She was hurting all over. The mattress was lumpy and scratchy; her sides ached from tossing and turning. She felt something biting, stinging her face. She groaned, clapping her hands, trying to scare whatever it was before she was eaten alive. ‘Ouch!’ she whimpered. ‘Pesky little creatures!’ she snarled through clenched teeth. She slapped at the air a few more times, then groped around, looking for a light switch.
Her water glass fell with a clunk and a splish onto the wooden floor. ‘Darn!’ she whispered as loud as she dared. ‘Ha!’ Finally her fingers found an object and she pressed hard. ‘Whoops!’ she squeaked, clamping her hands over her mouth. The radio blared, filling the night with foreign chatter. She felt a knob and turned...Phew! Silence…
She looked around in the semi darkness, alert to strange sounds seeping in through her tiny window.The call to prayer was echoing across the rooftops. The city was awakening. She knew that somewhere on top of a minaret there was a muezzin calling the faithful to the mosque to pray. But did he have to use a microphone? Her poor head.
She held her head in her hands, gathering her thoughts, waiting for her heartbeat to settle. Then she discovered what felt like an old-fashioned light switch.
Her feet hit the damp floor. She gasped, aghast. Miniscule moving mites covered her bedclothes. She couldn’t make out what they were. What creepy crawlies do they have here? How did they get in? Did I bring them with me in my backpack? Did I brush against something on my way up the stairs?
Never mind how they got in. They were here, now, thousands of the little blighters. She threw back the moist covers and got to work, smacking madly, making little red smears on the greyish-white cotton. ‘Take that! And that! You little monsters!’ she hissed.
Seeing no further signs of life, she ripped the sheets off the bed and shook them, snapping hard, imagining tiny black bodies floating in the air. Smiling grimly, she straightened the bedding, wondering if she’d be brave enough to dive back in. Why not! I’m not some wuss! She snapped off the light.
She tried to sleep. But she couldn’t stop imagining little critters crawling around in her hair like PacMan, Chomp! Chomp! After awhile the thought was comforting. She tossed and turned, scratching her head, her arms, her stomach, thinking, thinking...
Solo travel could be a bitch. Even PacMan was company.
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©Denise Covey, 2010