CHUAVE - As the hanging fog cleared from the cliff wall of Sikewake, a rooster crowed at the dawn and I arose slowly from the cane bed and edged towards the fireplace to warm my numb body.
As I began to feel alive an ugly shriek reverberated through the men’s house. I hurried towards the door and peeped out.
A ghostly figure swayed back and forth. The shriek subsided.
I put my palm on my eyes and rubbed them. I glanced for a second time to confirm whether the noise came from the hanging figure. If it had, it had stopped.
It came from elsewhere. Not from the dark shadow swinging back and forth. I rushed towards the rain tree. The shadow hung from a huge branch like a tree possum.
As I drew closer, the sun’s first rays transformed the shadow into a shape of more beauty, like a fallen angel in the mist.
It was a corpse, a young woman, a thick twine encircling her neck, the tongue hanging out like a tie.
I burst into a wail and cried for help. Young boys from the village raced towards me and I pointed at the hanging corpse.
Then two muscular villagers began to untie the twine, lowering the corpse to the ground before carrying it to the men’s house where it was wrapped in an old laplap.
Later a temporary coffin was manufactured and the corpse placed inside and sealed off.
That night there was a hauskarai and the next day, before the sun painted its yellow flame, she was buried beside her lover. He who had died in a car accident just two weeks before.
It was a love suicide. There is something especially tragic about a love suicide.