The mysterious beast behind the gate

While out cycling on a scorching day along Mulholland Highway, I bailed into the shade of a pepper tree outside a private gated compound near Route 23 south in the mountains above Westlake Village.
Scattered on the ground were the tree’s delicate, tiny pink berries. They crackled like crushed eggshells underfoot.
Above this crackling I heard a loud, indignant snort behind me and turned to peer through the wrought iron gate at an enormous, bizarre beast bearing a decidedly choleric aspect....

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