♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
Welcome back to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop! If you’re new to the series, the authors included are always grateful for your reads and appreciate, even more so, when you share our writings with your friends. If you’re new to the series, welcome aboard. The authors will engage and impress you weekly, so be prepared to become a regular reader.
This prompt has a couple of opportunities for me. I could speak about my experience in the publishing world. Or, I could reveal a very personal moment from my past. Just because the latter sounds much more exciting, I think I will go with that one!
A couple of years ago, I was lying in bed, probably half asleep but feeling like I wasn’t getting there fast enough. Sometimes, I just lay there with my brain going a hundred miles an hour on everything at once. Most mornings, I wake up more tired than when I went to sleep. It takes a lot of effort to even lift myself up from the mattress.
If you’re familiar with my books, then you probably already know that I have quite the imagination. This mind of mine has been like this since I can remember. It wasn’t something I developed. The operating system came with the model. That said, I am absolutely positive that what happened on the night I’m about to discuss was 100% real.
How do I know? I have a roommate. I know, right! Writing isn’t always the glamorous thing you imagine. There are bills to pay. I have struggled for a long time to achieve promotions where I work (they are done through testing and lists and I am competing with thousands, many who have seniority points and good relationships with those who can move them up. I am not well connected, it seems and have had to achieve on my merit alone. I am not dismissing the hard work of other people. The fact is there are few opportunities and too many to fill them). Without opportunity, my income hasn’t been what it should be for my education level. Anyway, that is why I have a roommate—we’re sharing an apartment to afford the high cost of Upstate New York living. Things are on the up, though! Slowly but surely tucking away that house down payment.
Back to the experience (although that bit above is personal experience in its own right).
I am not one to believe in coincidence. Neither am I one to not believe in them. I am fair minded—a mix of Mulder and Scully (I’ve been told I look like Scully, so maybe I’m their recalcitrant daughter. Weirder shit has happened). Keep that in the back of your mind as I share the tale. It’s very much an X-Files (1993) moment.
I had been asleep, or trying to sleep for a few hours. I am not sure what time it was, probably after 1 AM. I woke up startled. A cold dread slipped over me as I lay in bed, too warm to keep the blankets on, but too terrified to kick them off. I reached for Sadie, to pet her as it usually soothes my night terrors (yes, I have those—at least, I wake up in a sweat for no reason, startled and scared. It could be a hold over from abuse. It could be a bad bit of gravy. Likely it’s caused by a dream my brain immediately forgets but leaves me with the souvenir of the horrible feelings I was having).
At that moment, Sadie’s head popped up and she stared into the corner of my room.
Now, it’s best to understand my space. My room is kinda small. There is no place for anything to stand in it that wouldn’t be obvious. I feel claustrophobic most times. I was spoiled growing up with a very large room and a comfortably sized home. My parents provided well for me and my brother. My apartment is about the size of my old bedroom and maybe the old kitchen, the top floor of an old house. So, whatever Sadie is staring at could only be about six feet or so from me (2 feet from my feet). I wrapped the blankets tighter, sweating like hell. The feeling usually subsides in a few minutes and I get up to go to the bathroom to shake it off and get a drink. I’m not moving, though. Sadie is growling low.
Then, all of a sudden, I hear a wolf howl. I freeze, eyes wide. My heart is pounding. Sadie braces at my side, then pushes up on her front paws to sit. Her head is cocked, listening. She’s still staring into the corner. The howl came from that corner. Outside my room? In that corner of the living room?
I sit up and the room appears to lighten a little. Another howl happens. Sadie growl-barks toward the door of my room. This time the howl sounded a bit distant. My fear turns to excitement. How the hell did what happened just happen?
As someone who spends a bit of time advocating for wolves, I now the difference between dog howls and wolf howls. It was no coyote either, not at all yippy. I may be living in the city, but I grew up in rural New York. I know wolf howls. This was a wolf.
Running through all the possibilities, I think of all the dogs in the area—not one is a hybrid. Yes, I do live near enough to rural areas, but for them to dare to come into the city would be a death sentence by frightened human beings and an animal control unit that doesn’t see the value of these animals. We are the State that slaughtered a whole herd of Bison for breaking out of their farm. We’re well populated by yahoos that can’t wait to shoot a high profile predator or large animal, harboring a blood lust that should disturb not inspire.
Recently, I had completed my initial work on the Trailokya Trilogy. Wolves feature prominently in the narrative. The reason they do, before you go on and say, well that’s it! You were dreaming it all—The reason is that I dream about them often and work on social media to advocate for them. I have been advocating for wolves for a long time because of a deep spiritual connection I have had with them since I was just a little kid.
In my ancestor’s Europe, the wolf was slaughtered to near extinction. They are just starting to make a comeback, but the old ways still hold sway. Whereas Native Americans saw them as teachers and spiritual emissaries, respected the wolf and used his medicine, my people were almost always scared of them. The wolf was either a devil or a symbol of power. Many confuse the super predator for a dangerous man-eater. Wolves would rather avoid man, probably because genetic memory has left them with a sense of fear against us for the same reasons. We slaughtered them every where we went. We made hats out of them, capes, boots…Viking lore teaches us about Fenrir who will rend the world. Celts bore the wolf as a dark and powerful symbol, much like the Starks of Game of Thrones (2011). The wolf for my ancestors was strength and a dangerous foe to make. He was also the progenitor of all our Sadie Sues.
Being a dog mom, always and forever a dog mom, I see more and more my connection to their wild counterparts. Certainly the two are quite different, and yet they are quite the same. It’s such an odd dichotomy. Anyway, it is these connections that made me so excited to have heard what I heard.
At this point, I jumped up from bed and went into the living room and looked in the corner half expecting Argus to be standing there. The room was silent—empty. My roommate sleeps with her door open, so her cat can come and go. Otherwise, Miss Potts plucks her nails on the door and it makes a horrible noise all night. She is that kind of cat: a total troll.
My heart rate is coming back to normal. I ask my roommate if she’s awake. Did she hear that? She did. Our directions are different, but that is to be expected, as she is disoriented from the shock and doesn’t usually know directions in midday with a compass (sorry, but it’s true). Besides, Sadie was looking where I was looking because she was looking there. But maybe there were two? One where I heard it from and one from where she heard it from.
I stood there shocked for a few moments. What had just happened? Both my roommate and my dog had heard it. I was standing up, wide awake, in the living room. I was cold with sweat. The house felt peaceful. Although I know he is just a dream, just a character in my book, I’m wondering if Argus had just protected me from something that was trying to enter my house—something that had darkened the rooms. Do I believe in things like that? I have no idea, but I’ve seen things that would make you scream like a five year old.
I lay back in bed, the fear had taken a hike.
Why would wolves be in town? We certainly have food for them, from garbage picks to more healthy fair: ducks, rabbit, dear, squirrel, and even fish. I’ve heard they like feral cats as well, and there are plenty of those anywhere. The surrounding area is the foothills of the Adirondacks. I guess one or two could have ranged this far down. They are quite the travelers.
I guess we’ll never know a certain answer to what happened that night. For me, it will remain a favorite mystery and possible ghost story. I have a few ghost stories, in fact, as I alluded to above, but I’ll leave them for another time and a stormy evening.
Thanks for taking the time to read about my personal experience. Be sure to check out what the other authors have to say on the topic.