This work is supported by the generous backers who adore my cat stories at Patreon.com/amberunmasked and they also get first access to what’s happening with my books and podcast.
Where We Left Off:
In the last case file, we took a close look at how the Moretti crime family has grown with new members and allies.
The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily:
Going way back to November 2017, case file code name “Black Snake Moan,” we learned about different kinds of snakes and magical snake-like beings. Lindworms, wyverns, and the ever popular yet usually maligned gorgons. In that case my research uncovered the infamous Medusa was the weakest of the gorgons. Her two sisters, Stheno and Euryale, were tougher since they are immortal. I’m not sure where Medusa is these days if she was was indeed ended as the tales insist.
Like 2017, we’ve spotted a lot of snakes this year. Last year we didn’t. It’s odd. Gus doesn’t always pick up on their presence either; or maybe he does but doesn’t care. In any event, we’ve had a few major brushes with snakes and reptilian deities.
After we conducted our research, Ollie said it was okay to dispose of the evidence from Case File 2017-25A. Sometimes, I wish I had kept it, but this evidence collecting is getting a bit like hoarding.
June 6th: The Capture
When Gus pounces into a bush, I usually assume he’s been targeting a member of the rodent family. At roughly 8:30am on June 6, Gus and I were at the peony border which surrounds Cheeks Moretti’s rock fortress. The Grumpy Old Man had reported snakes on a number of occasions at the workshop, but I didn’t expect Gus to pull one out of the peonies despite my own previous sighting of a tiny one in the vicinity.
Gus’ routine is predictable. As soon as he catches something, he begins to take it away from the location of the kidnapping/assault — the scene, I guess you’d say. He gets a cheerful bounce in his step which I admit makes me smile even though it’s the display of his violent behavior. This morning was no different. He stared at the lily bed for a bit. He pounced hard. I didn’t see anything. He trotted happily away which is when I noticed that it was a snake of considerable size.
He was perceptibly annoyed when I tried to slow him down so I could catch up without running. Sorry, Gus! I managed to get quite a bit on video. If you’re the sort that is squeamish about snakes in general, I suggest you don’t expand the accordion or click on the Instagram slides.
View this post on Instagram
Gus played with his victim for around forty-five minutes. When he initially brought it out of the peonies and I finally got him to stop, I looked at the scaly creature. There was a rather large puncture in the belly area closer to the tail end than the head. I saw insides coming out. I didn’t think it would survive so I allowed Gus to continue playing with it. I was shocked anytime it showed a sign of life, but mostly, it curled up and didn’t move. At one point, Gus had it sprawled out in a straight line, belly up.
I never thought that snake could survive after all that. Gus and I left the scene and walked around more to check out other areas of interest like Gnome Grove, the big boulder, the workshop, etc. There was a lot of chipmunk activity requiring our attention too. We warned the Cook not to go near the center lilac bush near the maple tree because that’s where Gus had carried off his victim. She went over there anyway to make sure the creature was dead.
In fact, it wasn’t there at all. I assumed she was looking in the wrong spot and that the snake had managed to hide in the tall grass or maybe even in the lilacs. Nope. No sign of it. Somehow, the creature survived a vicious and lengthy attack by Gus. It had to be a maging. I’m inclined to think that due to the abundance of snakes we’ve seen this year, the gorgon nest proliferated. As the babies grow, they will eventually take on their more familiar gorgon characteristics.
If the creatures will grow wings like a wyvern and take on more of dragon physique, then flying abilities are not out of the question. Sure, some birds have wings which are purely decorative, but basically wings are made for flying.
Snakes That Fly?
Ok, so not like a bird — with wings — but some snakes do hang from branches and swing themselves into the air. Then by flattening their ribcage and making a side to side motion, they keep their bodies in the air long enough to glide for about 109 yards before crashing to the ground or into another tree.
The five different flying snakes are all poisonous and live in the tropical rainforests of Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. No snakes can fly upwards or take off from the ground. (http://idahoptv.org/sciencetrek/topics/snakes/facts.cfm)
June 7th: The Skin
The next day, I was returning from yoga and spotted a reptilian skin only inches away from the back porch. I don’t know how I missed it on our way out. I think this was one of the rainy weeks so Gus didn’t get an adventure that day. I’m not sure he would have paid any attention to it since it’s dead fleshy stuff and not pulsing with a good heartbeat fleshy stuff.
What’s unusual is that the discarded skin doesn’t resemble the coloring of the living snakes except for their ecru bellies. Given the number of them that have been around, I don’t suppose it’s from Gus’ victim. It appears much smaller than what he caught.
I have to say, I like snakes. You can see the photo of me picking up the one Gus caught. But staring at this skin for examination is grossing me out.
Due to the condition of the recovered evidence, Oliver and I are unable to discern if there are signs of gorgon evolution other than growth of its current form. There doesn’t appear to be anything further to report on gorgon activity.
As for Gus’ victim, we believe it found a healer of the maging community to treat its wounds.
Case Status: Closed