I awake! Screeching-groaning-thud of noise echoes in my hazy, groggy up brain. My heart races, chased by prickles of chills as I swing out from the nest of covers into the nice night, open windows dark. Not so sure why I hurry towards certain demise, I tug on a robe for Kevlar protection against all dangers and begin the house check. The mind-voice switches between NCIS Tony, Bishop, McGee and Gibbs barking “Clear” as I stealth through the upstairs. Switches only control one top outlet in each room, the lamps generating wonderful shadows by the closets with doors left open by hurrying daughters late for this or that much earlier in the evening. They each have octopus arm, multi-colored floor lights that add to the myriad of mystery my imaginings create. Nerves join the sprint led by chills, kick up a dust of tingling tension as each step’s fruitless effort for quiet becomes a creaking gnash of 45 year old boards and loose nails. I never knew carpet could be so loud. All well up here and no sense attempting stealth on the stairs, I boldly go where no fearful man should go – into the main floor abyss.
At this point I utilize my only concealed carry option, a quick prayer aimed at the voyage down in hopes to scare away any intruder, even the pesky lady and box elder bugs. One of those landing on my neck right now just might negate any human need for defense. On the up side, the open concept living room, dining room, and kitchen afford little hiding space and the three bulb lights in two areas dispel eerie moves created by the soft breeze jiggling curtains and plant tendrils. Well, that leaves the basement. No worries there, in the dimly lit, dust and spider haven of dampness. I know the attention getting noise didn’t come from the furnace kicking in. That old beast lurking near the door howls into ignition, a conflagration of focused flame likely heard houses away. Accustomed to that nails on chalkboard winter friend, I rather wish it had turned on and the mystery would be solved. I pull the chain on three lights to make sure every nook and cranny holds no perpetrator, no spirit – no left over, cold month gopher or squirrel playing on laden shelves with newborns and knocking a box or two into my fears. Nothing. Leaving only the option to open the solid oak door into the garage, my workshop.
Another check of concealed carry options, a thanks for safe journey so far and a hope for a few more “in God’s hands” strides. Lights come brightly on, reveal only the saws and boards of a wannabe woodworker. No shadows here, this my man cave has its privileges. I should open the big door, but pushing that button looses the cacophonous clatter of clanging wheels on wobbly rails, the shrieking whine of a dying motor pulling jury-rigged cables against hope-they-don’t-break springs that no longer want to be stretched. That would awaken Ruby across the street and Dustin 2 houses down and I certainly can’t incur a new day’s reprimand. Thankfully, the influx of humorous thoughts ends the thumping effort of heart to catch chills and settles the dust of nerves triggering tickles into every movement.
I suspect the rain soaked slope of yard around the house allowed another settling of this old home, a place built in a drainage area blocked by curbs, gutters and paved road. I have thought many times of awakening to a sucking, slushing earth-gulp into blackness. But that for another night of fret. Upstairs calls, covers await, and wide open eyes will flutter slowly shut to slumber. Screeching, groaning thud of noise catalogued in the mystery column good enough, or perhaps falling into the category of deep sleep dream. Regardless, the walk with God turned out well. I thank Him, ask Him for safe travel through what remains of night, and express a hope for welcome into a new day with His creation. Just why He woke me I will never know. Perhaps my sleep apnea required I take a breath, perhaps He just wanted a chat, or perhaps He wanted these lines penned. Maybe somewhere along the last few days I had forgotten about Him and needed to reconnect. Regardless, I conclude the typing, done now in the nest of dawn’s early light, know the comfort of the Holy Spirit joining sunrise, and noisily move upstairs. A box elder bug on my pillow. Now I’ll have the heevy jeebies – good one Lord. Yes, You are a good One.