Oh, and there’s also one that’s fallen over.
We live in the country, on a back road that the township forgot but is Grand Central to an abundance of wildlife. We’re talking everything from cocky chipmunks that used to torment our yellow lab, to black bears, wolves, and even a moose that wandered from up North. Yup, there’s still plenty of ‘North’ in the tundra above our toques.
If I compiled a file of soundbites, I’d bet most of you would be surprised at which woodland creature is letting you know they’re around.
The title of most terrifying belongs, hands down, to our warm and fuzzy friend, the Fisher. A couple of notes into that murderous cry is enough to flash freeze the blood of even the most stout-hearted.
Now, while the Fisher is downright spooky, what I heard during a twilight walk with Tanya, can be classified as Area 51. Truth is, it wasn’t the first time I’d heard it.
A week prior, I was awakened at that three am timeline, when the weird stuff is supposed to happen, by a hybrid howl. Each call began as a coyote howl but rose in pitch, transforming into what I can only describe as an elk call. You know that shrill sound they make, just before they stomp you? Kinda’ like that scene from Polar Express, where the Caribou cause the train to make an unscheduled stop. Yes, I know the two are different and live in different regions, but that’s what pops into the pumpkin.
The poor thing seemed to be a crossroads, unsure of what category of species it fit into. “Hooves or paws? Do I like the taste of rabbits or wheatgrass? Hmmm . . . dunno, but I can make this sound. Watch me go!”
I did a bit of research and discovered there was more Wile E., than Rudolph, in the DNA batter. Bang the pan lids together! Mind blown! I’ve lived rural for most of my existence, and I’ve never heard anything make that sound.
Oh, back to our walk. So here we are, sundown, reflector vest on and flashlight at the ready to protect us from those really dangerous animals; the ones with four rubber feet and that feast on long extinct flora and fauna alike, when my friend, I’ve named him Celk, starts saying, “Hello!”
Celk was off in the brush to our left, and he was calling out to his crew that were having a party in the brush to our right. What happened next was that the dudes he thought were his crew went silent. Rude! Maybe this is nature’s version of ghosting? I mean, the poor bugger went on for another five minutes and no one answered.
We reached our turnaround point and started for home. Celk must have crossed the road to see what’s up with his boys, because now he was over there calling around. For some reason, I’m picturing them crouching beneath some juniper bush, holding their breaths, and willing themselves not to fart. They were having no part of Celk, who’s invitation must surely have gotten lost in the mail. Or maybe someone blew up his mailbox with an ACME bomb.
My heart went out to poor Celk, who was still giving a shout out to his “pals” ten minutes later. I even voiced my opinion for any and all pointy ears in the vicinity that he’d most certainly find a pack that appreciated him for the unique fellow he is.
The next night, I listened for Celk, but there was nary a yip nor howl, from anyone. I think there’s a slight possibility I may have offended the ghosting Canis latrans and they’d shoved off. I don’t care if I hurt their feelings, they had it coming.
Not sure what happened to Celk, but I like to imagine he’s found his peeps and is joined paw in paw around an old oak somewhere, belting out his special tune.
Could this be Celk?
“Stop pretending! They’re all in bed!”
Did everyone remember to change their clocks ahead this weekend? At least for those areas that practice this. In Canada, most of the province of Saskatchewan, some locations in Québec, and some areas of British Columbia, don’t use DST and stay on standard time all year.
I must admit, that I wish my home province of Ontario, would dispense with Daylight Savings Time, but that’s just me.
Regardless of what your area does, or how you feel about it, I hope these photos with captions will brighten your day. Enjoy. 🙂
HELLO EVERYONE AND WELCOME TO AUTHOR SUZANNE BURKE’S “FICTION IN A FLASH CHALLENGE!” EACH WEEK SHE FEATURES AN IMAGE AND INVITES EVERYONE TO WRITE A FLASH FICTION, OR NON-FICTION, PIECE INSPIRED BY THAT IMAGE IN ANY FORMAT AND GENRE OF THEIR CHOOSING. MAXIMUM WORD COUNT: 750 WORDS. IN ADDITION TO RUNNING A WONDERFUL BLOG, SUZANNE HAS WRITTEN MANY EXCITING BOOKS. PLEASE A HAVE A LOOK AT HER SITE: WECOME TO THE WORLD OF SUZANNE BURKE
Here is my contribution to this week’s prompt. Enjoy!
“You hear that?” Mandy twisted her red locks into coils. Her wide-eyed expression moved her freckles, like dozens of islands shifted by an earthquake.
Dan put his ear against the door.
“Careful! What do you hear?”
“Chewing.” An icicle lodged in his spine.
“What? Dan Beamish! I can’t take it any longer! I’m calling Mom and Dad! I want to go home! George Binks was right, this place is haunted!”
“My gosh!” Dan jumped back. His jaw became a flag in the wind.
“Stop blubbering, out with it! You’re scaring me!”
“You should be.”
“Stop it!” Mandy’s eyes were red. It reminded Dan of the time he’d drew mustaches on her Barbies, with permanent marker. “Tell Uncle Bill! He’ll know what to do. He’ll call Mom and Dad to pick us up!”
“Don’t be such a wimp. Don’t you want to see what it is? Maybe it’s a Snog, just like in one of your silly books. Besides, Uncle Bill is away this afternoon. Mom and Dad are in the Bahamas.”
“I’m NOT a wimp, you’re just stupid! My books are NOT silly. Snogs are NOT real. Whatever’s in there, is! We should wait until Uncle Bill returns.”
“Get me something to defend myself.”
Mandy crossed her arms and scowled at her older brother. He was stubborn, just like his father, that’s what Mom said. Mom’s always right about Dan. She sighed. “Fine, there’s a croquette mallet in the hall closest.” She stomped down the ancient steps. Stupid, old, haunted house. Why couldn’t they’ve gone to Aunt Rita’s cottage on the beach? Oh, because Danny the Pansy was allergic to the sand. Whoever heard of such a thing?
She returned with the mallet to find Dan testing the doorknob.
Mandy performed a fake curtsy and handed the mallet over. “You’re lance, noble knight.”
Dan rolled his eyes. He counted to three, via the scenic route. “Two and a quarter, two and a half, two and three quarters, three!” He charged in screaming, mallet raised overhead, Brave Heart style.
Something large ran through what could only be described as a trash bin. Dan looked around, shocked by the mess. Uncle was a neat freak, but this was an episode of Hoarders.
Wind gusted through an open window. Papers blew across a desk and onto a floor that could have been hardwood. A huge lump moved underneath the pile, heading straight for him! A terrible hissing and growling came from the thing.
Dan’s arms lost feeling and the mallet struck his knee as it dropped. He was nailed to the floor.
“Dan! Get out!”
He tried to back away, but tripped on a power cord, that brought him and a desk computer, crashing to the floor.
A yellowed New York Times paper, a foot from his face, burst off the floor, to reveal a hideous nightmare of bloody teeth and fur.
The eyes were blacker than the pavement, velociraptor sharp claws, and a hiss like a thousand water snakes. It stood on it’s hind legs, belly fur covered in blood. The thing was about to rip him apart! His mind flashed back to all those nature shows he’d watched. What to do? Run . . . seriously? Play dead? No, he’d be dead. Act submissive, lower your eyes and bow your head . . . quick! He raised himself to a kneel and bowed, face to the floor. It was terrifying, exposing the back of his neck.
“Dan! What are you doing! Have you lost your mind?”
“Showing respect. Being submissive.”
It didn’t work. The thing hissed and moved towards him. Dan could feel and smell its hot and stinky breath . This was it, his life for hers. “Go, Mandy! Run! It wants me and you can still get away!”
The beast moved closer, coming in for the kill bite, just like a lion. It would be a less painful way to die.
Dan was ready too.
Something swept past his head. The creature let out a squeal and then began to whimper, as it fled.
“You rascal!” Uncle Bill yelled.
His new favorite uncle held a broom, as he chased the thing out the window. He shut the window, turned towards them and said, “Blasted racoon. Should have closed the window. Got into my bowl of ravioli again!” He held up an empty can of Chef Boyardee’s “finest” pasta. He looked embarrassed.
Dan smacked his head when he noticed the “blood”’ matched the color of the pasta sauce.