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Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

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Night Visitor


Clank, clank, clink.


My ten-year-old, sleep-addled brain finally responded. Groggily I sat up in bed as father’s footsteps, accompanied by irritated grumbling, trudged down in the hallway and out the back door.

Clink, clank. The noise grew briefly louder before the door closed with a bang. The noise grew quieter. I heard Dad’s muffled voice through the window as he passed by. “Darn! Didn’t mean to slam that door and wake everyone up! What the heck is going on out here?”

I rubbed the sleep from my eyes to discover that it was pitch black in the room and outside as well. There were no streetlights to brighten the darkness where we lived. 

I wondered what was going on. I looked over at my four-year-old brother’s bed and discovered he had also awakened. 

“What’s going on?” he asked.

“I don’t know. This weird noise woke me up. Can you hear it? Then Dad went out the back door. He didn’t sound very happy!” I replied.

Clinkety clank.

“I hope it’s not something bad!” Greg exclaimed. “That’s scary! Dad could get hurt!”

“Don’t worry about that. Dad is pretty strong. He can handle anything.” I said with a measure of pride in my voice.

The clink-clank continued throughout our conversation. We wondered if we should get up or stay in bed where it was safe. 

What about Mom and our sisters? Were they OK? I was about to get up to find out when Dad came back inside. His footsteps passed our bedroom and went down the hall toward our parents’ room.

“Helen!” we heard Dad say, “Everything is okay, but you and the kids have to see this. I‘ve never seen anything like it before.”

“What is it?” Mom asked. “Why do we have to wake the kids up?”

“It’s something that has to be seen. I can’t just tell you about it.“ he said.

I heard him knocking on our sisters’ door as he said, “Girls! Get up! There is something I want you to see.”

He paused at the hallway closet to retrieve a .22 caliber rifle he kept secured there.

“Why do you need a gun?!” Mom asked alarmingly.

“Don’t worry. There is no danger. Just follow me.” Dad replied.

A rapping at our door followed. “Boys. Are you awake? Come on out. You just have to see this.

Follow me.” Dad exclaimed as he led our safari out the back door into the darkness. He led us around the corner of the house to where our propane cylinders were installed on a concrete pad.

Clinkety clank. Clank, clank, clank came loudly from that direction.

“OK. Take a look between the tanks.” Dad said.

As we looked, we could see the furry black rear end and tail of an animal with a broad white stripe down its back.

“AH! A skunk! Run!” 

“No. Don’t worry; he won’t spray if he can’t see you.” Dad said. “Look closer.”

He shined the flashlight closer to reveal the source of the sounds – a skunk with his head encased by a quart jar firmly lodged in place behind his ears.

The skunk had stuck his head between the tanks and was vigorously banging back and forth, apparently trying, without success, to break the jar. Dad grabbed the skunk by the tail and pulled him out from between the tanks. The disoriented skunk staggered around in circles.

My sister said, “Oh! The poor thing! Pull it off of him.”

“Oh! No!” Dad replied. “If we do that and he can see us, he will spray us. You’ve all smelled that before. We don’t want that to happen.”

“What are you going to do? Is that what the gun is for? Don’t shoot him!”

“I’m afraid I have to do that.” Dad replied. “You kids can go back inside now. I just wanted you to see what all the ruckus was about. It is quite funny!”

As we four kids quickly went back inside the house, the crack of the rifle signaled the end of the safari.

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