Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years

Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years: Version 2.0!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Long Walk

Once I had reorganized my pack and stuck my thumb out, I was surprised to get picked up in fairly short order by a ginger driving a big old Grand Marquis.  I felt maybe the gods were smiling on me.

Nice car I said, and thanks for the ride.

No problem.  You know, usually when I give someone a ride they offer me something in return.  You know, to show their appreciation.

Erm, I've got a couple of nice apples here I picked off a tree a couple of days ago.  Would you like one of those.

He laughed.  No I had something a little more fun in mind.  He runs a hand on my thigh and makes a fumbling grab at my crotch.

You know, I think I'm actually pretty much an ingrate.  You can let me off here.

He gets angry and seems to not want to stop the car.  For the second time in twenty four hours I entertain the notion of grabbing the steering wheel of a fast moving vehicle and veering it into a ditch.  Then, a sharp swerve to tear into the gravel on the side of the interstate.  Once out, he tears off throwing rocks everywhere.  Sorry I didn't make your day.

By this point dusk had settled.  I was hoping to get over to a major artery that would see me skirt a large city and have me heading in the right direction.  I caught a brief ride that generated an argument on the literary worth of anything by William Faulkner, and a drop off at the split of two main arteries.

Things were not shaping up. 

Especially when I made the mistake of climbing onto an overpass that I thought would take me to a country road that would shave about 30 miles.

It was getting late at this point, but for some reason I didn't feel like stopping.  I had been walking for near an hour at this point, and I figured I could get close to the country road and camp out somewhere nearby.

Once on the road, I could sense that I had made a mistake.  The road ahead was pitch black, shimmering lights in the distance.  It isn't that far, I can walk that.  Just stay in the middle of the road and focus on the lights, no problem.

I walked.  Total darkness enveloped me and started to play weird tricks.  The humidity and coolness suggested swamp on either side of the road, everything oddly silent.  No matter how long I walked, the lights didn't seem to get any closer.  I started hearing noises in the woods on either side of me, as if something was walking along, deciding what to make of me, a spirit of the land scoping me out, seeing what I was about and where I was going.  It hadn't decided yet, and the feeling fluctuated between extreme malevolence, indifference, a desire to hasten.  I felt it touch me, speak to me, telling me of fallen warriors who had not the sense to turn back even when they knew they had gotten onto the wrong path.  Don't make the same mistakes, go back, to the highway, the freeway, the way to ride.  Look back you can see it beckoning.  Go.  Run.  Here there be dragons.

About three hundred yards out, the light finally began to take shape.  When I came upon it, it was to find myself at the back entrance of a trailor park.

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