In the last post: on his way home in the dark and misty forest, Alf tries to shrug off his unease...
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 17
Carrying a sissy wicker basket was a new experience for Alf, and he switched it from one hand to the other in rapid succession, as if afraid he might catch some nasty disease. It felt almost as bad as carrying a woman's handbag, and he’d rather cut his hands off before he did that! Thank goodness there was nobody to see him.
The basket belonged to Morris, the Cloud Estate’s gardener. He’d been picking toadstools up on Trollop Knoll and dropped it when he thought a troll was after him.
That troll had been Alf, having fun. He stole the toadstools from Morris because they were valuable and also proved he was a better man than Morris: not there was any doubt.
With a few extra coppers in his pocket, on his next night off doing security duty, Alf decided to treat his best mate, Bert, to a pub crawl in town. If lucky, there might even be a punch up afterwards.
As Alf strolled along in his cheerful thoughts, he stopped and almost dropped the basket. Suddenly, his mouth felt dry, and a lump formed in his throat. There, right in front of him, stood a figure, blocking the path. Is that a troll, he thought, the one and only walkin’, talkin’, livin’ troll? He blinked and shook his head. It couldn't be true. All the talk about trolls must have fuddled his mind.
The real world:
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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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