Author : Duncan Shields , Featured Writer

They say that there not very many places left on Earth to hide. People who say that have never been to the jungles of South America or the plains of Australia or the slums of Norway. There are thousands of places left on Earth to hide.

There are some colour and sex barriers that still make it difficult to hide. If you are a white man trying to hide in an Ecuador jungle and someone wants to find you, all they have to do is ask the locals about the Jungle Ghost. No matter how fluent a black man’s Japanese is, he’ll never hide long in a Hokkaido village. And by hiding, I don’t mean just off the grid, I mean hiding from yourself as well. Truly lost.

Remember the European missionaries? They came to ‘savage’ countries to teach the locals religion. The savages usually ended up teaching the missionaries that there was no god in that part of the world yet. A lot of missionary men with missing ears and fingers got lost in the woods and wandered in the wilderness, broken and alone, until they died.

They tracked him down fifteen miles southwest of an Aztec pyramid in South America. They cut through the jungle brush and loudly announced their arrival. They’d been tracking him for years. They found him sitting and hugging his knees and pointing a jagged homemade stone knife in their direction. He was backed into the corner of the little hut he’d built by himself. He was scared, starving and crazy. They’d come with weapons to force him to come back with them if necessary but in the end, they only had to throw a blanket over his shoulders and help him up.

He hooted softly with gratitude and a low constant keening. Three of his bright gold eyes were gummed up and blinded and the other six stared straight out at nothing. His limped with an odd rhythm that was different to the healthy constant triple beat of his captor’s hooves. His bright blue skin was naked and tinged with orange patches where the mold had taken root.

The hunters that found him brought him back to their prison transport after destroying the ancient remains of his shuttle and camp. He was going to have to face trial at Central but right now all he wanted was some food and warm place to reshape. They put him in stasis, rose silently into the night sky and eventually left this godforsaken rock in this backwater of a solar system.

They say that there are not very many places left on Earth to hide. There are wrong. There are still thousands.

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