sonoran mermaid

This experience took place in 2014, during my first year of college.  In order to better understand it, I need to first give a little background information. 

I attended a large university in New Mexico for my first year of college.  It was nearly on the other side of the country from where I lived, and I was fortunate enough that my grandpa allowed me and my mother to live in his winter vacation home while I was in school.  The city where I went to college is one of the larger ones in the state, and is well known for its unique mountain range that, several years ago, became a national monument.  My grandpa’s house was outside of the city, set fairly close to base of the mountains.  It was a good fifteen-minute drive from the house to the edge of the city.  There are no street lights after the edge of the city, cell reception is spotty, at best, and the only traffic that comes that way are people who live that far out.  And the drive from the city’s edge to my grandfather’s house is 15 minutes through empty desert.  It’s very beautiful, but also very, very remote. 

As a college student, there wasn’t a whole lot to do outside of classes, but one thing that was pretty popular if you liked the outdoors and didn’t mind dodging cactus, large insects and the occasional rattle snake, was hiking.  One afternoon I was driving up to the base of the mountains to meet a friend for a hike.  The road to the trail head is unpaved with a lot of twists and turns and is very badly wash boarded.  These turns and dips in the road make it impossible to see very far down the road.

This day I was about a third of the way down the dirt road when I came around a particularly large turn and there, standing right at the edge of the road, was a very large dog. 

            The dog looked somewhat like an Australian Shepheard.  It had similar coloring and no tail.  It was just standing there, staring right at me through my front windshield.  Now, we were a good 5-plus miles away from a house in any direction so I thought it was pretty weird to see a dog all alone way out here.  There was nothing but desert surrounding us for miles.  No shade, no water, nowhere to find shelter, nothing.  So being a huge animal lover I pulled over a little ways up the road, grabbed my own dog’s spare leash that I kept in the car, and got out to try and find the dog.  I figured maybe it had a collar and I could take it back to its family.  When I got out of the car, I was surprised to see that the dog was now a very good way off the road and into the brush.  How it had gotten that far, that quickly and silently was beyond me.  But it was still staring right at me. I walked towards it calling out as I did.

“Come here sweetie! It’s okay!”  The dog waited until I was about halfway towards it before turning and running further into the desert.  Again, probably pretty stupidly, I followed after it. 

Now, when you look out over a low desert landscape, it appears to be flat.  Anyone who has lived in the southwest can tell you that this is not necessarily true.  Flash floods and high winds carve out the sand making small dips and mounds, and walking across the desert for any distance longer than several paces can, in certain areas, be quite tedious.  The land that I was walking over to try and get to this dog was like this.  Moving forward was slow, and it was more of a hike as I got snagged on branches and large thorns and from the plants around me. 

I called out again to the dog, and it turned and looked at me over it’s shoulder.  We did this start and stop for a little while, and every time the dog stopped, it would watch me while I continued to stumble and trudge through the rocks and brush towards it.  This went on until finally I was able to get close enough to this dog to see that its eyes were yellow.  Yellow? This made me stop and blink, trying to make sense of what I was seeing.  When I did, I realized that I was now dangerously far from the road and my car, and that had I gone much farther into the desert, I may not have been able to find my way back. 

I was supposed to be meeting my friend! I checked my phone and realized I was very close to being late.  I called the dog one last time and again it ignored me, so I turned and stumbled back to my car.  I stopped a few times to look back and every time that I did, the dog was still staring at me.  It took me a good fifteen minutes to get back to the car, and when I finally did and began to drive away, I looked in my rearview mirror and was startled to see the dog, standing in the middle of the road watching me drive away.  How the heck had it gotten there that fast? It would have had to run at full speed over the rocks and plants, and I would have for sure heard it. 

By the time I made it up the mountain to the trail head to meet my friend I was still deeply shaken by this encounter and I was relieved to see my friend when he arrived. 

When I got home, I told my mom about the weird dog.  I could tell she didn’t fully believe me, and asked me to describe the dog.  I did, and she asked if I was sure it wasn’t a coyote.  I insisted that I was sure it was a dog, and she said it sounded like it was a coyote and not to go following wild animals into the desert. 

About a week later, I had forgotten about this weird encounter, and was driving into the city down the one main road that led into the desert housing community, when I saw the same dog!  It was the same dog, I was sure of it-scruffy, looking like it needed a bath and a good brushing, and no tail.  It was standing on the shoulder of the opposite side of the road, exactly like it had been the first time I saw it.   Now this really freaked me out, because we were a good 20-minute car ride from the location that I had first seen it at. 

None of the other cars seemed to notice the dog which was really weird because it was a very large dog, probably 85 pounds.  But what really scared me was that when I got about 100 yards away from the dog, I realized that it was staring at my car.  As I drove past, its head moved so that it’s gaze followed me.  And as I drove away, I looked in the rearview mirror and saw the dog was still staring after me. 

The same thing happened again, on the same road, several weeks later.  Things were quiet after that for a little while. 

 

About a month after the second time, my father flew in from home to visit for Thanksgiving.  One night, at around 9:30 when mom and dad were already both in bed, I got up to wash my face and put my hair up before going to bed. 

Now, my bedroom was at the back of the house, and the bathroom was at the front of the house, right by the front door. About four large steps away from the front door to be exact.  To get to the bathroom, I had to walk down the hall, past my parent’s bedroom.  I had just rounded the turn in the hall and was a few paces from the bathroom when I heard and saw the doorknob of the front door shake and jiggle as if someone on the other side was turning it and trying to get in.  I froze. It felt like an eternity, I’m sure it was only about a minute, but I couldn’t move or think and it was like I was frozen in place. 

Now, when you walk into my Grandpa’s house, you walk right into the dining room.  The side of the dining room has a floor to ceiling window that is right next to the front door.  The window is actually two separate windows; a large one, that is placed like a normal window, and a small short one that sits underneath that and starts a couple inches above the floor and goes up about a foot.  Both of these windows have blinds, and on this night the blinds were closed on both.  I figured that if I could get up the courage to walk past the front door, I could peek out of the lower window and see if there was someone standing at the door, without them seeing me looking. 

Ever so slowly after the doorknob stopped rattling, I inched past the door, turned on the porch light and moved to the window.

There was no noise now, but the house was surrounded by gravel, so if the person had moved or left, I would have heard them.  Crouching down, I knelt so that my face was level with the lower window and held my breath, hand on the blinds ready to look out.  I braced myself to see someone’s ankles.  Ever so slowly I lifted one blind and peeked out. 

 

What I saw will forever be burned in my mind and it still haunts me. 

 

Standing on the doorstep was a black cat with huge yellow eyes and it was right on the other side of the glass, face to face with me staring right into my eyes.

I shrieked and fell backwards, dropping the blind, and ran half crying, half gasping for air into my parent’s bedroom.  I dragged my mom, still half asleep to the window, and opened the blinds.  The cat was gone.  We opened the blinds of both windows all the way and there was nothing there.  My mom tried to open the front door, but half sobbing half shrieking I wouldn’t let her. 

I could tell my mom still didn’t fully believe me.  How could a cat have reached the doorknob? It was a big cat, sure, but even standing up on its back legs it wouldn’t have been able to reach the doorknob.  But the cat had been the only thing outside and I know I saw the doorknob shake.  And it was like the cat had known the exact place that I was going to look out of the blinds, because it was face to face with me when I opened them. 

The most disturbing thing about this encounter, that I didn’t realize until the morning when I could finally think straight, was that both the dog and the cat, had the same, overly large piercing  yellow eyes.  Now we’ve owned animals and I’ve been around them my whole life.  Never have I seen a cat or a dog with that color yellow eyes-before or since.  They didn’t glow, exactly, but they seemed to have their own light from within somehow. 

            I still don’t know what it was I say out there in the desert, but when I told a native friend years later, he got very nervous and said that it was good I didn’t go after either. 

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The Nighrunner
Oh, well maybe he just wants to play!!!
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