Monday, September 26, 2016

SPOOKY NIGHT



If you saw the isolated place where I live you'd wonder why I chose to be here. If you knew how creepy it is at night, you'd give me big points for bravery.

The first few weeks were the most intimidating. I wasn't used to the penetrating darkness, or the unnerving forest sounds. Or the fact that any semblance of human assistance was far away.

I'm alone. With my cats. And my rampantly acute imagination. The long, inhospitable hours between dusk and dawn are filled with the unholy possibilities of marauding murders, restless ghosts, and inhuman abstractions in search of vulnerability.

As a child, my imagination was delicious. It is even more so now - with the sophisticated additions of adulthood.

So what am I getting at? Hell if I know. I was merely exercising my mediocre way with words.

Oh, yea. A spooky night. 

After existing nearly two years in this place (I moved here in November, 2014) I am completely used to it. The lonely, isolated nighttime hours never bother me. I occasionally venture outside at night. I leave the shades up on my windows. I have even been known to leave a door unlocked now and then.
Insanity prevails here - - not bravery.

But - despite my feigned fearlessness - there are times when raw reality hits me and I'm afraid. Only momentarily, but afraid nevertheless.  
Last night was spooky.

I was writing in bed, working on my nearly-completed children's book. It was a warm, clear, quiet, completely calm night. 

Just before midnight the lights began to flicker. Then they blinked off.....on.....off.....on. Off. Power failure.
Everything went black. And when I say black, I mean pitch black. Words can hardly express the profound depth of darkness in this remote place. I was completely unprepared. 

As if on cue (I am not exaggerating), a pack of coyotes started hooting and howling and wandered up the slope to my house. They surrounded the place and seemingly taunted me with their eerie inhuman yelps and jeers.

It was really unnerving. I wasn't dressed. Couldn't find my boots. Couldn't find a flashlight. As I groped and wandered around, bashing into things and doing a bad Helen Keller imitation, my imagination was in overdrive.

What could have caused a power failure tonight? There were no storms, no wind. No nothing. My mind suddenly conjured visions of In Cold Blood....and Helter Skelter. What if the wires were deliberately cut - and murderous maniacs were outside, intent on getting in?  



I finally found the flashlight and managed to put on some clothes. I lit two candles in the kitchen, put batteries in a transistor radio, and grabbed my cell phone.

The coyotes eventually left but I still heard weird noises near the back porch - which is nearly on the edge of the forest. 

Abandoning fear, I took my flashlight and gun (hell yes - I'm armed) and went outside. The darkness was beyond black - no moon, no nothing. The first thing I ran into was a big spider web (a repeat of what I did the other day). 
With flashlight, pistol, and remnants of the web I pushed through damp, waist-high weeds and circled the house. Nothing. All was quiet except for the usual owl hooting in a nearby tree.

Back in the house, my fears evaporated completely...but new apprehensions arose. I remembered that I had lots of food in the fridge and freezer - enough for two weeks. It would perish if the power didn't return.

I called the after-hours number for the local power company. No answer.
I said to hell with everything! and went to bed. 
Kept my window wide open and laid there  watching the bright stars. My cat Bosco climbed onto my chest and we both went to sleep.

I woke up around 8:00 this morning and the power was still off. I called the power company again and ....just as a recorded message put me on "hold" - - the power came back on!!

It was amazing and I rejoiced. 

I took a helluva long time to tell a story about absolutely nothing, but that's one of my talents....and charms. 

 


26 comments:

  1. A familiar experience, as I once lived in the sticks too. The closest store was nine miles and my favorite neighbors (a few miles up the road) were the Hell's Angels whose property was named "Buzzard's Breath". Those were the days when men were men.

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    1. "Buzzard's Breath" - - I love that!
      I live twenty miles from the closest store and I hate it. It's an extreme inconvenience.

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  2. It was not absolutely nothing to you!!
    You were smart. The best thing to do in a nighttime power outage is to sleep through it and see if the lights are back on in the morning. Circling coyotes would be a little unnerving, but they don't know how to open doors, thank goodness. :)Just keep the cats indoors and no problem. This is why I think it would be hard to have a dog and have to let them out to do their business. I'd be out there with them with a flashlight. Alas, no gun...but maybe a baseball bat or something else aggressively defensive...even maybe pepper spray might stop a coyote...or a big spider...??

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    1. My cats were watching the coyotes from my bedroom window. It is best to sleep through a power outage. There's really not much else you can do.

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  3. When the coyotes gather, have you thought about playing for them? I heard cattle are fond of chamber music. (Yes, I saw that on FB, so it has to be true. LOL)

    Lawdy, if I were out in your neck of the woods I'd have to swallow sleeping pills by the handful!

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    1. Music does soothe the wild beast - but I'm afraid the coyotes might like it and never leave.
      I'd be hesitant to take sleeping pills here - - I prefer to remain alert....

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  4. ay yi yi!

    how's the contents of the fridge and freezer?

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    1. All the food survived - thank Gawd!

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  5. Spooky indeed! It's over 100 degrees here today, Jon. Thanks for the much-needed chills.

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    1. A typical hot California September - - I sure remember those.
      Glad I could provide some chills.

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  6. Jon,
    In Pennsylvania we lived in the middle of the woods. While not as isolated as where you live now, it was a little bit too isolated for my taste. And I didn't have a weapon, which I wouldn't use if I had one anyway because I wouldn't want to commit a tragic mistake. When I made this move I deliberately moved into a neighborhood, albeit 3/4 acre lots so I wouldn't be right next to my neighbor's house so I could see into their bathroom or they into my bathroom. Even down here we have had home invasions, out in the country. Even a murder, which remains unsolved. No place is completely safe but living in a neighborhood feels way better to me than the middle of the woods. I admire your courage.
    Ron

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    1. I admittedly do worry about being so isolated, Ron. There have lately been a LOT of logging trucks and work trucks going by. I fear that in a year or two I'll be living near a track home and a Walmart....

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  7. You need a shotgun, you can't miss with that...

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    1. Too darn big - I'd probably inflict self-injuries.

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  8. Yeah, a shotgun loaded with rock salt.
    We had a power outage at about 0300 but at least we knew it was due to the high winds at the time. My sister came in to check on me holding a lantern which set off my German Shepherd. Apparently he's not the sharpest tool in the shed.

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    1. It's good that your sister came to check. My cousin lives near town - but she's over 15 miles away from me.

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  9. My husband can’t do without a small flash light he sleeps with one under his pillar I bought him one at Lowes and it's bright and lights up the hold room. I don't think I could live out as for as you do. I wouldn't be able to sleep at night. We keep our house locked up tight here in town and the door is always locked in the daytime. We have a dead bolt on the back storm door and it stays locked in the day I don’t want any unexpected guest walking in. (smile)

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    1. My Mom always used to sleep with a flashlight by her bed. I have a deadbolt on my front door - - but I'd like to put a stronger lock on my back door.

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  10. We live, as you know, next to an ancient graveyard....i have never been frightened by it even on the darkest of nights

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    1. John, I've always loved old graveyards. There's something very peaceful and intriguing about them.

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  11. Jon, being from Tennessee family around Sparta, Lebanon, Murfreesboro. I never felt scared on the farm isolated about 10 miles from Sparta. They had big light poles . I guess Grandma Howard had and paid the light company for them. I get concerned for you being so isolated. To this day, you drive down some county roads and Hillbillies sitting outside in their yard with dogs, children and a few guns visible. It's an eerie feeling. Be careful.

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  12. I do definitely have many concerns about being so isolated - - especially since I live alone and am not getting any younger. I am, however, thoroughly enjoying the peace and privacy. I appreciate your input and concern.

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  13. When we were visiting our friends there in Tennessee recently, they guys went camping for a few days, and my gal pal had to go to a meeting, so I was in the house alone. Well, except for two dogs and four cats. HA! I was well aware of how isolated their house is, but I wasn't afraid. I felt serene. The door wasn't even locked. BUT, if it had been the middle of the night, the power went off, and the coyotes were circling, I think I might have pulled the cover over my head.

    You might think this is a little silly, but have you ever considered getting one of those Medic- Alert type things, where you can summon help if needed? Isolation has its perks, but not if you fall or something happens, and you have no one nearby to help you.

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    1. A Medic-Alert type thing isn't a bad idea. I have a cell phone, but sometimes it loses reception and isn't always reliable.

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  14. Phew! Well, I don't think I would EVER get used to that kind of thing!
    I know that I would change my power company though. An out of hours that doesn't operate out of hours. Heh.
    But you told the story very well. Gave me the creeps anyway. I like your current header by the way. That is a bit spooky too.

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    1. Unfortunately, this is the only power company available in my area. I have no other choice. They're usually fairly reliable with restoring power quickly. This was the longest it was ever out.

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