A tale of horror

1.
I always have a hard time sleeping this time of year, when the nights grow long and cold and the crickets stop chirping well before midnight. It’s been raining, too, preventing me from going to work for most of the past week, so I’ve had to cut back on meals, too.

So let’s just say I was in no mood to be awoken this afternoon — much less to have my bed jolted violently and turned on its side. I’d heard this place might be haunted, but I never expected anything like this. “Hey!” I yelled. “Leave me the hell alone!” The next thing I knew, an enormous white face was looming over me, with awful staring watery eyes as big around as my head, and a mouth that emitted deep rumbles I could feel in my chest.

I screamed.

mushroom beast

2.
I needed to move my woodstove about six inches to the right, and decided that the easiest way to accomplish this was by picking up one end and shoving an iron pry bar underneath it, propping both ends of the bar up on concrete blocks, then rolling the stove across the bar. I think if you live in the country for any appreciable amount of time, concrete blocks begin to seem like an all-purpose solution to otherwise insurmountable problems, kind of in the same league with duct tape and WD-40. The steps into the shed where I went to get the pry bar, for example, consist simply of three layers of stacked blocks — a temporary fix some 25 years ago that somehow never got an upgrade.

Our main supply of blocks is in the lower part of the barn, inside the second set of double doors. It’s cold and damp and dark in there, and I couldn’t really see what I was doing, but that’s O.K — I could find my way around this place with a blindfold on. I grabbed two blocks from the top of the pile, but after only a couple of steps, decided maybe I’d be better off carrying one at a time, instead. Besides, one of the blocks had begun making high-pitched noises, halfway between a rusty hinge and a shriek. I noticed something small and dark a few inches from my arm, and quickly set the block down on the bench outside the door. BAT!

I ran.

bat 2

…To get my camera, of course.

I snapped a few shots, but almost immediately began to feel guilty about the trauma I must have been causing this poor little beast — most likely Myotis lucifugus, “mouse-eared fugitive from the light.” I put its block back on the pile, snapped one more photo, then grabbed another block and went out. When I returned to check half an hour later, it had disappeared — probably by climbing deeper into the pile. I wished it a good night, and figured it could take that any way it wanted.

See also this post.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave's writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the "share alike" provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

5 Comments


  1. Man, that photo of the mushroom beast is truly frightening.

    Reply

  2. Why is it just lying there squeaking at you? I’d have thought it would fly. Kinda cute with its mouse closed. Reminds me of Ingrid. :-)

    Reply

  3. Thanks for the comments.

    leslee – I guess they don’t like to fly during the day too much, though I’m told they will if they have to.

    Reply

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