Things that Go Bump in the Night

It was 3 o’clock in the morning, well, the dead of night. The crash was loud, but it happened so quickly I didn’t realize it was that which had woken me. Instead, I heard Andy hurrying down the hallway asking if I was all right. Groggily, I said yes, why? He said there was a huge noise that sounded like I had fallen onto the floor, reminiscent of the time when an ice-coated tree fell and crashed through our roof. I opened my eyes and let them adjust to the light coming from the hallway. Alerted to a concerned tone in Andy’s voice, my mind slowly began to fill with terrifying scenarios.

What if someone had jumped onto the house from a nearby oak tree and was trying to break in? What if two burglars had gotten into a shoving match and ended up pushing each other into the siding? What if someone had been waiting inside the house and was now knocking things over in the attic?

Andy made a search of the front and back yards while I stayed in bed and worried. Eventually he came to bed, but my mind was already running with a multitude of frightening possibilities. What could possibly have made such a crash and left no evidence of itself? I could not get back to sleep. I began asking Andy questions, and then we were both awake. I went through the likely circumstances in my head, stopping in each room. There was a heavy row of shoe shelves in the guest room that once crashed down late at night. I had Andy check that but it was still intact. Maybe the furnace or air conditioner had blown up? Or maybe someone had broken into the basement through one of the tiny windows? Andy checked that too. Which left the attic. There was an extensive unfinished portion of the attic that was over the bedrooms. It sounded to Andy like that was where the crash had come from. He ascended the stairs and turned on the light, but he noticed nothing out of ordinary. Well, almost nothing.

“Do you have something hanging up there?” he asked.

My mind wondered if he meant something like dead bodies and I almost lost it. “Only chains and rope, why? Is there something else there???” [See Christmas Card 2012.]

“No. Everything looks normal.”

I calmed down and went into each room, clicking the lights on, hoping to scare off any would-be intruder watching the house. Andy went back outside to look at the roof from the street. He disappeared behind the front hedge and I thought for sure, this was it. This is when he doesn’t come back, and someone snatches me from behind and everything ends in a bloody mess of ‘Scream’ proportions. I was about to run to the kitchen for a knife when he came back up the walkway.

Locking the door, we headed back to bed, but I stopped in the bathroom on the way. There was an eeriness to an interrupted night of sleep, when suddenly the quietness amplified every tiny moan or creak of the house. I looked down at one of the drawers beneath the sink. It was oddly askew, angled up and no longer in line like the other drawers. I called Andy in to look at it. He fiddled a bit and as he was righting it, it fell back in and made a crash. The same crash that he’d heard earlier.

Then, and only then, could I get back to sleep.

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