She was sure she heard it that time. A little rustle.
There was no one around, not a soul, stray bird, person or otherwise. It came from behind her, under the deck. In the tangle of weeds and who knows what else. It would be foolish to look, no, dangerous yet she couldn’t shake the feeling. The curiosity.
She scooted off the bench, setting the novel she had finally gotten around to reading, on the bench. Another distraction, passed in her mind, but fled away at the urgency to focus. At a distance, she peeked under into the opening of the deck. It was open on one side but you could see to the other side of the cabin through the latticed wood.
It was a dusty haze under there. Particles swirling in the air and weeds growing on the legs of the structure. She stared harder if that was possible but resolved she saw nothing. Almost nothing. It looked to be eyes staring back at her, low to the ground. At first she thought maybe it was a raccoon or squirrel scavenging food, but the shapes were too large. Too pointy. Eyes weren’t shaped like that. Those were teeth, teeth bared in anticipation of sinking into her at any moment. She couldn’t tell in the shadows just how large of an animal or, thing, it was, but with rows of jagged teeth like that, size didn’t matter.
It didn’t move – and slowly the sharp shapes disappeared into the dusty dark under there. She stood up, moving away in case it decided to grab at her ankles when her guard was down. She sat on the bench and took her book up in her hands. Her heart wasn’t even racing. Perhaps the shock proved too much for her to react.
Or maybe it was something else. It wasn’t the time yet to be scared.
Her stomach dropped, rolled around, leaving her in a sudden panic. The realization rolled on her like thick fog. It wasn’t time yet. It wasn’t time for the animal or whatever it was to sink its teeth into her just yet. No, it was waiting. And, with another faint scuttle, one to her left, she knew that it wasn’t the only one.
The sun painted the sky in rose and orange colors, blending across in mottled spots. In less than an hour, it would be dark and everywhere would be a dusty dark haze, lit only by the light posts. Those terrible teeth were not sneering as a threat, but as a promise.
She settled comfortably on the bench and opened the book again, guessing she’d at least make it through half way. This was her time for no distractions.