The dark of night renders the bridal trail unsafe for a lone walker like me. There are things – dangerous, malevolent beasts – hiding in the grassy verges, watching, waiting, ready to pounce.
I am not making this up.
There are creatures here that can slither half way up a man’s leg before he realises what has happened. They can wrap around a man’s throat before he has a chance to scream.
The full moon, gravid mother of light that she is, only makes things worse. The teaspoon of warm milk she stirs into the black-coffee night deepens shadows and gives life to inanimate objects. By her light I see a snake in a nearby tree, its tail wound in voluptuous coils around a horizontal branch, its mouth bent to the ear of Eve. That snake is woman masquerading as man; its sibilant whisper tells Eve of life without Adam, sex without sex, power without machismo.
The snake turns her cold eyes upon me, and, with a flick of her forked tongue, steals my strength. I try to run but my enervated legs fail me. I am in a nightmare: I am all action and no motion. The sweat rolling down the bony riverbed of my spine is like the touch of a dead man’s finger.
I beg my legs to take me away from that vile place – away from the snake and her sandpaper syllables. I move, slowly at first, but gather momentum as I go. I run as if pursued. I dare not look back until the lights of my home are before me. Then, when I do look back, there is nothing there but the bridal trail and the macchiato night.
I run panting through the backdoor, dazzled by the artificial light, glad to be safe within my own home.
My wife enters the room and asks, “How was your walk?” I keep her in the corner of my eye and make my way towards the shower.