Barking and Moaning

downed tree in Taos

This giant dead aspen fell down recently. I’ll burn up what I can.

What in the name of all that’s holy is that? The sound outside our bedroom window woke me up at 4:00 a.m. on Thursday night, the same loud bark-bark-moan, half a dozen times. An animal? A lunatic? An entity spawned from bloody karma on this ancient hill where arrowheads and spears pierced human flesh? The “barks” were gruff and hoarse, as if from someone who thought he were a dog, the moan that followed like an uninflected bellow:

“[bark-bark] Aaaaaaaghhh!”

“[bark-bark] Aaaaaaaghhh!”

I slipped quickly out of bed and grabbed my flashlight, careful not to turn it on unless I saw some movement in the waning moonlight, lest whatever or whoever it was become aroused and end up pounding on the door or worse. But there was nothing to be seen. Last night it happened again, two hours after midnight. More than anything else, I thought it sounded human, maybe twenty feet away, but I saw nothing in the gloom.

A bear? A barking cow?

Every word of this is true. I wonder if we have a ghost.

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John Hamilton Farr lives at 7,000 feet in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, U.S.A. As New York Times best-selling author James C. Moore tells it, John is “a man attuned to the world who sees it differently than you and I and writes about it with a language and a vision of life that is impossible to ignore.” This JHFARR.COM site is the master writing archive. To email John, please see CONTACT INFO on About page. For a complete list of all John’s writing, photography, NFTs, and social media links, please visit JHFARR.ART  

  • Robbo November 11, 2017, 11:20 PM

    This is terrifying.

    • JHF November 12, 2017, 7:25 AM

      In your civilized neighborhood in Austin, it certainly would be! While I was taking my bath last night, I got pretty worked up about it, too. Made sure the doors were good and locked before I went to bed, etc. But nothing happened this time. No haint! I called it a haint yesterday and K. didn’t know what I was talking about. Maybe you do. 🙂

      Seriously, though, New Mexico is deeply weird. A work crew was digging a trench for new water pipes up on the road and uncovered human remains (Native). We do have bears and loose livestock roaming around. And I’ve believed for years that someone has a crazy relative locked up in a barn nearby because of yelling much like what I heard the other night. Maybe the dude got loose.

  • Judy copek November 12, 2017, 12:52 PM

    Coyote? In heat?

    • JHF November 12, 2017, 1:03 PM

      You’d never think that if you heard what we heard. Much lower pitch than a coyote. And the “AAAAAAGH!” was full-throated, as if from a person or other large mammal.

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