My three young boys were playing by our small waterfall moving large rocks at our log home in Highlands, NC (the setting for my first mystery, Volume 1, The Puzzle). They were hard at work hauling and dragging rocks to build a dam. My oldest son said his younger brother suddenly yelled out, “There’s a gigantic snake!” After getting a good look at it, our oldest son ran as fast as he could to go for help. I was in the kitchen baking cookies. He already knew how I felt about snakes and went straight for his father. My husband took the news in stride. He knew kid’s imaginations. They always exaggerated the size of things. He took his time strolling down that dirt road on our property wondering what kind of garden snake they managed to uncover.
He approached smiling, but then did a double take, stopping dead in his tracks. That snake was well over twelve feet long. My husband stepped back a pace and told our oldest son to quickly go back to the house and tell his mother to get his shotgun and cartridges from our locked gun case so he could bring them back to him. Our son ran back, hollering about what was going on. I handed over his father’s unloaded shotgun and he quickly flew through the door. I stared out the window, but they were too far away for me to see clearly. There was no way I was walking out there. I hate snakes.
I was told later on that our son gave the gun to my husband, who loaded the shotgun. He then waited so see what the snake would do, as he was undecided about shooting it. It wasn’t acting hostile. The snake then started to slowly slither toward the woods, but then it stopped. It turned around and rose straight up in the air about four feet, like someone was playing a flute then latched onto a branch with its head. It stopped and just stared at my husband at eye level, showing no fear whatsoever. The three boys and my husband could not believe what they were witnessing. My husband considered his dilemma. His young boys played in that spot everyday, and since the snake wasn’t slithering off like it should and wasn’t talking, the snake had to go. My husband didn’t want to take chances. He raised his shotgun and eliminated the potential future threat.
My husband then picked up a large branch, draped the snake over it and asked our son to go back to the house to show his mother the snake so I could see sheer the size of it, otherwise, I wouldn’t believe it. Well, I have to tell you it the wrong thing for him to do. I watched our son drag it back all excited. I had a fit. That snake was not entering our house. I beat our son to the door, took one look at how long that thing was, snatched that branch from my son’s hand and ran to the edge of our drive and heaved-ho. That snake went sailing over the cliff, branch and all.
Moral of the story to all potential predators vs. my children: Be cautious in the forest and pay attention where you walk or place your hands. ….Oh, and anything that remotely threatens the safety of my children better make sure they know how to fly first: dead or alive.