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Howl of the Devil-Tiger

Howl of the Devil-Tiger

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Published by Jonathan Janssen
A young girl Nakry seeks freedom from her oppressive husband. The kind Lady Rathana says the Devil-Tiger can help her, but can Nakry overcome her fears and face the legendary nightmare?
A young girl Nakry seeks freedom from her oppressive husband. The kind Lady Rathana says the Devil-Tiger can help her, but can Nakry overcome her fears and face the legendary nightmare?

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Published by: Jonathan Janssen on Feb 22, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Howl of the Devil-Tiger
Tiger, tiger burning bright,In the forests of the night,What immortal hand or eye,Could frame thy fearful symmetry? – William Blake
It is well after midnight when Nakry leaves her modest house forthe dirty streets of Kampot Province, stepping out into the narrow,moonlit lanes with the alleys radiating ominous shadows. She is apretty girl, with flowing black hair and large, sparkling green eyes.Unsavory types gaze at her hungrily, making her feel uncomfortable.She pulls her clothes more tightly around her and keeps moving towardsthe bar. Like most nights, Nakry is prowling for her drunk of ahusband. She should just let him rot in the street, but he has alltheir money and they need food. If he returns in the morning and thereis nothing hot for him on the stove, she knows he’ll beat her. He hassuch a temper when he’s been drinking. She begins to see the drunkardsstumbling out of the bar and peers at them carefully. She rolls over aman passed out in the street to get a good look at him and hearssomeone say, “Heng, isn’t that your wife outside?”
Nakry looks up toward the sound to see her husband ambling towardsher, “Hey! What are you doing here!? Stop ruining my night. Go backhome and cook.”The men watching from the doorway of the bar start to laugh, “You tellher, Heng!”Nakry frowns, “I didn’t come to bother you, just give me some moneyand I’ll leave you alone.”Heng looks surprised, holding up his coin pouch,“Hey! I need this money to drink. Just get out of here and we’ll talkabout it at home!”“No, please… just a little for food.”She goes to grab the pouch and Heng becomes furious, his face turningred.“Don’t touch my money,” he yells, striking Nakry hard in the face.She cries out and the men cheer.“You sure showed her!”Nakry covers her face and runs as Heng goes back to the bar.Nakry doesn’t even know where she’s running to, she’s soembarrassed she just wants to get away. It was one thing for Heng tohit her, but to make her look foolish in front of the other men in theprovince was just cruel. Through her tears she can feel the sting of acut under her eye that is bleeding, her fingers coming away tinged
with scarlet. She stops at a spring to wash her face and get a drink.The ice cold water helps her to stop sobbing so hard. As she sits,catching her breath, she hears footsteps behind her. She turns to seewho approaches and hears a soft, feminine voice, “Don’t be frightened,dear. I heard you crying and came to help. Husbands can be suchtrouble, can’t they?”Nakry looks up, surprised, “How did you know?”The woman is older, short and stout, with large, round glassesand adorned with jade jewelry. Her black hair is tied in a long, tightbraid. She sees Nakry’s wounds and her eyes widen, but she stopsherself from saying anything about them,“Oh, us women know each other. We can always tell.”The woman reaches out to stroke Nakry’s hair. Nakry leans into it andsays,“I am tolerant of him and patient, but it infuriates me to bedisrespected in front of so many people.”The older woman seems concerned,“He beat you like this, in front of others?”Nakry nods sadly. The woman continues,“Such things are beyond what a dutiful wife should be made to endure.I cannot stand by and continue to let a beautiful girl like you beharmed in this way.”

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