Sprinting down Shoreline Circle.
God, I wish I were a faster runner.
I’m really more of a jogger,
a slow jogger.
I can complete 5ks at a leisurely pace,
but I wasn’t really made for running for my life,
Eyes wide, lungs burning.
I was also not wearing the right shoes.
My ankle turned, and I stumbled
but fortunately did not hit the ground.
I turned behind me to see the creature
still in pursuit,
sensing that I am easy prey.
At least the dogs will make it,
I dropped the leashes and told them to run,
as fast as they could.
They sprinted towards home, gone in a flash.
It would have been nice if they had made
at least a little effort to defend me,
You probably need a German shepherd
for something like that.
We had been on a late-night walk
through the subdivision.
The dogs had been clamoring for relief,
and the weather was unseasonably warm.
The moonless sky was dotted with faint stars.
We took our usual route around Shoreline Circle,
at the center of which is a large retention pond.
It’s a nice focal point for the subdivision,
adjacent to the clubhouse and the pool.
You can see blue herons and white egrets at the water’s edge,
and ducks and geese float serenely in the center,
occasionally dipping their heads underwater to catch a fish.
But that night, something lunged out of the water,
about ten feet long, dark and reptilian.
It must have seen us walking on the sidewalk next to the pond
and waited patiently at the edge, like a crocodile.
It was fast and ferocious coming out of the water.
I saw the whites of its eyes.
I saw rows of large pointed teeth,
and I ran.
I stopped at the first house I saw,
pounded on the door.
Lights were on inside, and I could hear
a running faucet and the clinking of dishes being washed,
but no one came to the door.
I screamed, and some dogs barked in the distance
The creature was clumsier on land,
lumbering down the street,
but I ran as fast as I could to Bayview Point.
I ran past Ted, tinkering with his van in the driveway.
He tried to approach me with a knowing smile.
“We had a board meeting last Monday,” he began,
and I just screamed, hoarse and out of breath,
“Get in the house! Get. In. Your. House!”
and ran past him with his furrowed brow
and confused O of a mouth.
The dogs were there, waiting at the gate,
probably wondering what had taken me so long.
I saw their hackles rise, and their teeth bare.
I turned around to see the creature just behind me,
standing on its back legs now.
I opened the gate leading to our front door,
grabbed the snow shovel that was leaning
against the sliding glass door.
Tired of running,
prepared to defend myself.
But it had vanished.