The Snake and The Hill
Michael Sapp

Rain is coming and the humidity is high. A piece of hair and rain breaks and crumbles down my face. Moving up the steep, jungle road, I'm eating the windblown dust. My hair moves through the stormy wind like the high weeds beside me. From the roadside bushes, a thin coral snake uncurls, rolling onto the asphalt behind me. I quicken my step. I'm eating my own hair, and the snake makes a great slither towards my feet. It's too fast. I'm running, but the hill is strong.

I feel my momentum slowing, I turn around. Not far from me, the snake slithers closer. Again, I'm sprinting. The weeds blow in all directions. My hair is shifting, and frightened of the snake, I can't help but to stop and gauge its distance behind me. It's not there. I breathe. The wind blows my hair into my face, I grin, but my legs freeze. Something is around my ankle, curling up towards my calf. A flicker hisses, and tickles the hair of my leg. My eyes close. A breeze blows through the weeds and up my shorts and chills my groin.  

Standing like this, with a snake curling around my leg, I'm nauseous. Nothing happens. The weeds rustle beside me, and a few meters down the hill, a gofer looking creature belly-snorts across the road, then disappears. My leg ices as the snake retreats, slithering back to where it came from. I move again, still not having reached the top.

First published: August 2005
comments to the writer: Knob'