It hasn’t been there for years. Possibly ten years ago I saw it last. From time to time when I’m outside late at night with the dog I will think of it and look carefully in the direction I saw it last. Lulled into a sense of security as time has gone by I’ve almost forgotten about it’s eerie presence. Tonight, my son saw it.
Now I can’t sleep.
Living for years in this long-established rural village I feel quite at home. When I was very young this village was my patch as my Grandfather had retired from his farm to live here in a big cinderblock house beside the road leading out of the village. He was well into his eighties but I spent a great deal of time with him as his sidekick, We visited the neighbours up and down the street and looked in on his brother and sister who had also retired from their farms to the village. Lucky to have a general store and another little place that sold icecream bars and pop, Grandpa and I had it made. We would go to supper across the road as Grandpa had arranged with a neighbour lady to cook for him nightly as she also had an elderly boarder staying with her. This was long before “meals on wheels “volunteers bringing cooked food to the elderly. During the worst part of the winter my Grandpa would sometimes visit my uncle’s family in Toronto until the weather improved enough that he could manage again at home. Once the weather cleared up he was good to go again and would walk daily through the village . Maybe this is why I feel safe venturing out at any time of day now that I’m a resident here myself. Maybe I should think again.
With some of this back story in mind you will understand why from time to time I might be outside at very late hours. Also knowing that I am a night owl given to spurts of reading, drawer decluttering, baking, writing or dozing in an easy chair recliner by the bay window watching the fury of a thunder storm may explain why I might feel compelled to go outside late at night when the rest of my neighbours are safe and sound asleep in their beds. I never go far, just around the front yard by the old lane.
Once late at night about twenty five years ago, during a terrible storm I was witness to an odd occurrence. Watching the storm flash with lightning and the wind rip through the big trees outside my large bay window I saw a car’s headlights slowly go by and stop just to the side of my house. There for the longest time, the car remained with its engine still going and the headlights cutting through the wild darkness. Within minutes I was frightened by this and wondered what to do about it, I called the police and explained that I didn’t want to go and see if anyone was still in the car as I was alone with a young child in the house. the police assured me they would be right there to investigate and that I should stay in my house. Relieved to see them arrive my nerves settled down considerably. As it turned out a lady with health issues had become disoriented in the storm as she was trying to drive home to a relative’s place nearby where she was staying. This was long before the invention of cell phones. She was ill and had lost her way into the old lane and had blacked out. Fortunately, the police got the car door open and helped her. I didn’t sleep a wink that night either.
Tonight, very late, my son remembered to put out the garbage for tomorrow’s pickup. I was just about settled for the night as I was trying to get some rest as I had to get up early. My son decided our old dog Holly needed one more trip outside before he finally went to bed. They seemed to be taking longer coming in as usual. Suddenly, the door opened and the dog was running to me with a panicky bark and my son nonchalantly came into the house . He told me that another dog was out there and that’s why our dog was frightened. I asked him what kind of dog it was and he said it was like a big husky type dog. I asked him where he saw it. He told me it was in the little lane beside our house that leads to a field and bushlot. Feeling creeped out more than frightened I tried to go to sleep but no such luck. I kept thinking of the times over ten years ago that I had been doing the same thing as my son was doing tonight. I kept thinking of the times I had turned to see the stray white and grey husky dog just standing there on the dark lane watching me, wondering why I was out so late at night. Why, indeed.