Bonafide Farm

Things that go bump in the night

June 12th, 2013 § 1

Last night, right in the middle of one of my usual nightmares, I was awoken by a terrifying sound. It was coming from directly in front of and below my bed, and sounded like heavy footsteps right on my front porch. I lay silent, blind eyes open in the dark. Then I heard it again, several loud thumps, booted feet just outside.

Cold adrenaline filled my veins in the time it took to sit up and and turn on the light by the bed. It was just after 1:00 a.m. I opened my nightstand and took out the can of pepper spray that’s always there. For an ironic second I remembered the recent day I visited my friend Aaron and he showed me a small Glock pistol, suggesting it would be a good thing to have stashed in a bedroom drawer. He, like most of the men who know how I live out here, wants to see me armed.

I crept out of bed and over to the “oh, shit” floodlight switch on the wall. I’d asked for this switch to be installed when the house was built for just this sort of event, so if I was ever feeling threatened I could flood the yard with light without leaving my bedroom. I turned on the lights, praying they’d be enough to frighten this person off my porch, and stood listening.

It was quiet.

I moved to the top of the stairs, and undid the safety clasp on the pepper spray.

Still quiet.

I steeled myself for a confrontation, and walked down the stairs and over to the front door. I looked out the sidelight into the night.

And there was a raccoon, doubled over at the end of the walkway, eating something. And instantly I knew what it was. I’d been using some heavy glass eggs in the chickens’ nesting box to try to induce one of them to go broody. I’d removed them yesterday because a real chicken egg had cracked, coating the glass eggs with raw yolk. I’d stashed these eggs in a planter on the front porch until I could take them in to wash, and of course I forgot about them.

So this raccoon had managed to get a glass egg out of the planter, no doubt creating the crashing sounds I heard on the porch, and was trying to eat it. My glass egg, which by the way, was very pretty and kind of pricey and sold as a decorative objet at fancy boutique store downtown.

I opened the door, and the raccoon started running down the driveway. With my glass egg. Dammed if that little bastard was going to give me the fright of the year and make off with my home decor. I ran after the raccoon, down the driveway in my pajamas and sock feet, making my best frightening noises.

And when the raccoon got to the road, he dropped my glass egg and disappeared into the tall grass. Triumphant, and oh, so relieved, I picked up the raccoon-spit covered egg, returned home, and deposited it with the others in a bowl, inside.

Then I went back to bed, where I couldn’t sleep from the stress hormones still zinging in my bloodstream and the nausea they induced. I lowered the air conditioning in the room by four degrees, and opened a fairly technical book on perennial pruning to try to bore my mind quiet. My cat jumped on the bed and sat watching me, her toes touching my flank, as she conducted some of my fear energy away.

And when my eyes began to close, she jumped off the bed, I turned off the light, and we both went back to sleep.


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