The outlines of houses and trees were barely becoming visible. The air was still, neither cool nor warm. A door opened on the upper deck of the Shelton house.
An orange tomcat escaped from the open door onto the roof, went across and dropped onto the dilapidated structure of Harvey Shelton’s veggie palace. The small white poodle from next door had already slipped past a rotten board that Harvey promised to nail back in place two months ago.
Orange and white shapes moved stealthily among the dense tomato plants, sniffing under the wide zucchini leaves for a slight movement of a gopher, a rabbit, anything.
Vultures in three dark clusters began to stir in one of the many scrub pine trees, waiting to prance across Alice Framington’s roof, wings in wide arcs to catch the sun’s rays.
Alice threatened to harm them, but every morning she stood on her porch with a broom, hitting the porch columns to scare them away. This would only interrupt the woodpecker in the oak tree in her front yard.
On the other side of Harvey, past the creek, was the Shepard’s log cabin. Linda Shepard watered her heirloom roses and carefully readjusted the chicken wire around them. Last week a deer had head-butted the wire and almost trampled her prized possessions.
Across from Linda, up a steep winding drive, lived Steve Melon who had lights installed the whole length of his driveway. He claimed this was necessary to keep himself and his German Shepherd safe from the local bobcats.
His neighbor Cynthia Cross insisted a whole bobcat family was living on her three-acre lot. But Cynthia and her husband also said they could see the spirit of a white buffalo. Each story varied with their alcohol intake.
About half an acre North, down from Harvey, two visitors sat on a leafy veranda at Mark’s place. Mark was asleep as this was his one day off from Hansen’s garage. The visitors sat for a long time. As the story goes, they were waiting to see the sunrise.