I think I heard gunshots last night. Something woke me up, and I thought to myself, 'That pop-pop sounded like gunshots.' But then I thought how I wouldn't necessarily know what woke me up, so most likely it wasn't. Then it happened again, and the back bathroom lit up in a whitish-red, very brief glow. I was instantly certain there was a gunfight going on in my backyard. (My new deck!)
I clawed Harry awake and we went to see what was happening, but I stopped him in the hallway. It was around midnight, and the aquarium was still fully lit. If we went to look out a window, we'd be illuminated and anyone in the backyard would see us. What to do?
I called 911 from my cellular phone, since I hadn't brought the house phone into the bedroom, and it, too, was located across that mile-long expanse of aquarium-lit living room. The emergency services people were calm and polite; they slowed down my headlong rush of words and made me distinctly tell them things like my address. They said they'd send someone out as soon as possible, and did I want to be contacted? Not particularly, because the front door was in that aquarium-bright area. I could just imagine opening the front door for the cops and getting shot in the back by someone standing on the deck.
I hung up from the 911 call and Harry and I went back to bed, after I'd closed and locked the bedroom door. Both Bounty and Smudge were in the bedroom with us, and neither had been upset by anything, so had I imagined it?
As I lay there, straining my eyes for any unusual light from the backyard, and my ears for any unusual sounds from anywhere, I thought about what I'd heard and seen. The gunfire, if that's what it was, could not have been in my backyard or it would have been much louder. The glow, while intense and short-lived, had very specifically followed the sounds, so it couldn't have been the muzzle flash of a gun barrel. Plus, the window seat's glass is right there by that window, so most likely what I saw was a glow's reflection. I don't remember the bedroom window lighting up, and it would have if the source was in that area as I'd first assumed.
As I mused, a brilliant white light flooded my bedroom and was quickly gone. I clutched Harry awake again. I think I said something eloquent like "Oh, shit!" My husband is so patient with me. He asked if we should go look this time and I said no.
Like a rabbit in a meadow with a hawk circling above, I froze and waited for more light or more gunshots or something. Nothing happened, and now I think that was a policeman's flashlight. I did not get out of bed to look, nor did the animals so much as twitch.
This morning, the backyard was quiet and undisturbed. No dead bodies lay on the deck, and no windows bore gunshot holes.
I wonder even more if I had dreamed up the noises and light, and called the cops out to wash my bedroom in flashlight glow for no reason. Still, I'm very glad for 911 and you couldn't ever pay me enough to be a cop.
Copyright 2014 Michelle Hakala