At a Latvian country retreat, way north by the dark blue calmness of the Baltic Sea, we lounged in our rented cabin. Immersed in pathetic discourse behind the cruel merchandising tactics of local tourist commodities, my travel companion gorged on roasted peanuts scattered along a greasy newspaper sheet.
I struggled to sympathize with my plumpish companion. Patience ran dangerously thin.
To retain a sense of emotional balance, I did all within my power to view the matter in light of meta-perspective. Visualizing my nerves as a fretboard of overstretched guitar strings, I ruminated over the breakage point.
At precisely such a precarious moment, the presence of a distant melody called my attention. By then, I would settle on any preamble to escape the imminent upheaval of emotions this conversation was likely to render.
With little pretext did I interrupt and question; a question raised not for the still chattering figure by me, but for the genteel omnipresent spirits. What was this incantation that possessed my ears?
Before I let inspiration unfold, the music suddenly exploded. Taking advantage of the disturbance and having abandoned all form of etiquette, I hastily took off towards the spot I believed the sirens to occupy, anxious not to miss an integral moment.
I knew not what forces drove me to assume the sagacious maneuver with such rapidity. And yet, I had resigned all self inhibition to the whim of mammalian instinct.
Carried by the festive melody, I approached two glass doors marking the entryway to a bohemian styled three-story edifice.
The momentum urged me to push one of the frames inward. The door sternly resisted with a deafening thud, as I came to a halt.
I stood gazing at the frame in bewilderment, composing myself for the moment to follow. Acting rashly would do no good.
I took a few deep breaths, collecting my thoughts. Then, retreating five paces, fully determined, I sprinted towards the glass frame, all body momentum channeled through the left shoulder.
The frame emitted an even louder grunt, resisting to the last effort. I, in turn, bounced back and, rigid as dried plaster, noisily collapsed to the ground. The shoulder felt dislocated and soaring with acute pain.
Frustrated, I slowly dragged myself up. Taking time to regain focus and recover from the shock, I shifted weight to my right shoulder and, with the resolve of a madman, flew towards the door with all might.
The frame still resisted, emitting a terrible grunge along the hinges, followed by a brief oscillation over a few periods. This time around, I bade disastrous collision first with the only remaining shoulder in formidable condition, and then, momentum intensified, firmly with the skull.
Somehow managing to retain a notion of a balance, although with great effort, I found myself in severe disorientation and a state of contusion.
A well delineated trail of blood flowed down the right temple. I likely fractured the cranium, and definitely felt a series of micro-fractures in the posterior region of the right shoulder.
The surroundings began to blur. I could no longer register the melody. I heard nothing but the sound of my own intense cardiovascular rhythm.
Feeling an overwhelming urge to sleep, I harnessed any remaining traces of mobility and assumed an intoxicated trot back towards the cabin.
Dusk was settling. The sparsely cloudy sky strangely, almost spasmodically pulsated between purple and pinkish hues. A fragment of a pale moon glittered unnaturally, in the ways of a fading chandelier light.
Having proceeded but a couple of hundred paces, I noticed an oddly oversized mass along the gravel.
It was no ordinary mass; not a fungal growth, not a shrub, not a tree stump or rock, but a sort of a despicable batch of wormy scales in dark yellowish ooze. The sight, had I exercised normal control of my faculties, would fill my entrails with odious repugnance.
Matters as they were, I passed without further consideration, unable to much care for the moment.
Immediately behind me I heard a voice. It was an English-speaking voice, marked by a hint of a slight Latino accent. “Hey look, it’s a walrus!”
I startled and unnervingly rotated to catch sight; not out of expectation for the novel, but from the shock in hearing words uttered by no figure to yet penetrate my modest field of vision.
What previously constituted the horrendous looking tumor, whether through vile acts of sorcery or grossly accelerated course of mitosis, had indeed begun to assume an abstract semblance to what I’d fancied to be a walrus.
The mass seemed to unwind in likeness to a backwards reel of a decayed cadaver in the grotesque process of decomposition. I’d never evinced anything of such macabre character.
I had but a cursory familiarity with the arts of necromancy. Yet this was no golem or Frankenstein’s monster. It was the product of no mythical, folkloric or scientific manifestation I’d encountered in medieval or scientific literature.
To reemphasize, were this an ordinary development, I would pay the incredulously singular phenomenon the respectful due diligence. Under the present circumstances, however, concern for anything beyond the state of my mangled body faded out of focus.
Ignoring the commentary rendered by the ephemeral stranger, I braced myself to continue the walk. However, before I let the scene fully dissolve in the cognitive clutches, I twisted my painfully disjointed neck to throw one lasting glance.
My consciousness suddenly flooded with horror and disbelief. If my senses did not deceive, the chap threw but a barely perceptible arm gesture to the walrus in my direction, having established some communicative link with what seemed to increasingly less resemble a sea creature.
I turned morbidly pale, struggling to accept the insolence of this man’s behavior.
In full obedience, the walrus elevated the entirety of its bulky frame on the rear paws, and gradually began to crawl in my direction. My insides became ice cold.
Without ceremony, I increased the pace towards the cabin. Throwing jerky backwards glances, it was clear the walrus pursued me incessantly.
At this point, you might question whether the monster, clearly demonstrative of anthropomorphic qualities, even deserves the appellation walrus. Yet all traces of the event in memory, my apparent illness notwithstanding, indicate a spectacular genera of a walrus. I henceforth remain intent on this classification.
Terror besieged me. The adrenaline briefly suspended the pain and granted a momentary state of coherency.
With such a massive jaw, the hideous creature would exert no great gastronomical struggle with the modest portion size my slim skeletal frame presented.
I broke into a sprint. The shoulders wobbly, neck misaligned, head condition terminal, yet fortune did her deed to render the lower bodily extremities largely intact.
Unable to visualize a more tangible strategy than the swift unlocking of the door, storming inside, followed by an immediate barricade, adrenaline enticed me forward.
My life depended on handling the tricky door mechanism in a timely manner. I prayed for the door to have been left unlocked, still lacking practice with the set of keys. That disconcerting thought in mind, the walrus some thirty paces behind, I arrived.
To great relief, the door immediately opened. In cold sweat, I stumbled inside, forcibly slammed the door, trying to secure the lock before the beastly apparition arrived to make a mess of it and sever my limbs.
Alas, the devilish bastard turned out cleverer than I anticipated. The walrus, ignoring the door entirely, headed for the window.
In plain horror I noticed the wooden window frame was left half-open. With the front paws, the creature hardly strained in raising the window frame just the necessary bit. Dripping a trail of nauseating fluid, it squeezed it’s greasy bulk inside.
The walrus now occupied the cabin at several paces away. The slimy countenance turned in my direction. I stood frozen.
Yet the figure ceased further movement.
A sudden realization struck me. It was no walrus. It was the plumpish visage of my travel companion drooling with a mouthful of roasted peanuts.
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