In true Kristin Lowe style, I spent my Saturday night this wekend watching Felicity and eating Hot Tamales at my friend Stacy's house. S's house is really cool. She lives on two acres in a cute white house that was built in the early 1900s. She has a huge garden, big trees, and a barn(!). Driving up to her house always reminds me of Green Gables--it's pretty magical.
Earlier in the evening, we had had dinner at O'Brady's Drive In and had gone bowling at Tiger Bowl, a teeny small-town bowling alley that doesn't even have a website for me to link to, so we were well on our way to having a really delightful summer evening. We watched the freshmen year Thanksgiving episode of Felicity (one of my absolute faves--"what should we do?"), and were about halfway through the finals episode when S thought she heard something. I hadn't heard anything, and when we paused Felicity to listen for more noises we couldn't hear anything, so we thought nothing of it and went back to watching Noel have an allergic reaction to "smart powder." Then we both heard a noise. It was like a thump, or a rustling, or a scratching. And we couldn't tell if it was coming from above us or from the next room or from outside. We decided we had to investigate the sound before I left for the night so S wasn't insanely freaked out as she fell asleep.
First, we decided to quickly check outside to see if windy/stormy weather could be the cause of the sounds. All of sudden, the prospect of opening S's front door made all the really magical aspects of her house (a huge yard, a barn, a long driveway) intensely terrifying. Someone could be lurking anywhere out there and her neighbors may or may not hear our death screams. We had to arm ourselves. I looked around the living room for the most menacing object I could see, and my eyes landed on the umbrella bin. A long pointy umbrella would have to do. We inched towards the door, umbrellas in hand, and, after a moment of psyching ourselves up to the task, S opened the front door. It was completely dark out, and we focused all our energy on overcoming our intense fear just briefly in order to pay attention to the weather. Within five seconds we slammed the door closed and locked it behind us. It was completely still outside. No sign of any wind, and no rain. Some thing had to be behind the noise.
We had to figure out where the sound came from. So, holding tight to our umbrellas, we started checking each room of the house. We huddled together, inched towards every room, pushed open the door, quickly turned on the light, and then our eyes darted to each nook and cranny until we could finally breath again once the room seemed secure. We even checked the shower. When we came to the attic, S told me it doesn't have a light, so she went to her room, which we hadn't investigated yet, to get a flashlight. S was in her room, and I was standing just outside of it, and we heard the noise again. Loud. Distinct. Scratching and rustling coming from the corner of the room. With one overwhelming feeling of death and terror, we sprinted out of the room and back into the living room.
And then we did what any self-respecting 20-something females would do. We called S's mom. We debated over what to do next, but ultimately we decided we would go back into the room to investigate with S's mom on the phone, so she could call 911 if she heard gun shots or shrieks. We slowly opened the door and crept into the room. We heard nothing. I slowly reached my arms around the corner to turn on the light. There was nothing there. To be incredibly thorough, we had to check the closet that's in the corner where we heard the sounds. Using the tip of the umbrella, we coaxed the door of the closet open, half expecting a while animal to spring from its depths and attack our faces. There was no sign of life. The sound must be coming from outside.
We had to check the backyard.
Now whatever happens after this point, let's pause to remember that S and I are pretty hard core for building up the resolve to set foot outside of that house. We got our flashlights, grasped our umbrellas, slipped our feet into the rain boots by the front door, made sure that S's mom was still on the line, and we opened the door.
The night was incredibly still and eerie, and under different circumstances it would have been an amazing summer evening. We slowly made our way around the house, S in the lead. As we rounded the corner to the back of the house, I was a few steps behind S, and I had just pointed my flashlight around the corner when S said, "it's a person! It's a person!" and my fight or flight instincts took complete control. I immediately turned around and sprinted to the door with S right behind me. We locked the door behind us, breathing hard. "You saw a person!?" I asked. I hadn't seen around the corner before I ran, so I wanted to make certain S was sure of what she saw. "Yes, I mean, I saw something. And it didn't look like grass. It was a person. At least I think it was a person," she said. I wasn't really sure what she had seen out there, but I knew two things: one, we could not leave that house or we would surely be murdered, and two, we needed back up.
We brainstormed who we should call. I volunteered my parents. It was after 11pm, and they would certainly be asleep, but I knew they would come. However, it would take them at least 20 minutes to get there, so S decided to call her friend Aaron. He used to be a cop, and, even though he will tease her endlessly for calling him to come rescue her, he lives close by, and he would know what to do.
Stacy made the call. "Hi Aaron, it's Stacy. I know I probably woke you but I heard something. I'm not sure what I saw. I don't know. Were you sleeping?" Pause. "This is Stacy." Pause. "At my house. I don't know what we heard, I just . . . would you just come over?" After five minutes of pacing through the living room and kitchen, we finally saw his headlights in the driveway, and we went out to greet him. I've never been so relieved to see another human being in my entire life.
We directed him to the back of the house, and as we turned the corner where S had maybe seen the person, we let him go ahead. He walked further, and his flashlight slowly illuminated a person lying on the ground, body distorted, arms spread, eyes completely vacant. He looked dead.
First of all, S, I'm sorry I slightly doubted that you had actually seen a person. Second of all, holy crap there's a dead person outside of S's house.
Ok, I'm being dramatic. He wasn't actually dead. Aaron confirmed that he was breathing, and told S to call 911. "Tell them we have a 25-year-old male passed out in your yard. Tell them it's a code 5 x ray 6." Stacy and I waited at the front of her driveway to direct the police. And then it all got very surreal. A police car and ambulance and fire truck arrived in minutes. The sheriff came around back to question passed-out guy, and passed-out guy was completely unresponsive. His vacant eyes barely moved. His body was completely still. The sheriff had the paramedics come check things out. The sheriff was friendly and joking. The paramedics were calm and nonchalant. It was like business as usual for everyone. Apparently they're always getting calls about drunk guys getting confused about where they live and trying to get into houses that aren't their own. The paramedics loaded passed-out guy onto a bed (he still hadn't said a word at this point and his eyes had barely moved), and they wheeled him out to the ambulance. Somewhere between Aaron coming and the police coming, a guy was riding his bike down the street calling out "Ben, where are you!" He saw us out in the driveway waiting for the police, and we told him there was a guy passed out in the backyard. Once the police arrived, bike guy followed us to the backyard and said he thought this guy's name was Ben, but he claimed he didn't know anything else about him.
And then within five minutes, the fire truck drove away, the ambulance drove away, the police car drove away, and Aaron got in his car and drove away.
And the night felt calm again.