It's past midnight. I'm writing away in my office, and my husband is working away in his office, and Graham says, all creepy and low, "Irene. Come here."
So I walk into his office and he's standing with his hand on the doorknob with a weird look on his face. The door leads to the outside. He says, "I heard this scratching noise, which kept getting louder, and you need to see what is on the other side of this door."
"Nuh uh," I said. I didn't like his tone. We live in the country. It's dark out here, and we're all alone. No one can hear us scream.
Graham starts opening the door. I'm ready to jump out of my skin. Already I can hear the low hum of a cello rumbling in the background.
My husband opens the door, slowly, slowly, slowly,
with it's prehistoric belly stuck to the door, yellow nails protruding, beaked nose flush with the glass, rat-like tail brushing across the floor is a big,
river turtle! HANGING there, I mean, belly-glued to the door like it's a freaking tree frog! Or a BAT, fer chrissakes. This bad girl has got to be 23 inches, tip to tail, EASY and (are you getting the picture?) she's pressed to the door with all four feet off the ground.
Speaking of pictures, of course I have to take one so you'll believe me, because how often do you see a two foot river turtle climb up a door? I run for my camera; bad battery. I run for my cell phone. Can't find it. I curse. The bat-turtle pulls in its head. (A Baptist tortoise, perhaps? Who can say?) By the time I finished running for a flashlight and getting the dog secured in another room, the turtle, has of course, moved on. I figure she came up from the river to lay eggs. It's that time of year. They usually lay them while settled in the grass, as opposed to hanging off a door.
So, the next morning, I'm taking out the trash and something among the azaleas catches my eye. It's the turtle, and she's laid her eggs in the azalea bed. Good girl. Her eggs have a better chance of hatching near the house where predators are less apt to find them. I put a wire crate over where she's disturbed the earth, and weigh it down with a couple bricks. I took a picture (by now the battery has re-juiced), but it's not nearly as interesting as the other picture would have been. Sigh.