A raccoon, and perhaps a family of raccoons, appears to live in the storm sewers in our neighborhood.
Once, on a morning walk, I saw a hunched shape scrabbling across the street and toward the sewer grate in the pre-dawn darkness. The raccoon plunged into the sewer. When we passed by a few moments later, it was there, wearing its mask, perched just beneath the grate, its beady black eyes glittering with the reflected light from a nearby street lamp. The dogs lunged toward it, and it vanished.
The encounter gave me the creeps. I have no interest in dealing with potentially rabid creatures, and I don’t like the idea of raccoons using the storm sewer as a kind of vagabond superhighway underneath our neighborhood. Now, whenever I pass the sewer, I can’t help but look to see whether those black eyes are there, staring back. Usually they aren’t, and I start to think that perhaps the raccoon is gone. But every once in a while the eyes are there again, following our movements as we quicken the pace to get past the grate, and I shudder anew.
I don’t remember my dreams when I awaken, but I’d be willing to bet that those beady black eyes through the sewer grate have appeared in a nightmare or two.