Eventually, however, it stopped. I thought, "Shit, man, I hope that's gone to fuck over the neighbours." Why not, right? Just last week I learned that my sixteen year old neighbour had hacked my wireless to talk to her secret boyfriend. I figure she owed me one.
An hour later, however, it returned.
This time it was out of the front of the house, the sound creeping in through the open windows. A low, labouring breath. A dying animal, for sure, both of us thought. We could still see nothing and the sound kept up for a while, sounding similar but not quite the same, to this.
In the morning, when we went outside, there wasn't a single track, or disturbed bit of garden, or anything, but the internet had informed us that it was most likely a brushtail possum, either warning off another possum, or in heat. Either way, there appeared to be another possum around, and this did explain what had frightened the cat a month earlier, and the tracks that were leading up to the back door (where we used to keep the cat food, until the cat let us know that, no, some feral breathing animal was getting in the way, there, and she'd like to eat somewhere else, please).
After we had figured out the noise this morning--with such success, my day was already looking productive--I checked my email and found a message from a student in Germany who had had to do an excerpt of Black Sheep in an exam. He said he didn't like it, didn't plan to buy the book, but would I explain some things to him. That made me laugh. That's what education is about. I answered his question, and told him that I was pleased to see he'd suffered, since that's why I became an author.