Here I was in our office yesterday, re-pre-editing chapter thirteen of Atolovus, titled Crossroads, before I recreate the manuscript for my new editor when I hear a noise in the bathroom/ laundryroom. It’s nothing much, just enough to gain my attention and make me swivel about in my chair to scan the two rooms through the open doors. I’m listening for anything more, but all is silent. What the? I think as my curiosity gets the better of me.
I finish the sentence on I’m working on, “As the Darkfeeder’s attention returns to Tau, realization of her situation reflects in her sultry green eyes.” I get up and cautiously wander into the two antechambers, scanning them as I try to find whatever made the noise.
Nothing on the floor, the toilet, the file cabinet or the safe that is out of place. Nothing knocked over either, same is true of the laundry room. “Weird!” I say aloud before running upstairs to get a cup of coffee. Getting back to work, things go along fine for a time, then I’m interrupted again: Tank, Clatter, grind, grind, grind. Now I spring to my feet, and dart to the bathroom, flicking on the light.
Ah-haa! My shaving cream is laying on the floor below the white pedestal sink! How did that haaaapppennn…. I ask myself suspiciously, looking up to the narrow shelf I keep my shaving cream and hydrometer protected behind five thick hinge-top wine-bottles. Yes…they are all empty, and have been for many years, the product of Christmas gifts years back when my brother was trying to make mead.
And then it moves, and my heart jumps a few beats.
Winding behind the bottles and peeking out from where my shaving cream was is the head of a snake! “Seriously?? How the frick did you get in here,” I ask it as it tilts its head as if asking me the same thing. It moves a bit while flicking its tongue at me. It’s got similar markings to a boa, but they are a light brown and the snake is about two-and–a half feet long. Just a bull snake, quite harmless really, I’d like to wait till it slips out a bit more before I just grab it behind the neck, but if it struggles I’m going to have a mess. Fine, I need another solution. I need something to put it into, and something to both hold it while I do that.
To the shop I hurriedly go; lest it slip into some other spot even more difficult to extract it from. Walking slowly past my heavy bags while scanning for the right thing to hold it, I discover a narrow but deep box. Perfect! I grab it, now looking for the right tool to guide it into the box with. I see nothing I like. Hey! Maybe a pair of tongs would do the trick, Hmmmm I have some long ones in the kitchen.
Sooo, back across the deck, and up the stairs where my eyes land on my collapsible rake. It’s a small form of one, and the perfect length and size for my need, *Snatch!* and off I go back to the bathroom.
When I arrive, the snake is busy climbing the wall toward the ceiling and freezes as I pop around the door. It’s making its way over the mirror, and into the cubby selves on the right. As soon as I put the box down and stand up, it stares at me.
“Welllll…” I say curiously with a friendly tone, “What do you think you are doing? This is not a good place for you. There’s no food that you are going to like in here. I’m not going to hurt you, I’m just going to move you back outside where you’ll be much happier.”
I raise the rake slowly so as not to frighten it, but it knows what I’m doing, or at the very least, it doesn’t like the look of the rake, and elects to slither quickly up into the cubbies.
Finally, I can see most of its body; Nice! I try to get the far prong behind it’s body then lift it up and place it in the box, but that only caused it to bolt for the highest cubby which is full of rolls of old coins I’ve collected for my son. I’ll give all of them to him when I transcend this reality for the next.
But now I am faced with a quandary. All four rolls are open, and standing on end, quarter, dime, nickel, and penny. All the half dollars and silver dollars are in the safe. My visitor has decided to wrap itself around the rolls and curl up behind them. Fantastic! I can’t get to it without spilling coins all over the bathroom, the sink, and the toilet. I have to get the rolls out of the way to reach it, but how………….?
The tongs! I’ll lift them off the shelf with the tongs, and if it strikes, well I’ll just have to hope I don’t have to take the sink apart to collect the coins. I return shortly with the tongs. As I reach up toward the rolls, it sticks its head out between the quarter and dime rolls and hisses at me loudly. Ahhh, it knows what I’m up to! Interesting.
I start talking to it in a calm, even tone, reassuring it I wish it no harm, and I’m only interested in taking it back where it will be most comfortable as I grasp the first roll. Picking it up, I place it down by the bottles. Then I repeat the process with the dimes. It has now wound itself up and looks like a lumpy and deflated six-pound Valeo ball.
“Almost there, I tell it, just be cool, nothing bad is going to happen to you. You’ll be just fine.” I manage to get the nickel roll out of the way, but now, it’s had enough. The barricade is practically gone and safety isn’t any longer assured. It bolts for the top of the cubby trying to climb the wall toward the ceiling once again. When it stretches enough, I’ll be able to get the prongs under it, and it’ll all be good.
With my right, I’m trying to get the rake under it and with my left, I’m trying to get the last roll, but the snake decides to wrap its tail around the penny roll as I get the rake under it. There go the pennies everywhere.
Ignoring them, I pick the snake up and gently direct it in to the box. Closing it, I take it out back down to the blackberry bushes and the creek where I coax it out of the box by talking to it, and staying clear of the opening. After a couple minutes it cautiously moves toward the mouth of the box, stopping from time to time to glance up at me, trying to gauge my intentions, and finally slithers off into the brush.
Now I just need to clean up the mess. I find all the coins, everything goes back where it should, and then it strikes me; our basement is solid concrete. It has two small windows, both closed, and my wife refers to it as the dungeon. How did that snake get into our dungeon? There is absolutely no way for it to get in. If it had somehow come from upstairs, it would have had to slink past three cats and a dog. We don’t have carpet for obvious reasons, so no cover there. How weird! Maybe… I think to myself, it’s a blink snake at least that has plausibility.
So what is a Blink Snake you ask? It’s similar to the Blink Dog. They basically teleport over short distances, say fifteen or twenty feet, but they can do it over long periods of time when they must, and they are not susceptible to dizziness, nausea, or lengthy disorientation. They travel in packs, and use their ability for hunting and defense. They themselves are not known to be evil, but then, anything can happen—even blink snakes!
Blink snakes are now listed in my digest of unique Solanarian creatures, and just as a side thought, who knows what blink species you may find in your worlds 🙂