©2019-2021 Michael Raven

“Why is it that medicine men always choose to live so damned far away from the villages they serve?” Harlow muttered under his breath.

He was tired of the jungle trying to eat him while he walked through it, whether it was bugs, large cats, snakes or tiny fish in the river’s waters with teeth much bigger than made any kind of sense at all.

“Not medicine man,” Alejo replied in his rough English. “Is brujo.”

Harlow’s translator and guide had come highly recommended by the University, but he’d found the man barely adequate and hardly fluent in English. Harlow couldn’t wait to get back to civilization so he could have a real conversation with someone less… subhuman.

“Whatever — the man we who has the formulation I need.”

Alejo nodded briskly. “He have. They all say.” Harlow couldn’t help but think he sensed that his guide wanted to be quit of him as well and was moderately offended by the realization. He let it pass. Alejo would be a distant memory soon.

“Well, let’s hope he’ll trade for it. I’ve waited long enough to explore the realms Alhazred mentions in his damnable book. I grow weary of these false leads.”

“This brujo has; they all say,” insisted the guide. “You dream-walk when we get back to Santarem, you want. Soon.”

“I’ll damned well dream-walk tonight back at the village if I want.”

Alejo stopped and shook his head vigorously, aghast at the idea.

“You do that, the villagers will kill you. They no want you to bring back the hounds when you are done and they think you die in dream-walk, the hounds not come. Santarem is better. There, they not know dream-walk or hounds…”

Another bit of social media flashfict, originally posted two years ago today. I took a heavier hand in editing this time around, as I felt a few things needed more clarification. Please note: while I employed some racial stereotyping from the age of weird fiction (1920s-1950s) in terms of Alejo’s pidgin English, it was an intentional artistic decision based on emulating the feel of that genre, not an actually held bias on my part. As you can tell from these social media flashfict stories, I was writing a lot of pieces at the time that were inspired by weird fiction from the likes of Lovecraft, Howard, Ashton Smith, Machen, etc. In many ways, I feel my weird fiction attempts are largely more successful than my fantasy fiction efforts. I should probably stick to weird or what I call “vignette” short fiction, which I consider to be more “Polaroid” snapshots of daily life — I have not posted many of those types of stories here.

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