Bit of a commotion in the street just now. Couple of coyotes wandered by. All the dogs in the neighborhood objected to the coyotes’ visit. There are a lot of little dogs in the neighborhood. Much yapping ensued. Coyotes probably weren’t impressed.
Coyotes aren’t new around here. I’ve written about one of their visits to the neighborhood before. Four vacations ago.
The screaming continued. A sharp, raspy, single note scream with pauses of three and four beats between them. I followed the sound out into the backyard and "watched" as it whatever it was seamed to rise up into the top of tall old oak behind the house next door. I tracked whatever it was with my eyes, as if if I stared intently enough I would develop super night vision and the thing would suddenly become visible to me.
Suddenly it was at ground level again and swinging around the neighbor's house to the street again. I chased after it, chased it down the street, chased it halfway up somebody's driveway, where I suddenly realized that it wasn't in the air anymore, that it probably never had been. Sound plays tricks in the dark.
Whatever it was had stopped moving, and I stopped too. We remained that way, "staring" at each other.
The screams had been dying for a little while now. Softer, they sounded to me more emotional, irritable, angry but not at me, at someone particular, but there was also a note of loneliness, as if whoever was irritating it was also breaking its heart.
I swear that's what I heard at the time, because in a moment you'll be accusing me of 20/20 hindhearing.
The screaming stopped but it, the screamer, was not silent. It was making a quiet noise in its throat, like the moaning of a sad dog.
There was enough ambient light from the house at the end of the driveway and I thought I could now see a gray-white shape sitting in the far corner of the yard.
Sitting up, like a dog on its haunches.