I’m being haunted. And I don’t really know why – my conscience is relatively clear… although I was thinking about writing about my terrapins that my sister accidentally murdered when we were kids.
It began a couple of years ago, when I was walking back from the chemist at the top of the road, rather than my usual one. I crossed the road – safely – and went towards the cut through where I saw something totally different. And extraordinary.
It stepped out of a hole in the hedge in the manner of a gracious lady descending from her carriage and stopped to look at me. It was one of the weirdest looking things I’ve ever seen… scaly pink legs ending in powerful feet equipped with long, strong claws, and a plump, pear shaped body smartly clad in black and white checked feathers… a spindly neck, leading to a little head, turned to one side so a beady eye could examine me imperiously in return, with an air of faint disgust.
It looked as if it had had a fight in a clown’s make-up bag… powdery white teardrops and cracked red lipstick… a strange bony up-do and a blue wattle like an old lady with blood pressure problems. Bizarre. It decided I was no longer worthy of scrutiny and turned away – but I wanted to take its picture! Whilst fumbling for my phone, I slid cautiously towards it, too close for comfort, the creature decided and popped back through the hedge.
I rushed back round the other side, it looked sneeringly at me:
And fled through the other side again.
Not before I managed to grab a somewhat blurry photo on my phone, which quite frankly, could have been anything. I was forced to abandon my quest for the impossible bird as two mothers and their children were approaching – then it came to me:
The passers-by looked alarmed at my avian exclamation and hurried away, as did I, in the opposite direction, turning back hopefully just in case the guinea fowl had re-emerged, but of course it hadn’t. A minute later, there was a rushing sound and a creaky wheezing, like an asthmatic old door right over my head and I saw the impossible bird fly away… I’m sure it was laughing at me.
Since our initial meeting, that cold winter’s morning, I’ve seen the guinea fowl quite a few times. Sitting in the middle of the roundabout. Laughing derisively at me from a roof top. Most recently, I was bending down to check on the alliums’ progress, when peering back at me through the fence was the spectacularly ugly face of the foul fowl. It “churred” mockingly at me…
I don’t know if it’s real… or a figment of my imagination… but every time I’ve seen it I’ve been alone. And I don’t think people quite believe me…
“Ooh…’er at the end there… bin in t’ catnip again she ‘as!”