, advancing toward me, staring, like a box closing in. Then I felt it. My juddering heartbeat, like a stalling engine, my left side entering paralysis, the sick feeling I recognised from First Aid training as I struggled to breathe, sweating, gasping…I closed eyelids, crumpling to the dirt. Too late.

 

lion around 2

26 thoughts on “If Looks Could Kill – SHORT STORY

  1. Great from start to end. Do you often kill off your characters? I think some writers are afraid to do that. In your writing you appear willing to move out of comfort zones.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks man.
      I never really think about it tbh.
      I think in a short story format, there’s not so much of a character to kill anyway, but I don’t mind ending the protagonist if the story calls for it.
      In longer stories I guess I don’t do it nearly as much.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, of course not. It was a good read.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Liked the story, but agree with AJ above…would have liked a little more. Does your longer stories recieve less likes and comments, Lion?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I can see that, I might come back to it and flesh it out.
      As for long stories, they always receive way fewer comments and likes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My poetry is what I receive the most likes and comments on, but for me, it’s just a sideline. Prose is my number one love; I’m first and foremost a storyteller. I think there are a lot more poets on WordPress than fiction writers, hence more comments and likes on my poetry.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thats certainly true. I’m much the same. Ocassionally I’ll drop a poem, but I prefer a full story. Also poems are shorter πŸ™‚ take less time to read, so I think that naturally fits in with the internet mentality and blogging game.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice and intense. Once in a while, you just gotta kill a protagonist. Just to show that it really is an option from time to time… πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I dont mind killing any character as long as it makes sense. The arrogant white foreigner was doomed from the start in this.

      Like

  4. The soul is in the eyes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It definitely is. Those villagers can extract it! πŸ˜‰

      Like

  5. Chilling! This would make a good novel.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good ending there. I liked the impassiveness of the locals at the start.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you.
      I wanted to make it longer, add more detail etc but through the constriction of WP kept it short.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a shame, I reckon it would have really benefited from being slightly longer. Oh well, it was still a great little read. Nice work!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Cheers man! Might extend it and put it in a short story collection.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. No problem! Cool, I’d love to read that if it happens!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. That was murder! Were they cannibals? 😨😨

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, but I think they arent fond of arrogant white Westerners waltzing in πŸ™‚ Thats the idea anyway.
      Thanks for the eyes πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Always a pleasure for me….. and my eyes! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you.
        Btw if you want a critique, let me know which piece and i’ll do my best. Better going with a short story instead of poetry which isnt really a forte of mine.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. In that case, I would love to know about Balloon girl. Shall I mail it to you? πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Sure! It better not be 150000000 words long πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Hahaha! It wouldn’t be. I guess that would be a series kind. Does a single novel/book have so many words?? 😨

        Liked by 1 person

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