Monkey Forest was one of the scariest parts of my time in Bali. A forest filled with hundreds of wild monkeys that spend their days stealing from and leaping on top of tourists, it was never going to be somewhere that I enjoyed.
After a particularly enjoyable visit to the dentist where I was informed I would need to get root canal treatment, I decided to buy myself and Dave a bottle of Sprite on the way home to celebrate the fact that my teeth are made from chalk.
Taking the shortcut through Monkey Forest, I skipped happily along the trail, imagining the sheer delight that he would display upon being presented with the magical lemon and lime concoction. I knew it would change his life.
And then it happened.
Instinctively, I sped up and felt my heart begin to race as he also increased his pace. I stopped and turned to him. “Go awaaaaay!”, I hissed while stamping my feet loudly. My attempts to intimidate and terrify him failed as I watched him lunge towards my bag with an agility that I could only dream of possessing.
With a single swipe of his arm he had ripped through my plastic bag and snatched my beloved bottles of Sprite.
“No!” I squealed.
Assuming it was simply a mistake, I held out my hand, fully expecting him to hand the bottle back to me.
He didn’t respond.
This meant war.
However, this monkey was hardened. He was hardened from a lifetime of encounters far more brutal than a small girl tapdancing near his face.
Snarling and baring his teeth, he hissed menacingly and began charging at me, reaching close to the speed of light in just a few seconds.
As my eyes widened in horror, my future flashed before me in a series of images:
The monkey sinking his teeth into my leg.
Having to go to the hospital to get rabies shots.
The shots failing to work.
Lauren foaming at the mouth.
…I was about to die.
As I turned to escape, I found myself running faster than my legs could carry me.
After two steps the inevitable happened. My flip flops slid out from under me and I fell flat on my face. Scrambling to my hands and knees, I frantically pulled myself across the floor, ripping the flesh off my legs and feeling the skin on my hands tear open.
I shrieked as I realised it was over. There was no point in trying to escape now. The monkey had outwitted me. He was the victor and it was time for me to surrender. I turned around, squinting in terror, bracing for the attack, waiting to die…
It had gone.
The monkey had completely disappeared and in its place was a hoard of Japanese students, eyeing me with a mixture of confusion, horror and glee.
Clearing my throat awkwardly, I clambered back to my feet, dusted myself off and stumbled back to our bungalow, empty handed and full of sorrow.
What a day.