intended this to be the day he cleaned the garage, but looking at the heavy
rain falling outside the open overhead door, he supposed it was as good as any.
Uncommonly heavy rain for here, for this season, it reminded him of the fall
downpours back home.
passed through the stacks of boxes and upon shifting the layers of flat materials
leaning up against the wall he was surprised to find the deer skull hanging
there. It seemed undamaged by all that stuff he had just moved, but he felt
guilty, for not having been more careful.
out and took it from the wall and…
Head-Bob watched in awe as the rain came down in nearly solid sheets, the trees
lit up by the lightning that flashed over and over. He had never seen a storm
like this in his young life and he instinctively backed up to the far wall of
the nest hole, against the warm living part of the old tree. It had shielded
his family from the weather all his life, perhaps it would still do.
rain and the roaring of the creek, now a surging smashing thing he did not
recognize, his keen owl ears picked up the sound of something running down the
hill. It crashed through the brush toward him as though in flight or
panic.He could hear it coming, leaping
and darting, changing direction every time the lightning flashed or the thunder
the doe came so fast it never had a chance to stop before it got to the raging
creek. Now twenty feet wide and over twelve feet deep, the once tiny creek was
carrying everything in its path downstream with it.
Watching from his nest,
Little Head-Bob's eyes flashed wide, shocked, as the deer's reflexive leap
carried it high up, out over the creek and almost to the bank on his side. Then
plunging into the roaring water the deer tumbled out of sight and was just - gone.
flashed and across the creek he saw a shadowy thing standing as though looking
his way. He shivered and blinked but then the shadow was gone, obscured by
darkness, as the lightning faded.
flash of lightning and Bob looked up from the skull in his hands and there out
through the rain across the street, where the water ran swift through the
ditch, he thought he saw a shadow. Something with four legs, something there…
and then gone.
Head-Bob blinked in the sun, drying his feathers as he dozed, dreaming of a man
who walked along the creek bank. The man stopped, looked at the pile of dead
brush stuck under the tree fallen across the creek, and caught the glint of
light off something there.
into the knee-deep creek, careful of the slick moss that covered rock bottom,
trying to watch where he was going while still keeping an eye on that spot in
the brush.Hedge thorns raked the back
of his hand as he tunneled it into the pile, back almost to his full arm's-length,
before finally catching hold of the thing. Carefully bringing it out he was
surprised to be holding a perfectly intact deer skull, too small for a buck,
staring back at him.
Head-Bob watched as the man climbed backed up out of the creek, the skull of
the storm-killed doe in his hand.
his garage Bob jumped, startled out of his reverie, when his wife poked her
head in to call him to dinner. He looked down absently at the skull in his
you still hanging on to that thing?" she asked.
Be there in just a minute, Hon" he replied.
her head and looked at him kind of side-ways like she did sometimes. Then half
grinning, she turned back to the kitchen, closing the door behind her.
Bob found a
push pin there in the tray and reaching up high on the wall stuck it in. He hung the skull and his memories far up this
time, out of everyday life's range, not quite so easily covered.