I totally forgot to post about this yesterday, but, even though this actually happened two nights ago, it must be shared.
So... It's three in the morning. I am asleep, and have been since- well, since ten, if you must know. I need my twelve hours! I awake to the dog, barking his insane head off, and sit up, feeling wild and disoriented. Also blind, as my contacts are in their case in the bathroom and my glasses are somewhere on the bedside table.
I sit up, rigid, listening as the dog paces around and growls. I should mention here that after Adelay was born, I went through a few months of very intense, irrational fear at night of things like break-ins. I have no idea what triggered it, other than the obvious guess, HORMONES, and eventually I got some help and got past it, but I have to be very careful not to let it rear its ugly head. I can easily slip back into very fearful, paranoid thought patterns when it's dark and I'm sleepy. So that is what was happening here: I was getting really tense, and the more growly and upset the dog got, the less I could think clearly and the further I sank into a frozen panic. There is someone outside our house, I am thinking. Someone who is at this very moment breaking open the lock and is going to come in here and kill us all in our beds.
And then I hear it, this ungodly, hair-raising, blood-chilling shriek like the sound of a small child or animal being tortured. At this point, I am practically shivering with fear, and my alarm has woken Jim, who tends to be a very deep sleeper and was even more disoriented than myself.
"What in the (insert inappropriate word of your choice here) is that?" he demands groggily, as I sit, wide-eyed, my fast, shallow breathing by now very audible.
"I don't know," I whisper. "I think it's a demon." I am being entirely serious.
The yowling continues, and it seems to be circling our house. Jim, not nearly as freaked out as myself and also possessing much better vision, gets up to check things out, as Fonzie growls and trembles and I whimper and tremble. We are a brave pair. At this point, I actually have the covers pulled up around my head. I have lost my mind. Random thoughts float through my head as the creepy noises continue outside: Well, I guess I can just never sleep again. I'll have to keep guard from now on. Also, Tomorrow we will look for a new house. This one is clearly haunted.
Jim returns after what seems like an eternity to announce, "It's that cat again."
A cat? A cat is making that horrific and unbelievably loud sound?
"What cat?" I am unconvinced.
"The cat that keeps prowling around at night scaring the heck out of Fonzie." Apparently this has happened several times and I was simply unaware of it, because I was already asleep back in the bedroom and the cat had been at the other end of the house, outside of the den.
But Jim admits that he has not actually seen the cat tonight. He's just pretty sure that's what it is. I am skeptical, as well as still terrified. Jim goes around again to look out every window, but even though the yowling continues, no cat can be seen. Finally, we pinpoint the sound (which has been moving around) as being directly outside our bedroom window. We push up the sill and listen, and it is most definitely coming from... Our neighbor's basement!
I am by now close to hyperventilation. I snap the light on, unable to tolerate darkness, and Jim yelps and covers his eyes. "There is someone being tortured in that basement!" I hiss.
Jim actually seems to waver- that sound is so horrifying, so inhuman yet not really animalistic, that a torture chamber in the neighbor's basement is beginning to seem like a realistic possibility.
And then, just as we are beginning to think of calling the police, the sound darts off again, around to the back of the house. I nearly faint with relief.
"See?" Jim is cool and calm again. "It's the cat. Calm down."
But how can I be calm when there is a demon-possessed cat running in circles around our house? I lay in the dark, stiff and alert, as Jim tries to go back to sleep despite the obnoxious noises. Finally, after a year or so, the sound fades, and I realize the cat has moved on to terrorize another home. Just as I drift off to sleep, I vow that if I ever see this lunatic cat, I will strangle it myself. (Sorry, all you cat lovers out there.)
The next morning, as I was making breakfast (well, pouring breakfast into bowls, anyways,) I SAW it. There, lurking behind our house in the neighbor's backyard bushes, was the biggest, fattest, scariest black cat ever, and it was still yowling, ever so faintly.
So, did I race out and kill it with my bare hands? Child, please. I actually had fleeting thoughts of leaving food out for it. Perhaps it was yowling in hunger, I thought, using my sane, awake, morning brain. It was probably cold. On the other hand, that's the biggest cat ever. It ain't exactly wasting away.
So, in the end, I took neither pity or vengeance on the devil cat, just watched through the window as it stalked away. But it will be back. I am sure of it.