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My cuz Deanna and I were up to no good over at her friend’s place out in the country. We had just said goodbye to her sister when out of nowhere an unearthly noise pierced the darkness of midnight. I was so shocked to hear it that I started smoking my cigarette even harder to try and finish it and get back inside. It came again, an eerie cry that sounded not unlike a woman screaming in extreme pain, like she was being brutally murdered. It came again, and this time it was getting closer.

“What the hell was that?”

I have to admit, my first thought was that it was an animal, but as it got closer and closer and inspired more and more fear, I began to have all kinds of wild thoughts. It sounded so much like it was a woman, what if at any second a bloody woman with a knife in her eye staggered up the walk and shrieked, with her demented murderer coming close behind, ready to destroy all the regrettably stoned witnesses? Not only that, but it was coming so close to the house, and I finally gave up my cigarette and ran inside, where we told everyone what was happening and two men went out to investigate.

They had seen a cougar, or rather, heard it, the other night out near the barn. They imitated the shriek, and the shrieking came back, but when they yelled Hey! nobody came or answered. Meanwhile we were huddled in the instrument room with quivering knees. Convinced it was really “just” a cougar, things calmed down again. Until somebody started hearing things coming from the basement . . . where there wasn’t anybody.

It’s true, cougars have returned to Saskatchewan, even around that bustling metropolis, Saskatoon. And jesus, they really do sound like murdered women.

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