The Waterfall Series, #3
A complement to my ‘Field Files’ series, these short stories explain what occurred along the river past the field that meanders near the woods. I can assure you that everything told within these pages is true and factual, based on my own recollection and knowledge of events. There are those, I know, who will be skeptical and will easily dismiss these tales as pure hokum and folderol, but rest assured, they happened. Before making your own hasty decision, I want to tell you about it. Here is my story.
I trailed Andi as we snaked along the path to the falls, Andi sniffing the ground for new smells, perhaps hoping to find a trove of truffles.
We climbed the small knoll to the old stone crest length and gazed out into the lagoon, where a flock of geese paddled languorously in the frigid waters. Sometimes, if you remain completely still, you can witness the arrival of a blue heron. What a magnificent creature!
But something else caught Andi’s attention, across the river. What would I do without his keen sense of smell and sharp vision?
I strained to see what Andi fixated on. Nothing but dead leaves, scrub, and deadfalls, brambles thick with prickers.
And then I saw it. There, blended in the bank, a small, gray naked creature, bent over, oblivious to our presence, busily working its clawed hands on something below, unseen. It seemed to be ripping something apart, bones and sinew shredded with tremendous force.
I’m not quite sure, but I think I saw a splatter of blood.
Suddenly the gray gargoyle turned, startled by our presence. It squatted on its haunches, its large gray wrinkled genitals exposed to us, its scrotum swinging in the winter air like some sort of otherworldly disturbing Newton’s Cradle.
It hissed at us from across the breach, exposing bloodied fangs. Andi quivered, unsure what to do. I stared, mesmerized by this foreign beast, by its nakedness, by its huge hoary bollocks.
Christ, what the hell was that thing?
The creature paused, eyeing both Andi and me, seemingly contemplating what action to take, it’s talons absently working and clawing the cool winter air.
Who the hell knew what to do?
I certainly didn’t. Heck, I’ve never seen a tiny naked grizzled beast staring back at me with fangs red, its huge silvery bat ears twitching in alarm.
I stared and stood along with Andi, quietly hushing him to be still, hoping he wouldn’t embark upon one of his patented whimpering bouts after witnessing something wholly foreign to his canine orbs.
The gargoyle seemed placated. It relaxed its raised talons, flexing them in the crisp winter air, bending them ever slightly, dipping its gray mass of a head down. Soon a crunching sound filled the air.
It was then I realized it was feasting upon the carcass of a fawn.
Slowly, Andi and I stepped back, careful not to snap a twig or rustle bone-dry leaves, and we edged down the trail, distancing ourselves from the ravenous gnome.
“Well, Andi, there’s something you don’t see every day.” Andi looked up at me as we walked, his anxious eyes telling me that of late he hasn’t been fond of these strolls.
“But, Andi,” I said, looking down at him,” it’s never a dull moment, is it?”
He looked up with worried eyes and then kept walking, yearning for the warmth and safety of the sofa. Who could blame him? Perhaps he thought he could have been that creature’s next meal.
We kept walking. Every once in a while I’d turn and look over my shoulder, making sure the small gray thing wasn’t loping behind us, dragging its knuckles along the path, itching to eviscerate us on the spot, a postprandial snack of sorts.
Nothing was there. Just the soft whisper of a gentle wind in the quavering aspens. I turned and kept pace with my distressed dog.
“Almost home, Andi, almost home.”
Copyright, Paul Grignon – 2018 – All Rights Reserved.