posted on Sep, 14 2011 @ 09:47 PM
Murder in the Trees
It was a muffled thud behind me, but even above the brisk wind, it made me take notice. Sprinkles started to spatter my face and the cement below; as
I turned and looked into the trees, I saw him standing there. A look of disbelief and shock had overtaken the little guy. He was frozen and did not
notice my approach. His stare penetrated the blowing leaves and twigs, and I followed it to her soft warm body in the grass. She moved just
slightly as I approached and then no more, and I knew she was dead. Sadly I tried to meet with his stare from above to comfort him, but it was hollow
and cold. He paid no attention to me or my world, and was completely unconcerned as the sky turned darker and the raindrops became larger and more
constant; some of them stung as they struck my face, but I had to connect with him. Was it fear that had him frozen? Sadness? Horror? The
emotions I tried to assign to this tragic event did not seem to fit; the icy stare was something else. I had never known one of his kind to die this
way. I had seen traffic accidents, and power line tragedies, but never a fall. So simple a way to go, but they had seemed immune until now. I
wished I could just speak to him; I wished I could have helped in some way. There was no one to call for them, there was no way to make him feel
better, and it was too late to save her. Why did it hurt me this much? They were nothing like me. We had never communicated at all, and anytime I
approached one of them, they either turned and ran, or ignored me completely, but the emotion we felt was similar. At least I thought it was similar,
until I heard his chatter. I could have sworn it was laughter, but that was impossible from them. As I looked above, his stare had finally broken,
and he seemed fine, more than fine, jubilant. I knew from my own inner anguish his response was not natural. It did not fit the law of Nature to act
this way. No two of mother nature’s creatures ever had this much disregard for one another; now I was angry! How could he laugh, and jest? How
could he prance back and forth, raising and lowering his head as if to strut over her dead body? I didn’t know her; I had barely seen her in the
neighborhood, but I was sad. And here, her mate danced above her grave. I looked around for some type of weapon. I was going to bring him down from
his pedestal, but North Florida has no rocks. The yard was clear, no sticks, no projectiles of any sort, and then I heard more commotion. Others
were approaching fast.
The language was entirely different from my own, but this interrogation would have been obvious in any form. Two from his community had approached
from either direction and he was surrounded. As they looked down to the body and back to him, their voices raised and lowered. They postured to
intimidate and control. He darted this way and that, but each time they moved to block. Others were around also. They chattered to each other and
sometimes into the air as if lamenting the entire ordeal. A gallery had gathered above, below, and scattered about. It was obvious he was pleading
for sympathy, but others had seen the dance. I was not the only one appalled by his arrogance.
As I watched and listened, their sounds and gestures began to take shape. This was not a fall at all. The rain was coming down steady now, and
thunder would sometimes startle me back to reality, but I was enamored. I had somehow become a part of the gallery, a witness for the prosecution. I
could not speak with them, but my vigilance over her body, and my abhorrent stare at this monster in the tree spoke for me. I don’t know if I
actually saw the crime, but its image was very clear.
Earlier the wind had just started picking up when their argument began. It was routine preparation for the approaching storm, and he always became
irritated. Her constant barking of orders kept him on edge. Nothing was good enough, fast enough, or soon enough for her. The thought of the close
quarters in the branches during the storm made him claustrophobic, and worst of all jealous. He had always known she was too good for him, and around
all the others he felt inferior. It was only a matter of time before she found a better mate, and he would be alone again. He could not stand the
thought of her with someone else. I could see it unfold now like a slideshow, a silent movie. Was it there chatter, or my own recollection of the
crime I was envisioning? There she was body erect, tail flinching ever so slightly, sniffing high in the wind when he approached her from behind. It
seemed harmless, a gentle nudge from his hips to hers. But he had calculated. He was on all fours, while she was extended on the edge. He knew
there were no limbs to break her fall. He knew in the stiff breeze, no matter how much she squirmed and flipped her tail, her descent would be
awkward and long. It was the perfect scenario to protect his station in the community. He knew at worst, she would be maimed, and no one else would
want her. And, at best she would die, and everyone would mourn for his loss. He would be comforted, accepted, and available.
What he could not calculate was me. He could never have guessed that one of my kind would notice. He could not have guessed I would feel her pain.
The tiny thud of her little body striking the moist ground probably would have been ignored any other time. Was it my new baby, or my heightened
senses from the storm? Maybe it was my brother’s wife’s stay in the hospital, or the T.V. show I had watched earlier that afternoon. Whatever it
was, I could not walk away from the subtle twitch of her body just before she passed. I couldn’t let her lie there alone and die, and I could not
stop remembering his icy stare. Now I was just as much a part of this trial as he was.
The others looked to me randomly, the large ones on the branch more often than the rest. He never did. He still refused to acknowledge that I was
there at all. He barked, and screamed, and squealed more desperately as time passed, but the others seemed to quiet down. Most of them had decided
his guilt early on. There were a few beginning to leave, and some congregating to bed down for the night. A couple of older, wiry squirrels had
begun to approach from above, and he squirmed and darted away. The large ones kept him contained until they all were in close proximity. The wind
was high now, and dusk had fallen. Lightning and rain blurred my vision, but I still struggled to peer into the dark branches. The ensuing sounds
were gruesome. The harder I tried to see, the more severe the storm became, until I could not even hear them anymore. I had to make my way inside.