short story

A Hit by Nature



A James Hindle



There was a knock at the door. The dog barked — the cat meowed
I went to the door and opened it, but no one was there. I closed it.

Confused, I went back to whatever it was I was doing. Strangely, there was another knock at the door. The dog barked again. The cat meowed, and I went to answer the door. Still nobody.
I wondered,
Were we being ‘Knock A Door Gingered’? That’s a game I used to play as a . . .   Oh, never mind. I digress so easily.
But I was beginning to wonder . . .   was the knocking just the wind, or was it something more evil?

Standing confused in the open doorway, a disgusting scent wafted past us. Nausea and shivers ran through my body — the cat and dog shook uncontrollably in reaction to the foul odour, or possibly from the eight slices of pepperoni and tabasco sauce pizza they had just scoffed off my supper table. Little shites! They deserve whatever they feel. Better them than me.

But curiosity had beckoned us. An investigation was necessary. Together we left the safety of the cozy cottage and ventured into the forest.

Not far in, we were confronted by a large wolf that had just burped, after apparently finishing a satiating meal. Bad breath? Oh-My-Gawd! And it was the same odour we had experienced in the doorway of the cabin. I’m sure it was a burp — what else could he have possibly caused such a foul smell? Well! Yeh! There’s that.

As I looked around for a possible path of escape I noticed a red cloak-n-hoody sort of thing  in a pile on the ground,. It tweaked my interest. Was this Little Bo Peep’s cape? Although, I was certain it was not! I knew she could not have been here because she was still in the hospital after giving birth to a little ba-a-a-a-stard after she was sexually assaulted by a rogue ram while tending her sheep in a meadow somewhere up the mountain. Sad story. But getting back to this one . . .  no, this must have been Little Rrrr-rrr . . .  Little Rrrr. The thought of what might have happened to our dear friend if she had come to visit, with this wolf lurking in our forest, brought a tear to my eye. I couldn’t bring myself to even say her name.

My nervousness was interrupted when the wolf, possibly feeling comfortably full and no longer hungry, asked if I happened to have a cigarette.  I knew I didn’t, because I’m allergic to all tobacco products, alcohol, sex and even vulgar words, ever since my mother told me as a boy that I was allergic to all tobacco products, alcohol, sex and vulgar words. In face, she had told me that, if I ever were to use any of them, I’d turn into a dog and cat molester. Ummm . . . .  well, we don’t have to go there right now.  Just because I love my dog and cat doesn’t mean I’m . . . . . you know. I really don’t want to talk about that!

I knew I had to think fast, before the wolf, satiated or not, decided to eat us too. I told him about a stash of funny grass that the cat was hiding in her bed, back at the cabin — and that it could be smoked if one were in the need of such respite. I knew it was just dog hair because when you rolled it in paper and lit it there was a funny smell, kind of like when you roll dog hair in paper and light it.
You’re probably curious why there’s dog hair in my . . .  , I mean, the cat’s bed.  I’m not certain, but I think they’re having a kinky affair. But that’s another story.

Anyway, I thought if I told him about it—if he took the bait—it would give me some time to come up with a better plan to save us from his possibly evil intentions.  We all headed back to the shack.

Now, I’m sure my plan would have worked, but just as we were leaving the edge of the forest, heading back toward the shed, it happened.

Like ketchup from a bottle when you shake it, thinking the cap is on tight but it’s not and ketchup flies all over the room — well kind of like that — blood was flying everywhere.

With the energy of a shot from a gun barrel, large birds attacked from the treetops.  Talons outstretched; beaks so big and open they could swallow a Cocker Spaniel whole.

. . . (Pause) . . . . . .

“Rex?  Here Rex!”  Oh, my Gawd! Where was Rex?  He had been such a good dog!

They came from the treetops at the edge of the forest. Streaking down on us in a voracious fury — their fiery, emblazoned eyes locked on their prey — their ear-piercing screeches wreaking fear and horror over their intended victims . . . . . US! Razor-sharp talons and slashing beaks tore into their intended prey in a rampage of explosive, savage energy.

Then . . .  , just as they had arrived, they were gone.

I was lying on the ground, certain I was cut and bruised, because that’s what happens when you’re attacked by a murder of killing-intent crows. But, checking my pants, I was clean . . . I mean my body. You know what I mean.

It had happened so fast. I gathered what energy I had and lifted myself to my feet, surveying the area, turning slowly, soaking in the carnage that had just happened. The wolf was dead—bits and pieces of him here and there: legs, chunks of fur, a big paw, a wolf head. That was the clincher — a severed, mutilated head. Yeah! He was dead all right. Somehow, it could have just been luck, but I was alive and uninjured.

Suddenly . . .  a rush of pleasure overcame me. (Well, not the kind of pleasure one would feel during some ‘rushes-of-pleasure’ circumstances . . . . . ummm).  It was a rush-of-happiness.

There she was: Freckles my cat. I called her freckles because she was jet black with one little yellow spot between her eyes. It was kind of a freckle.  Made me think of a target’s bullseye. Not that I’d ever  . . . .  . GAD! Gross thought!

Anyway, Freckles was alive, hiding in a hole under a log, her hair standing straight up, looking like a large puffer fish with hair. She was staring up at me and I could tell she wanted to leap out of the hole, claws outstretched, into my arms, in a fit of excited elation and relief.
Gads! This could turn out worse than the bird’s attack.’

Then, more elation raced through my senses. There, gazing up at me was another set of eyes, sparkling in the darkness from behind Freckles. It was Rex! He was alive! Oh, glory days. The three of us had survived. Only the wolf had bought it from that venomous wrath of assault and carnage.

I wondered to myself, ‘had it been a strange, ‘hit’ by nature?  Could the wolf have been singled out for annihilation, for eating whoever was the owner of the red cape? And, was that person really, Little Rrrr . . . . Little Rrrr . . . ? I still couldn’t bring myself to say her name.

Perhaps she had been coming for a visit to see us when the wolf had taken her? GADS! We all so enjoyed her visits. She so loved Freckles and Rex. And she always brought such good cookies. Damn wolf; must have eaten the cookies too!

Was it really her that had been devoured by the wolf? Or had he just had his lunch wrapped up in a red cape? I knew I could be pondering this for some time to come. At least until Little Red visited us again . . if she could. We continued on our way, back to the hut.

I couldn’t help thinking, who were those pecksey—get it, pecksey, not pic . . . oh, never mind—who were those birds?
What was their driving force . . . .  , I mean besides their wings.’
Were they ‘Special Agents of Creation’?
Natures ‘Assassins of Control?’

But, I’m sure that that’s another tail . . . , umm . . .  , tale . . . , no, it’s . . .  , tail . . .  .
Whatever, that’s another story, when I get it all figured out.

Anyway, that’s THE END. For now.



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