The glaring light pierced my eye through the crack in the window curtains at 3:00 in the morning. Incoherent and blinded, I peered out to see what or who was in my backyard with a spotlight. It was the moon. Comforted, my head hit the pillow for another hour.
At 4:30 am, I stepped out the front door, clicked on my Garmin, and began putting one foot in front of the other going west along toward the farms on the outskirts of the city. Once I was out among the fields of amber waiving grain, I turned to look at the purple mountains to see if the sun was lighting up the canyons yet. Not quiet.
In the west was the Great Salt Lake and Antelope Island. Above the island was the moon. It was huge hanging there in the early morning sky watching the world go to sleep on one side and come to life on the other.
After ten miles, I met up with my friend Jeff, and we went south beginning a twelve-mile loop of long steady hills. We strategized our next relay race. Jeff will be my co-captain at Epic Relay, and we’ve never run a relay with time cut offs. We discussed nutrition, the Spudman triathlon, and Pony Express 100.
We began our last long climb along highway 89. Highway 89 has a speed limit of 55 mph. It is four lanes across and has a center turning lane. We pulled in behind another runner plodding along in our direction. I paused in our conversation and then said, “Was that what I think it was?”
The runner in front of us continued along the road, head down, so the wind from the traffic didn’t grab ahold of the bill of her hat.
“What?” he asked.
I stopped, turned around, and pointed to something on the edge of the highway. Just off the pavement, in the weeds and scattered gravel, lay what appeared to be a body. Black shoes stuck out the bottom of a thin grey blanket. Jeff stared. I stared. We stared at each other.
“Should I call?” I asked.
“Let’s see if the person is alive first.”
We took a few steps, and then a few more. Now we could see the person was rocking back and forth a little. About two feet from the body, Jeff said, “Are you alright? Do you need some help?”
“Excuse me. Hello. Are you alright?” I said.
I stepped back and dialed 911.
I gave the dispatcher our location and explained that there was a person lying on the side of the highway wrapped in a blanket.
The man stood up. He was six feet tall. He didn’t look that big while lying there, I thought. His grey stubble on his chin was in high contrast to his milk chocolate skin. His eyes were bloodshot. His jeans were coated in black. The light brown jacket was worn white at the elbows. He turned and looked at me.
“Hold on, he just got up,” I told the dispatcher.
“Does he look alright?” she asked. The cars and sixteen-wheel diesel’s continued whipping by us.
“He looks okay. He’s walking south along the highway.”
“Should we send someone?”
“I think someone ought to check on him,” I said. He bent down and picked up two plastic grocery store bags caught in the yellow weeds. He again turned and looked at me with dim eyes.
“Alright we’ll send someone.”
“Thank you.” I hung up the phone.
Jeff and I continued and turned down a neighborhood street to finish our loop.
Back at home, I told Jasper (17) what happened and he said, “Probably a werewolf mom. Did you see the moon?”