The Intruder

I was alone at Snowbird, in the mountains of North Carolina, and it was as dark as a closet in the three-sided shed where I was sleeping.  We had never had any trouble up there but since I was alone I put a flashlight and a loaded .410 shotgun within easy reach of my rack before I went to sleep.

I was asleep on the middle rack on he right.
I was asleep on the middle rack on the right.

The noise that awakened me  frightened me.  I wanted it to be a mouse scrounging around for something to eat. But I knew it wasn’t, it was something a lot bigger than a mouse.

I don’t have a brave bone in my body, but I can’t stand the tension. In a situation like that I have to have resolution. Someone or some thing is going to get hurt, me maybe, but we are going to have resolution.

I dropped my hand down beside the rack, felt for the shotgun, and quietly pick it up. I cocked it and, at the same time, turned on my flashlight.

The intruder was a skunk.

This isn't the skunk I shot, but he looks like him.
This isn’t the skunk I shot, but he looks like him.

I turned the light off immediately and lay there, quietly. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. I don’t know how long I waited — it seemed like a long time — before I switched the light back on.

The skunk had been walking away from me, back to the woods. He stopped when my light came on and turned as if to say, “You’re shining a light in my face?  Well, we’ll see about that.”  And he began walking back toward me.

I pulled the trigger, I shot him before he could shoot me.

Coming Friday: My Teacher