The noises irritated us in the early morning hours of each day but only slightly. Then things went missing–thieves–in the night. That’s when action became necessary. I was a light sleeper but had failed to catch them. Twice I almost had and this morning had managed to trail one of them into the backyard.
The movement through the grass meant ‘lizard’ to Murphy, and he immediately went nose down on their track. But these were not lizards, at least not those known to Man or possibly they were a diabolical mutation of multiple species. His nose scanned back and forth and led him on a roundabout path to where I already suspected they dwelled. Or formerly had.
In the corner of the yard, where the old fort had recently been torn down, we found where the thieves buried their dead. The fort had been theirs for some time, and there they reigned supreme. Two weeks ago, over the course of a weekend, we had torn it down—clearing the way for yard improvements. It was evident the night raids were reprisals.
I knelt and sifted through the dirt where the structure had been for 10 years. I looked around. The grass surrounding the patch of dirt was still–unmoving–and damp with morning dew. The wind soughing through the woods behind us had stopped, and the birds in the nearby trees no longer sang their morning melody. Pain in my bad knee forced me to stand just as I found something. I stood with the small fragment curled in my hand.
Inside, under a light, I studied it. The tiny skull of one of the little sons of bitches that stole my Staedtler Mechanical Pencil I used for handwriting my notes and story scenes. Murphy watched me with a determined look on his face. We were thinking the same thing. “We’re going to find those bastards and get it back.”
But not until after I finished my coffee. Murphy nodded impatiently but waited, looking out on the yard through the French doors. He knew they were out there waiting for us, and was ready to enter the fray.
To be continued…