LONGLEAF STORIES

full circle in the hundred acre wood

There were two screams. It was the high-pitched, hopeless sound of a woman in agony.

The book I was reading slipped from my hands, and in the dim light of the bedroom I sat up straight, listening. It was almost midnight. Buck was gently snoring, papers on his chest, glasses resting on his nose. The air conditioner compressor chugged noisily.

Whatever made that sound must have been close.

I intuitively knew it was animal, not human, and the hair on the back of my neck relaxed. But what was it?

Folks around here say a panther “screams like a wuhman” — but I read that Florida panthers are no longer in this section of Florida, but only in ever-reducing habitats such as the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary down in Denny and Kathleen’s neck of the woods.

I know coyote calls too well. This wasn’t one of them.

Our wildlife officer, Wayne Harris, said he is “99.9% sure” that eerie, caterwauling sound was a bobcat. They have growls, purrs and hisses. The scream is a mating call.

Oh, goodie. “Here, kitty, kitty. . . .”

 

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