Strange Places & Strange Faces

Our travel correspondent Skeeby Richmond left Digestive Press HQ three weeks ago with nothing but a rucksack full of clothes and his lucky tin of baked beans, a family heirloom dating back to the sixties.  Now he posts his first report from his journeys through far away, unknown places. 

A LIBRARY IN THE WILDERNESS

Hello Digestive Press.  I am somewhat lucky to be here to write you this report at all as a few days ago I thought that I was a goner.  I was walking through a wilderness that, as far as I knew, had no name.  At least, there was no one around to tell me.  I call it a wilderness because it was completely deserted and yet it was full of streets and houses, all showing no signs of life – no lights, no people, nothing.  It was getting late and the strangely shaped clouds in the sky showed up dark grey on grey.  There were sinister towering shapes forming in the cloud – a rabid squirrel to my left, a vicious knife and fork to my right.  These were intricate cloud patterns, so much more detailed than those back home and I was busy studying them with a mixture of admiration and petrification when I heard footsteps behind me.  They did not sound friendly.  I ran down the empty, rotting streets too scared to look back and eventually found sanctuary in a library where I hid behind the counter and watched as the being who had stalked me entered.

He appeared to be human, albeit with somewhat bovine features and moved slowly as though he were formed from rock and began searching the library for me.  He was surprisingly careful with the books and as it took him so long to make his way round the building this gave me chance to keep moving and avoid him.  Finally he had made his way around the library and, not finding any trace of me, left.  I decided to stay in the library for the night and, as I did not want to fall asleep in such a perilous place, spent several hours reading Mills & Boon novels by torchlight.  I kept my lucky tin of beans next to me throughout the night and emerged in the morning unscathed and uninterrupted having enjoyed my brief flirtation with danger and feeling full of the romance of travel.  I left the urban wilderness without seeing another soul.

THE LEG CLIFFS

I am writing to you now having just awoken in my bunk under the tongue of a boot at the spectacular leg cliffs.  I spent yesterday hiking through overgrown carpet to the rubber sole cliff face at the bottom of the left trouser leg, badly in need of sleep.  The walk was flat and uninteresting but the views of the cliffs as I approached were something else.  When I reached the rubber sole I found hundreds of people milling about at the bottom of the cliff, enjoying the sun and watching the more adventurous travellers scale the dauntingly huge rubber cliff.  One or two climbers had even made their way to the shoe top and were now proceeding to try to climb the folds of trouser.  This was a sure-fire suicide mission, the trouser cliffs standing so tall that surely climbing them was impossible.  There was nothing there for you when you reached the top either – some claimed that you could see the knee on a good day but I, for one, do not believe that it is possible.  On top of the sheer enormity of the trouser cliffs they are also incredibly smooth and move in the breeze.  Those attempting the climb did not seem to be making much ground, just clinging on as they swayed in the folds.

I was certainly not going to attempt the trousers but I did want to conquer the rubber sole and so I set off, slowly making my way up the cliff face using the hand and foot holds that had already been made in the rubber.  It was not an easy climb and took a few hours of intense concentration and strength so when I reached the top I was both mentally and physically shattered.  I enjoyed a coffee at the café and enjoyed the view down across the carpet.  Now I was here it looked a very long way down.  I walked along the shoe top to the base of the trouser cliffs.  The hem of the cliffs lay a few feet over my head and I reached up and touched it.  It felt beautiful.  Reaching these cliffs was undoubtedly the highlight of my trip so far and made me wish I had brought a camera with me so that you could all see too.

I ventured under the hem and into the cliffs where I was offered a bed for the night on the boot.  There was a friendly atmosphere there with travellers from all across everywhere sitting around, swapping stories and sharing food.  I had to be careful not to let my tin of beans be eaten.  I also met an incredibly nice chap named Vlisko who was able to tell me about the wilderness I had travelled through and the strange people who lived there.  He explained that the inhabitants did not have blood like most humans but concrete running through their veins, explaining their slowness and their lack of humanity.  He also explained that the only books they had to read were Mills & Boon (he was very disparaging about these books and I remained tight-lipped on the subject) and that this made them very angry as each book was written to a closely checked formula.  Although they liked the books they were frustrated and longed for a new plot or character and this made them very moody.  I thanked Vlisko for the information and fell asleep to dream a Mills & Boon dream full of concrete lust.

LOWLANDS

I have time to tell you quickly about the strange place I visited a few days earlier.  The people there called it the lowlands but this struck me as something of a misnomer as it was not really the land that was low but the sky.  And when I say low, I mean low.  As I approached the lowlands I could feel the clouds getting lower and lower in the sky, the whole thing seemed to be falling in on itself.  Still, I carried on walking, intrigued to see what would happen.  The sky dropped lower and lower the further I walked until the clouds were nearly on top of my head.  By the time I had reached the main city I was doubled-up, unable to walk straight as my head would have been poking out of the sky.  Everyone here was walking like this, crouching down beneath the clouds and then, further on, crawling on their hands and knees.  Apart from this it was a lovely city.  The buildings were all very short (2-3 feet tall) and the people did seem somewhat stumpy (probably due to not being able to stand up straight) but there was some fascinating architecture to admire and the people were very friendly.  Again, I wish I had brought a camera.

I was tempted, however, to stand up and stick my head out of the sky.  The temptation was like an itch I was forbidden to scratch and eventually I could not help but stick my arm up through the clouds, through the sky and out of the atmosphere.  Just to see what it felt like.  I withdrew my arm from space pretty sharpish.  It is difficult to describe – my arm felt weightless and crushed, certainly this was no place to go sticking your head through the clouds.  I journeyed into the very centre of the city where the sky lay just inches from the ground and I had to wriggle forward on my belly until I could go no further without breaking the sky.  I wondered how close to the earth the sky eventually fell and wondering about this made me worry about the safety of this place.  I had a feeling in my stomach like I have never felt before or since – as though the sky was going to fall in on me and my whole body would be crushed in the air like having pins and needles across the whole of your body forever.  I grabbed hold of my lucky tin of beans and got out of there.  Even writing about that place now gives me the creeps and I really should leave this missive here now because I have to get back on the road.  Sorry to finish so abruptly, bye for now, Skeeby.

More from Skeeby when/if he gets in touch again.

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