Monk in a loincloth
Koh Lipe Jungle was alive with noises. The wind had picked up a terrific pace during the last hour; it whipped through the trees resulting in a constant low wailing that sounded like the rising dead. Antonia’s temperamental torch had a habit of leaving us in total darkness, and in all honesty I was terrified. Our midnight exploration to hunt for jungle frogs was suddenly not looking like the smartest of ideas.
‘Your torch is crap!’ I complained.
‘It used to be well good this torch’ she bragged.
‘Well its crap now!’ I grumbled. ‘What the hell is wrong with it?’
Right on cue, the dimming flicker of light that remained completely extinguished. Leaving us in total darkness. But that wasn’t the most worrying thing. Another noise had joined the jungle orchestra. And it wasn’t a pretty one. A frightening snarl leapt out at us.
‘Oh my god…what was that?’ whispered Antonia, grabbing at my arm.
Before I had a chance to answer, the torch swung back into action, illuminating the source of the bloodcurdling sound. A set of pearly sharp teeth glinted back at us, dripping with saliva.
The beast emitted a warning growl, bared its teeth, and stared directly at the poor unfortunate Yorkshire lasses who’d made the fatal mistake of hunting for jungle frogs at this ridiculous hour. Slowly and gently, we took a single step backwards. Maybe if we showed it we meant no harm it would let us go free? The carnivorous creature clearly had other plans for us. It lunged forward in one alarming motion, eyes tainted with wickedness.
We turned on our heels…and legged it! As fast as our little legs would take us. As fast as we could manage considering we’d just consumed a full Thai BBQ Buffet on the beach.
‘Aaaarghhh!’ shrieked Antonia mid run, ‘I haven’t even had my Rabies!!!’
I was silently grateful that I’d forked out the money for my jabs. Especially considering the population of dogs on the Island more than outnumbered the people.
After running for what felt like an eternity, we appeared to have left the snarling, barking and growling behind us and came to a much-needed stop. Gasping for breath, I leaned up against a tall tree covered in moss. Adrenaline pumped through my veins. I just hoped that there weren’t more of those awful things roaming about in the jungle. As I studied our new surroundings, I began to get that prickly feeling of dread. There was something odd about the place. A small community of wooden shacks enclosed us. In the dead centre was a bar. The only occupants- a selection of empty broken bottles. Silence hung in the air. Had we unwittingly entered the set of 28 days later?
Suddenly a strange soft humming noise floated over to where we were stood. Without a word to each other we crept softly in the direction of the sound. The strange and magical buzzing luring us through the jungly terrain. We simultaneously spotted a statue and a building. The humming was coming from somewhere deep within the building.
‘A temple!’ sighed Antonia in relief.
We wandered over to take a closer look. Taking off her shoes, Antonia stepped inside the temple doorway. I held back. Still, something felt strange to me. I couldn’t put my finger on why, but I was pretty sure this wasn’t just an average temple.
‘Antonia!’ I hissed… ‘I don’t thi…..’
It was too late. I spied a quick movement. Something had stepped out from the shadows. My ill-fated friend had clearly spotted it too.
‘Oh my God!!’ she shrieked! ‘GO GO GO!!!’
Forget waiting for Antonia to put her shoes on! I didn’t look back; just ran blindly. Stumbling over rocks and branches until I eventually ran smack bang into pretty painful tree stump.
‘There was a monk!’ she cried, hurtling past me as she tripped over a rock. ‘In a loincloth!!’
We both collapsed on the floor in a fit of
giggles. I don’t know who was more mentally scarred. Antonia? Or the poor monk
who had reason to believe that this crazy foreign girl was robbing his home?!