All I could see of the beast at the bottom of the garden was a pair of red eyes shining out from the thicket of brambles where it was holed up. A trail of blood on the grass told me it was wounded and all the more dangerous for it.
The question was: what flavour of beastie was I entertaining in my own backyard? From the neon eyes clearly not one of the usual suspects. Or at least none of the things that usually roamed the mean streets of Bruntsfield. You’d be surprised what you can find lurking just over your threshold, waiting for a gold embossed invite RSVP.
A low, trickling growl grew into a full throated roar. I flinched despite myself and wondered what the hell I was going to do now. It wasn’t exactly a SSPCA or council call-out because if it was what I suspected, everyone would die. And die hard as Bruce Willis would no doubt have said if he’d known.
I remembered I had a steak in the fridge. It was to have been my Friday night treat: burned to a crisp and washed down with a bottle of Talisker. Now it was destined for the gullet of whatever skulked in the bushes. A beast whose tastes, I was willing to bet, were rather more rarefied than my own.
An icy north wind nipped the back of my neck and I noticed for the first time that no birds sang. It would be dark soon and whatever it was I was going to do, I needed to do it now. I turned to head back to the house when:
“Don’t go,” the beast rasped. “I want to kill you here, out in the open where I can see the light fade from your eyes. A last request you might say.”
And it chuckled, a gurgling, phlegmy affair that couldn’t quite disguise the rustling of old leaves as it tensed, gathering itself for that final leap.
At least it was attention for me.