Mystery Man

casa in Cabo de Gata

Our accommodation, high up in the Spanish village, was one half of a converted barn. Ursula, the owner, lived alone in the other half. She’d explained that the building had recently been converted, pointing to the original doorway between her side and ours which had been bricked up with local stones. It was all very charming.

After feasting in the village that evening on paella, washed down with generous quantities of local red wine, we trudged back up the hill to bed. Our front door, the original barn door, proved too much of a challenge to lock properly and we left it secured only on the latch. We went to bed, unconcerned.

I was awoken by a door rattling. I heard feet shuffling, then the bedroom door opened. A man’s head appeared. He muttered something and shut the door.

I slipped out of bed in my pyjamas and found our intruder in the living room where we’d left a lamp on. He was feeling his way along the stone wall between the two parts of the house. He was completely naked.

I retreated to the bedroom to wake my husband, not wanting to tackle a naked man alone. He stirred. I explained. He asked, ‘has he come to fix the fridge?’ I tried again. Eventually he grasped the situation. Pulling on his jeans, he followed me into the living room.

The man was still examining the wall. I cleared my throat: ‘Can we help you?’ The man turned, I tried to focus on his face. He frowned and said something we didn’t understand. ‘Do you speak English?’ I asked. ‘Ah,’ he nodded. ‘Do you know Ursula?’ He looked blank.

My husband looked at me. ‘I’ll go and see if I can find were he’s come from,’ he said, hurrying outside and leaving me with the lost, naked man. I handed him a towel which he put around his shoulders and not where I’d hoped. I motioned him to sit down; at least we had a table between us now.

My husband returned. ‘There’s a light on next door. I’ll take him there,’ he said, and guided the man outside. Ursula answered the door and took him in without a word, studiously avoiding us for the remainder of our stay. We never did find out who our naked visitor was, but now we’re always very careful to lock our doors!

Beach at Los Toros Campo de Gata National Park by Andres Campos

©2018 Chris Hall

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