From 'The People of the Cloud' by Carmichael Carmichael, Travel Desk
Movement in the undergrowth – the snap and slap of bodies running through grass and thick leaves. A flash – and another. Still my words seem to have no effect. I sat down on the sand – showing them that I was no threat. This seemed to do the trick.
Four people emerged. They could not have been older than teenagers. Each clutched a small metallic rectangle – arm outstretched, a point of light shining from the strange item. Traditional weapons of some unusual design, I realized.
I raised my hands and told them that I posed no danger. Their language must have been so beyond mine that verbal communication was of little use.
As they steadily stepped closer, encircling me, I became aware of their traditional dress. Both the males and females (there were two of each) were dressed similarly: blue denim-like pantaloons, and flamboyant shirts printed with palm trees or dolphins. These must have had some cultural significance that I have yet to fathom.
Their rectangles flashed. They nodded to each other. Without warning, they all surrounded what I believed to be the dominant female. They glanced at her rectangle, each making a grunt of approval in turn. It seemed that showing reverence for her secured her favor.
Once this little ritual was concluded, they turned to me. They regarded my clothes (which had become stained and ragged as I paddled here all the way from Portsmouth) and my skiff with rapt curiosity. It seemed likely that I was the first Englishman to wash up on their shores.
“Carmichael,” I said thumping my chest.
The strangeness of the Queen’s English made them laugh. After a few minutes of confusion, I eventually established that the dominant female was called “Darla”. The others made do with simpler names: “Her”, “Him”, and “Dave”. They touched my hair, tugged gently on my shirt, and examined my boat. I presumed that they were checking me for weapons. After I satisfied their search, they took me by the arm and led me into the jungle.
A modern take on The Pickwick Papers with a magical realism twist!
The Bright Report is a collection of six whimsical short stories – each written by a different fictional journalist. While the stories might be strange, the human element is not. In this first volume we discover:
The truth behind the new ‘word’ that took the art world by storm – what does it even mean?
A snobbish reviewer finds himself stuck in a genre piece – is it a Lovecraftian nightmare or are things not as they seem?
Our sports reporter takes on the Monstrous Patagonian Snail Derby – can she beat her rival?
Our notorious car reviewer drives the Lethe D Series – can he remember where he parked it?
Mr Carmichael tracks down the secluded tribe of Cloud People – why do they worship “wife-eye”?
A literary board game where debate is more important than the pieces – luckily there are extra players in the box