A snort came suddenly in the middle of the night. It was a very cold November evening, moreso than it should’ve been. The snow hadn’t come yet, nor should it have – it was November 28th. But, still it was cold. At about 3:30am and the chill had led to a frost web coating the entirety of John Hawkin’s bedroom window when he heard the first snort. The first one had only made him stir in his deep sleep and caused his dreaming to wander into a scene from his childhood where he was feeding the cows at his uncle’s farm as he turned over in bed.
Then came another snort from the backyard. Then another. Then came the scream. A high-pitched whistle that jolted John immediatly from his cow-dreams with a burst of adreneline. It sounded as if something was screaming in his backyard. It trembled into a low-pitched snort and faded. Then it started again, but this time it was joined with a second squeal and John looked at his frost covered window in absolute fright. He couldn’t help but think that it sounded mostly like giant pigs fighting with each other. The snorts and squeals kept going and the noise grew so loud that John had to cover his ears.
He got out of bed, a bed made for two which he was currently occupying on a solo basis. His wife had taken the kids that weekend to see her parent’s in upstate New York. He pretended that it was a planned trip, but the truth of the matter was that there was good chance she wasn’t coming back to his house in Plymouth New Hampshire anytime soon. They had had “a real blowout” (a term his father would use to refer to the fights he’d had with Mrs. Hawkins back in the day).
So he was alone as he approached the window. No one was hearing what he could hear. His nearest neighbors maybe, but that they were over a mile away. With his ears covered he approached that cold frosted window that had a strange moon glow. As he tried to see what was squealing outside he could see some shadows, but not clearly through the frost. He was shaking now. He knew these weren’t pigs, it couldn’t be. His hands reached down and pulled on the storm window to open it. It wouldn’t move. It was frosted shut.
Angrily he jerked at it again and it slide open a hair, but then became stuck again. The house was old and it had those strange dumbbell windows that often would start opening only to get stuck again. He leaned into the pull and forced the window to become unjammed. It flew open and John, not really as awake as he’d assumed he was had put one hand under it to leverage the window open. As the window flew open his hand slipped and John found himself flying out of the second story of his old house and landed flat in a bush.
He blacked out, unconcious for 10 seconds. When he came to he felt the arbor vitae bush he’d planted right on that side of the house had cushioned his fall and scraped him up something fierce.
“Fuck! FUCK! FUCK!” He yelled to himself feeling all the scraps and bruises of the fall forming in and on his body. He pulled himself up, still with his eyes closed. The pain was so great he’d completely forgot how he’d ended up in the backyard in the first place. Then as he grumbled to himself as he got his footing he heard a low snort.
John’s eyes flew open and he realized he was looking directly at the siding of his house. The moonlight illuminated it, but as John looked down he could see shadows forming on the house. They were large and horned. John spun around with fright to see he was surrounded by a herd of over 100 elk standing silently looking directly at him.