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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mysterious Beasties

I decided to do something bizarre last night.

The night was clear and dark, and the stars were out. I grabbed my pillow and blanket, and headed outside to my hammock which is slung between the pink magnolia tree and the fence. Then, I climbed on board and re-arranged the bedding.

For a while I enjoyed the relative quiet and peaceful view of the stars peeping through the magnolia leaves. I couldn't see the moon, but there was a faint, milky light in the sky and misty glimmerings from the stars. Then I heard it.

It sounded like someone was blowing their nose.
It's just hedgehogs, I tried to reassure myself.
But then the shuffling began. The noise was coming from the pathway which goes between our house and the fence, and is bordered by hydrangeas. Between the hydrangea plants were dead hydrangea leaves, and these were being moved around by the Thing.
Apart from an irritating humming noise by my ear (most likely, an interested mosquito) and the rustling of these dead leaves, the night was calm and tranquil.
Then, the sound almost imperceptibly moved. It was no longer by the hydrangeas. In fact, it sounded like it was getting close to the canoes (lined up by the side of the house).

The crunching of dried leaves came closer to the hammock. It sounded like someone was tiptoeing through the leaves. Alarmed, I craned my head round to look but it was too dark to see anything except the blurred outlines of the two blueberry bushes.
I felt pretty silly to be getting scared about hedgehogs, but the sound was coming even closer to the hammock. It edged it's way around the blueberry bushes, and seemed to be coming across the grass towards the fence, where I was.

Suddenly, there was a rustling right under my hammock. In those split seconds I envisaged a brown monster with massive fangs (reminiscent of Fang in Spider Man 3) leaping out at me from the darkness. Then, another hideous thought struck me. What about a snake? At this point, I decided I was getting a bit ridiculous about the Thing. There were no snakes in New Zealand, or not hanging around people's gardens anyway. But then something moved distinctly on the ground. This was too much for me. I grabbed my jandals from the ground breathlessly, and put them on. Then, grabbing my blanket and pillow, I jumped down and quickly walked back inside.
'Course, I should have overcome my feminine delicacies, grabbed a torch and hunted out my mysterious beasties. I could then have examined them closely, drawn them, dissected them and written copious notes about them. I would then be filled with pride at my great scientific discoveries and decide, after all, to become a scientist.

To my shame, I ran inside and felt extremely glad that I was safe.

I like a dark night. There is something so comforting about a jet - black night, a sky studded with glinting stars and an almost reflective silence - as though the night were thinking back on the day. The moon comes out from behind a cloud and glows palely, the stars twinkle elusively. A purry cat comes out of nowhere and rubs his sides on the road, stretches, licks, mutters in the language of cats.
Ahh yes, give me a dark night any day. Just forget the strange things that rustle dangerously in the shadows.

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