Sometimes there are things you thought you saw that your better sense says you did not.
Then there are things you thought you heard that you convince yourself you did not.
The howl came from next door, a place affectionately known as the Minnesota Mosquito Refuge. Many strange and horrible sounds come from there – but never, ever, anything like that.
It was a cry so chilling that the moon took cover behind a cloud and every living thing held its breath, even the leaves refused to rustle.
The refuge is a scary enough place as it is. So overgrown with sedge, it appears to have no defined surface and so saturated with muck, it has no bottom. Most days it lies hidden behind mist and most nights it is shrouded in fog.
Since the beginning of history, the swamp held had such a poor reputation that no Lakota dared step foot on it and later, no pioneer was foolish enough to homestead it. Only the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reluctantly claimed the place – and then only because the little chunks of untitled land that dapple the map fall to them to administer. So they set it aside as a refuge for mosquitoes and promptly forgot about it.
But there are more than mosquitoes who live out there. There are things, unseen things that only betray their presence by a parting of the grass and their cries.
Speaking of things…
Sometimes there are things you don’t want to do and there are things you have to do and then there are things that are both.
Whatever it was I had to confront it. If I didn’t someone else would have to, so I grabbed my double barrel shotgun and stuffed two shells into the chamber. The first shell contained a load of rock-salt, I use it to make a statement. The second shell holds a slug, I use it to end the conversation.
Tapped over the top of the barrels is a high beam flashlight, it is what I use to guide my way and highlight whatever it is that needs a talking to.
As I swept the beam across the ditch bordering my hay field…
It sounded again.
This time so close that I could not help but catch it in the light.
What I caught was amazing!
Even Hollywood couldn’t come up with anything that weird. Think of a small dinosaur, gussied up in leather, spikes and scales. Think part eagle, part shark, part cougar and part snake.
From an evolutionary standpoint, this critter represented a lot of desperate encounters at Mother Nature’s roadhouse and not a few evolutionary deadends.
“What in the hell are you,” I asked, more myself than to it.
Astonishingly, it answered.
“What the hell do I look like?”
“I haven’t a clue,” I told it.
With a voice as lonely as death, it said, “I am a Wendigo, an ancient malevolent spirit” and then snarling and rattling its spikes like dry bones, it added, “Glad to make you acquaintance.”
I held my ground.
“Aren’t you scared of me?” it asked quite incredulously.
“Not really,” I said, reminding it that it was I who held the shotgun.
“Oh for pity sake,” it exclaimed and flopped on the ground. “This is going to be harder than I thought.”
It seemed more like a petulant child than a monster and in that instant, I had very little fear of it.
“What is going to be harder?” I asked.
“Creating blinding rage,” it said.
“And irrational fear.”
“Why would you want to do that?”
“Because it’s my job,” it said, sounding rather annoyed at the question. “I have been taking time off, now I want to get back to it.”
“That is pretty messed up,” I told it.
“Look,” it said, “I happen to be malevolent spirit, fear and loathing are my stock and trade You do what nature tells you to. We don’t get to choose. There are about two billion mosquitoes out here who would rather be doing anything other than sucking blood and getting squashed. Do they get to change jobs?”
“I suppose you have a point,” I conceded, but the little guy seemed pretty depressed about it all so I figured it wouldn’t do any harm to talk over his issues.
“So what’s the problem?”
“Yeah,” he said. “Everything I do, the media does better. The slasher films on STARZ put my horror to shame. CNN streams disasters as they happen. Even Lifetime serves up heartbreak better than I can.”
“You wouldn’t be the first victim of progress around here,” I told him.
“If I only had a technological edge,” he pondered aloud.
“So you need something to create blinding rage and irrational fear?” I asked just to be clear.
Sometimes there are things you say that your better sense says that you should not and sometimes there are things that you say that you wish you hadn’t…
“Hmmm,” I said, “ever heard of Twitter?”
43 thoughts on “My Malevolent Spirit”
Thanks, that was funny. 🙂
Greetings from the Netherlands, Thank you for an excellent read, and a laugh. I enjoyed this post immensely.
Hey, glad you stopped by.
Good piece of writing.
Hahahaha ! Had to tweet! 🙂
Unfortunately, when I read “the second barrel holds a slug” I thought of this: https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=104751&picture=banana-slug
Poor Wendigo, what did he do to deserve Twitter?
“The moon took cover behind a cloud”–ah yes. One of many great images.
As of late, even the sun is hiding behind the clouds. I am not sure why, with all the heat and humidity, it certainly is not a self-esteem issue.
I think he has already inspired at least one Twitter account. Please, Greg, shoot now! And from the second barrel.
I contemplated pulling the trigger – but the little guy reminded me that he was on DNR land and I fear the DNR more than malevolent spirits. The best solution is merely to avoid Twitter and all its related species.
This could not possibly be more accurate…. Funny, but accurate.
I did think my description of the critter was spot-on. 🙂 🙂 🙂
“The first shell contained a load of rock-salt, I use it to make a statement. The second shell holds a slug, I use it to end the conversation.” BAHAHA. Made me burst out laughing right at my desk. And it’s true about Twitter! Facebook is getting just as bad!
My neighbor is an old sheep farmer, who loves dogs but does not love dogs whose owners let them run and harass his sheep. His solution is to empty the shot from the shell and replace it with wax and feathers. It will not seriously injure an animal but it will spin them around several times and send them off howling.
“That,” he tells me, “is what psychologists call ‘a one-time learning experience'”.
LOL. I used to have a neighbor who let his dog run off the leash all the time – and the dog would chase cars that came down the street. Was always terrified I was going to run it over!! 😦
“Oh for pity sake.” Yah, ve’re in Minnesota now! 😀
Your are in fine form today…I’m chuckling over my coffee!
(Fer pity’s sake…he’s feelin’ tha interview!)
(Aaargh!… FLEEIN’ tha interview)
Feeling pretty creative, are we? Nice.
We do have our moments. 🙂
The Minnesota Mosquito Refuge? Lol. I recommend Facebook , too- that would do it. The only problem is that FB is already overflowing with wendigos. Of course, these days, all you need to do is watch the news to be horrified.
The mosquito is our state bird. It deserves a refuge.
Oh, this is brilliant! Totally loving your barb. Poor Wendigo!
Originally, the story went off in another direction – then I thought about Twitter.
I don’t know where to start except this has to be one of your Top Ten! And, yes, modern technology brought power tools. Too true, too funny, too scary and definitely why you won’t find me on Twitter.
I tried Twitter for a very short while – then dived for safety.
It is tough to get a proper scare going these days. Too much competition. I’ll be looking for @windigo
My wendigo blames the invasive species: vampires, werewolves and such. It might have a point.
Greg, a good one. (shaking my head, but chuckling). You’re the master of “hook” and “barbs.” Christine
Sometimes I worry that my readers will skip to the end. 🙂
Or even WordPress. Nice one Greg.
What you say about WordPress is true – but fortunately we have not seen much of that around here.
A Windigo, eh? Sounds like an appropriate Minnesota term for an inappropriate member of society!
There are a lot of them around. 🙂
Brilliant. Your unexpected endings are your signature in storytelling.
I try to begin every story with a hook and end them with a barb. 🙂
Yowzer!! This is so hysterical I can’t stand it. Damn Greg, I’m gonna have to invest in Depends just to read your posts! Lol.
……”ever heard of Twitter?” 😂😂😂 Perhaps the Windigo is really “the orange one” playing ‘dress up’!!!
Thanks for the belly laugh. You made my day.
🔹 Ginger 🔹
Perhaps so – but the only way to banish the malevolent spirits who haunt the periphery of our lives is to recognize them in ourselves first. We all play host more than we know. 🙂
I didn’t see it coming, but as soon as it parted the sedges and said “Peek-a-boo!” I recognized it. I’ve seen it lurking around Twitter, as a matter of fact. That’s why I started avoiding that place like a Lakota avoids your
refugeswamp. One step, and you either sink beneath the surface or turn into one of them in order to survive.
We have had fear and loathing since the beginning of time – but modern technology brings us something new: power tools.
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