We walked companionably along the bog boardwalk, admiring the vegetation and simply enjoying the day. Paula, who had wandered up ahead, walked back toward us.
“I just wanted to let you know,” she said, “There’s a snake up ahead.”
“What!?!” several of us chorused.
“Is it blocking the path?” someone asked.
“No,” Paula said, “It’s on the path by one of the benches. Off to the side.”
“Well, what’s it doing?”
“It’s just kind of flicking its tongue at me, ” she said. “I came back to tell you because I didn’t want you to come around the corner and be startled.”
We walked forward, some of us more tentatively than others, rounding a bend in the walkway. Then… there it was! About
10 feet 2-3 feet long. It wasn’t on the path, but it was facing it. In primo launch position!
I looked at it skeptically, eyeballing the path around it. There was certainly room to walk around it, but it would put me within range. Why was the snake just sitting there, still facing the path, flicking its tongue? Was it smelling us and considering how good we’d taste? That flicking tongue sure looked a lot like someone licking their lips…anticipating! Whatever it was doing, it clearly was up to no good. An innocent snake would have moved along by now.
“Ugh! I hate snakes!” I shuddered.
“Take a picture,” someone suggested.
“You take a picture!” I responded in my most mature manner.
That’s when it happened. A few yards past the snake, two of my friends had stopped and were looking back at the snake and at us. A movement caught my eye. I froze. As horror rendered me mute, I watched another snake wriggle up and through an opening between wooden slates in the walkway, right between my friends, and then slither over the edge and into the bog.
My mind was immediately filled with Indiana Jones-like scenes of slithering snakes swarming in massive colonies beneath us. I could imagine them squeezing through the wooden slats all around us, up and onto the walkway, to form great writhing piles of snakes. How many of them might be under there???
“Oh MY GOD! Did you see that???” I whispered ( or maybe screeched).
“What?” they all asked.
I didn’t stop to answer. I hightailed it around the first snake and all of them, moving rapidly down the path, stomping my feet down dramatically as I went, hoping to stave off any impending reptile offensive.
Further down the path, after my friends had caught up, I explained what I’d seen.
“Are you sure?” they asked me.
Sure!? The image had blazed into my retinas! Yes, I was sure! But, it turned out, no one else had seen the snake. Not one of them. They looked at me skeptically.
“Maybe you imagined it, ” one fine, supportive friend suggested.
I shuddered again, replaying the reel in my mind. That smooth reptilian body squeezing up and over the boardwalk. Imagine that?