Holidaying in Portugal, we came across a lake near Nisa and decided to ask at a nearby farm for permission to camp. We were greeted by a large dog, which lunged towards us snarling and pulling against its chain. An angry farmer shook his fist and told us in Portuguese expletives to get off his land. We guessed that was a “No” so we backed off quickly.
It was almost dark. Exhausted and hungry, we pitched our tent on the lakeshore beyond the wall, which we guessed to be the boundary of the farm. We heated some baked beans and settled down for the night.
Suddenly we were woken by a familiar barking and growling. We peered out to see the silhouette of a Baskervillean hound in the dim moonlight. It stood on the track, slathering with rage. We were terrified that we would be mauled to death by the fiend.
Aiden grabbed a stone and threw it towards the dog. The hound backed off a few paces. Another larger stone and it yelped and bolted away. Relieved, we snuggled back into our sleeping bags.
Later, we were woken by a scary sound. Something was attacking our tent! “Kerplop! Kerplop!” Then “Flop! Flop! Flop!” We clung to each other in fright.
“Your turn!” Aiden said. I grabbed the torch and crawled out of the tent on my hands and knees. Shaking with fright, I approached the thing. “Oh,” I said.
“What is it?” hissed Aiden.
“It’s trapped under the flysheet trying to get out.” I lifted out a frog and held its damp throbbing body in my hand before letting it go on its way, toward the water.
Contemporary Haibun Online April 2017, vol 13 no 2