Microcosms went full festival for Microcosms 35 a couple of weeks ago. Being someone who has worked at more festivals than attended – yeah I know I’m boring – I went down a bit of stereotype by focusing on the mud. Together with the three prompts Festival Virgin, Field and Horror I wrote Squelch Pop that you’ll find below.
Thick gelatinous mud sucks at my new Wellington boots. I’ve been warned it would be bad before Becky lost a flip-flop on the first day. Tom said he’d seen people lose a leg to the mud. I don’t believe him. He is all piss take. His latest bright idea is to make me wear his home-made ‘Festival Virgin’ t-shirt cos I really need to spend my weekend dealing with creepy guys offering to help me with my ‘condition’. Just remove the word festival and it would describe him nicely.
The squelch pop of my wellies echoes through the dark tents. I hope I don’t wake anyone up. The wood chip they put down this morning have already been swallowed. Only pieces float above the mud.
My left foot rugs against the membrane. The boot stays in the mud. Leg back inside properly, heel in heel and try again. This time only pain moves, the jolt of muscle pulling too far. Mud licks over the green rubber. The ground disappears under my wellies. My right knee splats into the mud. My stomach sours. Cold mud pours into my horizontal boots, the same consistency as the results of a very hot curry.
“Help.” The word almost pointless it is so quiet. The idea is to wake people, to get help. “Help.” Much louder, much better.
“People are trying to sleep.” The only shout back. Not even a tent lit by torch. Mud waterfalls into my second wellie. I sink faster and faster. There is no other way to describe it. The suction holding my body in place, arms to my side. Mud flowing into my mouth, lungs.