May 10, 2010

Under the gables (4/10)

   Branches whipped at my face as I ran through them. I’m pretty sure I hit some trunks in my blind flight through the darkness. The unnatural laughter seemed to float around me dogging my every step. I have no idea how long I ran, but it felt like hours… Something large and uneven abruptly interrupted my flight. I tripped and fell forward expecting to crack my skull on a tree or a rock… but instead, I was blinded by the pale dawn’s light reflecting off the waters below me. Before I hit the water I glanced squinting over my shoulder and glimpsed a flying white shape darting back into the darkness of the trees. Then came the shock and the splash Blue Ridge lake’s cold waters. I quickly swam to the surface and although I saw no trace of what I had glimpsed, I heard the unearthly sound of pained and frustrated keening fading in the distance. As I shivered with shock, exhaustion, and cold I wondered what I should do next. I swam to shore and pulled my self up onto the muddy bank using a tree’s root…

   And gagged at the sight of that which had accidentally saved my life, for though I had no idea what it was that had chased me, I was convinced it was dangerous and I had before me the proof of its lethality: I had tripped on the mangled corpse of a white tailed deer. I guessed that this was the source of the death scream I heard during the night… I fought down my revulsion at the sight of the gore and blood and approached the carcass with the idea of trying to identify the cause of its demise. Granted I had no experience as a forensics, but I thought it safe to assume that the big still bleeding palm sized bites that had been taken out of the body to have been the cause of death. It took me moment to identify what those bite marks reminded me of, piranha bites, but ten times bigger… I wondered what could possibly have done this. I struck upon the idea that it had been wolves that had chased me and that the eerie laughter I had heard was the product of my overworked imagination twisting the howling of wolves into something much stranger. I managed to almost completely convince myself with this rational fabrication. After all, nothing else made sense.

   Knowing that the houses I was supposed to find were on the banks of the lake I figured that if I kept to the lake to my left I would eventually come onto one of them, and there I could ask for help.

Dawn at the loch in Galloway Forest Park