Exile from Meager Mews
Forgive me my neglect in the disclosure of my identity
and my current whereabouts, but I lead an altogether different life than the one I am about to illustrate; and, perhaps, more out of suspicion than danger on my part I have taken a somewhat more cautious approach to life.
The trials of my aforesaid disposition were brought about by an event having little to nothing to do with my actions, I am told, but, as you shall come to know in the recounting of the events, I cannot help but beg to differ. On the twenty-fourth of September of this year, a quaint but time-honored village called Meager Mews became the latest address of a progressing wave of felonious exploits creeping into smaller, less defensive settlements in and around our capital.
Meager Mews, now a village of several hundred citizens, was named so because the village was once the home of many would-be trained falcons, vultures and other bird of prey who, having taken a somewhat violent revenge upon their captors, left their bamboo cages in the very midst of their molting process which, with the meagerness of their wings, provided them a harrowing effect upon their vengeful appearance. Since that day, many years previous, our village has been one of noiseless civility. That is until this rapid deterioration of equanimity stole, from the nether regions of urbanity, into our sleepy hamlet.
Forgive me, only once more, as I transgress within my narrative from one who considers himself still a resident of the Mews to one who is now the resident of nowhere, for I am of my current surroundings only in body and remain, not in memory of my former dwellings.
Returning to the subject the histories and peoples of the Mews, I admit that the title of our homestead could very well be attributed to the sparsity of our sustainable resources, for aside from the honeycomb from a particularly ill-tempered insect, we live solely by the charity of the earth; and have always regarded fortune as the sole authority to have nestled us between a vast stretch of bush country and a hill that conceals us from the nearest township called Ouddwa, which roughly translates to Outlaw. And if one believes the name of a village or township were better expressive of its inhabitants than that of Ouddwa then I beg you sally forward into the less hospitable terrain of this tale and determine whether there be a more fitting title.
It happened four and half weeks ago today, when the sun was at its highest and I happened to be about two miles south of our hut chopping the Umbrella Thorn tree for wood for the stove and the fire before the hearth (nights are cold in Meager Mews and the bones of our humble home-made of thatch and wood-were slow at rattling off the chill.)
My wife of seven years named Lyliance, whom I married on her thirteenth birthday, had a fully domesticated bringing up, and proffered a handsome dowry of foreign household items procured from her now deceased mother and father who, I learned, never let their only daughter roam beyond the sightline of their home in the Mews. We ran a productive yet uneventful abode, but I believe the change was more than welcome when, five years later, Lyliance bore me a colorless but sprightly boy with a striking resemblance to myself.
Jeremy (whom I named after my late father) was age two and with Lyliance in the hut on the day it happened. Most women and their young brood stayed within doors in Meager Mews especially as of late, even at the height of day. I had bolted the lock from the inside out as my dutiful "housebride" (as they are affectionately known in our clan) had no need to leave our home-for it was well provided for as it always is come the end of summer after I have spent the season gathering olives, gourds, roots, leaves and spices for drying and preparing for the autumnal months, and then for the winter blight. And on days when I worked near by, drawing up water from the our well or seeking out the medicine doctor (who lived several huts away) for my son's persistent colic, I could hear her call for me from within the hut by creating a kind of funnel with her free hand which is placed over the mouth while expelling a firm hooting sound that was believed to derive from a distress call indigenous to ancestors of the village. Though, due to the lack of any urgent occasion, aside from the rare skirmish between young siblings, the call is mostly employed by new, impatient housebrides too involved in the daily chores of motherhood to go about seeking the master of the hut (in the case of Lyliance, the call was usually meant to indicate that the preparations for that evening's meal had been made complete.)
But on that fateful afternoon I was far into the bush-land gathering a particularly enduring breed of squash and unable to hear the hooting call which shall long, I suspect, haunt me. They surrounded the hut quietly, I was told, and could only be heard at the moment they burgled into our home. It was, according to the detective's findings, a gang of four from the East, whose method of entry, in accordance with previous crimes of this nature, usually consisted of ambushing their intended victims after a few days of staking out in the darkened bush just across the front sward while calculating the master's comings and goings so as to know when to strike. The thought of those ruffians having watched us-having spied my unwitting wife with my boy at her bosom as she stood behind the threshold of the doorway biding me farewell on my daily journey, makes the assault all the more offensive. I should think that only the most vile of species with the capability to bear such cold, nocturnal temperatures could stoop to such indignity of action-though that is neither here nor there as I am still in a state of open-woundedness and speak with an angry tongue; but I shall henceforth continue this article as objectively as possible. After all, I am told it is in their blood to behave in such a manner for the years of subjugation put upon them by the hitherto "sovereign race," and I had harbored no fault against them-that is until this heinous injustice befell our humble home.
After that incident, and when he gathered enough evidence to reach an educated conclusion, the investigator took a sympathetic yet reticent tone while divulging to me the details of the events (which I shall relay soon enough), and he only persisted in going further because I insisted. Let it be known, perhaps for the purpose of self-preservation, that I did not bid him continue in the gruesome details for some morbid interest but, I suppose, by remaining in ignorance of the tragedy I seem to beget a kind of self-flagellating guilt, which, I am told, is a common occurrence for widowers in my disposition who believe themselves, no matter how illogical the implication, the sole bearer of fault. But Detective White-that is name of the chief investigator in the case, explained that there was little I could have done to protect my Lyliance and little Jeremy, and would, very likely, have been taken or killed instantly had I placed myself as an obstacle between the housebreakers and their disgraceful intent-for they are clever thieves we are up against, forces who grow in numbers by the day and move further in on and around our civil hamlets, forcing us to seek refuge in greener pastures, as it were, far from the hostility of their townships. But I digress. Det. White, who had been minutely aware of the blatant criminal escalation moving toward our village, took an immeasurable amount of time making observations of the window and the doorway in which the four assailants disabled before entering, concluding that a forced entry was evident; and, after years of studying crimes of this nature, predetermined the visible signs of whatever tool was used in the breaking-in of our home. In this case, the culprits used the head of a spear to pry open the side window while another used a rather primitively made hatchet to wheedle off the rusty hasp on the front entryway. One abductor kept watch outside the front of the hut while the other three, wielding spears and poisoned darts, held my dear wife, still wearing her morning apron, while my son sat at his morning meal and must have, quite conceivably, been made to watch.
All of them, including the lookout, were very likely dressed in a kind of camouflage uniform, and left visible footprints that the detective recognized from other cases as being one of a certain variety of boot sold only in a poverty stricken enclave within Ouddwa called Soulsdale. The boot-prints circled the table where Lyliance conducted her chores. She called out, an elderly neighbor who claimed to see nothing admitted, but was muffled soon after her distress call. The apes-for they are presumed as the most probable owner of the strands of black and silver fur and spittle dropped about the hut-held her down and stripped her of her apron, her house dress and her under garments to put a value on her flesh and body parts while little Jeremy cried on. Soon after, according to my neighbor's account of what she heard (for she is old and beset by a loss of hearing and memory) the cries from my son were too cut short. The fact that they were not taken to their deaths in the hut (as I had rather hastily believed) is no longer a questionable verdict says White, since the abductors would have done their utmost to keep their victims as free from physical injury so as to preserve the value of their intended "trade." The only humane ingredient I can construe from the barbarity of their crime is that the apes, identified as "great apes" or "gorillas," utilized a kind of potion to induce sleep on both my wife and son thereby inadvertently protecting them from the terror of being forced into a fibrous sac made of a material that appeared to be from a species relative to the DNA left by my own wife and son's in the course of the struggle. Microscopic findings sent to be tested a few hundred miles from the Ouddwa suggests that the skin found on the tuft of black and silver hair was that of my wife's who may have tried to come between an abductor and my son, and in doing so, tore at the offending thief and thereby leaving behind the most crucial evidence in identifying the attackers.
Once a value was put on my wife and son's bodies, and with the potency of the tranquilizer injected into them, the clan was afforded a reasonable amount of time to contain their bodies into the sac, procure what little valuables I had harbored over my years and, after exiting the premises, stealthily make their way into the bush-land where awaiting them was an escape vehicle. And though the entirety of the heist was seemingly of a protracted amount of time, it was executed in a brazen but timely matter of minutes.
Weeks after the initial investigation, Det. White said reports came to him from simian informants that locks of blond hair were being sold at the Ouddwa outdoors market-Ouddwa being the likely headquarters of the anthropoid clan. The hair of my wife and son, he informed me, will be used in the making of ladies quilts along with silk and other worthy weaving materials. He also tells me it has been rumored that the skeletal frame of a young boy was seeking the highest bidder-one of which was the newly established University for Human Research just outside Ouddwa and acknowledged to be primarily simian run and owned. He also went on to explain, though reluctantly, that every part of Lyliance and Jeremy's corpses will likely be carefully separated and chemically conserved for auction. Here I caution the faint of heart, as the detective did I, for the details I am about to impart are all based on facts but are as grim and un-fathomable as could be. My wife and son's teeth will be sold to that growing militant force known as the Simian National Army whose uniform requires toggles fashioned from nothing less than the fang of the mortal man; their flesh will be removed from their bones and sold as meat; and their fingernails and toenails will be fashioned into simian ladies earrings. As for their organs, such as their intestines and kidneys, they will be (or rather have been I should say) extracted, cured and utilized for household purposes such as napkin rings and luxury slipcovers; their bodily fluids for medicine. I have also heard, from a neighboring widower in the Mews who lost a daughter in a similar fashion, that the well-to-do primate women, as well some men of vanity, utilize an anti-aging elixir made up of moth's thorax which contains the heart of the insect thereby making it the most valuable, canine bile (on the primatial food chain the canine registers as the lowest) and the ground up bones of young human corpses. This, we suspect, may be why the assailants chose our household despite the fact that it would have been less of a risk to burgle the house of our dear neighbor, widow Livelyweather, who it was had heard the last cries of my wife and child. For the younger the human the more the elixir is considered of worth. But the trend, as all pricy luxuries tend to do, has rapidly trickled down to the masses and the average working class primate can now buy a watered down version of the potion at their local medicine-store for only a few coins a bottle, which suits a market of young bloods who begin utilizing the elixir as early as twelve years of age.
I am told not to think on such horrors; and have been advised to move out of the hut, which I first began to build at the age of twenty-five and had since lived peacefully within both alone for several years and with my housebride, Lyliance, who believed herself to be with my second child when she and my two year old son were taken.
But sometimes, especially nights when sleep is impossible due to hateful ruminations, and for being in such foreign lands such as I am now, I think on the evening I came home to find my house burgled and ransacked as though it were a mere dissembled playtoy, to find my meager savings gone and my wife and two children rendered down to nothing-to two bottles of anti-aging elixir which will be sold on the market for a mere four coins a piece. On the nights I am allowed sleep, it seems I am taken as close to death as one mortal possibly can without crossing to the other side; and in my dream state I am back in Meager Mews following the narrow trail that leads from the shadowy bush-land up to our humble hut; but, not long into the dream, I am torn from that cool portal into the nether world by the terror of my wife's distress call, which increases and seems to reach me not from dream but from somewhere outside myself, from somewhere beyond the intangible, from within the room it seems. In the dream I pass the vehicle where my wife and child are stowed as it furthers into the bush and, as though through some hollowed vessel, I begin to hear Lyliance's voice-calling, calling. I unhand my sac of earthly food-things and rush towards the hut but I cannot, for the life of me, remove the hasp from the front door, and when I am allowed to enter I find I have woken up, and my wife's call fades as though in an echo upon the walls of this makeshift, and much more contemporary living quarters from which I am writing this article.
Yes, I have found a new village, and though it is further into the sylvan bush country, it has only recently been inhabited by those seeking refuge from the overtaxed and increasingly vulnerable way of life familiar to older villages such as the Mews and that from which my ancestors came called Slaugtherhill-known for an equally befitting history as my former homestead. But in these new accommodations, I have acclimated to a less guileless existence and, by the sheer nature of my inhospitable settings, am often given to bouts of cogitation concerning those four primates who banished me from my former life (Det. White has come close to identifying them but feels that pursuing the case would further put my life, as well those left in Meager Mews, in danger) and of what I would do if such an occasion where I could avenge my family arouse; and I wonder if I would. On days when the anger of the indignity overtakes me, I turn pale with vindictive thoughts and think on purchasing a gun. I envision myself venturing into primate territory, gun in hand, breaking into their place of residence or operation and placing a bullet in the skulls of each one of those four bandits; of taking their wives and children out of spite and making household furnishings, clothing, food and potions of vanity of them all as well! But then, after a long period of ruminating darkly on those varying, yet harrowing scenes, and once my fury has subsided to grief, I think, 'No, perhaps, I wouldn't harm a hair on their intolerable skin, for to do so would make me as base as them.'
Editor's Note: Since the publication of this article, widow Livelyweather, the neighbor questioned in the investigation, was taken from her home in Meager Mews. Though authorities initially believed her disappearance to be in consequence to the publication of this article, investigators following the case suggest that the primate community would have benefited little from her kidnapping; and that a brood of wildebeests are the prime suspects. For it is a well-documented fact that the wildebeest community celebrate their high holy day with a traditional feast of roasted aged human-the aged female being the most venerable of meals.