One night, several years ago, I was sitting up late at night on my front porch reading Stephen King’s Pet Sematary.
Let me set the mood for you:
I lived out in the middle of the country in an old farmhouse far removed from civilization. My porch was connected to the front of my house and provided very little in the way of protection between me and the dark night outside. There was a funky old beat up screen door and a bunch of old jalousie windows with old screens behind them separating me from whatever roamed the night out in the middle of nowhere. Okay?
Just in case you’ve never read it, I’ll give a brief synopsis of Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary” so as to further set the mood. It is a scary book about a family that moves up to a small New England town. Somewhere in the woods behind their house is an old pet cemetery where people have buried their pets for generations. Somewhere further back in the woods is another pet cemetery. What gets buried in this cemetery comes back. But what comes back is an evil and murderous version of what you put in the ground. To put it simply: It’s a very scary book and involves animals. Okay?
So there I am. It’s about 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning. It’s very dark and very quiet out in the middle of the dark nowhere. I am sitting in my wicker arm chair on the porch with the light on (of course), smoking cigarettes and reading the scary animal book.
Suddenly I hear a low growl somewhere Out There in The Dark. Shivers run down my spine and the hair stands up on my arms. I stop breathing for an instant of terror.
I quickly regain my composure, however, and decide that it’s just a small animal of some kind…maybe a little fox or something making its way through my yard. “I’m an adult human being,” I reason to myself “there’s no reason to panic.” So I bravely walk over to one of the jalousie windows and shout, in a deep voice, “hey, get out of here!”
It had been my previous experience that animals will run in fear from a firm human voice. I sat back down, content that my little visitor had run off at the sound of my voice. I began reading again. Then I heard another growl. Right under my window!
This animal had not run away at the sound of my voice, oh no, quite the contrary. It had COME CLOSER and growled again, brazenly challenging me. This was no ordinary little animal wandering through my yard!
I was filled with terror, imagining some beast walking around as evil incarnate.
I dropped to the floor on all fours – knowing that IT could see ME in the bright light of the porch, while I could NOT see IT. Quick thinking on my part! You don’t want these things knowing what YOU are doing, especially when you don’t know what THEY are doing.
I then crawled on the porch floor until I reached the door going into the interior of the house. I reached up, grabbed the doorknob and crawled into the house. I slammed the door, quickly locked all of the locks and latched all of the latches and then ran upstairs as fast as I could, waking up my poor tired partner who was fast asleep.
To this day, I still have no idea what kind of vicious evil I “bravely” saved myself and my family from that night!