We’re moving into our new house. It’s a big old place with an overgrown yard. It’ll be a lot of work to fix the old place up. But once it’s done, it’ll be gorgeous... maybe not a mansion, but really nice. In it's currentstate, it’ll be spooky at night, but now it’s the middle of the day, in the middle of summer. It’s cool and shady inside, warm and sunny out. Just about a perfect day.
Or it would be, if not for the weird guy at the door. Actually, the weird guy at the door isn’t the whole problem. We’ve got a lot of friends and family over, helping us clean stuff up, move stuff in, and fix stuff up enough that we can stay the night. With the appearance of this strange guy from next door, everyone gathered in the front room to chat. Understandable, everyone wants to meet the neighbors. But I’m a bit disturbed by the guy. He’s a little too… charming. And everyone but me seems very charmed by him. As I repeatedly try to point out the menacing undertones to his chat, I’m repeatedly shushed. As you might expect, I don’t take well to that, and I storm out of the house in a childish fit of anger and frustration.
The sunlight floats over the yard. It really is a gorgeous damned day. I decide to trek down to the mailbox, see if anything has shown up for me yet. With the lawn chest-high in weeds and grasses, it’s fortunate that Dad mowed a few paths to key points through the yard. I amble down the one heading toward the mailbox. Unfortunately, this home is in the country, and we have a ditch in front . A small stream of water meanders down the ditch, but the water has backed up along this stretch and it’d be too difficult to hurdle it without risking a soaker. The path Dad mowed continues off along the ditch toward the driveway, so I turn.
As I turn, a floating stick in the ditch catches my eye. I don’t understand why at first. Then I notice, it’s moving faster than the sluggish water. What I notice next blows my mind. It’s being pulled toward a tiny dam. It looks like a beaver dam, but what’s pulling it is not beaver. The creature is about 9” long, and looks like a cross between a ginger root and a sea dragon. It’s obviously the root of a plant, with many dark lobes. Strangely, it seems to be holding the stick in its mouth.
It has a mouth. I’m transfixed. I watch this root-thing swim downstream to it’s small dam and add the stick to others blocking the flow of water. It all seems vaguely familiar. Didn’t I read about these on some website? I’m sure I remember seeing a picture of this very rare, ambulatory, aquatic plant. There was something about it extruding leaves when stationary, and dropping the leaves when it needed to move about. And I had one living in my yard! What luck! After I checked the mail, I was definitely going to look this one up. How incredibly cool!
I turned again to walk down the path to the driveway. After several steps, I froze. On a moss-covered stump or hummock to my right there were two other root-creatures! These were different – larger, and they seemed to be tumbling and playing like river otters. As I gaped at them, one of them suddenly turned and leapt without warming at me, wrapping itself around my arm. I panicked, flailing my arms and uttering the grunting gutteral cry I usually reserve for those times when I am attacked by squirrels.
As the beast flung loose from my arm, I turned and ran, following the curve of the path toward the driveway. After a few moments, I realized I was being stupid. I had only imagined that I was being attacked. I turned and looked back up the path. Nothing. I forced deep breaths to slow my gasping breathing. There, much better. Now, I – around the curve of the trail, came two multi-lobed creatures in a loping, but focussed run. Focussed on me. They didn’t look playful any more. Now they looked pissed. There was no growl of menace, no roar of anger, but their rage was somehow palpable and directed at me. I ran, screaming mindlessly, for help. As the weird monstrosities approached, I woke up.
So tell me people... what the hell is that supposed to mean? Do I have some twisted fear that, now I'm eating meat, soon the plants will be too?
(photos shamelessly stolen from the web)