I have to walk through this dark unlit field to go from my school to the train at night because I teach late classes. I don't worry about people because this is a pretty safe area (maybe naive?). I worry about random animals that just sort of show up. I once saw a buck just stare at me across a trail, still, waiting. Foxes scurry here and there. This one possum would hang by a tree and just stare at me, challenging me. I'd try to stare him down but mostly I'd run by screaming. I wouldn't even bother challenging skunks.
And so in the darkest area, I heard a growl. I couldn't tell what it was because it was so dark. I have no ability to tell direction in the dark. It was just a growl— a disembodied, menacing growl. I was too terrified to breathe.
Lights flashed. It was a dog across the street. But it could been a cougar. I swear. It was so scary. I was this close to death.