Page 5 - Thiaoouba
P. 5




I awoke suddenly, not knowing how long I had slept. I was completely awake - 
fresh and alert - but good God, what time could it be? Lina was sleeping beside 

me, her fists closed, but then Lina always sleeps...

I had no desire at all to go back to sleep and besides, it was possibly already five 

in the morning. I got up, made my way to the kitchen and checked the clock. 

Only 12.30am! It was unusual for me to wake up at such an hour.

I took off my pyjamas and dressed in trousers and a shirt, why, I had no idea. 

Neither can I explain why I went to my desk, took a sheet of paper and a biro 

and watched myself write, as if my hand had a mind of its own.

‘My dear, I’ll be away for about ten days. Absolutely no need to worry.’

Leaving the note by the telephone, I headed through the door and on to the 
verandah. I avoided the table on which last night’s chess game remained, with the 

white King still in checkmate, and silently opened the door leading on to the 


The night seemed to be suffused with a strange brightness, which had nothing 

to do with the stars. Instinctively, I tried to recall what phase the moon was 

currently in, thinking that perhaps it was about to rise. Here, in the north-east of 

Australia where I live, the nights are generally quite clear.

I descended the outside stairs and headed towards the pandanus. Usually, at this 

time of night, we would have a veritable concert from the frogs and crickets 
whose chirring sounds fill the night. Now however, there was a heavy silence and 

I wondered why.

I had only walked a few steps when, quite suddenly, the colour of the 

philodendrons changed. The wall of the house too, and the pandanus - all were 

bathed in a kind of bluish light. The lawn seemed to undulate beneath my feet 

and the ground beneath the pandanus waved also. The philodendrons distorted 

and the wall of the house resembled a sheet floating in the wind.1

1. During one of his public lectures the author used words “heat haze”

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