What Was That?

Photo shows a silver flashlight. “I went to bed that night and I turned off the music and I was laying in my bed and I heard footsteps in the attic. And they were very clear footsteps. I wasn’t quite sure why I would be hearing that, but you know whenever you move into a new apartment you start to notice all the little sounds that particular space makes.”

That is from the episode A Bump in the Night of the great podcast, Criminal. I have a soft spot for true crime and Criminal never disappoints. They tell the kind of stories that stick with you long after you finish listening to them.

Months after I heard that story, I was at home, alone. It’s 2:30 pm. I need to nap, my eyes are tired. I climb into bed under our new duvet, and my head hits the pillow as one of my dog starts barking. This sets off a series of events where every 10 to 15 minutes one of my pets is doing something that makes me get up. By 4 o’clock I am beyond frazzled. I give the dogs early dinner and then shove them outside while I give the cat her dinner. The cat finishes her meal with a little cat burp, and I let the dogs back in. I finally go back upstairs to chase sleep for a little while before my husband comes home from work for dinner. Ulysses snuggles next to me. And just as I’m drifting off…

I’m disturbed by a loud rumbling noise.

Ulysses rolls over, but remains quiet. In my delirium I’m not sure, was that a delivery truck outside? No. it was a little too long for a loud vehicle braking for the stop sign out front, too. Maybe a squirrel scrambled over the rooftop? I peek outside. It doesn’t seem like any of my neighbors are unloading things from a car. The tall evergreen next door hasn’t fallen. I’m puzzled. It definitely felt close, as if something had hit my house. I sit in bed, confused.

Our house has hardwood flooring. Every now and then as the house settles it pops and creaks. I hear one above my head from the attic. Now I’m awake.

Primal instinct takes over and I bowl out of bed down the hallway to the top of the stairs. Oh My God someone is in our attic that’s what that noise was someone was walking across the attic floor. Like the podcast.

I freeze in place for a whole minute and hear nothing. Neither of the dogs are barking. I’m unsure. I retreat downstairs and get myself a glass of water. I discount more possibilities like the train went by earlier today but it doesn’t sound like that rumble. I decided it really must’ve been a wayward aggressive squirrel, or maybe the hawks that land in the tall tree. Yes, the hawks. I talk myself into this answer and stare out the front window. But that little voice in my head won’t go away telling me they really could be someone in the house. I’ve watched a lot of true crime shows.

I build the courage and climb the stairs to the attic door. I fling it open and shine a light on the stairs. Ulysses is next to me, all twenty three pounds of him. He looks at me like I’m crazy. Can I blame him? No one  is on the stairs. I see heavy plastic at the top at and remember Stockton has already winterized the passage to keep warm air from escaping through the roof over wintertime. The only noise above me is the rustling of the heavy plastic as I close the attic door and head downstairs.

Five minutes later I turn on the television and text my husband, how about pizza for dinner? I have the large screen TV on mute, but I glance up and see a breaking news image. A US map with one of those red dots indicating an issue. Oh no. My sister lives near the dot and I mediately call her. Besides podcasts, lately I heard plenty of NPR stories about North Korean missile launches. I try to read the fast moving charon information as the call rings.

“Hi.” I hear my sister’s regular voice and I don’t worry. I finally catch the scroll saying, earthquake.
“Did you have an earthquake?!”
“Yeah, for like 30 seconds.” We chat about it and I ask her if her husband noticed it.
“No, it was a half hour ago. He was still at work and he didn’t feel it.”
It didn’t just happen. I look up at the television screen again and see they had marked the map image with the historical time. These eyes miss things sometimes. Then, I see Mayberry is within the tremor radius. Hmmm.

Since my sister is talking to me she’ll know I’m OK. I tell her about how I heard an intruder in our house and about going up to the attic to check.
“Oh my gosh you’re home alone. Why did you do that?” She watches as much true crime as I do.
But I giggle and say, “Well, obviously there is no intruder…it was the earthquake!”

It all made sense now. No squirrels, hawks, or squatters. My phone vibrates with an incoming call. “I have to go, Stockton is calling and we need to figure out dinner.“
“I wish you were bringing me dinner.“ she says before saying goodbye. I click over to Stockton.

Pizza pickup is planned and I hang up. I look at my dogs who are both asleep. Must be nice. I roll my eyes. I turn my attention back to the TV in my quiet, empty house.

PS When youre done listening to A Bump in the Night, check out another episode, Unexpected Guests

“it’s very dark in the basement…boilers and breakers and what not. But there’s also a door down there […] a door that none of us had a key to.”


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Julie Shepherd says:

    I’m looking up both podcasts right now! LOL! I’m glad all was well and no one in your attic !!!!!

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