There is not a dead bat on my doorstep, frozen in rigor mortis in her last expression of will, straining forward as if to scratch at my door. The dead bat is just not there. Somehow I feel she should be, however, and this results in a puddle of unease at the bottom of my mind.
Her name was Anita. I assume she had recently left her father's house. Were Anita at my doorstep, she would in all probability be dead. But Anita was not always dead. She was not always at my doorstep, either. But there was a time when she was at my doorstep and yet not dead. Not quite.
Let me explain. I got home late last night, just after sunset. On the ground at the entrance to the open-air hallway that leads to my apartment there was something round, brown, and somehow biological. In the dim light I couldn't see it clearly, and at first I thought it was a very large beetle. I was very impressed at its size, so I bent over to have a closer look, and to see if it was alive. The creature seemed to notice my interest and began to crawl slowly away from me. The way its limbs were positioned and the way it moved itself across the ground was unlike any insect I'd ever seen before. Curious, I bent closer to examine it. Suddenly some dim part of my brain managed to break through the static of my consciousness, and I realized "Dude, that's a fucking bat!" I withdrew quickly in surprise. That was how I met Anita.
Why didn't she fly away? She was obviously unwell. I wanted to do something to help her. Were she an insect, I probably would have. But bats are mammals, and when in poor health are thus more likely to pass on their problems to any humans they come in contact with. So I let her be, and hoped she would get up the strength to leave and return to her Bat Cave. Or Bat Bridge, as is more likely in this area.
I checked on Anita a few more times before I went to bed. She was still there.
When I opened the door this morning to go to school, I was shocked to find that Anita was right there, "fallen down at the door of the house, and her hands were upon the threshold," just like the concubine of the Levite in Gibeah. But whereas the Levite assumed the concubine was still alive and soon discovered otherwise, I at first assumed Anita was dead. I did not have time to see to the proper disposal of her body just then, but I used the umbrella I was carrying to try to move her body away from the door so that at least she would not be in danger of being stepped on by my roommate.
This roused her, and while she did not move, she began shouting at me in batspeak. I've never heard anything quite like it. I might compare it to a mixture of the crack of a taser and the squeak of a smoke detector whose batteries are running low, except higher and somehow percussive.
I couldn't understand what she was saying. WTF might have been able.
Anita must have crawled all the way from the place we met to my front door. Were I the type who considers her race to be frightening, perhaps I would have imagined she had chased after me with intent to harm. As it was, it seemed to me that she had followed after me in hopes of receiving my help.
Unfortunately, I had no help to give. What was I to do? I tried to move her away from the doorstep, but she quickly clamped down as if for dear life and refused to be moved. So I left her there.
When I came back tonight, Anita was nowhere to be found. Perhaps my roommate called animal control. Perhaps I should have done so myself. Or perhaps I should have followed the example given in the Bible and cut her up, mailing the pieces to people all over the country.
I feel strangely guilty about it all. I feel almost as if someone was seeking my aid in their hour of direst need, and I ignored them. What happened to her? Have I just failed some kind of karmic test?
consider of it, take advice, and speak your minds,