'Dear God...' the auctioneer screamed, as he crawled out from under his desk and pulled apart the gavel to reveal a steel dagger point, '...forgive me,' he cried as he charged at the yeti's stomach. His only spectator, a smartly dressed Indian who sat like a statue near the back of the hall, ever watchful of the progress, as the hideous beast knocked the weapon from his attacker's hand and leapt onto his back.
Though well built, the auctioneer's struggles were no match for the beast, and he soon crashed to the floor under the immense weight. 'I have a wife and a child,' He begged in vain for mercy as the snarling yeti rammed his face into the blood-greased floor, snapping his jaw clean in two.
'So did my father, sir.' The Indian reminded the dying man he was still there with a voice that boomed.
'But friend. Christian...' he begged help from the Indian one last time, though his plea sounded feeble through a mouthful of blood and broken teeth, as he stared at the severed head of a pretty young female, whose body still sat upright over in the line of chairs. Mirrored in her eyes he could see the aftermath of those slain all about him. She had been the first, and he the last. Then something punctured the side of his neck, and a drowning sensation enveloped him as his lungs filled with blood, and he was left to watch her face sink into blackness.
The Indian sat emotionless, his white suit unblemished despite the carnage which he had orchestrated. As he watched the beast play with the dead man like a rag doll, and listened to its mewls of cruel pleasure, he watched the ectoplasms of Christian souls hovering in the air above the dying man waiting for his to join them. Only when the beast ripped out the still-pumping heart did he allow a smile, and then a nod of command for the organ to be crushed to pulp. Then from his inside pocket, he pulled out an amulet, small red, and made of stone in the rough shape of the yeti beast himself, 'Anganas....Demby..' He began to chant in his ancient shaman tongue to pacify the beast, before he rose from his chair and picked his way through the bodies toward it, 'Tansa...Lasa...' his voice filled the hall as he worked the time-practiced magic with his tongue, holding the amulet in front of him, staring fearlessly up into the feral eyes of the beast who turned to walk toward him and the sound, towering head and shoulders above the Indian, unable to avoid his hypnotic stare.
The vicious snarl became a whine, and then a whimper as the stone blinded him with a sudden brilliance. He raised his hairy arms in front of his face in a futile defence, then slowly the yeti dropped onto its knuckles and began to walk on all fours back toward the wooden crate from where it had first sprung to life. 'Gandenya...Denby..' The shamen finished his spell, and watched the yeti grow as small as a terrier, circling round and round before lying down on its side inside the wooden box.
He sighed from the exertion of his powers, and knew he had to work fast to collect the souls of his victims, which hovered in the rafters above him like a fine cloud of blue dust, all but joined as one now, until the last soul curled out from the mouth of the auctioneer to join them. Left a moment longer, he knew the souls would permeate the roof material and escape him forever. The amulet already warm in his palm, soon grew uncomfortably hot as he summoned all his will to draw them in, delivering him closer to his departure from the village hall. Yet another place of cream teas, and cruel predjuices where his mark would be left. Retribution for his family who had been murdered by the hand of Christian missionaries less than half a century ago. So called men of God who had slain his family and left him to starve in the mountains. And had it not been for the female yeti who found and reared him as her own, he would surely have perished.
The auctioneer waited, noting the next number on the item list, as the labourer wheeled the small wooden crate into the crowded village hall. "Sleepy guard of the mountain." he introduced the item to the bidders as the porter opened the hinged crate to reveal the impressive carving within. 'A fine example of seventeenth century, shaman history.' He paused to squint at the scrawl of lines next to the item number, 'Hand carved from Himalayan Cedar.' He toyed with the hammer, an amused look grown on his face, 'I wouldn't want to wake him with insults, so we'll start the bidding at five hundred pounds. Do I see five hundred and ten?' he asked as he scanned the faces of the bidders, their attention still fixed on the carving. As he turned to see a pair of hairy hands appear over the top of the crate, his amusement turning to fear.
Meanwhile, at the back of the hall an Indian man in a white suit coolly finished his cigar, and then quietly closed the door behind him, his whispered chants going unnoticed as he began to rub at the amulet in his pocket...
back to the Short Story Page.Missionary, 3 August 2005