The Creatures of Darkness Inside My Mind

in #lifelast year

You just never know what might be waiting for you in the dark. Halloween is over now, but good versus evil has been raging on since the beginning of time, so no sense in letting your guard down now. My town is abuzz with stories like “A well-dressed man asked to borrow my phone downtown, and then I found out there was a nation-wise manhunt for him the next morning!”

But that is in the land of the humans. Where I live there is a bit of distance between humanity and I. Evil is different here.

At night the woods come alive with sounds. “Baby dinosaurs,” I joked with my mom on the phone when I first moved here. Nighthawks, owls, bobcats—they all makes weird noises when the mood strikes. I never did figure out what made the baby dinosaur noise though, which allows me to assume that it was on the evil end of the good vs. evil spectrum.

Darkness comes early now, and now is the time of year the evil likes best. It gets a good long run in before the break of day comes and washes everything over with all that golden light of goodness. In the past I may have been anxious of the darkness that shrouds the house on these long nights, but this year I find myself in a grey area. I am less anxious.

I suppose that is good, since I met a creature of darkness tonight.

20191105_191804.jpg

People Call Having an Imagination a “Gift”

I don’t think gift is quite the right term. Burden, maybe? No, too heavy sounding. Annoyance? Getting closer.

It is like that extra bag you brought overseas. The contents are periodically useful, but lugging the blasted thing back and forth all over the world is a bit annoying. Now put that in terms of an overactive imagination on a long night, alone, while being required to attend to things at the edge of the woods under a sky heavily covered in moon blocking clouds.

It is like sending out an invitation to all the creatures of darkness that the imagination can invite. Come one, come all, I am heading out into the wildness. Now’s your chance! Come harass me!

What imagination would possibly walk away from that? None.

But I am not afraid of a measly imagination. Who is in charge here, anyway? I said defiantly as I selected my sad, low-battery, dim flashlight, and headed out into the blackness.

First Up, the Boogie Man

Big Dog and Old Man Dog zoomed out ahead of me, those fearless, imagination-less beasts of mine. I hadn’t even gotten fully off the porch before the first spook arrived. Stepping off the back porch, I instantly imagined something above me on the low hanging porch roof.

Gah, boogie man, leave me alone! I thought, without bothering to look, because nothing was there. I trudged onward. Shadows quivered along the grass, made by the tall palm fronds and the distant garage light. Something dropped from a tree, striking the ground with a purposeful thud.

Rats. These woods are overpopulated with rats. They are eating the palm fruit. That is all. I thought I saw a black shape move rapidly along the fence line—a strange, beast-like shape, moving on all fours. I blinked it away.

I walked beneath the Chinese elm, and there were more. In my peripheral vision creatures were sitting in the ornate branches of that tree, looking down at me with mysterious eyes, their limbs attached to the trees like some sort of cross between monkey and thing-of-another-world. They would not move in the way that wild things wait for the domesticated thing to move along. They just sat there in all their ominous presence.

Nothing is up there, I won’t even be silly enough to flash my light up into those shadows.

I walked on to the chicken coop, where I was greeted by the soft purring sort of sounds the chickens make when they notice my presence. It was a nice, safe, of-this-world kind of sound.

I need to stop being skittish. Let it go, imagination. There is absolutely no reason to be creative when closing up a chicken coop. There are absolutely no creatures of the darkness out here. I thought it with a very firm tone, but I wasn’t stupid enough to say it, because everyone knows you just don’t say something like that surrounded by a dark woods on a night with clouds blotting out the moon.

CornMaze2.jpg

Moving onto the Chicken Coop

I opened the nest box, moving steadily now, my confidence growing. There is nothing out here. Everything is totally fine. Nothing is scary out here at all.

I reached for an egg, and—

Scream.

A red and yellow rat snake was coiled around my eggs. (It is called red and yellow, but it is not red at all. I know, lame.) It had its freaky reptilian extendo-jaw at the edge of my egg, snake saliva already partly coating the brown shell.

I knew it! You never say or think things like that! It is a law of nature. If you say there are no creatures, of course there will be creatures! It might not be the creature you were thinking…but there will be creatures!

I thought this while I stared at the closed nest box. I reopened it swiftly, to see the same punk that came for a visit last month, and he looked just as unthreatened by me as ever. He was still groping my egg with his freaky reptile mouth, preparing for the grand swallow.

“Stop thief!” I poked his head gently from the safe distance of the opposite side of a long stick. After several pokes he reluctantly closed his mouth, leaving my egg still coated in wet snake spit. He slowly, slowly, slowly slithered out of the box, and of course not out the door I left wide open for him. He meandered right on up into the rafters, near where the girls were roosting. A couple clucked nervously at the trespasser.

“Damn it, creature!” My flashlight and I scanned the ground until we located a very long palm branch, and then returned to the coop. “You are making me stay out here entirely too long with The Creatures of the Elm and the Boogie Man and the Big Bad Wolf, and who knows what else! Get out!”

It should be pointed out that of course snakes do not speak English, but that doesn’t matter. Shouting at thieves is an important part of the experience. He flicked his freaky creature of darkness forked tongue at me. Bravely I pushed that stick up there, until, largely out of luck and greatly to my surprise, I had looped his ridiculously long body around my palm branch and lifted the beast out of there.

“I do hate to be rude,” I said as I slowly lowered it down into the dry palmettos at the edge of the woods. “I think I was a bit harsh back there. I do wish you well. Have a lovely evening.” And then I dropped him onto the ground, and let out an involuntary scream as I scampered back three feet, and he slithered lazily on into the woods. “Go catch some rats,” I called as his long body rattled the dry fronds on the ground.

Power Lines.jpg

I hurried into the house then, because I had the sinking feeling I had done the jinxing of all jinxes when I announced there were no creatures.

But it was too late. A couple had already followed me in.

Those jerk mosquitoes.

Sort:  

Ok, so that's not what I expected. I jumped two feet off the couch when I realised you found a snake. I'm not a big fan of those slithery suckers. You must be tougher than I am...I would likely have gone to get my shotgun, not a stick.

I guess a by-product of living here where snakes aren't friendly.

Hope you washed that snake-spit off that goog. 🤨

P.s. Did you really scream?

Posted using Partiko Android

Yes, I did scream. Twice. But it wasn't those prolonged blood curdling horror movie type of screams. I kind of wish it was though, because that just might have provoked the imaginations of the neighbors. I am actually not afraid of snakes, I just don't like having them startle me or having to touch them.

My mom came for a visit recently, before I arrived home. She found that same snake chasing a rat in the middle of the afternoon. It slithered up the rafters of my pool bar and did a lightning fast strike across the rafters, hit the rat, and they both fell ten feet to the deck. He then coiled himself around it and did his thing. I have massive respect for that guy.

The snake spit dried fast. I trust it will add a bit of extra flavor if I don't wash the egg ;)

You're brave! Well, except for the two screams...Let's call them exclamations of surprise instead though. Sounds braver.

I'm trying to imagine myself co-existing with a 7 foot eastern brown snake...Can't do it. I think I'll leave the snakish-friendships to the experts...You.

Who doesn't like snake-spit on their eggs though right?

Posted using Partiko Android

There is something about snakes that is just fascinating and irresistible. I have never seen a venomous one on my property, so that helps matters, but somehow I always see them as a bit like good luck. Maybe less so after dark...but good luck still.

Exclamations of surprise...yes, that's exactly what they were.

I saw a snake that interested me once...Well, to be honest it was draped around Salma Hayek in the movie Dusk til Dawn during a dance sequence so maybe it wasn't about the snake at all...

Poor snake, put in such a grand position, and it hardly got noticed :)

Yeah, I'm sure the snake-actors-union will be all over it! 🤨

#rightsforsnakes

Posted using Partiko Android

I have to say I don't think I've ever had eggs stolen by a snake. Rats, maybe. Even the damn dog a few times. Never a snake. I'm with you on not saying certain things out loud, or even thinking them vigorously. They always come true!

As far as I know, I hadn't had any stolen for the first several years by snakes. But then this guy moved into the woods. Can't really complain though, he's a pretty sweet snake. He hasn't even shaken his little harmless tail at me or did any posturing.

Oh man, I have lost so many eggs to the dog. He is a significantly greater threat to my eggs than the snakes are.

Let's both take a moment to think happy thoughts...but not too happy...let's not act like we are over confident... ;)

You were kind to let him go so he can come back later for more of your eggs. :)

I would need more light !

My feet still get the heebie jeebies beside the bed in the dark. I can't leave them there long.

Haha, that's exactly right. In reality I can afford to spare a few eggs, but it is just the idea of it - what thievery! How insulting! :) I need him though. He's got to knock that rat population down.

Mine too! I let my imagination run way to far, even in my own cozy bed.

ok,ok... since you put it that way, a few eggs is a small price to pay for less rats !

I'm good once I'm ON the bed, but right before..... well.... for a second, it's a shivery fast jump !

Ha, shivery fast jump, that's a good way to put it.

Oh man, creepy! You are very brave though. Most would have run after screaming. Male or female! lol. "it was on the evil end of the good vs. evil spectrum." lol..so well said, the whole post is so well said!

He really is a very charming snake. You'd like him. He probably has cousins in Texas :)

lol..oh my gosh I hate snakes. I don't think I could like him!

 last year Reveal Comment