Papa Papa

Had a very unsettling experience a couple of nights ago.

I’m way out in the sticks, in a little village up in the north of Laos.

It’s the middle of the night and I’m woken by a girl crying.

She’s almost hysterical.

It wakes me with a start and I sit up in bed, listening and trying to figure out what’s going on.

She’s outside my window, on the other side of a wall.

I hear her run up and down the track, shouting and crying.

Something bad is happening to her. She’s terrified.

Is she being raped? Attacked?

I’m not sure. I keep listening.

It’s a young voice – maybe teens or twenties.

I should get up. Go out of the compound where my hut is.

I’m imagining what could be happening to her.

I look at the clock. It’s 3.15am.

Her footsteps come back up the track. She’s running and sobbing uncontrollably.

I think back to a young girl I saw in the village a couple of days ago.

Her mother was scolding her in public and she was crying. She ran ahead of her mother. She was afraid. I wondered if everything was OK.

Outside the window, the crying is beginning to wake the animals. A dog barks.

She starts to cry for her father.

“Papa, Papa… Papa, Papa”

That’s not Lao, I’m thinking. Or is it? I don’t know.

Maybe she’s a foreigner.

Or maybe it’s her father who’s chasing her.

“Papa, Papa… Papa, Papa”

I’m getting out of bed.

The chickens start to call. The dogs are barking.

I listen.

“Papa, Papa… Papa, Papa”

“Papa, Papa… Papa, Papa”

My mind is trying to figure out what exactly is happening.

It sounds strange, but the chickens are copying her.

The chickens are shouting “Papa, Papa…Papa, Papa”.

More of them join in.

All over the village, from different directions, the chickens are clucking “Papa, Papa… Papa, Papa”.

And as I listen, the girl and the chickens begin to merge.

Until all I can hear is chickens. Calling “Papa, Papa… Papa, Papa”.

But I know there was a girl. I heard her run. I heard her footsteps. I heard her crying.

She shouted “Papa, Papa… Papa, Papa”.

Gradually the noise quietens down. Then there is silence.

I lay down again. I lie there for an hour, thinking.

There was a girl, wasn’t there? I heard her.

5 thoughts on “Papa Papa

  1. How distressing. Did you find out any more in the morning?
    Are you having any more normal experiences? Your last three posts paint a bizarre picture.

  2. Hi Trev, very interesting and moving story, are you sure you wore a wake and that all this wos not a dream. One more thing, just to let you know Jeremy is back and he was here already for his usual and yours, ”scramble eggs with Salmon”. Regards from all of as, keep writing and don’t forget pictures of you and your traveling friends.
    C U Soon
    Milan

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