This is a rerun with a few changes for the USA. Have you read it?
A Pointed Fence
A piercing scream cracked the bedroom mirror. The cracks burst into showers of confetti. Larger slivers of glass fired across the room, embedded in the wooden walls. Sandy’s poster of pop idols, Duran Duran, was torn to shreds, The poster was in tatters hanging on the last tack. Simon Le Bon could worry about himself and the band. George had enough to occupy his brain. He panted as he peered in the gloom, firstly at his wife and then at himself. He looked at his arms, feeling his face for cuts and any trace of blood. There was some. Dripping from his chin.
He looked around the room for any other breakages. “Only the glass,” he said to himself.
“Honey, what’s wrong?” asked George, panting, as his fingers now searched his wife’s hands and arms. He found tiny splinters drawing blood from her forearms, he picked them out. She was awake and sucked at the nicks greedily. She then licked his face and neck. Puzzled by her action, she suddenly froze. And then shaking her head she yelled Khmer expletives at him, none he understood. Breathing too fast, the young expectant mother regained her composure. Her chest lifted and fell gently in time with her oxygen intake. She relaxed.
“Where am I?” Sandy said as she looked around the bedroom. Wide-eyed she clutched him to her chest.
“Babe, you are okay, we are at home, in bed, calm down. You are sweating. It must have been a nightmare,” said the shaken young husband. ‘Christ, what dream causes that?’ he thought.
He flicked the bedside lamp on. The moonlit room brightened.
“Look at all that. It was not caused by flying glass, what the… It is blood. What the hell happened?” he asked.
“I, I, I can’t talk…” she coughed up more blood.
“Keep still. What is that?” he asked. He held her shoulders, leaned her back, and pointed to a cord hanging from the corner of her mouth. She coughed again, this time spewing streams of red. The cord remained as if stuck deep in her stomach. The visible end swung limply. She panicked and shook her head like a dog with a slipper. George dabbed her brow with water, trying to calm her. She pushed him away and bend double. Head between her knees, made more difficult by the six-month-old lump wriggling in her belly.
“Let me look,” George said. He held her gently, lifting her chin as he touched the blood-soaked shoelace. Like a boy tugging a worm from its muddy home. He stepped back. Unsure how to tackle it, then more forcefully tugging and pulling. Testing its grip on her insides, hoping it would release its deep grip. It scratched and slid painfully up and out of her throat. Another stream of red vomit soaked her husband, herself, and the bed.
“Got it!” he called, examining the item as a stamp collector sees a Penny Black for the first time. “It is alive,” he said as it curled around his fingers.
George held his prize to the light. “It looks like uncooked bacon rind, a huge one. What the hell have you been eating?”
“Kill it,” she screamed. He crushed it with a heavy vase. Sweeping it all up and slinging the lot into the farmyard bin outside. Upstairs he checked his wife. Sandy rolled on her back and rubbed her unborn baby bump.
At seven AM George left his wife to her troubled sleep in their Nong Bo Village in northern Thailand. A rural place where they are unused to foreigners. The few visitors that make the excursion that far from Bangkok are baffled by the locals and their ways. It was taking George some time to settle. He had worked on his father’s smallholding outside London. Nong Bo was not like anything he had experienced.
He went to check on their livestock. Clucking and grunts accompanied him. Passing the spiky bamboo fence surrounding their property, he wondered. “Why have we got such an ugly and useless fence?”
He quickened his pace to the chicken hut. Sensing something was wrong, he sprinted.
“Oh no,” he wailed.
His prize cockerel was gutted open, spread, and pinned on the fence post. The beautiful comb has gone, along with the rest of the head.
“I loved that bird,” he cried.
The usual pleasure of George’s morning ritual. His early inspection of their farm. Drinking a mug of Nescafe, relaxing before easing into the day’s work, all ruined. He often daydreamed about the night he met the love of his life. Three years before, he had fallen head over heels with a gorgeous and vivacious nightclub hostess. They dated for the rest of his holiday. Then returning to England, they enjoyed a long-distance romance. He proposed via Skype; she left the club; they married at her father’s farm. George bought a farm nearby. They settled and began married life together. She became pregnant. What could be better?
“How are you feeling?” George asked his wife, as she slumped next to him at the table, shattered. Her coffee-colored skin was milkier today, the night had drained her color.
“Yeah, sleepy, at least baby slept well,” Sandy answered as she prepared rice soup for breakfast.
“Hold the breakfast, I think we should go to the doctor? We have an appointment, we don’t want to be late.”
“I need to eat, I am starving,” she said, dipping sticky rice into last night’s leftover curry.
“Do you want to know the baby’s sex yet?” George asked, excited to find out.
“It’s a boy,” she answered bluntly.
George, puzzled by her answer, decided not to question her. That could wait. He also wanted to find out more about his and their neighbor’s fences. That too could wait. His wife’s breakfast could not. He paused in front of his battered old Apple computer screen.
“Come on, Steve Jobs, don’t let me down,” he said. Their electric supply was rarely reliable.
He checked his files. He had copied anything he could on Thailand after his long-distance engagement.
“Thai scary beasts, like the Krasue, fear spikes as they get their entrails tangled! My God, now I’ve heard it all.” He chuckled, not understanding the text.
Once more, he ducked the chance to query things.
“That too can wait,” he said to himself.
“Good morning. Have you come for your check-up?” asked the doctor’s receptionist.
“Yes, we need to ask him something else as well,” said Sandy.
“Your appointment’s booked for a scan and consultation, is that correct?”
“I know, but we need to see him about something else too, if possible?”
The receptionist showed them in.
“Hello, no problem with junior I trust?” said the doctor.
As they explained what had happened the night before. The doctor looked increasingly worried. Changing the subject, he stated, “The baby’s heartbeat is strong, the scan is fine. You have nothing to worry about regarding the baby. I can see if it is a boy or girl, do you want to see?”
“It is a boy,” said Sandy.
“Yes, how are you so sure,” he asked.
Sandy just smiled.
George asked, “What about the blood last night?”
“I can’t see where it came from. You both have small glass cuts, but no cuts in her mouth or throat. Any stomach pain?”
“None, doc,” answered Sandy.
“I don’t suppose you kept any of the blood, or the curious thread?” asked the doctor.
“No, we cleaned up and threw away the other thing,” answered George.
“I’ll run some tests, roll up your sleeve, please,” the doctor said. He smiled and nodded at them both.
“Fantastic, a son,” said George as they walked back to their truck.
“Yes,” said an unsmiling Sandy.
George studied her blank face, riveted straight ahead. He decided not to ask what was worrying her. They bumped along the track to their home.
“Hungry?” she asked solemnly.
“What is the problem? I thought you would be happy, you haven’t even phoned your dad to tell him.”
“You couldn’t understand.” She stormed inside, leaving her husband to check the remaining chickens.
“Your lunch is on the table, I’m going for a nap,” she called from the stairs.
George was used to the fiery, sometimes weird North-Eastern food. But they had never served him live maggots.
“What the hell is this?”
Insulted, he stormed up the stairs.
“Don’t pretend you are asleep, you’ve only just got into bed,” he said as he shook her.
Her eyes opened wide, staring sightlessly. The baby bulge moved, rocking from side to side.
Shocked, he forgot his anger.
“What’s the matter?” he yelled, placing the back of his hand on her forehead. “Christ, you are burning up.”
He patted his pockets, “Where is it?” panicked he hunted for his handkerchief, unsure who needed it most.
“Did you enjoy your lunch?” she asked brightly.
Her calmness stunned him for a minute before he could speak.
“Are you sure you are okay?” he asked again, feeling her temperature.
“Yeah, I’m fine. How long did I sleep? I’d better get on with the housework.”
She leaped from the bed and sauntered downstairs.
“Oh, you haven’t touched your ‘larb’?”
Larb was one of her dishes he loved. Her minced pork was not hot enough to burn the hairs off his chest, unlike the local restaurants.
“No, it was…” he looked over her shoulder at his lunch.
“I thought you like the way I prepare that dish?”
“I do, but it had… Never mind.”
Not seeing any maggots, he played with the dish before pushing it to one side.
“The chicks were fine, I’ll check on the pigs now,” he said, hopping out the back door.
“You wanted to know about our fences?” she asked.
“Yes, true, but how did you know?”
“If you don’t like them, rip them down,” she said. Her grin unnerved him. He wasn’t sure why?
Outside, he sensed something was wrong. The pigs were unusually quiet. He quickened his pace. Speechless, as he approached the mess nailed to the gatepost. Once a boar, now a blood-coated carcass of rotten and stinking pork. Flies buzzed in a cloud. The prized father of dozens of piglets pinned on its back, slit from throat to the anus. The guts were missing from the fetid bulk.
“Call the police, somebody has killed Arsene, our boar!”
“Don’t worry, dear, these things happen,” she said, beaming. The police were not summoned, and neither was anybody else. He fumed, wishing he spent more time learning the local dialect.
That evening, eating on their patio, George decided the time was right to get some answers.
“You seem different. Have I upset you?” he asked.
“No dear, you are perfect.”
“Is something wrong with the baby?”
“No dear, everything is fine,” answered Sandy.
“Did you mean what you said about the fence?”
She turned glaring, her face pumped red. “Yes, when I say something, I mean it. Get rid of the damn thing.”
“Um, okay,” he stammered.
Instantly her mood changed, “Would you like some mango?” she asked sweetly.
The next morning, George set about ripping down the ugly, pointless fence he hated. Pointless, as it does no useful purpose, but not pointless, as it offers nothing but points. He chuckled to himself at his limp joke. He lost his concentration.
“Shit, shit, shit!” screamed George as thorns embedded themselves in his thigh.
Limping back to the house, Sandy hid her mouth as she beamed. Licking her lips.
“Oh, darling, what has happened?” she asked.
“It is pretty obvious, isn’t it?”
She sat him down, gently pulling the points one by one from his leg.
“Steady, that hurts,” wailed George.
She smiled, putting the splinters aside. She sucked on the wound, loudly, like a child with her first lolly.
“What the hell are you doing?” asked George.
Between slurps, she answered, “Traditional Thai healing.” She licked her lips, making sure not a drop was wasted.
A battered Honda motorcycle rumbled up to the house. An aging man jumped off, fuming.
“Now, what are you doing? First, you marry a foreigner. Now you’re removing protection for the entire village.” Bellowed Sandy’s elderly father in the Khmer language.
He threw his half-smoked roll-up cigarette to the ground, “Get it fixed!”
“What did your dad want?” asked George. “He didn’t seem happy, did you tell him it’s a boy?”
“He was checking how the baby is, and explained how delighted the family has another male,” she lied sweetly.
The sun dipped below the horizon. George limped, scratching his cuts as he lit a fire and burned the fence remains. The dried wood crackled with some dried leaves he had swept up. Sandy took a mug of coffee out to him.
“Thanks, babe,” he said as he raised his arm pointing, “Can you see the lights near our entrance?”
“Yes, it is my father and other villagers.”
“How can you see them, I only see movement and dull lights?”
“I’ve been eating my carrots,” she laughed.
“What do they want, why don’t they come in?”
“I’ll find out, you stay there,” she said as she started walking the long driveway.
George went back to his raking. A car’s horn sounded as a vehicle turned into their entrance. It stopped near the fire but kept the engine running.
“Oh, it’s you, doc. Any problem?” asked George.
“The villagers have been calling me, they want me to talk with you about your fence.”
“Yes, they worry there is a Krasue nearby,” said the doctor.
“A what? I thought that was a joke. Like our Vampire, just a story.”
“Where must I start?” queried the doctor.
“Do you want to come in, and have a drink?” asked George.
“Oh no, thanks. I won’t be too long.”
“Okay, tell me.”
“There is a belief around these parts. Not only here but also in Lao, Cambodia, throughout Thailand, and down into Malaysia. Usually, but not always, a female spirit leaves her body and searches for another place to live. She or it, needs blood, rotting flesh, or intestines to survive on,” said the doctor rushing his words. He was sweating and edged toward his car.
“I read something in one of my mags. Do you mean like a vampire, surely not? Or is it a female werewolf?” He stifled a laugh. The doctor did not find it funny.
“But vampires are good-looking,” he chuckled more confidently as he rabbited on.
The doctor couldn’t force a smile. “A Krasue is its head and entrails, it floats around farms and scrubland.”
“You have to be joking? How can an intelligent man like yourself believe that tosh?” asked George.
“I didn’t say I believe it, but all these folk does. They want you to replace the spiked fence. You must replace the old one. As it was!”
“Is that what all the fuss is about? Okay, I can make another.”
“Great, that’s all I wanted to hear,” the doctor stammered.
“Come in and have a beer, I’d love to find out more.”
“No, no thanks, I must go.”
The doctor upped his pace as he rushed away; he clambered into his car. Driving away too fast, he clipped the hedge as he skidded past the villagers.
“I can show him the fence tomorrow,” George thought. “What was the rush?”
“Is your dad coming in?” George asked as his wife returned.
“No, they all have a few bottles of home-brew waiting. Talking of which, do you want a cold one?”
“Yes please, join me on the patio. Let’s talk about baby names.”
“Yeah, okay, do you have any ideas?”
“Not really, there are a couple of male names that keep cropping up in my family, but they are old-fashioned. Why not have a Thai name?”
“Why not have both?” she said.
She placed a second beer in front of him, smiling and cool.
Then George ruined the mood. Her face turned grayer with every word. “Oh, I forgot to tell you, I was talking to the doctor, and agreed to replace the fence.”
She spilled the beer, no longer calm, Sandy went to bed without a word.
George lifted the bottle and drained the remains. He searched the fridge until he grabbed the last bottle. Sitting alone, he thought about his day, life, and the future. His family’s future.
Creeping up the stairs, he peered in at his sleeping wife. Sliding under the sheet next to her, he turned to his side facing the door. Sleep would not come. Tossing and twitching he then lay on his back sweating. Moonlight illuminated the room.
He sensed a breath on his face.
Opening his eyes he stammered, “What… How…”
His ashen wife floated inches above him. Her mouth opened, and her pointed teeth flashed, “Shh…”
He tumbled out to the floor, banging his head against a cupboard.
“Quiet, I’m trying to sleep,” said Sandy.
George sat up, rubbed his bruise, and looked around. Clambering back into bed he suffered a fitful sleep.
Breakfast was quiet, George had questions he dare not ask. And Sandy was sluggish through a lack of sleep.
The chicks and pigs were oddly quiet as he left the house.
“What? There are no eggs,” said George to himself, as he went to the pigpen.
They had nailed ten of their piglets to the wooden door. Slit like the boar, their entrails dragged in the mud.
He rushed to the kitchen, “Come quick.”
“Are they male?” she asked.
“Are what male? Do you mean pigs? I didn’t look. Why?”
Sandy helped her husband clean up the tiny bodies and prepared them, ready to offer the meat to a local butcher.
“While we’re in town, I want to see the doctor,” said George, as they delivered the package.
“He’s busy all day,” said Sandy.
“Really? How do you know? If so, I’ll try tomorrow,” he said.
“What’s so urgent about seeing the doc?”
“Nothing much, something he said about our fence.”
“Forget the fucking fence,” she glared before turning around.
“It’s unlike you to swear. What’s wrong?” asked George.
“Nothing darling,” she said sweetly. “Let’s go home.”
George shook his head and put his arm halting her. ”I want to know who is killing our livestock. I need you to translate for me,” said George.
“Why waste your, or should I say our time? No one will tell tales on their neighbors.”
“I have got to try. I need to show them I mean business, otherwise we’ll have no farm.”
Grunting, she nodded, “Okay, let’s go.”
As they reached the first farm, people scuttled inside the house. Slamming doors and closing windows.
“It must be them, look they are so scared. They won’t even talk to us,” said George.
“Right, let’s go home,” smiled Sandy.
“No, I’m going to the police.”
The police station was a two-man hut constructed on the main road’s junction. Pulling up, Sandy stayed in her seat.
“Come on, I need you to help. I don’t suppose they speak English, do you?” he said, temper rising.
Slowly, she walked to the sliding glass of the office. Two officers’ feet up on the shared desk looked at them wide-eyed.
George opened his mouth to speak as the officers sprang from their seats and stood behind the chairs.
Puzzled, he continued in English, “We’ve had problems with our neighbors. I need you guys to tell them to stop killing my animals.”
The men remained rooted and speechless. Sandy stared at them. The men looked around them, wishing they had an escape route behind them. The only door was between themselves and their visitors.
Sandy moved towards the door, the police crouched, quaking.
“Come on, you’ve scared them. They must have heard about an aggressive Englishman.” Laughing she strode back to the truck.
“What was all that about? Did they think I would hurt them?” he asked, puffing out his chest.
“Yes, dear, you can intimidate sometimes, you know?” said Sandy, grinning behind her hands.
Proudly, George drove home expecting an end to the killings.
Back at the farm, George searched for tools, a saw, a hammer, and some nails.
“What are you doing,” asked Sandy.
“I’m repairing the fence I tore down. I promised the doctor.”
“I thought it was clear, I don’t want the FENCE,” she screamed.
George returned his tools to their chest. Puzzled by his wife’s fury.
“Would you like a coffee, darling,” Sandy said sweetly.
“Is the pregnancy getting too much for you?” asked George, now puzzled by her change.
“No dear, I’m fine, enjoying thinking about our son.”
There were still no eggs for George to collect. Head bowed he trudged through the back door.
“How about an early night?” Sandy breathed deeply and touched him where he liked it. Arm in arm they went upstairs.
The clock ticked to one AM. The baby moved uncomfortably for its mom. Salty moisture ran into her eyes, sweat dripped from her nose. The baby jumped inside, its tiny hands and feet searched for an escape, poking and kicking. Sandy rolled to her side, easing the pain. But not for long.
George slept unaware.
On her back again, readjusting her bulge, her eyes rolled up into her head. She straightened her limbs. Relaxed. She was now gently floating above the bed. Inch by inch she rose, enjoying the feeling.
She turned again, this time at pace, spinning face down, she floated lower to a few inches above the sheets. Moving up and across, she was now nose to nose with George, not touching, but there.
His eyes opened, and the rest of his body stuck like icicles in place. Staring eye to eye, as if in a schoolboy competition, who could last longer. This was no fun game. He wet himself.
She floated lower still. Now, drifting towards the foot of the bed. His eyes followed her until she reached his groin, he could watch no longer, forcing his eyes closed. Praying this was a dream. Her nose twitched. He sensed her movement, but not daring to open his eyes again until her fetid breath invaded his nose. Quaking, his eyes flicked open, and he saw she was eye to eye with him again. Hers were empty, empty of empathy, empty of color. Clear glass marbles watched him, before floating down once more. Only a few inches this time, she slowed and stopped at his Adam’s apple.
“Please be a dream,” he wished.
Her mouth opened, revealing rows of pointed teeth. He knew it was no dream as the first bite clamped his throat.
Tearing, ripping, and chewing, he was dead. She was ravenous, taking clump after clump of his throat, opening up to her goal, his intestines. His skin peeled back, the more blood spilled the more she sucked and lapped like a ravenous tiger.
The gorge continued until she was sated. His stomach, intestines, and tendons had gone. She drifted into a seated position next to her husband’s still twitching body.
Looking at him, she smiled and rested, knowing her task was unfinished. She waited less than a minute.
She was calm and precise as she drew a fingernail sharply across her bulge. “You are next, my baby son.” She roared, “We didn’t even give you a name.” The cackle rattled the glass. The windows burst outwards. The mirror lovingly mended by George sprinkled like rain. She roared into the night’s darkness.
Her talon-like nails opened her belly, spreading flaps of skin and fat. She lifted the boy out. She clamped her needle-like teeth down on the still attached baby. Leaving nothing but a skull and a few bones.
The Krasue floated out of the open window and swept across the gap of missing fencing.
“I told him not to fix it!” she sniggered. Birds flew to their nests, and animals cringed to corners of their shelters.
Howling into the night sky, it echoed across rice fields, waking terrified farmers hugging blankets close. She flew on, round and round, across farm and rice paddy. Then came a forest.
She found a new home, high in a Pinus Kesiya tree. Settling comfortably on a branch until she needed her next feast.
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