A typical early morning at Carpenter Creek
It was dark, it was wet, and it was too early. City Boy had just left the bed and I could hear the shower running in the master bath. This was Bounder’s signal to take up what he felt was rightfully his space alongside me. Bounder was the German Shorthair I’d picked up at the pound. At first I’d thought he was a blue tick hound, because rather than the typical chocolate of a pointer, he was blue. Plus, he had a tail.
As I said, Bounder believed his place was snuggled up next to me in bed. Not on top of the blankets, either, but right alongside me, under the quilt with his head on the pillow. And this is where he was each morning at 5:30 am when City Boy exited the shower and headed for work. Often times he was snoring in my ear.
This wouldn’t have been a bad arrangement, really, as he wasn’t a tosser or turner, nor hogger of the covers while in bed. He’d snuggle on down and fall right to sleep, and had he stayed that way I’d have been quite comfortable until the sun came up. But this was not to be. For every morning, ten minutes after City Boy pulled out of the driveway, Bounder realized that he had been left in charge of my well being and immediately was on guard. It was now 5:40 am.
In his zeal, he’d stand with his legs straddling my face, head lowered and looking out the window which was at the head of the bed. And he’d growl, for he was certain there was something lurking out there in the shadows. A low, menacing growl that eventually grew into a bark, and then he’d jump off the bed and go into full blown alarm at the door. Before he woke up the kids, I’d have to climb out of bed, slip into my rubber boots and barn coat, and take Bounder outside where we’d patrol the perimeter of the property until he was certain there were no intruders.
Happy that there was no imminent danger, Bounder now insisted on dragging me out to the end of the driveway, me stumbling along still half asleep and in danger of falling face first into the mud puddles. The rain was cold this particular winter morning, feeling like shards of ice hitting my face. Bounder’s nose was to the ground as he pulled me along behind him, searching for the perfect place to poop. Aside from deterring invisible danger, pooping was Bounder’s specialty.
We headed out onto the road and away from the house. Now it was my turn to be nervous. I didn’t know why, but walking away from the light and traveling further into the shadows where I had a hard time seeing more than ten feet in front of me wasn’t very comforting. Bounder, however, didn’t seem to mind. 100 feet, 150 feet, 200 feet into the darkness he pulled me. I could hear the wind in the tree tops, the creek rushing through the culvert ahead. But there was little for me to see. I couldn’t see across the ditch into my own pasture. A chill ran up my spine as I looked nervously around.
Finding the perfect place wasn’t easy this particular morning and Bounder wasn’t willing to turn around and go home. I, however, was refusing to go any farther into the black. I pulled him to the other side of the road in hopes of him finding the perfect spot on our way back towards the house.
It was foggy…I was now walking on the side of the road which was completely treed…no homes, no lights. Nothing. I could see the light in our driveway a few hundred feet away and wished I were closer. My eyes flickered off to my left, scanning what little I could see. There’d been cougar sightings over the summer and I wasn’t having fun.
And that’s when I spotted it. Ahead, about twenty feet, was a light. Not electric, like the kind you have on your porch. No, this was small, like a reflection…a very small reflection. It didn’t flicker, it didn’t move. It just…stared.
The hair on the back of my neck was standing up. I told myself to stop scaring myself, after all, Bounder wasn’t worried. It was probably just a reflection from some bit of light somewhere. Unfortunately, my brain had begun to wake up and I realized that there was no light behind me, thus making this little bit of light ahead of me not a reflection. I wanted to cross the road back to my own side, but wouldn’t you know this is where Bounder found the perfect spot? And there’s no rushing Bounder…
So I stood there, rooted while my dog took care of his business not 20 feet from an unblinking eye that was staring straight at me. It was across the ditch. My mind scrambled for an explanation…reflector? No, it wasn’t on the telephone pole, it was in the trees. Never mind that I’d already reasoned that there was no light behind me to be shining there. No, this was not a reflector, but something else. Something yellow, something ten feet in the air an in the trees…and staring at me!
Bounder at this point had finished. He wasn’t at all alarmed by the golden eye, but I have him the biggest yank on his collar that he’d even felt as I bolted across the road and into my driveway. I don’t think I’ve ever moved so fast, either before or since! Bounder bounded alongside me and together we flew into the house, out of breath but safe from whatever had been lurking out in the trees.
Later in the day I returned to the place that had been the source of my terror, hoping to find some reasonable explanation…but there was none to be found. Whatever it had been, it most definitely was not a reflection. No, the only reasonable explanation was no explanation at all…something had been watching me from the woods, something with one golden, glowing eye about ten feet high…and the branches of the trees were too small to support an owl or raccoon…