Time writing: 20 minutes
Time editing: 10 minutes
It was lying on its back, legs straight up in the air, its paws with the claws out ready for the attack. The fur on its body was mottled and ragged. But the single feature that struck the most fear in my heart was its face with its teeth bared in a permanent snarl.
I could feel the blood draining from my face as I looked out on the hideous creature lying on my lawn. It was obvious my dogs had killed him, bless them! But what kind of animal was this? Were there more of these ghoulish creatures nearby? Did I need to worry about my children playing outside?
I heard footsteps coming down the stairs and I turned my head to see Steve coming toward me. He wrapped himself around me from behind, whispering, "Good morning, beautiful," just like he did every morning. Usually his words melted me and warmed me from the inside out, but today they had no affect on the coldness that I felt.
"It looks like it is going to be a beautiful day!" he said, as he surveyed the sky.
"Steve, what kind of animal is that?"
"Right there, lying next to Amber's toy plates."
"Oh..." he got quiet for a long while, then he let out a laugh.
I turned around suddenly, startled by his reaction. I couldn't see what could possibly be funny.
"What?" I snapped, "What is that thing?"
Still smiling he replied, "Remember that 'coon the dogs killed a month ago and kept dragging back to the porch even after I threw it into the fields time and again?"
I nodded. Yes, I knew the one. I had nearly stepped on it coming out of the house a few times. A stinky, old, rotting raccoon.
"Well, about a week ago I got tired of throwing it back into the field, but I didn't want to take time to dig a proper grave, so I threw it in the burn barrel while I was burning our garbage. It looks like its fur got singed and its lips burned off. It does look pretty ugly, doesn't it? It doesn't seem to have bothered the dogs any, though. They must've dragged him out of there, though I'm not sure how they got to him. I'll bury him deep today, so they won't bring him to us again."
I looked back at the 'coon. It looked just like the Rodents of Unusual Size from The Princess Bride's Fire Swamp. Thank heavens I didn't have to worry about that snarly critter's babies coming to bite my own babies.
My mind turned toward another critter: that cute little happy beaver that tried to visit us the other day without much success.... (continue to: Mr. Beaver Comes to Lunch)