Saturday, October 10, 2015

THE CRATER

I woke up early this morning after having a terrible dream where I was being attacked by a big, red-headed girl with eye-brow tweezers; she was trying to pluck my eyeballs out. The dream was so real that I ended up getting up out of bed to check my eyes in the bathroom mirror. Fortunately, they were both still in their sockets. I peed then went back to bed. But I couldn’t get back to sleep. I looked at the clock: 3:45. I turned over. I tossed and turned for about another half an hour, then got pissed off and got up, trying not to wake my partner since he had to get up for work. I decided a walk would be nice, especially this time of day when it’s quieter. I looked at Lady—I always take her, for protection—but she’s just getting too old for longer walks. Her hips are not what they used to be. So I went out the door and to the car.

I drove up to White Spruce Trail Park. I don’t really know why I drove there. I just ended up there without thinking. It’s not a very long trail and the area is just a small grove of woods with a gully here and a ravine there. I parked the car and got out. All was quiet. There were no other cars. It was just before daylight, when everything is gray.

I didn’t follow the trail going to the tennis court and leash-free dog park. Instead, I crossed the field to another trail hidden among the tall trees. As I was nearing the end of the field I heard voices. I turned around and saw two cops on bikes heading up the road. I ran to the woods and hoped that they didn’t see me.

A low mist filled the woods, but I was able to see. I took some deep breaths and enveloped myself in the healing properties of Mother Nature. Robins started to sing and squirrels rustled in the trees. The images of the dream faded away and I began to feel relaxed, endorphins began to rush my body.

I strolled along the trail, looking for racoons and possibly a deer. Along one part of the trail, in the gully to the right, I saw something move. Being the curious person that I am, I moved in closer and saw a giant crane. It was just standing there on one leg. What a beauty! I wished that I had brought my camera. I moved on and came to the dog park, but I didn’t go in, I walked along the trail outside of the fence. I could see more clearly now and the mist was almost gone. I came upon the tennis court and spotted the cops’ bikes. I stopped. I have no regard for cops. In my opinion, they are…well, that’s not needed here. I got down and hid in the brush and waited. I listened and waited. I spied, I listened, and I waited. After a few minutes, I got impatient and was going to go back the way I came, but a crackling in the woods behind the tennis court made me stop. I got down again and watched and waited. The cops trudged out of the woods and stopped by their bikes. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but after a few minutes, they got on their bikes and left. I waited some more. After I was pretty sure that they were gone, I walked over to the part of the woods they came out of. I was in luck, a muddy trail. Fall is a great time of year for tracking. I followed the tracks. I had been to this park before, but I had never been to this part of the woods.

As I walked along the side of the trail, being careful not to leave visible footprints behind, I speculated why they would have gone in there. The first thing that came to me was of course, they’re gay and they were getting some. Then, I thought, drugs. Then, I thought, maybe stolen merchandise. It was fun playing detective. It was still a little misty and I wasn’t paying attention to the trail and the next thing I knew I was falling.

When I came to I felt cold and wet. My head ached. I placed my hands on the ground and pushed myself up. I was a little dizzy, but held my footing. It was full daylight now. I could hear a light flow of traffic on the road. Saturday had begun. I touched my head where the pain was and looked at my hand. No blood, but a big bump. No other pain, so I guess I was okay. I had fallen into quite a steep ravine. My back side was wet, but not soaked. Leaves had already fallen from the trees and had made a bed for me. I looked around at the top of the ravine, trying to figure out where I had fallen from. I did a 360. I had fallen into a crater full of deadfall and leaves.

I took a moment. I looked around again doing a circle. I sighed. I should have stayed in bed, I thought. I finally picked a place that had the most vines and rocks and started to climb. The dirt under the leaves was like oil. Every time I placed my foot to try and hoist myself up, I slipped. There was not much to hold on to. I spotted a rock here and there and tried to step on that, but the rock would just slide down the side of the ravine and I would end up in the pit again. I tried every side of the wall and could not get up. At one point, I thought I was going to make it. I grabbed a vine, but when I pulled, it ended up coming out of the ground. I lost my footing and down I went, landing on my back again. This is crazy, I thought. I felt like I was in a movie. The Twilight Zone or, The Outer Limits.

I got back up and sat on a fallen tree. It was still a little misty and damp in the crater and I spotted a few squirrels on the rim of the hole looking down at me. Well, it seemed like they were looking down at me. I felt strange. I was dirty, I was thirsty, tired, and my stomach was growling. How the heck am I going to get out of here? I thought. I didn’t bring my phone, I didn’t bring any water. Then I remembered something. I checked my pockets, my keys were missing. What else could go wrong? I rested my face in my hands and sighed. I just sat there with my face in my hands and tried to calm myself down by taking deep breaths. After a while, I felt my face get wet, and when I took my hands away from my face I became aware of my hands. They were filthy with what I thought was mud. I fanned my fingers and really looked at what was on my hands. It looked like blood. I can’t describe the fear that suddenly arose within me.

I stood up and it was all over me; blood, red blood…all over my hands, all over my clothes, all over my shoes. I looked up. I saw blood on the leaves, on the rocks and vines that I had touched. It was everywhere. The whole crater was covered in blood. I lost control. I ran to the wall of the crater and I dug into the dirt, into the blood, trying to get a footing to get out of the trap. Trap! That’s what it was, a trap! I stepped back away from the wall and looked up at the rim.  More squirrels had gathered. I looked up at the sky, the branches of the trees, and the leaves. Then I saw something that I hadn’t seen before. The leaves on the trees were mostly green, but the crater was covered in orange, red, and yellow leaves. I picked up a red leaf and examined it. It wasn’t real. It was like plastic paper mache. I screamed, “What the hell is going on here!?”

I shouldn’t have done that. The moment I screamed I felt tremors under my feet. The ground was shaking; the fake leaves began to move. Something was coming to life. Something was coming for me! I ran to the wall, digging and crawling, and screaming! Then I felt it, I felt its shape, its shadow reigning down on me. It was big, it’s breath smelled like a thousand years of death. I stopped, I didn’t want to move, but it was compelling me to turn, to turn and look into its evil eyes. I fought with all my might, with all my soul, I prayed to God, don’t let me look! But there was no reprieve. No one was going to save me. I turned and faced my demise.








When I woke up I was in a ball of sweat. I looked at the clock: 4:30. I turned around, cuddled up to my partner, and went back to sleep.