One moment I’m sleeping peacefully and with the next breath I’m jerked awake by a cacophony of sound. The slam of adrenaline hits so hard it’s like fire coursing through my veins. Deep breath, hand to the chest to keep my heart in place. Seconds to identify the sounds and decide the action needed. My existence is reduced to strobe light flashes of action and reaction.
That’s what it’s like to wake up to all hell breaking loose.
One hand hits the light switch the other has already grabbed my pants. I’m aware of Dan ratcheting a round in the chamber before he grabs his clothes. I hear the snarl of my son’s pit bull. The hair on the back of my neck prickles. The Danes are going into attack mode.
I jam my feet into boots while loading the shotgun. Dan’s already out the door, gun loaded and ready, his flashlight spearing the blackness of the cold night. I hear the snick of safety off from my son’s rifle. His pit is going nuts in his bedroom. Outside the Danes are snarling and slamming against the fence engaged in a fight with coyotes and in the background a call to the pack floats on the air. Doctari bugles a challenge with his mares behind him. All faces are pointed toward the confrontation a hundred yards away.
We wade through the ground fog in hunting mode listening to dangerous dogs in protection mode. A high-pitched yelp of a wounded canine. The smell of blood. The echo of gunfire. Howls of the pack calling retreat. The snorting and stomping of alert horses. Eerie eyes where there shouldn't be eyes.
When hell breaks loose it’s a mêlée of confusion, flashes of movement, and sound.
It’s been a hard winter. Food has been problematic for the packs, although they rarely come into the home pasture and my cats know not to venture into the pastures on winter nights. My first flare of worry was for my horses especially with Doctari’s challenge even though I know that coyotes don’t normally go after something that big, even as a pack, unless it’s badly wounded and looks easy to bring down. The home pasture is Doctari’s territory. He was confronting home invaders of the canine variety. He doesn't tolerate any threat to his mares by canines. I've seen those powerful legs and hooves in action a couple of times when strays have thought it fun to chase the horses. Let’s just say a couple of those strays didn't get back up.
Later investigation showed the clear blood trail from the open pasture to the Dane pen. It was a tale of a fierce fight between the two fleeing Raccoons and what we suspect were a few of the pack’s yearlings with a few of this year’s pups. A fatally wounded Raccoon ran for cover into my Dane pen to escape. The sound of battle through the fence between my Danes defending home ground and the Coyotes determined to get their meal. The added din of a cornered and terrified Raccoon entering the mêlée and protecting its mate. She escaped, he, unfortunately, did not.
Unforgettable sights, sounds and smells. Things like this are the stuff of movies or books.
Upon reflection, you can imagine all sorts of things out there in the dark. Things that grab at you from the ground, shape shifters, vampires, home invasions, an army on the move, anything your imagination can conjure up could be there hiding in the ground fog of the night.
- So, how do you use these moments of life?
- Do they stir your imagination? Do they find their way into your writing?
Wednesday, February 19th: Jade Lee talking about the moment in every story that surprises her.