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Death Rattle

by Beverley, Napier, New Zealand


John likes cat-free, uninterrupted sleep through the night and cats are banned from the bedroom. After all, any self-respecting cat, if left in, always sits on your face as a signal to be let out around 2 a.m. This is cat lore.

It was 2.30 a.m. when I woke. There was a voice gurgling horribly outside my window. A cat's voice. Ollie's voice. It seemed clear Ollie was close to death. The frightful guttural, glug glug glug was a death rattle. John slept on.

I sped from the room and out the front door. "Ollie, Ollie."

A grey shape stirred in the darkness. The noise was frightful. Had Ollie been savaged by a marauding dog? "Ollie,Ollie," I yelled.

Ollie shot past me into house emitting more death rattles. He headed for the bedroom with me close behind. More strangled noises. There was something hideous loose in the bedroom. Large and terrible it flapped past my face letting out a screeching noise.

I have a fear of the unknown. Perhaps I'd seen too many Dracula films in my youth. Visions of vampire bats flashed through my mind. This bat had probably nearly drained Ollie and now it was ready to sink its evil fangs into my neck. I nearly broke my leg on the dressing-table as I lunged for the light.

The light revealed John, sitting up in bed and blinking like a demented owl. He must have thought he was in the middle of a nightmare. A large mynah bird was furiously flapping and blundering around the room. Ollie had given up the chase and was sitting on John's pillow. He looked exhausted - and why wouldn't he be. He must have nearly dislocated his jaw, stretching his gums around that bird. Now everyone was squawking, the bird, Ollie and John.

I made a lucky dive and grabbed the mynah. It was unhurt and furious - after all, it had probably been asleep in a high tree when grabbed. It fixed me with a baleful eye and nipped a large chunk out of my finger - blood flowed - now I was squawking - with pain.

On the way to the open front door the mynah managed to rip out a few more chunks of flesh. I threw it out the door and it flapped off into the night. I bet it had some story to tell its grandchicks.

John went off to the doctor for a check-up next morning - something to do with shocks to the system and palpitations I believe.


Editor's note:

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