I go for walks at night through a near-by housing development. I carry a flashlight but I’m so familiar with the streets I don’t have to use it often. Usually only if I see an animal moving ahead do I turn it on to see what I’m dealing with. I’ve come close to a few skunks this summer. The other night I walked this one road I don’t take often because there are no working streetlights and after the sun goes down it’s as dark as Dick Cheney’s soul. About halfway down the street I heard a noise behind me. It was a skittering or scratching on the pavement. Just heavy enough to let me know it was there, but light enough to make it sound creepy.
I did not scream like a small girl. If the guy in the white house at the corner with the azalea bushes says I did he’s lying. Did he talk to you? He’s a jerk, don’t listen to him. I did not scream or run away with my arms and legs flailing about like a baby giraffe learning to walk. I did freeze and peek over my shoulder.
I’d like to tell you what I saw, but I’m not sure. If only I’d had a FLASHLIGHT I could have illuminated the creature. Oh yeah, I had one. And didn’t turn it on. *sigh*
What I could make out was the size of a small dog or a fox. It was too big for a cat, and didn’t move the way they do. It didn’t move like a rabbit or possum. The legs were too long for a raccoon. Convinced it was either a dog or a fox and knowing it had stopped and was staring at me from behind I took a tentative step forward. That’s when I heard it.
“I have not dismissed you yet.”
The voice was stern, but smooth as a finished piece of oak wood. There was a hint of a British accent as well. As soon as I had thought of it the creature said:
“You’re wondering about the accent. I was educated at
Now is when I should have yelled as if a vice were squeezing my lemons, but I was oddly calm. The voice was soothing as well as commanding respect.
“This is my road. No one walks here without paying me tribute.”
“What do you want?” I asked.
“A sweater vest sewn on the loom of a troll and 47 fast food ketchup packets. Not one more or one less.”
“That’s really what you want?” I asked incredulously.
“I have spoken!”
I heard the same clicking footfalls trail away from me and I knew he was gone. I continued on my walk although I was shaking from the experience. Sweat was creeping from my scalp even though it was a cool night. Who, or what, had I been talking to? I kind of liked that street despite it being dark, but to walk on it now I needed to find a troll. I mean the ketchup packets were easy, but a troll? We’ve got some sprites and a kelpie in the neighborhood but no trolls that I know of.
As I departed the development my mind was still roiling with the night’s events. I passed a trio of teenagers walking the other way, giggling about something. One of them even had a British accent.