A Bump in the Night


A Christmas Anecdote for the Especially Fearful



It was the middle of the night when I heard it. It was a strange sort of noise, the kind you don’t expect to hear in the middle of the night. A scratching, almost pawing sort of noise. Definitely out of place.

There it was again.

I shot to an upright sitting position in my bed, my blood draining to the bottom half of my body, my heart unprepared and unwilling to keep up with the excitement. I waited for my circulation to catch up, so that the whooshing sound in my ears would lessen and I could listen for The Noise again.

Silence encased me in the darkness. I was alone. I tipped my head slightly to one side, like a mobile radar station, and methodically combed the black- ness for The Sound. Minutes passed. Nothing. The darkness expanded silently around me.

I lay back down and reorganized the quilts. I shoved my pillow around a bit and closed my eyes. I must have been dreaming.

Scratch, scratch.

I shot back up, this time with circulation, and held my breath. I had definitely heard something. There was something somewhere that shouldn’t be there where it was, of that I was sure. I just couldn’t quite say what and where, but there was distinctly something making a noise that it shouldn’t be making.

I did the radar thing again and listened, closing my eyes in concentration (as if I could see anything anyway).

There it was again. There was something downstairs in the living room. I could hear it moving things around; quietly, sneakily. This was Not Good.

I slowly pushed back my covers and slipped silently out of bed, my bare feet cringing on the cold floor, my heart pounding in my throat. Reaching under the bed, I pulled out my baseball bat (the one I’ve dragged halfway around the world for just such an occasion) and crept noiselessly to the door. I stood and listened again, hoping I wouldn’t faint.

Creak, creak.

Eerie, unusual sounds. Sweating despite the cold, I slipped out into the hallway, pressed my body against the wall and slithered silently down the stairs. My mouth was completely dry and I could feel the hairs standing up on the back of my neck. There was trouble brewing and I was in the middle of it.

I reached the bottom of the steps and paused, listening again. A light had been turned on and I could hear faint breathing and things being moved around on a table. It was terrifying. I would have to whack the trespasser over the head if I were to stop him from doing whatever it was that he was doing. I ventured a quick peek around the corner and saw a shadow on the wall. The intruder seemed to be on the couch, probably counting the money he was stealing. Tightening my grip on the bat, I planned my attack. I would count to three and then jump at the couch and swing.

One…..two…..two and a half…..thr…

Suddenly a head popped around the corner. “Hey, what are you doing up? It’s the middle of the night. And what’s with the bat?“

My son looked at me questioningly. “How am I supposed to get your Christmas presents wrapped if you won’t stay in bed?“

I dropped the bat and sat down on the last step, knees weak with relief. Ah, right. It’s true, sometimes scary moments are just your presents being wrapped.

Put your bat down too, and go back to bed. Let the surprises unfold. They go way beyond Christmas.

Happy Unwrapping,

“Fear can keep us up all night long, but faith makes one fine pillow.”