Strangled – A Consuming Darkness excerpt


When she parks her car, a young man in overalls appears from behind one of the buildings. He walks over to her. A scrawny dog follows behind him. She doesn’t get out of the car. She instead half opens her window.

“Hello,” she calls out to him.

He comes very close, and lowers his face to look at her. His breath steams the window.


His voice is deep and incongruous with his lanky body.

The little dog now rests just under her car door.

“I’m looking for Mr and Mrs Naka.”

He turns his head back as if searching for them. When he returns to her, his face is contorted like she shines a light in his eyes. The edges on his jaw become that much more defined.

“They are in the fields right now. I can take you to them.”

He points into the mango orchard.

“They are not very far.”

She holds her door disengage, but then eyes the mongrel. She has never been comfortable around strange dogs. It doesn’t help that a couple of years ago, she was almost bitten by her neighbour’s unruly dog when she had gone there to deliver his lost mail. She quickly escaped and slid the gate closed before the rabid beast had sunk its teeth in her leg. She has liked dogs less since then.

“Get away,” the guy hisses at the dog.

It’s like the animal disgusts him all of a sudden.

When it responds sluggishly, he threatens it with a kick. The mutt quickly escapes with a yelp before his gumboot connects with its bony rear end. Tari looks at the dog scamper away, now feeling sorry for it.

She opens her door and gets out of the car. When she gets close to the guy, she can smell his sweat, not fresh sweat, but days old sweat.

He stares at her for an uncomfortable while like she is an alien descended from the sky. She gets a good look at his face. It is very geometric, like it was carved out of wood. There is very little fat on it. The flesh clings and wraps onto the bone like saran wrap.

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