And then I started noticing things around the little town that I currently call home.
They were small things at first, like the orange mist that surrounds my house in the early morning before the sun rises*, or the seemingly sentient way the stray cats (of which there are numerous, but hey, it's small town America) look at you as you walk by (more on one specific one in a moment). But then even weirder occurrences popped up. For a few weekends in a row, random gunshots rang through the air, but no one seemed to respond. Not even to be like, "Hey, gunshots!" And they all looked at me strangely when I called the police, who never gave me any inclination that they were even looking into it. And the police seem to drive up and down my street at an oddly frequent rate, even though I don't live in a dangerous area**.
And speaking of the police, there is a surprisingly large number of cars that appear to be unmarked police cars, with those little attachments to the side mirrors on the driver's window.
|What the top red arrow is pointing to. There's probably a word for it, but I am too lazy to Google it.|
Image from http://gmtminusfive.blogspot.com
Of course, there's also this person speaking over a loudspeaker from the high school at night, and this is probably the weirdest aspect of living here. At first, I thought it was an announcer for the high school football games, and one evening while I was cooling down from a run, I figured, "Well, I can go watch the game, I guess?" As I got closer, I noticed that the sound wasn't becoming crisper, but hey, this is a small town and they probably don't have the best sound equipment, right?? When I finally got to the field, only one of the lights was on, like someone had forgotten to turn it off, and the bleachers were empty. To be fair, it was a Wednesday, so nobody being there is understandable. But I could not, for the life of me, figure out who was speaking and from where and what they were actually saying. I immediately called Three from my cell and asked him to talk to me as I walked home. I still hear the loudspeaker every time I go run, but I probably won't go back there, even when there is a game.
Anyway, about two blocks down from where I live is a house that has a perfectly manicured lawn and creeping vines ... and a small cactus in the middle of the yard. There isn't any sand or desert-like material surrounding it. It's just sitting there in the grass, taunting me with questions. I've wanted to ask whoever lives there about the cactus, but I never see anyone coming or going. Then again, I never see any cars parked there, and yet, the grass stays cut and the shrubs trimmed. I always get a weird vibe when I pass it, either jogging or driving, but I'm too scared to ask any of the neighbors, out of fear that the house or the cactus (or BOTH) doesn't exist or something.
Then there's my house. First, it's across the street from a small apostolic church (whose pastor was kind enough to let use their lawn mower that one time), so we frequently have to deal with ... energetic displays at times. And fabulous Sunday suits and dresses. And the regular misting that only appears around the church right at sunset. We are located at the base of a small valley, but the other houses (including my own) don't get the mist.
Now, our house in particular was built in the 1930s and is generally awesome, even if it doesn't have closets. But there's something ... off about it, and it manifests in the wildlife. When we first moved there, about fifteen feral cats roamed in the furthest part of our yard, and they were all ruled by this giant tabby tomcat, who was easily twenty-five pounds, if not heavier (this is the specific stray I was referring to up top). We still have some strays, one of which is our beloved Zeus-y-boo, but that tabby? Looks like he's gotten bigger, and I fear that he has devoured most of the others. He's scared of me, though, but that's because I chased him into the woods when I got irrationally livid when I saw him humping Zeus out of dominance***.
But it doesn't stop there. Every single animal around here seems to be larger than normal. Horseflies are giant and frequently fight each other; a spider that I named Shelob had a body the size of a quarter; slugs are at least two inches in length, have lived so long that their skin is no longer smooth and resembles a cucumber, and sometimes form giant masses or cover my trash bin outside. The other day, the big ass tabby was attacked and chased off by a fucking squirrel, who nonchalantly strolled away after the cat bolted, like that shit happens every day and what of it, human? I once had a staring contest with a fox that I could have sworn was testing me for something. What? I have no idea because I am not a fox. Well, not that kind, anyway.
I actually just started a little diary of random things in my town that I notice because I feel like I should send in some ideas to Night Vale. Or hell, I may even start a "My Town Is Real Life Night Vale" tumblr or something. Or they might find out what I'm doing and silence me forever. Who knows?
* Okay, it's because of the street lights, but STILL.
** Well, yeah, I did live next door to a drug dealer, but his were mainly pills and he's currently in jail for it. They also moved out about two weekends ago, which was OMG DRAMZ, and my landlord, who also owns their former domicile, was like, "Yeah, they're losers."
*** Which, I know, CATS, but it pissed me off. Severely.