Giant Clawed Hand


Technology is a funny thing here in Nariah. Mostly because in certain places it doesn’t work, like at school for example. I’ve told you before about what happens to the computers in the Library if you try and search for something outside of what you are supposed to be learning. They kind of hiss at you, sounding like a cat, almost like they are berating you for looking at things that you know you shouldn’t be looking at.

Whatever Net-Nanny settings they have on those computers is really, really strong and if they sold it they would make millions.

Imagine being a parent, unsure of whether or not your son is looking at pornography or something like that. You could type a few things in, make sure that if he did search for porn sites the Net-Nanny would catch him and BAM! Instant cat hissing if he does start searching for porn.

I told my older sister Maggie about the idea, when I was over for dinner the other night, and she laughed before telling me that the computers hissing had nothing to do with an amazing Net-Nanny program and everything to do with magic. It was another hour before I was able to find out exactly what she meant.

Maggie told me when computer were starting to become common in schools the parents at the time were worried that they would use the computers at the school to look at things that they shouldn’t, especially around younger more impressionable children. So under the advice from Nora, one of the ghosts that lives at Eric’s Grandmother’s B&B, they got in contact with this Old Hermit that lives near the town dump.

The Old Hermit came and looked at the computers before disappearing for a couple of days. When he returned he brought with him that box filled with dust and a spell written on an old piece of cardboard. All the Librarians needed to do was write the spell in a word document, sprinkle the computers with the dust and hit save at the same time and the students wouldn’t be able to access anything inappropriate without anyone knowing.

Three days later a student (who will forever be unnamed) tried to search for something outside the school’s curriculum and suddenly the computer started to hiss.

I’m not too sure how true that story is, but I have been this old box sitting on one of the filing cabinets in the Librarian’s office and if they need to do that to all the computers when they arrive in the school, it explains why the Library is always off limits for the day when the new computers arrive.

The computers aren’t the only things that work strangely at school.

None of the students are able to use their mobile phones. The moment you step onto school property your phone shuts down until 3:35pm that afternoon when the final bell rings for the day.

I don’t know how they do it, but I think that it’s got something to do with why the front office asks for a copy of our phone numbers at the beginning of every year.

Teachers and parents, however, are still able to use their phones just fine when they visit so I’m sure that that has got to be the reason.

Or when all the students started to bring phones to school they brought the Old Hermit in again.

I don’t know if the Church’s in town got the Old Hermit in as well, which seems highly unlikely, but you can’t use your phone during sermons there as well.

And depending on your internet provider, Wi-Fi strength varies depending on which house you live in. The older the house, the better the Wi-Fi. Besides Ben’s place, Eric’s Grandmother’s B&B has really good Wi-Fi, and it should because the ghost that haunts the front office does a lot of the bookwork for Eric’s Grandmother because she doesn’t know how to use MYOB all the well and in order for her to send her BAS off at tax time she needs to have good internet.

Plus a couple of the younger ghosts have a thing for cat videos, and like to watch recordings fans have uploaded to YouTube of Broadway shows that they have gone to see.

I’m sure that they know the whole plot of Wicked just from these short illegal videos.

The other place that has surprisingly good Wi-Fi is where the sink holes are across from the Pre-School. Ben told me that during one of his Dad’s visits to the area, they discovered that the place gets even better Wi-Fi then at their house. The Giant Clawed Hand seems pretty happy about that as well because if you walk by you can sometimes see it using Councillor Michael’s laptop or watching Vines on his iPhone (both of which were in his car when the Giant Clawed Hand grabbed it).

Since that news got out a lot of people (re: high school students) have been flocking to the area to use the Wi-Fi. The Giant Clawed hand doesn’t seem to mind all that much, just as long as you give a gold coin donation to help pay for the internet costs.

Which is pretty handy and it gets a lot of teenagers out of their rooms, so parents aren’t all that upset about it at all. In fact they quite happily hand over a dollar or two if the teens are heading over there.

So while technology does work strangely here, at least we can’t complain about the lack of Wi-Fi.

– Juliette


Welcome to Nariah: Part IV

Nariah has got to be one of the weirdest places that I have ever lived in. Sure I’ve only ever lived on the Northern Beaches in Sydney, but it never got as weird as what it does here in Nariah. I’ve been here a month now and this whole place is very strange – at least to me it is. Dad, well, he’s not too worried. He doesn’t get too worried about most things, that is just the kind of guy he is. Even when Eric’s Grandmother invited us to dinner on night in the future and said that the ghosts would be on their best behaviour he took it in his stride and laughed, promising that they will get a treat if they do.

I don’t think Dad believes that Eric’s Grandmother wasn’t joking. I don’t think he believes that a lot of the things that have happened in Nariah are true. Like the sink holes over near the Pre-School, he was asked to go out and see if there was anything that could be done about them. When we got there the Giant Clawed Hand was walking around, and by walking I mean using two fingers to imitate legs like Thing does in the Addams Family. It went completely still when it saw (sensed?) us and didn’t move again until Dad started laughing and commenting on how creative some of the local pranksters are. The Giant Clawed Hand then started waving enthusiastically at Dad before disappearing into the hole that it came out of while Dad did his job.

Good news is that Dad thinks that he can do something about the sink holes. Bad news is that the Giant Clawed Hand and whatever it is attached to might have to move away from the Pre-School. Dad’s still working on how to fix the sink hole problem so for now it’s fine where it is as long as it doesn’t snatch any more cars.

Dad thought that he move to Nariah would be good for us so we could get out of the funk that we seem to have been in since Mum died. I’m not too sure how moving out here was supposed to do that, but it has diverted my attention away from the sadness I feel whenever I think about Mum. I wonder if any of the ghost’s at Eric’s place can crossover and see Mum? I’ll have to ask next time I go over.

I also want to get a look at his neighbours animal. Eric doesn’t call it a dog. Apparently while it does have some resemblance to a werewolf there are parts of it that aren’t canine at all. When I asked him what he meant he said that it didn’t matter and then muttered something about scales.

Despite all the strange happenings that take place here in Nariah it’s a nice town. Everyone seems friendly and so far I haven’t come across someone who is particularly horrible or cruel, so I suppose despite everything that has happened so far this place is alright. It could be worse.

A lot worse.

Dad works for the council, as an engineer/environment manager or something to that degree. I’m not exactly sure what he does, I’ve never been to his workplace or really had an interest in that kind of thing, but from what I understand his job here in Nariah is to look at things, like the sink hole across from the Pre-School, and figure out how to fix them or improve them. Once he’s figured out the sink hole problem, Dad says that he’s going to look into improving the football oval so that when football season finishes this year they can get it ready for next year.

That has got to be the worst part about moving in the middle of the year, everyone is already in their sports teams and can work really well together, so at least until the summer sports start up, I’m not going to have much to do – unlike Grace, who plays Netball, and Eric, who plays Rugby League, both of which play for the town teams and are pretty good at it. I watched Eric last weekend and I can see why his Uncle is considering driving down to Canberra for the team trials that they have. I don’t know whether or not Eric wants to go and try to play football full time, but it would be an interesting experience all the same. And he would be just one of the many people that I have learnt have gone on to play football professionally from Nariah.

It’s getting late and I need to go get ready. Dad is taking me to the Chinese restaurant down the main street that is supposed to be really good, and if it’s as good as we’ve been hearing about then I don’t want to miss it.

Until next time.

– Ben.