In the last post: Alf wondered what would happen if he ate a toadstool. If it poisoned him, so what? He was about to die anyway...
Dear friends, on Tuesdays and Saturdays I’m blogging nibble-sized chunks of new ‘Life in the Clouds’ stories. You can check in regularly and read them free, or wait to buy the whole story when published.
Eerie Eve ® James Field. Part 25
With shaking fingers, Alf picked a small toadstool, about the size of a saucer. It was red on top, puke green on its underside, and smelled of decay.
He couldn't help but wonder what it might do to him. Turn him into stone, make him grow huge as Hulk, make him as small as a mouse so he could scuttle away? Or perhaps it would kill him; as far as he'd always believed, toadstools were deadly poisonous.
He was dead meat anyway if he didn't try something fast. There were still many hours before daylight when the troll would either turn back to stone or explode.
"Down the hatch," he mumbled, and bit into the toadstool. The taste reminded him of sour milk and rotten meat. The texture was all squishy, like maggots and slugs might be. So instead of chewing, he pinched his nose and swallowed it whole.
The troll had stopped trying to reach for him and stood with its mouth open, as if just as interested as Alf about the outcome.
Alf stared at the troll and rubbed his eyes. He could see now that the troll was not only female but also young and beautiful. In fact, of all the women he'd had affairs with so far, this damsel took the biscuit.
Never one to miss an opportunity with romance, Alf pulled her face to his and kissed her smack on her plush lips.
To be continued…
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A River in Darkness: One Man's Escape from North Korea by Masaji Ishikawa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
To save the jobs of those in the Japanese government who helped him escape, Masaji Ishikawa wrote: “…obviously I wasn’t going to start talking to the press.” Instead, he wrote this mammoth best-selling book? Sorry, but I don’t believe this man’s autobiography can be true. If it is, then he is likely responsible for the sacking of those government officials who helped his return to Japan, and worse, expose his family to torture or execution in North Korea.
It may well be that he moved to North Korea in 1960, aged thirteen, where he lived until his escape in 1996. However, I rather believe his memoir is an over dramatised collection of exaggerated incidents he picked up from others. In which case, good for him.
I hope this is the case; otherwise, he puts himself in a poor light. From his book, he already comes across as egoistic, beating up anyone who upsets him and often leaving his family to starve while he runs off to find work to feed himself.
North Korea is undoubtedly not an agreeable place to live, but propaganda and false news flourish. The story in this book is captivating and mind-bogglingly tragic, hence four stars. I just don’t accept Mr Ishikawa’s life was as awful, or maybe I don’t want to believe, as he relates.
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