Desert Creatures going Bump in the Night

It had been raining all day. My body protested the weather though my spirits were high as I lounged on the couch for most of the day, staying warm and dry inside. All but one of the times I took Jayden out to relieve required a good toweling which left Jayden’s coat even softer than normal.

As I wound down for the night my mind was on the new Stephen King book I would be starting while nestled warmly in the comfort of my bed with the memory foam mattress topper. As I hooked Jayden’s leash securely on his collar, I always double check with a little tug, I realized I didn’t have my towel. I cracked the sliding glass door open slightly and only heard the rhythmic tap tapping of water falling from the roof, but no steady sound of a drizzle so I continued outside.

It all happened in an instant but the memory is like a snapshot in my mind. B’s music faded out as I shut the screen door and Jayden walked to the end of the patio pavement and on to the dirt. I froze as I heard a clattering from the direction of the neighbor’s patio on my right. With no time to try and decipher the noise I went with my gut and turned my back on the sound. Jayden’s leash tightened with his hesitation but the wordless command filled with fear that travelled from my hand down the leather to his collar made him obey the wish I could not voice and he followed me back to the door.

I ripped open the screen and as soon as I knew Jayden was over the threshold I slammed it shut, the glass door slamming just seconds after. B exclaimed from the couch but I don’t remember what he said. He was up in a flash as I hit the floor, all strength suddenly gone from my legs, Jayden’s leash clutched firmly in the hitchhiker’s grip in my lap.

“Monsters?” B asked.

“I don’t know,” I whispered. I can still remember how feeble my voice was since I could not pull air into my lungs no matter how hard I tried. B, being the fearless man he is, slapped on his shoes and wen’t to investigate. “Be careful,” I gasped.

I sat there by the door, Jayden now looking out as I clutched his leash in a death grip. I heard no screams or sounds of attack, just B’s sneakers as he moved along the pavement.

“Piggy!” he said then, in a childlike voice. “Piggy, oh another piggy! One, two, three, oh piggy by the door…” his voice trailed off as he reentered the house the way I had done just moments before. I heard the screen door close and imagined the javelina bursting through it.

“Close the door,” I hissed as the door slid along the tracks and the satisfactory click of the lock allowed me to exhale. Returning breath would be difficult to grasp again.

“Piggy! Jayden sees the piggy,” B said and I burst into tears. “Oh crap,” he said, and knelt beside me, rubbing my back.

Only a few tears leaked as my body wracked with sobs. That is the worst kind of crying, when you’re sobbing with no cleansing rush of tears to accompany it.

“Panic…attack,” I managed as I concentrated on not concentrating on my breathing, the way B had instructed me when I had experienced my first anxiety attack when we were newly dating all those years ago.

“I’m sorry I made light of it, should I take Jayden out?”

I grasped his fingers, communicating that his apology was not necessary, still holding Jayden’s leash, not willing to relinquish it. “Out front, go with me,” I whispered and wondered if I could stand. “It’s not that I don’t trust you, but I’ll panic if I’m not with him.”

B understood completely and we went to the door. He inspected the front before I went out. My fear had transferred for a minute to Jayden, who stood by the door, unwilling to go out. “It’s ok,” I said in my chipper voice and he relaxed and went out. I’m sure he could smell the beasts in the air because after he was done he just wanted to sniff. B kept guard for a minute and then when I was sure Jayden was done, we went inside and I was finally able to giggle and release some of the nerves.

My body was still trembling five minutes into the new book and when one of the characters said, “life turns on a dime” I thought that sentence couldn’t be any closer to the truth.

I think the rains must send smells into the air which lure the javelina close to our doors. The last time one had come onto the porch, it had been raining. Perhaps trying to explain why they come when they do helps me compute what had happened. There have never been any reports of people or dogs getting hurt by those things here at the complex, but last summer, farther in to the center of town in an old historic neighborhood, a dog was attacked by one while his person took him for an afternoon walk. I’m still not sure how it managed to sneak up on the woman. Maybe since it was daytime it was louder out, or maybe she just wasn’t as observant as I am. Even with thoughts of a new book in my head, I was on high alert as always when we went outside. It’s lucky those rodents of enormous size are noisy. I just wonder about the state of my neighbor’s patio.

I need to talk to management about people feeding wildlife. It’s cute to feed the bunnies and the birds. I’ve done it, not recently, but I used to enjoy watching the squirrels on my back porch munch on sunflower seeds. However you don’t just attract the cute lil beasties. You also reach out to the monsters. Life, it turns on a dime, doesn’t it? I’m just grateful the only result was a thumping heart and trembling limbs. Maybe Jayden will now associate the javelina with his person’s fear and not think of them as play things.

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