The Goat 

Lily Alex

Copyright 2001 by Lily Alex

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Alcohol frequently makes people anxious, but often makes them courageous without any reason. The latter was the case with Alan Foisy.

Well, he drank eight beers in his favorite bar... or it was ten? He did not remember for sure.

He did not worry; the drive home should take just a few minutes and it was along a county road. At almost midnight, so Foisy was sure he would not meet any other people or cars.

Yawning, he drove, barely staying in control. But finally he probably fell asleep, as when the car veered off the road and went into the ditch Alan did not notice. 

It could have been worse. The slope was not steep; the vehicle just stopped. Foisy had buckled up back at the bar, so only slightly hit his forehead. He got out to check his situation, and realized at once that there was no way to return the car to the road without some aid.

Vexed, he sat on the grass next to his vehicle and started swearing and complaining about his fate. He damned the car, the road, the barman, and himself.

Soon, however, the fresh autumn air sobered Alan. Seeing his curses did not have any effect, he thought about how to get home. He had two ways: along the road it would take about forty minutes, but through the local cemetery his walking time would be cut in half, and, not hesitating, Foisy choose this plan. The doughy light of the full moon flooded the purlieus, and he was not afraid to get lost.

But, just when he had entered the graveyard, the moon, as ill luck would have it, hid behind a cloud, and the dusk became denser. Foisy trudged on the path, fighting the wish just lie down and sleep. The chilly gusts of wind lashed the man, and he was sorry about leaving his car.

"I could sleep inside," he dreamed, walking as a somnambulist. He was making his way very carefully; he could not see a thing in the pitch-dark. A few times he bumped against some gravestones, and the pain drove away his dizziness. He felt dreary, as he would if he were the only living being in the Universe.

Suddenly the ground under his feet gave way, and Alan rolled headlong into the murkiness.

Shocked, he sat up, and looked around. As if mocking him, the moon now showed her face. Foisy saw that he was in a big deep pit with the vertical walls too steep to climb. It was an open grave, and had been prepared for tomorrow's funeral.

"Great!" Alan said with bitter sarcasm. "Just great! What am I gonna do now?"

He heard a sigh, like a reply. Foisy was stunned; he saw a pale figure whitening the other end of the pit. Growing cold, he slowly got his feet. As if in a trance, against his will, Alan stepped forward and stretched his arm out to this creature. His finger touched a cold fleece, and his blood curdled with terror, but, at the same time, like a suddenly solved riddle, Foisy understood it was just a goat, trapped in this pit with him.

Gladdened that he was not alone anymore, the man laughed and petted the animal. It sighed again, and Alan felt compassion.

"I'll help you out," he promised, scratching the goat's horns. "Hey-ay-ay!" he yelled as loud as he could. "Somebody? Hey!" He used all the strength of his lungs, but his long wailing call faded without any response. Keeping up a deep quiet, the goat stared at the man. Foisy did not even hear its breathing. The big slanted black eyes of the creature looked like eye-sockets of a scull; they did not blink, they glowed with the moonlight, and the man felt uneasy under such a gaze.

"Hey-ay-ay!" he shouted again. The creeps ran over his back, and fear sounded in his cry.

"Who's there?" Alan's ears caught a male voice from above and he sighed with relief.

"Buddy," Foisy called up. "Be so kind; drop me a line or something like that. It's not very comfortable down here."

Soon he saw an end of a rope fall inside the hole.

"If I get out," thought Alan. "What about the goat?" And he tied the animal first.

"Pull!" he said to the man above, and the rescuer started to lift the victim.

"Pull, pull," repeated Foisy, helping the animal up. Suddenly a terrified howl made his hair stand on end.

The bleating goat fell back into the pit. It scratched the man with its hoofs, and, screaming with pain, Alan mechanically punched the animal.

The goat jumped out of the hole, and Foisy hearkened to another wild cry. The person above ran away, and the goat as well, and only now Alan understood what had happened. The cemetery guard, or whoever he was, heard only a human voice, he did not notice the goat, and when the ashen horned head rose from the fresh grave. . .

Two hours later, when the police towed his car back on the road, Foisy repeated his apologizes to the man who he had scared half to death.

"It's okay," the guardian replied, sighing. "Stupid goat. Why did it keep silence?"

"Probably it was too tired." Alan shrugged his shoulders, and got into his car. Ten minutes later he was at home.

"Do you know the owner of the goat?" the policeman asked the keeper of the cemetery.

"I've never heard that anyone around here has a goat," slowly answered the keeper, shaking his head.

Afterword. . .

The owner of the goat has never been found.

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