We'd set out for a bush walk earlier in the morning, and after an hour and a half of bumpy and windy roads we'd finally arrived at the beginning of the trail, ready for our walk. I took the lead, down the narrow trail towards the river, stopping occasionally to admire the beautiful moss covered logs and the dense green canopy overhead.
As our party journeyed further we began to discover small, black, slimy leeches on our legs and shoes. One by one we would each stoop to assist in flicking the little creatures off another person's legs, and more than once we had to stop so someone could retrieve one from inside their shoe. The leeches did not bother me; I found them rather fascinating, and enjoyed watching the way they moved comically about, rearing up on their back tail.
At first the leeches were mildly amusing, a bit of fun to pull off, nothing more. As we ventured further into the bush, however, the little creatures began to appear in multitudes, and it seemed that every time we stopped to pick one off, two more would somehow manage to latch on. To everyone's annoyance, the recent rain had brought the leeches out from their hiding spots, and boy, they were greedy!
My poor little sister Caitlin couldn't cope with all the little leeches trying to suck her blood. She burst into tears, and soon was quite hysterical to a point where my dad decided to try and find a short cut back to the car park by crossing the river. The expedition across the water proved too difficult for dad with Caitlin on his back, the slippery rocks posing a threat should he fall in with her. They decided to return to the track and continue on the long way around, and so our party began moving forward once again as I stayed behind with dad, waiting for him to put his shoes back on.
While waiting for dad, I decided to pull out the camera and take some shots of the beautiful river. Lifting the camera I snapped a couple of shots, when suddenly I felt a strange and rather uncomfortable sensation in my eye. I blinked rapidly and rubbed my eye vigorously, hoping to get rid of whatever was in there, but it didn't come out.
"Dad!" I said, doing one of those I-really-need-to-go-to-the-toilet little side step/hops, my arms flapping in discomfort as I stumbled over to where dad was sitting, pulling his shoes on. "I think I have a bug in my eye!"
Dad stood, checked my eye, and replied, "There's nothing there!"
The weird squirming sensation in my eye continued, and I asked dad to take a second look. On looking more closely, dad exclaimed, "Oh wow, you have a leech in your eye!"
Upon hearing this I inwardly shuddered, my imagination running wild with thoughts of the little black leech sucking all of the blood from my eye. I began to panic, suddenly feeling the leech, as it had finally latched on, begin to suck at my eye.
Dad began to probe my eye with his thumb and forefinger, plunging them in clumsily and trying to get a grip on the leech. The more dad tried to grab the leech with his fingers, the further up my eye the thing crawled, until it was up the top just out of sight, right between my eye and it's socket, still sucking mercilessly. I let out a cry of pain as dad continued his attempts at pulling the leech out, all the while praying that the leech would lose interest and decide to let go.
By now I was screaming, terror gripped me at the thought of losing sight in one eye all because of a little black leech. Dad began yelling out mum's name, hoping that everyone else wasn't too far ahead to hear our cries for help.
Soon mum, Dan and Beth, (two of my friends from the other family) came running up the path. Mum grabbed my head and held it tilted back so that dad could see what he was doing, all the while praying that the leech would come out. Dad just kept saying, "Look down, look down!" Although when a leech is sucking at your eyeball, you don't feel much control over where you're looking, and my eye was rolling everywhere!
Dan, who had been standing beside dad watching, spoke up saying, "Would you like me to give it a go?" Dad agreed that Dan's smaller fingers could be what was needed, and so Dan began to slowly pull the leech from it's place. Suddenly, it was out! Everyone sighed in relief, and a bottle of water was poured over my face to rinse my eye clean. Dad ran ahead up the track to tell the others that I was fine. (We agreed not to tell Caitlin of what had happened regarding the leech, and instead told her I had overreacted about a leech on my leg!)
There seem to be only 2 side effects that come from having a leech sucking at your eye: my vision was clouded for a while at first, and my eye was painful and slightly swollen. It's now only noticeable by the red area where the leech burst some blood vessels, but luckily it can only be seen when I widen my eye or look downwards!
Anyway, I sincerely hope that you don't develop a fear of leeches after reading this... They really aren't all that bad, and I'm still rather fascinated by them. And hey - the leech gave me something to finally write about!
Until next time,