Linda had brought Dusty the Dog outside for his final pee of the day, and decided to stop by the shack and see what I was doing. It was unusual for her to be up past 1AM, though I'd gotten home from work near midnight and perhaps my commotion had forced a second wind onto her sleeping habits. We chatted while Dusty scoured the floor for stray treat bits. Daddy has a tendency to drop the odd potato chip or not quite fully licked chocolate bar wrapper, and Dusty just loves treasure hunts. I read Lin a few things I'd been working on and updated her on a few friend's travails. (I've had to come up with word triggers for all my internet folk, so she knows who the hell I'm talking about) When it was finally time for them to journey on home she opened the door and turned to say a final goodbye. That's when hell opened a portal to the surface of the earth.
If you've never heard the screams of the dying you may not be able to get the shivers from this description. It's very unlike what one hears in the movies, or from frightened teenage girls at a ghost story slumber party. Linda had opened the door just a sliver when what sounded like a baby screamed from the bottom of its lungs to the very top. We tried to imagine what sort of animal would make that cry, and what sort of predator would cause it. Our neighbors keep domesticated ducks in the area in question, and for a moment we thought it might have been a duck, dragged from its normally locked duck manse, singing in a voice we'd never before witnessed.
The scream went on and on... and on some more. It never moved position; it never wavered in pitch or volume. It was as if a demonic organ grinder with a baby scream organ was cranking away at his one legged box, grinning in terrorific glee at the idea that an entire rural neighborhood had woken to hear his magical music. I could only imagine the monkey that would accompany a baby scream grinding demon, with its little red fez and a pair of transparently fleshy wings, twice as high as the creature, with bloody talons stretching across their surfaces, reaching 15 inches beyond the bone!
And then, it was over. Silence. No, wait.... another scream! A short one! Then two long! Then.... silence. NO! A scream! Then, finally, thankfully, a groan, a capitulation, a handing to Caesar what is Caesar’s.
Fred the Fox: Jeez, I thought the thing would never shuttup!
Ogelvie the Opposum: You'd think he'd just have had the decency to die for goodness sake, it's two in the friggin morning!
Carville the Coyote: Ahh quitchur bitchin the both of yas. I woke up, I was hungry, I came for a snack. Wanna make something of it?
Fred the Fox: Ahhh.... No no, not me; I'm fine with late night snacking.
Ogelvie the Opposum: You know me Mr. Coyote, Nocturnal Noogums my wife calls me. I love to eat in the dark. We were just commenting on Bobby Bunny's unusually vehement protest at being on the lesser end of the food chain is all.
Sarah the Skunk: HEY! Pipe down over there! I'm trying to regenerate my stink juice and I need some peace and quiet!
Felicity the Feildmouse: (whispers) Don't you just hate her? She such a bossy bitch! And smelly too! Say Mr. Coyote? You think you'll be leavin any scraps? Not that I'm beggin' or anything but I have babies comin and I needs me strength!
Linda was reticent to step outside. It's a hundred feet to the house and as the Shadow's announcer used to say "Who knows, what EVIL...LLLLLURKS!" I stood in the doorway, scanning the horizon with my special night vision, mole man eyeballs, calling to her as she ran. "Dodge left! Ok, fake to the right! Hurry hurry! NO! The OTHER RIGHT!!!" Finally she made it into the house and slammed shut it's steel door. Of course, that meant I was alone, cut off from the rest of the world, just another morsel on the bottom of the food chain, waiting to test my own shrill call of terror.
I reflected on what I'd heard, the terrified screams of a victim of natural law. It's sad that not all God's little creatures are vegans. It's bad enough we eat meat; we can think and should think more about turnips than tenderloin. Meadow carnivores are so little, you'd think they'd be happy with a few handfuls of grass and a tasty ration of whiffleberries per day. Why do they have to kill each other? WHY … WHY?????
I felt terribly sorry for the bunny, especially since had he lived a week longer he'd be placing boiled chicken eggs in little kid's yards along with the rest of the Easter league. (I'm pretty sure the chickens would have something to say about the custom, it being their boiled babies and all; perhaps they're secretly glad one more rabbit has bit the dust!) I nearly shed a little bunny tear for all the suffering our animal friends do while just trying to keep to themselves and get along with thier mother earth and her brood.
Luckily, the tear never surfaced. Today Linda tells me that my favorite newly planted apple tree, the succulent "honeycrisp" which was nearing the size at which I could relax and not be so attentive to its needs, had been girdled! That means its bark has been chewed away in a complete circle around the entire trunk; and as trees feed themselves through their skin, this tree is now dead. DEAD! DEAD I TELL YOU!
Only rabbits girdle trees, which means a bunny has cost me a day's labor and fifty bucks; not to mention 2 years growing time of a fruit that takes eight years to create a first crop.
On further reflection, I can smile when I think about that lovely sound; the sound of a rabbit being torn limb from limb, its little eyeballs being poked out, and its little paws being ripped off so as to link little key chains through them and keep them as good luck fetishes. I will be awake tonight, past 2AM, waiting to hear the lovely call of a rabbit in the process of being devoured. And I will then shout "HA HA Mr. Rabbit! Girdle MY fucking trees will you?!?!"
Fred the Fox: What the hell is that horrible noise?
Billy the Beaver: Sounds like Carville has insomniatic gluttony again!
Fred the Fox: No, no, I mean that strange caterwauling from atop the hill!
Sarah the Skunk: Oh that's just the human animal. He thinks he can affect the world with his superior intelligence. It's so funny, humans don't have a clue! Want me to go spray him?
Fred the Fox: Nah, don't take the chance he can run faster than you can waddle. I hear Carville's wife Carmella the Coyote is gonna wait 'till he leaves the little building and when he gets into the darkest spot on his way to the big house she's gonna run up and bark at him. That outa get his bowels moving!
Carville the Coyote: Hey guys! I'm not as hungry as I thought. Wanna share some of my kill?"
Sarah the Skunk: Dibs on a paw! I need me some luck! I haven't been able to scavenge shit lately!
On second thought, maybe I'll just go to bed early. I wonder what that pair of eyes is doing by the garage….