A long time ago I stopped a man from raping me by screaming at him so violently that I scared him. He had a loaded gun but I scared him. I watched him chamber a round. He held me down so hard the police took photos of the bruises on my biceps when it was over. I survived intact because my survival scream frightened him, made him loosen his grip, and made him start crying. I ran.
It happened again today. I survived a near-mauling by a vicious dog with my scream. Only this time because I was on my feet I watched the force of the scream hit the dog like an energy field. Early morning. My neighborhood. Same old route. Never had an issue with a dog in that spot or it wouldn’t be on my route. Overcast but daylight, coasting along, lost in thought, and never saw him until I turned toward the sound of gravel spraying. A male human called out No, no, no! By the time my head swiveled his direction a copper-colored dog was already charging, full speed, snarling and snapping. It was an attack.
I turned to face the dog and without even thinking I screamed the same survival scream that saved me before. I swear it was as if the charging dog smashed into a force field. Just like in a sci-fi movie, the dog’s body hit the swell of my scream and the impact changed the dog’s trajectory. He careened to the left and overshot me, into the street where he lost his footing. He skidded and stumbled.
The dog regained his footing from his slide and charged me again, this time with less distance between us. A car was coming. The dog owner did nothing but stand in the yard and yell. Again I turned to face the dog. Again I screamed as he lunged, harder and louder. Again the dog bounced off the scream bubble and went hurtling back into the yard from whence he came. The human was able to herd the dog toward the house. I stood trembling in terror and adrenaline for a second as the oncoming car eased passed me. For a moment my hands went to my face for freaking out purposes but then dropped. My instincts said I still wasn’t safe. I ran.
I heard the human calling after me, asking if I was okay. I didn’t stop. I didn’t answer. He called out again. I ran behind the House of Death (funeral home), hoping the human wouldn’t follow me. He either didn’t or I outran him in my fright. Near the House of Words (newspaper office) I slowed to a walk and tried to calm my panic. I wanted to cry. I took a side street toward home but before I got far I could see another dog, a bigger black dog, unleashed, sniffing around the street. I wanted even more to cry and I wasn’t taking any chances. I turned as fast as I could and resumed running the other way. I looped around the House of Methods (Methodist church) to the House of Remedies (pharmacy) and went the long way home.
I went straight into the backyard and collapsed like a limp noodle. My own dog came to me. I asked him for comfort and support. He obliged. We agreed I should change my route, effective immediately, to exclude those two streets, even though I haven’t had a problem with dogs there before. I went on with my morning, prepping for gay church. As I ate breakfast I analyzed the encounter. My voice saved me from imminent harm again. Can’t be coincidence. This qualifies as a superpower.
And although I am a rational person (who believes in superpowers and force fields) who understands it is not the dog’s fault and there is no point in getting mad at a dog for being a dog and doing what dogs do, my calmed-down emotion was more of an injury to my feelings. I felt offended that the dog wanted to hurt me. I’m a vegan. I’m an animal advocate. I’m a compassionate steward of humanity who wants the world to be well and whole. I’m a Nature lover. I’m a good guy (gal), even to redneck pet owners who endanger me with their negligence. It hurt my feelings that the dog wanted to hurt me.
And of course, it terrified me. It’s my worst fear as a runner of over 20 years. I’ve been bitten before. Five times. Calf, ankle, thigh, arm and chin. This time it was not going to be a bite. This was going to be a mauling. And by the way, dog owners of the world, take a note. When your dog is attacking a stranger in full beast mode and the victim is screaming for her life, the dog does not hear you. Seriously, standing in the yard and yelling git-yer-ass-back-in-the-house at the dog is no help to the person about to be shredded or to your dog who will likely be prosecuted.
My throat hurts now. I went on to gay church and sang with it and then sang more all the way home because singing makes me feel better. But it is sore from its energy battle and from my songs of gratitude and affirmation. What a powerful instrument. A weapon, I guess, though I only use it for defense and joyous cheering. I asked the Internet if she’d ever heard of a goddess of screaming or goddess of screams. Nope, just banshees and they scream for death, not for life. But Ishtar/Inanna/Astarte was a goddess of war who roared like a lion in some traditions and like a thunderstorm in others. That’ll do.
- Sept. 1st — Copperhead
- Sept. 3rd — 26 cents, 5 cats, dude looks like a lady
- Sept. 5th — I do believe in spooks
- Sept. 7th — no run, rained out by Tropical Storm Gordon
- Sept. 9th — Cujo