River People 2: River Men

You should read River People 1: River Children first.


You can also listen to this story.


The night was horrible. Neither of us managed to sleep properly. Kristy rolled from side to side while I alternated between staring at the drawn curtains and staring at the closed bathroom door.

We showered together. No way that either of us stays alone with those things around. At about 8 we had breakfast, by the time we got back to our room there was an officer standing outside our door.

I can’t even begin to describe how frustrating this is. They treated us like criminals, separated and interrogated for nearly three hours. It seems they asked Kristy the same questions as me:

“Have you seen them before?”

“Have you noticed anything unusual?”

“Has any food disappeared in your house?”

“Did you see only mud or also blood?”

“Are you sure you only saw small ones?”

There were many questions like that and they demanded answers again and again. I don’t know if they wanted to make sure that I don’t forget anything or that I’m not lying, but they asked me each of these questions at least thrice.

Kristy said they asked her a lot about the smell. I’m not sure why I didn’t get that question, but maybe I already told them enough about it. It was just suffocating, sickening. Old sweat and mud, that’s what I thought initially, but the more I think about it I’m sure there also was something like rotting plants.

They didn’t really seem happy with the descriptions we gave. Tall like children of about ten years, slim, completely naked with a dark blue or black skin that reflected the light. The officers – there were two of them, an older woman in uniform and a young man with jeans and a black shirt – kept asking whether or not I saw genitals.

The male officer gave me a card with a number. There’s no name, just a mobile number. He said to call it if something else happens and then they both left the room. I waited for at least ten minutes until another officer in uniform called me outside.

They drove us back to the motel. Just like that; without any explanation or information or any word on what we should do. I begged the driver to at least tell us whether the motel was safe or whether we should move to somewhere else – like, somewhere not on the ground floor, or somewhere even further from the river.

The driver said he didn’t know anything, but honestly I think he knew something and just wasn’t allowed to say anything. When Kristy started crying it looked as if he was going to say something, but then he shook his head and closed his mouth again.

The other thing is that we drove on the other side of the river. I don’t really know the people living there, so I don’t know who to ask about it – but there was red and white tape blocking the driveway of two of the houses.

At about 1pm the officer dropped us in front of the motel. The owner came running out of the building right away; I think he nearly kicked us out for bringing the police to his house. He was ranting that ‘scum’ like us were not allowed in his business. And then he said that we should behave properly in our room. I asked him what he meant and he said that the cleaner had complained about us. Apparently she complained that our bathroom was “exceptionally dirty.”

There definitely was nothing wrong with our bathroom when we left.

The owner said that the cleaner had cleaned our bathroom. He had even charged us extra for it. But when we came back to our room the bathroom was a mess. There was mud all over the floor and walls and the back of the door and particularly at the ceiling above the door.

In a way it’s funny, except for this laptop we didn’t even have any property to pack. It’s this weird plan I always had, that if there is a fire or something the two things I would make sure to grab would be the ring binder with all our certificates – birth, school, university, marriage, everything – and my laptop. But the ring binder wasn’t in sight and so I didn’t think of it. At least I have all the scans on the laptop, but the originals are still in the house.

We paid in cash and left the motel. Kristy was against it, but we went back to the house to try and get some clothes. There was a police car blocking the street. The officers sat inside with shotguns on their laps. I’ve never seen police officers with shotguns.

I tried arguing with the officer to let us through or to help us get some fresh clothes from our house. They said we are not even allowed to enter the street.

When we turned to leave I saw our bedroom curtain move. I told that to the officers, but they didn’t move. They told us we had to leave and that they would take care of it. When I demanded that they go and check our house they said that they would arrest me if I didn’t leave.

We bought new clothes and we’re in a hotel now, further away from the river. I’m not sure how long we can afford this place, but it was the only one nearby that I could think of that has several floors.

I’m sure there are some friends that would take us in, but honestly I’m shivering right now and I sure as hell don’t want to involve any of my friends in this.

As said we’re at the new hotel now. We blocked the bathroom off with a dresser. I just hope the sixth floor is high enough.

Since about half past four it is raining again. The clouds are incredibly dark and this torrential rain is incredible. It feels a bit like we are waiting for Noah’s Arc to pick us up.

There is water all over the parking lot. We can only see part of the lot from our room, but Kristy said earlier, while she was on the phone with her mother, that there were people walking between the cars; people in all black.

I sat next to the window since then, and Kristy was right; I saw the people too. There were three or four of them, crouched behind one of the cars. But they didn’t look like children; they were at least the size of adults.

I called the number that the officer gave me after the questioning. There wasn’t even a greeting, just a “Yes?”

I told the man where we are and what we saw. He just asked “Anything else?” and when I said no he hung up.

A few minutes later I saw the figures get up and running to the other end of the parking lot until they were out of my line of sight. While they were crouching I wasn’t sure whether it was the same kind of creatures or just some people in dark clothes, but when they began to walk their skin reflected the light in a bluish tone. I’m sure those are the same creatures, just bigger. As if the first ones were really children and those I saw on the lot are an older and bigger version.

Since then there is a helicopter with a searchlight circling around the hotel and the small forest next to the hotel. The torrential rain is still ongoing, but there are now people with flashlights walking around the hotel and on the parking lot. They came in two large black vans; the vans left right afterwards.

I really don’t know what to do anymore. It’s been at least three hours since I called the police and the people started patrolling around the hotel. About two hours ago a man with a squeaky voice called the room telephone and said that we would be questioned again, but so far nobody came.

Occasionally I hear some scratching from the wall behind the TV, the wall that we share with the next guest room. I thought I would tell the officer about it when he comes to question us, but it keeps getting louder. Kristy says I should call the number again to tell them about the scratching.


Update: Far from the River

One thought on “River People 2: River Men

  1. Pingback: The »River People« series | Anton Scheller

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.