To this day, I cannot explain the incident that occurred one hot evening in the summer of ’99. I fear, or perhaps hope, it will forever remain a mystery. Truly, ignorance is bliss.
My family lived in Virginia, in the Appalachians. While not “hillbillies” in the traditional sense, the area was rather cut off from any city, surrounded as it was by ridges. Our house sat near a back road, with a large stand of trees on the opposite side. We had the usual problems of country living-opossums, coyotes, and the occasional bear. Yet these were known factors, and easily dealt with if one had a shotgun and good aim.
What happened that summer, however, can never be quantified.
The noises began at 10:00 pm, just as it had grown very dark. My mother sat by the window, and straightened at the sound.
“What is that?” she asked. I strained my ears.
At first, I thought it sounded like a large group of hoot owls, and I said so. But as we listened, I became aware that there was something wrong with the noises. The “hoots” came too fast, were too high-pitched, to be owls. Curiously, I thought of monkeys.
Mom and I stepped out onto the porch and peered across the road into the woods. We saw nothing moving, not even squirrels or birds. I was getting spooked. The noises were entirely unnatural, and I fled inside.
After an hour, the noises died down, and the world was blessedly, mercifully silent.
Yet that night, I struggled with sleep. I had become acutely aware of how little glass and wood could protect us, should someone or something choose to invade. As I tossed and turned, hating the darkness, I heard it.
A soft clicking noise, as of something hard walking across the wooden porch, reached my ears. I lay absolutely still, holding my breath. The noises paused outside my room.
I was petrified. Even if something burst in on me, I would be able to do nothing but lie there.
From outside came a noise like a huff, then a soft rustle, as though something was pawing at the screen. After a moment, something snorted, and the clicking noises continued across the porch, then ceased.
Then the wretched hooting began again, but grew quieter, fading into the forest.
The next day, after a sleepless night, I discovered my cat had gone missing, as had the neighbor’s. One girl lost her bike; the dog-catcher, the tires from his van.
One loss, however, struck me to the core.
My friend, who lived just down the road, went to wake her little brother that morning, only to find him gone. The police scoured the area. All they found were odd prints in the mud outside the boy’s window, but they were too vague to give a hint as to who or what had stood there waiting.
I hate sleeping on the ground floor and wherever I have lived, I have made sure to take an upper story. But at this apartment complex, all that was available was the garden level.
Perhaps this is what brought the incident to mind. Or perhaps it was the news story about a possible group of escaped zoo monkeys living at the park, making racket every night. Or perhaps it’s that strange clicking I can hear on the sidewalk…
A/N: This is partly based on a true story. One night we did hear some pretty freaky sounds in the woods. But nothing walked across the porch. Okay, that's not true. There was another incident with a deer walking on our porch, but I decided to mix it up with this. As far as I know the government has not experimented with monkey-owl hybrids, but if anyone sees a green lady on a broom, run.