Thursday January 13th, 2011

The exercise:

Let's see what happens we when write about: coyotes.

Mine is very loosely based on a dream I had last night, after hearing the local coyotes rather close to the cabin just before bed.

We went up to Penticton today to do some shopping and brought back most of what's left to be done around here - curtain rods for the kitchen and living room windows, a light fixture for the front porch light, and some things for the bathroom. I'm hoping to pick up the washer and dryer tomorrow, but I haven't had any confirmation that they've arrived yet.

Tonight I booked our rental car for our second week in Jamaica. Sweeeet.

Mine:

When day fled before night, they would lock their doors and keep the hungry fireplace fed, making sure there was enough wood inside to last until day's return. They would huddle together beneath blankets, drinking warm drinks and thinking happy thoughts, as darkness devoured the land beyond their walls.

And all the while, no matter how hard they tried to do otherwise, they would listen. Their eager ears were rarely disappointed.

The coyotes would descend from their diurnal hiding places in the hills, yipping and barking and howling, their numbers unknowable. They would circle the house, sniffing at the windows, scratching at the doors, seeking a way inside. Their hunger was palpable.

The man and woman would hold each other close, hardly daring to breathe until the beasts moved on to the next home on their nightly route. Once the sounds outside stopped, they would smile, perhaps allow a nervous laugh to escape their lips, and then go to their beds.

But one night the man was particularly tired after a long day's work and he fell asleep in his workshop. He woke when his wife called his name, startled to find that the day was already receding. He hurried into his home and locked the door behind him. It wasn't until after the coyotes arrived that he realized they would not have enough wood to last the night.

So he waited until they had moved on, standing at his window and staring hard into the night, searching for movement. When enough time had passed without any indication of their presence, he donned his coat and gloves and slipped outside.

It was difficult to move silently, with the snow crunching beneath his boots, but the wood pile was not far. He quickly filled his bucket with all that it could carry, his breath fogging the air before him, and turned back to the house.

Only to find them waiting for him.

5 comments:

Greg said...

You're getting ever closer to finishing the cabin! Although, I suspect it won't be long after you're finished before you break something -- I hope it's small and easily replaceable!
So, in this dream, were you the man or a coyote? It's a really effective piece of writing, the scene's vivid, and the feeling of cold and isolation comes across well. The last sentence, though not unexpected, delivers its punch reliably. Oh, and I'm rather fond of the word diurnal myself :)

Coyotes
Dr. Septopus struggled against the ropes that the Assassin had used to tie him up. Ordinarily he would have expected his tentacles to tear and rip the rope apart like so much wet cotton, but he felt oddly weak, and he didn't seem to quite have the fine motor control he was used to. He rolled around in the snow, unwittingly creating the ugliest, most obese snow angel thinkable.
His clothes were wet through and the cold was starting to sink into his (usually clammy) skin before the ropes started to give a little. Heartened, though still slightly worried about the thin film of ice that was forming on his face and encroaching on his beak, he relaxed, gathering strength to break free.
A short distance away, a coyote howled.
Dr. Septopus went rigid with fear and held his breath, listening for the crackle of approaching paws through the snow. For several heartbeats there was no sound, then the howl came again. Closer.
Dr. Septopus spasmed, desperate now to rip free from his bonds. The ropes gave a little more, then seemed to find resilience from somewhere. He tried to clack his beak, but the ice-film had sealed over his face while he was holding his breath, and he couldn't move it. Or breathe.
As his vision started to darken at the edges and his struggles became weaker, the coyote howled once more, closer still.

Zhongming said...

Marc, Greg, Great writing as usual, i enjoyed reading what you have written :)

---

Coyotes (Continuation from the snowy woods)

Memo of day twelve, 12.05am Sunday, 1st Feb 2000.

I woke up after having a terrible dream of being consumed by numerous number of gray wolfs which belongs to coyote family.

In the dream, I found the key that Ronnie hid before he fell helplessly into the hands of the enemy. I was trapped in the cave after I remove the key that Ronnie hid in the fourth space. That split second of time did little help to assist me in pushing that button after I’ve removed the brick from the wall. Some sort of mechanism managed pulled a long swanky tune before a loud crank saw the floor being separated into two halves. That’s exactly how I went a level deeper into the cave.

In the basement of the cave, things look very normal. There’s plenty of guest room. Too many that it appeared just like a maze. I almost forgot that my mission was to rescue Ronnie and anybody there. I’m sure the owner or designer of this place like to play chess. It’s checked everywhere even the walls and ceiling. I feel dream-like when I walked around the place. So I decided to open one of the guest rooms to see what’s actually in there.

Nightmare begins right after I release the handle…

I was bitten to death, little I could do even I remember that I struggled to the best of my ability.

Full of sweat and my heart was racing as I come back to my senses. Stretching my head and thinking what I’ll have to do to find the “pearl of amulet”…

dumbricht said...

Maybe it's winter, and that's why coyotes seem to connote death and isolation today.

Thanks again for the prompt and sharing everyone. This is fun.

Here's mine:

Coyotes

The snow burned my right hand. At least it did as I drifted off to sleep. Now, there was no feeling. No sensation in my legs either.

I opened my eyes to the darkness. The woods remained as they were before, isolated, trees encroaching. Through a sliver of moonlight I could see a light snow falling. Flakes fell onto my eyeballs. No blinking, my face had no sensation either.

My ears still worked. Rustling in the nearby trees, I prayed it was an accumulation of snow falling from the branches. The sound of footprints dashed those hopes. A savior? I counted the steps. One. Two. Three. Four. All in quick succession, it could not be a rescue party. A howl. And then I felt for the first time in hours, a warm sensation as my long johns became wet.

I heard the panting. I watched the steam of my breath meet that of the visitor. I saw the face, the long nose, the teeth. I waited for the pain. Instead, a tongue placed on my cheek. I felt. The warmth of the tongue burned my cheek. The tongue found my exposed fingers. Sensation. The heat traveled through my body, down my neck, over my chest and shoulder, connecting the cheek to the fingers. It quickly rushed through me. Energizing me. My heart beat faster. I blinked.

Teeth nipped at my fingers, beckoning me. I jumped up, looked at my benefactor. He bounded ahead of me. I followed. We made our way to a thicket of trees. He looked back, bared his teeth, then turned and disappeared through two enormous pines. I stepped up to the trees and looked through, sunshine in the distance. I smiled and followed my rescuer into the light.

summerfield said...

everyone, WOW!

before i left my office, i had the chance to read the posts. oh, boy! all these powerful images and sounds jumping off the screen. do i feel inadequate? why, yes! intimidated? a little bit. would that deter me from posting? NOT! lucky for me i have personal experiences that i can draw on, so at least my post won't look too shabby next to yours. as dumbricht said, this is fun!

-o0o-

The frozen snow on the fields along Lynden Road sparkled in the light of the full moon. It seemed the stars were scattered along the fields instead of being in the sky above. It was after midnight and although tired from an entire day at her photo studio, Jemma tried to concentrate on the hilly road. The minus twenty-five windchill made for treacherous driving on the highway and she knew this slopy farm road would be more treacherous. Large patches of black ice had formed and she still had three kilometers to drive before she reached the farmhouse.

She gripped the stirring wheel when, going down a slope, her tires slid and the car made two full turns as it reached the valley. Thankful when the car righted itself, she continued driving. It would be a long and slow drive but she knew she had to be very careful and patient.

At the top of the next incline, she saw right away the glitter of a pair of eyes ahead. She expected a deer, as they were wont to wander this road but she was surprised to find a coyote standing in the middle of the road.

"Come on, Wiley," she moaned as the car neared the coyote, "get the hell out of there, please!" Amusing herself, she said with a chuckle, "Beep! Beep!"

Jemma put the car gear on neutral so that it slowly approached the coyote who wouldn't budge. When she thought the car would hit the animal, it slowly walked to the side, its eyes still fixed on her. Jemma breathed a sigh of relief. The wind blew and flecks of snow fell down from the bald trees.

She kept her high beams on and spotted a family of raccoons up ahead. Two large ones and three smaller ones were feeding on the remains of a squirrel. They didn't move a muscle as she neared and only did so when Jemma pressed the car horn. She continued driving thinking all the critters had moved to the side but she winces when she felt a slight bump in her rear tire as she drove past. She felt a shiver in her spine knowing it could be one of the small ones. She dared not look back lest her car ended up in the ditch.

At the same time that she heard the scratching noise, the angry faces of two large raccoons appeared in front of her and could hear their wailing. In confusion, she hit the brakes but the car jerked and the motor died. Luckily, she had reached the part of the road where there was no black ice. The animals kept scratching at her windshield. Turning on the wipers did not faze them. Suddenly the coyote jumped on the hood of her car and snapped one of the raccoons and in a flash it was gone. The other raccoon jumped off and Jemma immediately restarted her car.

At the turn on Jerseyville Road to her farmhouse, she glanced at the open field to her right, covered with thick ice that took on the colour of bluish gray as they glistened in the moonlight. The coyote sat atop a tall mound on the icy field, its sillhoutte, with its prey by its feet, exactly in the centre of the moon that loomed large in the sky. Jemma stopped her car, awed by the beautiful image. Her exhaustion suddently gone, she grabbed her camera and, lowering the passenger side window a few inches, snapped pictures of the precious scenery.

Marc said...

Greg - in my dream I was holding a log when a coyote raced towards my feet. I woke up screaming, which woke up Kat. I later explained that "I was just yelling to make the coyote go away."

Ah, the poor doctor. I'm sure he'll make it out of there, I just hope it's in one piece!

Zhongming - ah, I was thinking I should bug you to get back to this story! Nicely done :)

Dumbricht - you're welcome, I'm glad you're enjoying them :)

Brilliantly described scene. And I liked that you used the coyote in the role that you did.

Summerfield - all those animals on and around the car would drive me batty. Loved the image at the end though.