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Late Summer Night - A True Story

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Ok...bear with me. What  I am going to tell you is a true account of a late summer night that I had  on the Hopi rez, my village of Sungopavi. Sungopavi is a village like any other on a rez like many others. Rez dogs as you have so warmly written about are a semingly self sustaining population in Sungopavi. Every household it seems has at least one if not multiple dogs, and they are all outside dogs. 

At night if you go for a walk , dogs will announce your whereabouts by barking at you as you walk by their house. This barking is maddening cause you cant move about quietly, from house to house you will be greeted but they stop as soon as you are out of their territory and on to the next. 

I was home from school one summer and shared a room wih my cousin in a makeshift workshop behind my aunts house. The shop was our little mancave all fixed up with a couple of beds, perfect for our needs. One night after 1am I came in to find my cousin still out, which was'nt unusual. I turned off the lights and laid down. As I lay there waiting for sleep I hear barking off in the distance at the very eastend of our village. 

There is only one house way out there and it is next to a trail that winds up from the valley up to the top of our mesa. I didnt thnk much, but the kept barking, then at the next house more dogs joined. I was a little puzzled because the dogs were not disengaging and the numbers and volume grew as the movement continued.  I was thinking that it sucked to be that guy walking thru the village. I started to feel a bit uneasy or curious cause the dogs uncharacteristically did not give up, in fact their barking intensified? I laid there and listened as the the movement of barking dogs had become its own entity as it meandered throgh the village and was headed right in my direction. 

As they got closer i could here the dogs paws on the sandy and rocky ground as they swarmed around this unlucky fool or whatever it was they were so pissed off at?! My heart rate was up and suddenly they were probably about 20 feet outside behind the small cinderblock room that I was laying in. I was glad that my light was off, along with everyone elses in the village cause of the late hour. The movement seemingly stopped and the dogs intensified, they were attacking and growling,snarling, like they had something cornered. I f i had to guess, there was easily over 20 dogs in this loud fray of vicious rez dogs all protecting home. All of a sudden I heard this very loud high piercing howl that seemed to last 3 to 5 seconds! My heart stopped, my throat felt dry and I was terrified. 

The howl was not that of a dog, or any other canid, but it seemed to me a howl that came from a mans voice box. As soon as it stopped, there was a split second of total silence, then instantaneously every dog started crying and and whimpering loudly like they were being beaten so ruthlessly, you could hear their paws scrape for traction as they scrambled to flee, all while crying and running for their lives!? Then just as quickly as it all started the sounds dissipated into the night. I was left alone in the darkness of that room, Sungopavi was so quiet! I could hear my heart beating rapidly and even the blood coursing throgh my veigns. I am not sure how long I was laying there when i suddenly heard footsteps, someone was coming to the room. 

There is only one door and way in and the walkway is closed in so there is no way any one could ever sneak up on you in this room, for that i was grateful especially on that night. At first I was kind of scared, then I realized that it was probably just my cousin coming home for the nite, I was relieved. The footsteps stopped at the door and  nothing, I assumed my bro was finishing his cigarette. It was so still and quiet when i heard the doorknob very slowly turning, like someone purposely being stealthy. I laid there in the dark looking at the door and it opened about a foot and stopped, then in the darkness I see a dark shadow of o head come in thru that gap, it was pretty dark but i could make out the head of a person as they scanned around the room in darkness.

I summoned up in as manly a voice that I could conjure, a "Yo". The head immediately turned my direction and looked at me, suddenly the head disappeared and i jumped for the light and ran for the door, which was less than 10 feet from me. I ran outside, suddenly emboldened, not really sure why, but there was no one there. There was no one there, I heard no one running, they were just gone??? I suddenly felt creeped out like was being watched so I went back inside and this time locked the door. I laid back down in the dark, no way I was gonna be sleeping anytime soon, just trying to make sense of it all. Then again I hear footsteps, my heart starts beating faster, then someone knocks on the door. 

I cautiously answer instead of opening the door. It was my girlfriend, I let her in quickly. I was so relieved, she and her friends had just got home from Phoenix, and wanted to know if I wanted to hang out and party a bit? Hells yeah!!! I had never gotten dressed so fast in my entire life. 

The next night at dinner I told my aunt about it, she said her and my uncle had not heard a thing. I couldn't believe it, it was so loud and their bedroom was probably only 60 feet or so from the action. She just gave me a look of disbelief and disappointment, I've always been confused be her reaction to my story, especially since I omitted my girlfriends part of the story. 

I still get a sinking feeling every time I retell my experience of that late summer night.

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