Today’s DP Post challenge reminded me of a story that I wrote sometime ago. It is an excerp from my book, Peaks and Valleys. I’ve divided it into two parts and hope you enjoy my Fight or Flight experience enough to read the second one tomorrow.
I have a theory that there are celestial forces that cause a black cloud to align over my head like a hovering spacecraft on a regular basis. I have no concrete proof of this theory, but it repeats itself frequently enough that I am pretty sure I am right.
I encountered this unfortunate occurrence the first time my husband had to travel without us to Louisiana for a few weeks for his job. Suddenly, I was like a single parent of our four-year-old daughter and sole caretaker of our mobile home. Always the optimist, I believed this would be a great opportunity to show I could manage both tasks successfully. The first few days weren’t bad. I dropped Laura off at daycare, went to work, came home and fixed dinner. Laura whimpered at bedtime when her daddy was not there to tuck in his baby girl. The weekend came and I was oblivious to the unexplainable nebula of darkness that formed in the skies above.
Laura’s blue eyes widened with excitement as she watched me push the nearly immovable coffee table across the room. An innocent look of wonder crossed Laura’s face as I unfolded the full size sofa-sleeper. I had planned our little living room camp-out the night before as I tried comforting Laura to sleep. I hoped she would someday cherish the memory as much as I cherished having a sleep over at my grandparent’s home when I was small. Her long blond braids bounced as she grabbed her tattered flannel blanket and her hand-me-down stuffed dog, Henry, and jumped onto the newly made bed.
I read her a story and soon she was fast asleep. Despite the metal frame from the stow-away bed poking my back and hips, I too drifted off to sleep about midnight.
“BAM! BAM! BAM!” I was jolted awake by what sounded like shotgun blasts which vibrated the wall near my head. It was pitch black when I jumped out of bed and slammed both shins into the anvil of a table. I probably would have paused to tend to my injuries, but my heart was pounding out of my chest with anticipation of the next round of ammo coming through the wall. I stumbled across the room and worked my trembling fingers between the slats on the tightly closed blinds, trying hopelessly to see from where the ghastly noise had come.
Silence filled the room. All I could see was the familiar trailer next door and a starlit sky above it. Anxiously, I moved from room to room checking every window in great expectation of some horrific monster with a gun. At each window I saw nothing, but peaceful moonlit yards. My breathing began to slow and my heart no longer pounded louder than the clock on the wall.
I did not imagine that noise, I told myself. I glanced at my daughter sleeping soundly and began to question my sanity even more. If the noise had been as loud as I remember, how could she still be asleep?
A few minutes passed when I heard a light rap on a distant door and a voice say, “Hey Mike, get up. The police are on the way.” It was Jerry, the neighbor, from two trailers up the road trying to stir my next door neighbor. He seemed relatively calm as he walked back and forth waiting for Mike to come out.
I could not go back to bed until I knew what had happened. I quickly got dressed and decided to go outside to get an explanation. I listened as Jerry explained to Mike that he had been home from work for just a short while when he heard the engine of his new car start up. He grabbed his loaded 20-gauge shotgun and chased the would-be thieves down to my trailer where he pulled the trigger and let off a few rounds. Now I understood why the shots I heard were so close to my house. The boys had jumped out of his car and it rolled until it was stopped by Mike’s car.
The only casualties from the shotgun blast were a few cars across the street which looked like they had been sandblasted. Within a few minutes, the police arrived with a canine unit and having a great fear of dogs, I excused myself to check on Laura. She was still sleeping soundly and oblivious to the excitement of the night. I put on a pot of coffee and settled down with a paperback until dawn.
to be continued…….