The time on the clock read 2:29 am. The waning moon shared its luminescence with the corner of my bedroom and my eyes blinked repeatedly with the harsh difference between the blackness behind my eyelids and the moonlight permeating my bedroom.
The sound that woke me was shrill and I was trying to convince myself it had followed me from a nightmare. My dog’s uneasiness confirmed the polar opposite of that theory and together we looked out the bedroom window to discern where the awful noise was coming from.
My initial thought was that a baby raccoon was lost and crying out for its mother but as the cry continued it became much more visceral and intense. My tension escalated with the suffering sounds of nature. There was nowhere I could free myself from the wretched sounds of terror that animal was shrieking. I now know how poor Clarice Starling felt in The Silence of Lambs. Somewhere deep inside you want the shrill cries to stop but you also realize the outcome of the slaughter when the night regains its stillness.
The cry did lose its intensity and that sound of terror became more and more staggered until it was replaced by the silence of the night. It took me a long time to get back to sleep. Between my over-active imagination and my staunch passion for Criminal Mind’s crime scene photos, I’m sure I had created over 200 plausible crime scenes by the time I finally nodded off.
I can only hope whatever predator was outside has moved on to a new hunting ground. And I sincerely wish we will not have to, ever again, listen to the unfortunate nocturnal requiem of the untimely death of wildlife that once felt safe to roam through our woods.