Looking at the clock, he found that it was 2:15, so it was appropriate to go to bed. The cats, though, thought that since he was up, it was appropriate that they be fed. Being a soft touch, he headed toward the utility room to feed them.
Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. The sound froze him while injecting a thrill of fear through his muscles. It sounded like someone was beating on the house’s side. Glancing toward a cat, he saw that it wasn’t bothered, but continued its quick trot toward him. As he opened the closet and drew out a flashlight, he checked the second cat. It also seemed unconcerned about anything but getting fed.
Had he imagined it? No, it seemed real, he argued with himself, trying to think, what could he use as a weapon? He didn’t know where his baseball bat was. Any hammers he had were in the garage, which is where he thought the noise may have originated. As these thoughts raced through his mind, he thought, maybe his wife had beat on the wall to get his attention. Maybe something had happened to her.
He was moving toward the master bedroom as he processed those thoughts. Opening the bedroom door, he found his wife and another cat sound asleep. So it wasn’t them…
Returning to the front of the house, he turned on the outside lights and the flashlight, opened the front door, and stepped out. I should have grabbed the phone, he thought, looking around.
It was a gusty night, full of shivering tree noises and fluttering, dancing leaves. Even with the outside lights on, the night seemed as dark as a coal mine, sparking new fear and anxiety in his stomach. But, this had to be done. Flashlight lighting the way, he walked around the house, peering into the bushes’ shadows for someone ready to jump out.
Finding everything in order in the front, he went to the garage and confirmed, no one was in there, and the door was locked. Inspections of the back and side yards found no one there. Everything was in order.
He went back into the house, fed the cats, and turned off the lights. It could have been imagination. It could have been teenagers pranking him. It may have been something that happened at a neighbor’s house.
He would probably never know.