The burrowing Plata snake, renowned for its luminescent epidermis, its profound blindness and its uncanny ability to move through the Earth, as if it were swimming in the fold of a tranquil pond, effortlessly, beguilingly sinister, began as a legend. The townspeople feared it terribly, calling down violent imprecations on its behalf. They did not realize that another animal, the Patagonic goat sucker, had been the one terrorizing the children, digging holes at the edge of their garden fences. It was an understandable mistake and one that would wind up making all the difference.
The snake with a hissed lisp surreptiously asked, “is a duty ever also a crime?”, and fled without leaving a wake other than its interlocking scales, its shed mail, as an only testimony. But, the kudzu still strangled the lightposts, still wrapped the curbside lindens, still padded the red mattress wire fences. Nobody thought to look. The streetstones no longer fit together. The sunlight no longer reached the pavement, the buildings had grown far too high. The children swore not to tell what they knew. From moldy highrise corridors, under the pretext of playing distracting games, they spied the city spying them.
The Patagonic goat sucker, after all, was not unknown to them. Out on the edges, away from the heart of the town where the buildings grew taller and taller with their windows like mirrors protecting them from view, where the broken down little shacks of the farmers stood under the shade of the old Oak trees, planted by their ancestors, a new breed of settler that came from the East in ships with their squares and parallelograms and paisley ideas of order, with their dreams of rows of maize like columns of the Kings army that disappeared into the line where the sun broke into disks, and further beyond, the open graze lands for their cattle which chewed dumbly in deep meditation and where, on occasion, they met their unfortunate and untimely demise at the fierce, swiping claws of the green-eyed Patagonic goat sucker. In fact, the moniker was a misnomer. The Patagonic goat sucker did not like goats at all. Hated the taste of the gamey, stringy meat. At first the goat sucker had remained at the far extremes of the wire perimeters for the cattle, which apparently posed little difficulty for them to traverse. Each day, each year, their hunger seemed to grow, and along with it, their bravery. They inched closer through the fields to the gardens and then, at the edges of the town where the children played their games in the warm afternoons until small groups of them could be seen, at dusk, their eyes flashing like little green suns between the corn stalks and their long, sharp claws glinting in the rising moonlight as they waved them at the cattle whom they gravely approached. Though the situation had grown worse through the years, it had not become anything more than a nuisance as a greater importance had been placed on the harvest from the children’s gardens.