“Did you hear that?”
“What do we do…”
“I’ll go check.”
“No… ok… be careful.”
It’s the middle of the night. Well. Not quite. Does 2AM count as the middle of the night? Everything is at least 80% more confusing at 2Am. Even if you do have adrenaline instead of blood gushing through your body. There’s this report that speaks about how badly people type if they’re woken up during the middle of the night and asked to type. Now imaging trying to do something important? Like running towards your neighbours front door after you’ve just heard a loud bang and a scream. And then nothing. How the hell am I going to do this?
I shift the blankets off quickly, feeling like that’s all the strength my arms can muster. Our black-out curtains make sure that I can’t even see silhouettes. It takes an eternity for me to find the switch and get some light going. It stings when it does. Shoes. Shirt. Pants. All on the wrong way. No time to fix.
My wife is wide eyed, sitting up in bed on her phone. “What’s the guards number!?” she shout-whispers at me. “I’ve got it saved on my phone… but I don’t know where my phone is. They must have heard that and they’ll be on the way,” I reply, not nearly as brave as I sound.
“I’ll be careful. I’m sure it’s all fine, but I’ve just got to check. Maybe he just fell over and needs help.”
“Fell over and pulled a gun trigger?”
“I don’t know what a gun sounds like. Maybe it was something else. Or maybe he did get shot and is lying there bleeding out.”
I’m stunned by the image that I’ve just created in my head. I don’t feel sharepened and ready. I feel terrified. I whisper, “I love you” to my wife and tell her to lock the door to our bedroom as soon as I go out.
The rest of our house is dark but familiar enough that I can navigate the short set of stairs, find the key rack and get out the front door. I can see the edge of our neighbours connected house peeking over the wall that separates us. It looks the same. But scary. House of horrors. What the hell am I doing?
I unlock our front gate, tip-toeing and listening for anything and nothing. I don’t see the guard’s car anywhere. Or anyone else anywhere. The birds are asleep. Is Allan, our neighbour, asleep? The big sleep? Stop it. I hold my position and close my eyes. Still nothing. I step out the safety of our gate and slowly walk towards our neighbour. I can’t remember if he even has a doorbell. He does. I can’t figure out if it’s a good idea to push it. I push it anyway and step slightly behind the garage so that only my head is poking out. A muffled digital tune gently coats the night air. We’ve got the same doorbell thing. Thirty seconds pass. I push it again. Five seconds pass and I hear the door opening.
Allan slowly opens his door, also only letting his head be visible.
“Kev is that you?”
“Yes… what’s going on?”
“We heard a loud bang and a shout. You ok?”
Allan laughs a deep belly laugh. Well, as close to a belly laugh as is possible at 2Am. He steps out from the door and walks all the way up to me at the gate. He’s got a gown on and a big smile. I also step out. Relieved but confused.
“So what happened?”
“I’m so sorry I woke you guys up. You must have gotten such a fright!”
“That’s ok. Seriously though, what happened?”
“Well I read some research that if you get woken up in the middle of the night then it’s really tough to type as well as you normally do. I set my alarm for 2AM and wanted to give it a go. I didn’t even get to my computer before I knocked over a chair and it landed on my foot. I didn’t realise I shouted that loud. Sorry!”