Like a Bat out of the Heart of Darkness

There are some moments in life that stand out just for their shock value.  And when I reflect on shock, one particular adventure stands out.  This story takes place a few years ago, in the middle of a pitch black night.

My Sister-in-Thesis and I were driving back from a conference at 2 am through the mountains of rural Pennsylvania.  We were far from any city, it was a moonless night, and it was dark, dark.  The high beams on her car cut through the darkness like a knife and nothing beyond them was visible: not the mountains hulking on either side of the winding highway, not the sleeping forests, and not the dim stars above.

Naturally, we were listening to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness on Audio tape.

She was driving and I was sitting on the edge of my seat, leaning into the narrator’s haunting baritone voice as he spoke the poetic prose of the novel.

Aside from the book reading, into which we were both completely absorbed, there was silence.

And suddenly, without any warning, a bat came out of nowhere, struck the windscreen and just…exploded, right in front of my face.

I even saw its little face before it hit the glass. I gasped and then there was a total shocked silence for several minutes before either one of us could speak.

She turned on the wipers to clean the blood off the glass.

“Oh my god,” she said.

“Did that just…” I started.

“Oh my god,” she said.

“I didn’t know that could…” I began again, but I was at a complete loss for words.

To this day, all it takes to make her shudder is to say, “Hey, remember that bat that hit the windshield?”


2 thoughts on “Like a Bat out of the Heart of Darkness

  1. I had a bird fly into my windshield head-on a couple of days ago. At 80 mph, it sounded like a baseball hit. On my return trip yesterday, I saw a hawk’s body by the side of the road. Must have been him.
    I felt horrible and could only offer a blessing/prayer. It was a horrible shock’, and I can’t imagine why he chose to suicide….

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