"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lord of the Flies--Chapter 4--Uh oh...

"Well, it's either up there or it's not," I said, when the wife quizzed me about nailing the roof back in place.

At first, we heard no scratching, but that evening the varmint made its presence known above the bedroom, as though trying to escape. In the morning, I checked the shingles again, and though disturbed, they were intact.

"Now what?" I thought, and went to work. Then the temperature began rising as they habitually do in Oklahoma. By the time I got home, it was over 100 degrees outside, no telling how hot in the attic, and my bear-trap mind finally deduced that we had a serious problem upstairs. I could hear scratching.

Leaving the garage door open, I lowered the ladder into the attic, stuck my head and flashlight up there, and saw nothing. But I left the door open, hoping it would take the opportunity to flee. By the time the wife arrived home, with a somewhat worried look in her demeanor, the scratching had moved from the bedroom area to inside the wall of the dining room in the other end of the house. Now it was not just leisurely scratching, but frantic scratching.

I went back upstairs, with flashlight and gingerly moved, rafter by rafter, to near where I heard the scratching. I could find no way into the wall to poke or prod whatever was there in hopes of freeing it and extracting it. It was obviously trapped between the brick exterior and sheet rock interior.

Edgar Allen's Poe's story, the Cask of Amontillado came to mind, of a human chained to the wall and bricked up for a slow death, despite screams and scratching. Suddenly I knew where Poe got his inspiration for that horror story.

Ours was about to begin....

To be continued

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