It was karma for laughing at all the hysterical mommy bloggers in the condo group chat.
“Coyote sighting! Why aren’t the police doing something about this?” read the caption under the video clip of a dingo-sized coyote scurrying by a parked SUV.
“Really? Should we charge the coyotes with felony or misdemeanour, Janet?” How she had laughed at them.
And now, here she was, in the dead of night.
In one of the safest neighbourhoods in the city.
Eye-to-eye with an unflinching and mythically large coyote.
This was not a coyote-sized coyote.
He seemed curious and unafraid. Shouldn’t wildlife be more afraid of us than we are of them? Isn’t that what all the park rangers on television say?
He was massive, what was there for him to fear?
Suddenly, all the schoolyard tales of years past about city coyotes mating with mountain wolves made sense. Even though there weren’t any mountains or wolves for miles. The suburban lore about a wolf-type creature who snatched women and children (but only women and children!) seemed very true as well.
It was all true. And she had mocked it. And now he was here gripping her gaze with his knowing eyes that glinted like cracked jewels in the magical moonlight.
She should’t have laughed. But who could blame her?
She was, after all, a woman of reason, of high intelligence, and good fortune. She worked extremely hard for everything she had, sacrificing many late nights, like tonight, only stopping when an abrupt text interrupted her flow.
“Are you still awake?” Someone texted, “You should go outside and take a look at the sky.”
Of course, it was some mystical, astrologically aligned night. A red lunar eclipse, or something like that. One of those occurrences she used to keep track of when she believed in those types of things. Back when she believed in fate and stars and soul mates, before she learned she could learn to control her own stars.
She could use a break from the screens, so why not? She could step outside for a few minutes.
The rare, red moon was indeed a startling sight. As she drunk it all in with long forgotten fascination, she let her guard down and the hulking coyote cornered her.
By the time she’d realized, the beast had already won. There was nowhere for her to run, and even if there was, he’d outrun her.
The mommy bloggers would find her dead body just mere feet away from Janet’s prize-winning roses, she thought.
Why had she taken for granted that the well-maintained streets were safe at this hour? Why had she locked the door behind her? Why did she let her guard down for a crazy moon calling her name?
It was the coyote’s move.
He turned his back on her and walked away into the night.
She fumbled with her house keys and let herself back into her well-lit home.
She exhaled on her custom leather couch. Her sleepy cat came by to see if there were snacks.
For months after that strange night, whenever she couldn’t sleep, she’d listen for the coyote.
And she had to wonder if he even remembered meeting her.