It was mid morning in July. All was quiet in Grand Falls Newfoundland, particularly on Memorial Ave. where Brian lived with his family of five children and his wife.
He sat at his table . He was taking a break from laying new bathroom tiles. The back door opened. Cool air rushed in. And on its currents was his next door neighbour, Mr . B. Sweat poured off his face. His breathing was ragged and his face shouted alarm. Heart attack , Brian thought. Mr. B was not a young man. He and his wife were elderly compared to the other home owners and consequently they generally just had a passing aquaintance with most of the dwellers. So this interruption was very unusual. There had to be some emergency. And Mr B’s face and behaviour confirmed his suspicions.
” There there there’s a a a a ccreature in th th the grass ,” he panted.
“What kind of creature?” Brian asked. His garden joined up with Mr. B’s at a shallow bank that ran the boundary of their two properties.
“I don’t know what it was. I never saw one before. I I th th think I killed it.”
“You killed it?” asked Brian. ” How?” He got up from the table leaving his cup of tea and bun half eaten . Obviously his neighbour was highly agitated . ” How did you kill it?”
“With my pitch fork. ”
“Where is it now , then?” He put his jacket on . The days had been cool this July.
“Out in the garden. The pitchfork is still in it. I tell ya I’ve never seen an animal like this one before.”
“Come on, let’s go,” said Brian. And he hurried past Mr. B and out through the door. Mr B. scrambled after him.
The two men were a study in contrasts. Mr. B was the ,taller and in his sixties . He walked with a stoop and was tentative and unsteady. Brian being younger by at least fifteen years was upright and confident. It was obvious that he would have to investigate. Mr. B was too spooked. They walked across the front lawn towards Mr. B’s property.
Just below the bank they saw the pitchfork . It stood erect . Unwavering. There was absolutely no movement.
Brian approached not knowing what he would find. He looked down.
” I’ll be damned !” he exclaimed. ” You’re right. Never saw an animal like this before .” He stooped to see more clearly. The pitchfork had pierced the body clean through . It lay impaled in the earth. No movement from it at all. The creature was about six inches long and grey in colour. Its head resembled a turtle’s but the scaly body was narrow and had a tail that tapered to a point. It was as long as the body. Very curious, he thought . He grasped the handle of the fork and pulled . Up it came prongs , body and all. The corpse was still attached. And there was not a sign of life.
He grabbed the body and grasped the head.
A SQUEAK pierced the air as the head caved in under the pressure of his hand. He started in surprise. A laugh rose from deep in his gut to his chest and up to his throat as realization dawned in his brain.
Rubber animals squeal that way when they are squeezed.