Thursday, November 25, 2010

Silence of the Donkeys

Last night, around 10:00, HB and I were startled by a noise outside that sounded very much like a woman screaming at the top of her lungs. When the noise was repeated twice more in the course of a few minutes, we went outside to try to make sure that no one was in trouble.

Staring into the dark, hearing this loud, high-pitched scream coming from well over a kilometer away, echoing off the mountains, gave both HB and I the chills, especially as our concern that someone was being injured grew. After a few more repetitions of the noise, though, we began to hear a slight snort at the end that definitely couldn’t be human.

We slowly realized that what we were hearing was not a woman screaming, but rather a donkey. I sincerely wish, again, to have recording capacity on my computer, as words cannot describe the eeriness of this sound. The intensity and desperation in the noise coming from the donkey across the hill made us think of scenes in movies where horses are attacked by wolves or bears.

But there are no large mammals on Tortola. It’s possible that the donkey was being threatened by wild dogs, but this possibility seems somehow unlikely to us. What caused this donkey to scream so hauntingly for over half an hour? Predators? Pain? Mating Season? I can only hope that the poor creature is healthy and at peace now.

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