Those familiar with Kimi’s Secret will know of the shuck: big black cats often spotted near corn circles, and who like hanging out with aliens. Well today I had my own close encounter.
I like it when there’s no wind at the lake. The Olster likes it that way, too, ears cocking at the slightest snap of twig or crumple of undergrowth. But today was not one of those days. Blustery would best describe it. Oh, and cold. By the time we reached the small copse of trees where Sir Robin would be waiting for his breakfast my hands and face were freezing, but I was about to get warmed up in a hurry.
Since the lake defrosted and liquefied once more, it seems my bread offerings aren’t needed so much. We had three Robins visiting at one point, and a blackbird and a few tits and even a woodpecker. But now it’s just one robin. Don’t know if it’s the original Sir Robin but something tells me it is. He always arrives seconds after we enter the copse, and meets us at the bread tree, waiting on the very branch where he knows the food will be placed. So there we were; Ollie sniffing around the tree, the wind gusting and swaying the copse as one, and me focusing on the detail in Sir Robin as he plucked a currant from a hot-cross bun. I believe I was speaking to this bird when the commotion made me spin round, and my heart gave a pounding leap as the beast came crashing towards me.
The animal was huge, shaggy-coated, an Alsatian the size of a small horse bounding through the thicket, snarling, barking in those short sharp barks that really mean business. Ollie, ever the fearless, and a mere toy to this dogzilla, went charging to greet the beast in a similar manner. Ollie might be handsome but he is a mutt – a cross Border Terrier/Jack Russell – he has no fear and would have a go at a grizzly bear without thought to the consequence.
Adrenaline focuses the detail, holds it, plays it seemingly slowly, and as my tiny mutt leapt to meet the oncoming behemoth, I almost dropped my buns. But then the Alsatian skidded to a halt, turned and fled and suddenly he was sitting next to a man who seemed to have appeared from nowhere.
`Ar’ ye fishing?` he asked in a slight West Country accent. `Jus’ wan’ lay me bait, see.`
He looked about sixty, wore a black padded jacket and scruffy jeans, had unruly white hair frizzing out from under a black beanie hat and an even frizzier white beard spread across his chest. Ollie was growling his little growls. The Alsatian panted merrily under the hand of his master.
`Go right ahead,` I said. `I’m just feeding the birds.` I looked for Sir Robin but he was gone.
`You sin the cat?`
`Black cat. Biggun it is. First I thought it a dog, size of it.`
`Oh aye. Sin it move through the reeds. Slinking. Like I said, thought it a dog, looked for its owner. But nothing. Then it came in the open. Tail long and curved. Body black as coal. Watched it fer five minutes, I did.`
We talked some more. The cold wind no longer bothersome. He told of others who had reported seeing the same big black cat, not just at the lake but prowling the nearby gardens and roads. `Be aware!` he warned as we parted and I recalled that scene in American Werewolf where the two guys are warned by the pub yokels to beware the moon.
Once home I Googled big cat sightings in the area, and sure enough the reports are many, not only at the lake but in MY neighbourhood. This will surely put a wary slant on putting the bins out never mind our future visits to the lake.