On a desolate stretch of beach in Sudan, Conrad Botes heard a voice and had a vision

“I could have sworn I heard a voice. I looked left, in the direction I had just came from, then right down the shore in the direction I was heading. I was fishing alone, on a small island just off the Sudanese coast. There was no one else in sight. Behind me, the Nubian Desert shimmered in all its desolate glory. Apart from some impressive rocky outcrops and a few dead branches that might have been some or other piece of vegetation in a previous existence, the landscape was devoid of any form of life. In front of me was the Red Sea. Even without a burning bush or a plague of locusts, it was a positively biblical moment.

I focussed my attention on the water and, in particular, on the beach where half a dozen crabs disappeared into the shallows after they’d spotted me. As my mind narrowed in on the fishing again, I knew there must be a trigger in there somewhere.

Then I heard the voice again. It sounded strange, almost like a cry for help or a wailing prayer, and I couldn’t recognise the words. I remembered seeing osprey nests the day before and it occurred to me that that it might be one of the birds calling. I scanned the landscape again. Then the sky. Nothing. Was I hallucinating? Perhaps it was Chtulu calling me from the deep, leading me to the motherlode of all triggerfish.”

Read the rest of Conrad’s Issue 17 Undercurrents below: