Won Third Place in Aspiring Writers Competition
The Souped Up Wildcat
Looking around, I said “Good lord, Virgil, listen to that wind blow. By morning it’s going to blow our cottage into the lake. Where’s the dog? Did you let Ralph out?”
“I let him out to pee just before we turned in about midnight,” Virgil answered. “I figured you had let him back in. I’ll go look for him as he is probably under the cottage. I can’t believe neither of us thought to let him back in. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
Virgil opened the door just enough to slide out, pushing it against the strong wind, but before he could squeeze out Ralph came running in with blood all over him. Virgil shouted, “Ralph is hurt, he’s bleeding. Look at him.”
I grabbed the lantern off of the table and tried to examine Ralph. As I examined him, I hollered at Virgil to get the first aid kit.
“The kit’s in the truck,” Virgil shouted as he was again opening the door against the howling wind. “I’ll go get it. Is Ralph hurt very badly?”
“I don’t know,” I said, as I continued examining Ralph and using a wet towel to wipe off the blood. I could find no injuries, but Ralph was shaking all over and trying to stand up.
About that time Virgil came through the door, leaving it open with the wind whistling blowing our supplies all over the cottage. Ralph, when I loosened by grip ran into the bedroom. Looking at Virgil I was alarmed when I saw him covered, much like Ralph had been, with blood. He didn’t speak, but fell on the floor in front of me.
“Virgil, Virgil,” I shouted. “What happened?
Virgil is my younger brother who had just graduated from college. As a graduation gift, I brought him on this week long trip to relax and do a lot of fishing. I rented a cottage on the Nantahala Lake in the Great Smoky Mountains. While thunderstorms were forecast for this night, the rest of the week, beautiful weather was predicted.
I ran to Virgil who was lying just inside the cottage door, not talking, but had a frightened faraway look in his eyes. He couldn’t seem to speak as when I questioned him his look was distant and he seemed to be in a world of his own. I rushed to close the cottage door as wind and rain was coming through the open door. I then rushed back to Virgil trying to determine how badly he was injured. Getting fresh water and towels I began, fearing what I would find, cleaning the blood off of him, while again asking him, “Virgil, what happened?”
This time giving me a weird look he whispered, “Wild man.”
Like Ralph, Virgil had no injuries. I cleaned him up and placed him on the bed already occupied by Ralph. As I talked with him he gradually came out of his trauma, but still frightened and confused he said, “A bloody, almost nude man, jumped on me and wrestled me to the ground.”
I called the Macon County 911, and told the operated that my brother had been attacked by a bloody half nude man. After a few questions, she said, “I have notified the authorities and the sheriff and medical people will be there soon.”
About that time the cottage door flew open and an obese man wearing just the remnants of a shirt with his trousers torn to shreds fell on the cottage floor. His face, chest, arms and legs were bleeding, and he was crying and saying over and over, “Help me, please help me.”
Ralph, seemingly recovered, and I ran to him. Virgil from the bedroom said, “That’s the one who jumped on me.”
Soon the sheriff and medics arrived and took over my administering to the man. They placed him in the ambulance and took him to the hospital.
I later heard from the sheriff, “The man had been fishing when the storm came. He unfortunately took shelter in a cave occupied by a panther; we called them ‘Souped up Wildcats.’ The man wasn’t trying to harm your party, but was only seeking medical help.”
Come morning, we packed up and traveled to the safety of our homes.