I’m beginning to wonder if writing murder mysteries is drawing death closer to me. Just the other day, someone living in the house behind me was murdered. The “perp” as those hard-boiled detective people say, probably walked right through my back yard – the police marked his path with red flags and they are still there, weeks later, highlighting the walk or run of someone leaving the house. They rang at the next door apartment building to tell someone to call 911 about the body. We haven’t heard much more than that, but it does make the fog, as it settles into the ravine behind my house, seem terribly appropriate. And gooey.
For the last couple of nights, I’ve been wakened to the sounds of some animal being murdered behind me. The first night I couldn’t place the shrieks – they were metallic, unidentifiable, alien. I fully expected to see blue-green lightning shooting all over the place.
Aside: why is it we always see aliens as green or blueish or pale? Surely they could be any other colour. Personally I prefer the grim grossness of your average Vogon to those alien bubbleheads. Though perhaps I am blinded by their poetry.
In any case, the shrieks continued last night. It didn’t sound like a cat fight, didn’t sound like a fox attack. My mind spiralled into the most interesting dreams tied to the sound – you know, those dreams you have in a second that seemingly go on forever? They weren’t pleasant.
Today I learned that the sound was a coyote, fighting with a cat or racoon. We have a coyote out in our ravine, wandering along, probably eating my dear shouting pheasant (come to think of it, I haven’t heard him lately), clearing up the neighbourhood cat riff raff.
It’s in one way enchanting to think that there is a wild predator in my backyard.
But, like the human murderer, I think its motives are not pure. I think it’s thinking malevolent hunting-type thoughts, malevolent only because, as with the murderer, they aren’t right in this setting. I know coyotes and men can kill. Sometimes we even like them to, as when we are overrun by rabbits or terrorists and need to clear some of them out.
But they are necessarily a violent, brutal part of life.
A part of me doesn’t want to think about them.
But then I take out my pen and paper or put my fingers on the keyboard, and out they come, creeping across the page on the hunt, quietly, quietly, until they spring out and take their prey.
Somewhere, in all of us, a darkness hides. With my MS, sometimes the filter between that darkness and my normally charming personality becomes leaky.
It’s a good thing I can write my feelings out. As in the disastrous parenting manual we tried to use for our kids, it helps to draw your anger.
If only coyotes could hold a crayon…