Silence of the Pigs

This will be a different kind of blog post today. I want to give a glimpse into the uncharted territory of a place that is constantly moving through wisps of colour and untamed adventures in lost worlds. This place haunts me at times, but amazes me at others. And though I can be looking straight at someone; an acquaintance, a teacher, a consultant, this place is often travelling in a different direction than what it’s supposed to, making it exceedingly difficult for me to focus. On more than one occasion this area has been my downfall. It’s been my struggle – the one that others don’t know about or can’t possibly understand because it’s hidden behind my naturally deceiving green-umber eyes. This place is my advantageous yet treacherous ever wandering mind. It’s strange, in a way, to put the thoughts that spear in a hundred different directions every second into words, because usually they move too fast for me to catch a hold of them. But heck, why not give it a shot? I’ll grab my butterfly net.

I was sitting outside. The sun was warm, almost a little too warm, making me sweat in places I don’t want to talk about. But I barely noticed it. Because as I was sitting in my rickety rusted lawn chair and staring at my boring yet frustratingly addictive phone, I was rudely thrown into a mental state of panic when I heard the sharp rising squeals and screams that erupted from across the fields. My eyes shot up. Around me, miles of various crops stared back at me blankly as they drifted in the gentle wind. But my heart started to thud a little faster. Because regardless of the calmness in the fields that wrapped around my backyard for miles, usually screams only mean one thing; danger.

There was an eerie dancing in the breeze. Something was wrong.

I stood, eyes grazing over the fields one last time, and then headed for the shed. I don’t keep a lot of things in my shed, just what’s been tossed in there over the years; tools, gardening gloves, a shovel, a tarnished bike with only one wheel, a first aid kit, a hatchet, a few dead mice, extra gasoline and…my grandfather’s black bow.

My arrows were mostly destroyed, with notches chipped out of them and whatever glossy finish that once covered them being mostly disintegrated. But I still remembered how to shoot, though I hadn’t done it in a very long time.

I took what I needed, considering the history for only a moment before I slung the sheath of arrows over my arm, and then squished a spider that fell off beneath the toe of my boot.

Spiders. They don’t scare me.

I headed for the fields. At first, I considered that my best option would be to move into the corn so that I would be shielded on all sides. But my instincts told me it would be faster to go on a direct path through the wheat. So I went, gripping my bow so tightly at my side that I could feel a splinter edging it’s way into my pinky.

The screams began to rise again unexpectedly, sending chills through my bones and making me almost falter my next step. I swore, not using one of the worst words I could think of, but still one that might not have been appropriate to say out loud at my mother’s house. But I didn’t have a lot of options on this route. They would see me coming. I knew they would.

I broke into a run, hoping for the sake of the screamers that I wasn’t going to get there too late. My body drove forwards into a string of long strides that made the series of buildings before me draw closer, giving me better vision of what was to come. But there was trouble. I suddenly ducked left when I saw movement, and nearly plowed into a silo. I winced at the impact of my shoulder colliding with the blue metal wall before I was able to correct my calculation.

Okay, I swore again. This time it was the worst word I could think of. Bad Jen.

I put my back against the silo and slid down to a sitting position to clear my head and try to refocus from the throbbing that was making its way down my arm. The screams had died down, which made me nervous. I hoped I hadn’t missed my chance to intervene.

There was a noise that made me freeze. It was like the sound of someone crunching popcorn seeds in their teeth. But as the sound became a rhythm, I realized there was someone less than twenty meters away from me that was walking on gravel. And he was drawing closer. If I was going to move, it had to be now.

I snatched my bow out of the grass and peered around the silo, searching for the company. And when I saw nothing but an empty laneway that seemed to extend at least half a mile before it even reached a road, or any kind of civilization for that matter, I bolted for the next building over. As I approached, I heard a commotion inside, something that made me stop at the door before going in. I reached up slowly and drew an arrow, as my eyes narrowed in on something past the door that I couldn’t see yet. The screams, they came from this building.

The thudding began rising in my chest again. I held my bow up, a little nervously because there was a good chance my aim was rusty, and I inched the door open with my foot. Everything inside was dark. Shadows stretched across the length of the building that were almost too dark to be defined. But I could see movement. I could hear it too. I reached to my back pocket and pulled out my phone, which in addition to having a sweet Pinterest app also contained a rare high tech lens that would allow me to see in the dark. I held up my phone and kept my eyes glued to the screen as I scanned the room with appropriate caution. And then the noises began.

It started like a low pitched growl, similar to what might appear in a child’s nightmare. And then it rose, cracking into a tone that went higher and higher until the frequency was so startling it sent shivers rippling across my flesh. I dropped my phone in alarm and spun around, trying to blink away the blurriness that was starting to form. I peered down the arrow that shook slightly under my grip and tried desperately to make out the shapes that were positioned in the darkness around me. I needed to shoot, now, or it would get me, whatever it was. I opened my mouth but my throat was dry.

“Hello?” I rasped, hoping it wasn’t too late for friendly conversation. When there was no reply I started to shrink down to retrieve my phone, which had bounced a half a meter from where I was standing. I rose slowly, flicking the night vision back on, and raised the device in front of me, and as a sudden form appeared, filling the screen, I shrieked. Fear exploded through my limbs, making me spring into action. I released my phone and heard it clatter somewhere in the darkness. My hand shot back up to my bow and I shot the arrow, hitting whatever monster was before me right between its bright threatening eyes.

I couldn’t breathe.

I was ready to run but I’d heard a slump on the ground. And no more noises were coming from the darkness. So instead, I leaned forwards with my hands on my knees and tried to catch my breath. This felt unreal. Finally, I marched forwards and grabbed my phone, unable to stand it any longer. Whatever monster this was, I needed to see it. I flicked the light on my mobile to its fullest measure of brightness and tilted it down to see what I’d hit.

A pig. It was a pig.

I grunted.

Well that was a whole lot of drama for nothing.

Yesterday I was sitting outside on my phone. Lame. I know. But I do love Pinterest. And as I was sitting there, I overheard the legitimately startling sound of our distant neighbour’s pigs squealing so loud that it really did sound like I’d woken up in a horror movie. What really happened was I took a look across the bean field, shrugged to myself, went back to pin a cool recipe and then headed inside for a pomegranate. But in those short moments of looking out towards my neighbour’s farm my mind took me through a completely different scenario, all in a matter of seconds. And I thought it would be interesting to share.

It can’t stop it. It does it on it’s own.

….and now I feel like bacon.

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