It was an innocent stroll to the apartment complex office to put my rent check in the rent drop box. It was already dark, but the area is well-lit.
I was merely planning to make the trek as quickly as possible and get back to my tasks awaiting me back at my apartment. I slipped the check into the slot, turned - and realized I was not alone.
Something moved in the grass.
I did a doubletake - and realized it was a snake, slithering and shimmering in the light from a security post. For a split second, I was frozen...until I recognized it was a small garter snake.
They're harmless, I knew from growing up on a farm ---- and it seemed as surprised to see me as I was to see it.
But that didn't keep me from shaking my head as I walked back to my place. What if the critter had been something genuinely dangerous? How quickly can the routine be transformed into something threatening?