The vampires of India

“Excuse me, can I share a ride with you,” a gruff voice bellowed out of the dark.

Startled, we shone our torch into the black, a cone of light picking out the burly figure of a man who you really wouldn’t want to bump into in the middle of the night.

“I need to get back to town and I’ve lost my friends,” he said looking impishly at his feet. “It’s just, they took the bike and I don’t want to walk through the jungle myself because of, you know, the dogs.”

As if on cue, a piercing howl sliced through the silence, followed by another and another. The howls and growls gathered momentum as the dogs whipped themselves up into a rabid barking frenzy.

The man jumped. “They’ve got us cornered,” he said, his voice trembling as the sound of their bite snapped in our ears, circling the spot where we were huddled. “Quick, let’s go.”

He set off, making his way through the maze of mango groves that separate Curlies Bar on Anjuna Beach with the dirt track where safety, in the form of a taxi, lay.

Baffled, we followed him, tripping on the invisible knotted fingers of the aging roots that twisted below our feet as he stepped up the pace through the Goan mango and coconut grove.

As we saw the faint light of a taxi ahead, relief washed over us replacing the adrenaline that was by then pumping through our veins.

OK, so this guy’s reaction was a tad over the top but anyone who’s been to India will have encountered the stray dogs and they’re definitely a force to be reckoned with.

There’s a saying that dogs are a man’s best friend and during the day this is true

The dogs chill on the beach, mostly alone. They sniff gently at the legs of bikini-clad passers-by, let off simpering whimpers and stare with big brown eyes, pausing in their plight for pity only to scratch at one of a thousand tics embedded into their matted fur.

Desperate for a scrap of food, a fumbled stroke of affection, they slip into the suit of the much-loved pet pooch left at home.

But as the sun sets and the suffocating heat is cooled by the refreshing breath of the sea breeze, a transformation takes place.

The ritual howling begins and like ants drawn to the sweet-smelling honey pot, dog after dog gathers on the beach.

Snarling, like vampires they draw their fangs before the leader asserts his authority, arching his scrawny body and snapping at the hind of those who dare to challenge him.

Like predators prowling the beach, under the blanket of dark these once-friendly dogs take on a gruesome form as the pack sets off into the jungle to hunt its prey and terrify travellers trying to make their way home.

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5 thoughts on “The vampires of India

  1. love the words. the blend with the pics is very physical, still it flies grip. just the feeling of it stays on the skin

  2. Pingback: The vampire dogs of India | Home Far Away From Home

  3. You certainly know how to turn a phrase. Your prose on this article is absolutely wonderful. I’m scared of those dogs already, and I haven’t even seen them yet.

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