Fiction. Or is it? βœπŸ€”

My indoor morning routine has been relatively consistent, especially having pets. Since I have worked from home for years, I have a little flexibility when I sleep in late. Nothing beats a 1 minute commute.
Today started like a normal day. I woke up thankful to see another beautiful sunrise. Octopussy was on the window sill, clawing at the screen to get at the frog outside. (Note to self: do not open that window.) Kano was scratching at my comforter to get me to pet him. “Sigh, come here kitty, momma won’t turn you away,” I said gently to the nerd as he greedily enjoyed ear tickles and purred delightfully. It was 6:40 am. Work started at 7. It looked like my shower would have to wait until my lunch break.
I turned on my music, a mandatory start to each day. I have been digging Abi Ocia lately, and “Offering” was a mellow tune to listen to as I stretched and did deep breathing to instill calmness with a touch of sensuality.
The dogs sleep in a separate room at night. Captain’s vision is fading and he has a tendency to pace in the dark, seeking his water bowl. I tried keeping the kitchen light on at night, but that attracted all sorts of insects, and their predators, on the outside of my windows that I would find in the morning. Ick.
I got up and fed and watered the cats first. I heard Gossamer whining behind the door to my office. “Hang on bud, I’m getting the cats situated.”
And then I heard it. An odd noise that sounded like low buzzing. I glanced to realize my phone and tablet were still in my bedroom and those are the only things that buzz like that in my home. The fan near my laptop was off. “What was that?” And then I heard it again. This time longer….closer….and sounding more like a growl.
I pride myself on being a calm and patient woman. After having an adult frog in my shower a few weeks ago, I have learned to always trust my eyes and ears inside the house or when out in Nature. It is when I am around humans I can only trust these senses partially.
I tried to interpret what I heard as I slowly moved to let the dogs out of their room. They are my fiercest protectors, and I am theirs. Except at breakfast time. πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ The cats were oblivious, happily munching away. The nerds!
I cautiously analyzed my surroundings to determine the source of the noise. I walked to the window where I saw turkeys in my yard last week. Maybe a coyote got one outside? No, there was no movement outside. I ruled out the sound coming from the dogs because Gossamer was whining at the time I heard it. My protectors were useless at the moment with food on the brain. Gossamer was barking his beagle lungs out, hopping up and down as he does every morning for his meal. I rarely shush my dogs. If they want to bark, I let them. I need them to bark to warn me when necessary, or when happy, which is all the dang time. 🐢
Despite the annoyance, I kept looking around and listening, repeatedly looking at the fireplace. The buzz-growl was coming from that vicinity.
My tactical flashlight was on the table. I reached for it. Gossamer was still hopping up and down and barking. My skin prickled. Captain was pacing. It was still a bit dark, and the fireplace was even darker.
I clicked to turn on the flashlight. My last setting was infrared. It shined bright in the darkened room. Gossamer was still hopping on me. My stomach churned. I shined the red light on the fireplace…

Part 2

I froze. About 2.5 yards away, three intense, glowing orange eyes stared back at me from my fireplace.

Not three pairs of eyes.

Three eyes, triangular in positioning, with one at the bottom, and two side-by-side at the top. The latter immediately constricted under the shining infrared. The bottom eye dilated like my cat’s eyes during kitty playtime. Each pupil was black as a moonless night deep in the forest. I backed away, almost stumbling over the dogs. The eyes followed me. Even with the light shining, my own eyes could not fully make sense of the shape of its head. The 3D shadows bounced around my fireplace, exposing the shakiness of my hand.

Gossamer was still barking about food. The cats had just finished eating and jumped down from their perch to investigate where my light was shining. Kano took a few steps forward, stopped, hissed, arched his back, fur bristled, and he turned tail and ran. “Pussy.” My heart raced and my breathing became rapid and shallow.

Octo stared at the glowing eyes in my fireplace from the opposite side of the table from where I stood. I could not keep backing away from the unknown entity with him that close to it.

My machete was in my office on the shelf, just a few strides away. I kept my eyes trained on the three eyes that were trained on me. It growled again. Octo hissed and arched his back and batted his paws, claws extended. Gossamer mercifully began to pay attention. His ears perked up and he lowered his head in protection mode. His growl was much more threatening than the one coming from the creature. He crept forward, standing between it and me. “Thank you puppy.” I took one more step back to only about three feet from my machete, equidistant to Gossamer, keeping an eye on it and my kiddos.

It finally moved, while the rest of us remained still and on high alert. It inched upward, away from my shining light, into the darkness of the chimney. From that motion, I determined that it was upside down and my thoughts naturally wandered to what I knew about vampires. Its eyes were still focused on me, ignoring Gossamer and Octo, as it faded from my view. Captain had no idea what was going on.

The creature, as it retreated up my tin fireplace, made significant scraping and rubbing noises that made my teeth hurt. It sounded…big. I listened as it shimmied its way up. I heard a rusty creaking noise from the top of my chimney.

“Come.” I commanded Gossamer to follow me as I grabbed my machete and I ran to my bedroom, three fur kids hot on my flip-flopped heels. My house is angular and I can see my roof and chimney from my window. What I saw emerging was…

Magnificent.

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