Craigburn campsite, Castle Hill, South Island, New Zealand.
I've completely lost it. That much I know. I also know that I’ve just come from Thailand and it was nice and warm there. My nervous system is wracked by regular bouts of the shakes which seem to come from deep in my core. My head is wrecked and pounding with a type of headache not subdued by anything that I've tried and the aching in my limbs and joints is making me feel like I'm made of horribly inflexible wire so whatever position I choose to suffer in its not going to be any better. But the worst thing is the cold , a deep inner cold spurred on by what I'm now starting to think of as the 'death sweats' ...that is a cold sweating fit not caused by being too hot but by an inner malfuction because I feel really cold so the last thing my body needs to do in a cold crisis is sweat, its wrong!
A terrible irony about this cold thing is the fact that I'm lying next to the biggest fireplace I've ever seen but there is no chance of warmth from it.
3 black and brooding items stare back at me from the depths of the pit. Like tokens of my hopeless failure reminding me of my pathetic attempts to save myself from the torture of the 'inner cold'. Later I would learn how to use them to my advantage but tonight they have the upper hand and stand strong in the cause of death and darkness. They are 'antilogs' and will not burn.
There is no fire in the fire place, there is nobody here, it's been raining for what seems like eternity and I can hardly move. On and on it goes I dream the same dream over and over a hideous cycle has installed itself as the dengue virus takes over my body. Just a girls face which is covered by cling film plastic her body is pinned down by layers of it. I have strong urge to help her and stop her suffocating but I can’t get close the plastic is putting a huge gap between us. I can’t get any reaction but she can hear me. It's a hopeless dead end but I can’t get away from the image. It has stuck to my mind. She is unreachable, unsaveable and unlovable. It tears me up and causes more shakes and deathsweats. Its digging through my deepest emotional needs and cutting into my soul causing me to be aware of a abyss that exists within myself. A huge abyss of need that can never be tempered. It will crave and grasp becoming more strong as my own sense of self gets more weak. Its like dying when everything is stripped away layer by layer , mind unravelling itself until all that is left is that need. The most powerful force in any body is the need it's the driving force of spirit and karma that drives it to the next round of suffering so it’s happening now ...I'm dying.
Looking at her beautiful face for the millionth time the need so strong as I try to cut it off. Relax! ...float downstream....don't save don't need don't love don't crave don't grasp....think nothing do nothing be nothing. Then I might get a few seconds rest.
The beast in all its glory
It seemed only right that the devil* should visit me that night. It was perfect. I was going deeply into the next series of plastic dreams when I felt a dark presence on the wooden picnic table above to my left. Then sounds....ch ch k THUNK. then Water! Ice cold water splashing over my face arms then pouring over my legs. I was awake, aware and knew that this was definetly not a dream. What type of sick and cruel joke would the devil play?
Finally I found my torch and was rewarded with a close view of what seems like a huge bird of prey standing over me. It reminds me of the vultures I always see on the rohtang pass in North India tearing at dead animals by the side of the road. But I’m not on rohtang pass now I'm in new Zealand. What the fuck is going on? What are the vultures doing here ? His long flesh ripping beak and evil eyes of doom and darkness loomed over me. He had the upper hand at that moment. I’d never seen such a thing and was delirious anyway. I just rolled around helplessly on my crashpad moaning and mumbling "please leave me alone" then more crashing sounds as he started to trash all my things one by one throwing everything around everywhere. I reached to my side into the fire pit rooted around in the ash and found a stick so launched it in the direction of the beast. It jumped some 20 feet crossing the whole shed and then the sound of it ...oh no... it was the final confirmation ...I was in the final hell and this is the devil. Good. that's clear
THE BEAST. Comical and curious they like to dig holes into sheep and eat the fat around the kidneys.
After sunrise I got a dreamless couple of hours before waking to the sound of voices. New arrivals?! I squinted towards the light but they were already backing off quickly. It was an older very nice clean middle class couple and they looked shocked and disgusted by what they had seen... They had obviously been sent here to hell by mistake. "Oh dear" they seemed to be saying all the time walking backwards to the entrance, then quickly the car engine! “Its hell” I murmered “and the devil is waiting” But they had gone. Then I had a wakeful moment to inspect my surroundings. It seemed like some type of seedy bus shelter or something with graffiti but a huge fireplace... strange place I thought . what’s that outside it's a car, my car ! that's right I'd bought a car for 400 nz$ 2 days earlier. It was all coming back to me. I would psyche up and drive to a hospital. Good thinking ! with that thought clear in my mind I collapsed back into delirium and the next round of plastic dreams.
I didn't make it that day as I couldn't face the drive back to Christchurch. But as the night got closer the fear of that cold again got the better of me and I drove to a hostel place a few km away. It was empty and the first thing I asked was about heat. Gosh there was a small electric bar heater and a meter which you feed with money to keep it on. I cringed next to that all night listening to the rain and wondering when it all would stop.
A week later the results of the blood test.
7 DAYS LATER
I came out of the heavy delirium and fever after 3 or 4 days but couldn't eat for a few more. The hospital in Christchurch had a tropical disease EXPERT who told me he was 99% sure that I have typhoid so gave me the drugs to treat that. For my part I didn’t have a clue but I was already coming out of fever by then so didn't take them. Then the blood test from Australia came back and the results show dengue fever so he was 99% sure but 100% wrong ! Still when I confronted him about this and the drugs he got nervous and backtracked then said that there were some more test results coming we think that you have typhoid as well! that's bollocks I thought but to be fair they don't get many cases of dengue fever in New Zealand because it doesn’t exist there. It’s a tropical disease so you should be in a hot a hot place and sweat it out. One more night at Craigeburn and I would have been a snack for the devilbird squadron. They sensed my weakness so were hungry for my blood. Back in Christchurch on the last night of fever I had all my clothes on and jackets then 2 duvets on top. I was still cold.
*KEA - "A large and inquisitive parrot of the superfamily strigapoidea which gained early notoriety for attacks on sheep."
The farmers of New Zealand declared war on them but recently they got made a protected species. They are such cheeky characters and funny when you know what it's all about.