I turned over and stretched, enjoying my soft, warm nest. Outside my comforter, the room was cold. Gray tendrils of sleep-induced mental fog obliterated all the concerns I had gone to bed with several hours earlier. Nothing in the world needed my attention at that moment and I felt supreme peace. Then I heard the eerie sound. Turning to give Arnie a shake I hissed, “Wake up and listen. I’m hearing it again!”
Arnie opened bleary eyes and questioned, “What?” I repeated my urgent instructions. He rose up on his elbow and listened. Silence hung heavy on the air. With disgust he questioned, “What did you wake me for? I don’t hear anything!”
“Of COURSE you don’t hear anything!” I exclaimed. “There isn’t anything to hear right now. It’s stopped. Just wait a minute, and it will start up again.”
Holding my breath I waited and listened. Then…there it was, the strange whining, “Eeeeiiieee”! The sound seemed to be everywhere and nowhere in origin. Was it of this world?
“You HAD to have heard it THAT time!” I said looking over at Arnie. His eyes were shut, and his mouth was open. “Snxxx!!”
Disgusted, I slipped out of bed, and snatched my glasses off the bureau. One of the bows got tangled with the alarm clock’s electric cord, pulling it down onto the floor. The clock bounced like a little man on a bungee cord. I leaned over, picked it up and placed it on the top of the bureau, just like I did at least once a week, each time I accidentally sent the timepiece flying.
By the time I finished taking a shower, Arnie was awake. “Eeeeeiiiieee” The strange, high-pitched sound bounced across the ceiling. Turning from my make-up mirror I asked, “Did you hear that?”
Looking up from the socks he was putting on, Arnie said, “I didn’t hear anything.” With an evil, teasing grin, he suggested, “Are you sure you’re not imagining the sound?”
Sternly, with hands on my hips I clearly, slowly, enunciated, “I am not hearing things! Maybe YOU should have YOUR HEARING checked!” In the first-to-blink contest silence that followed, that strange, unidentifiable source of sound once again wailed its mosquito lament into the upper realm of human hearing. The expression on Arnie’s face changed from amused to surprised. Nodding knowingly I asked, “Ok smarty, what do you think THAT was?”
Buttoning his shirt, Arnie said, “It seems to come from everywhere at once. I haven’t a clue what it could be. Since it isn’t loud enough to keep us from sleeping, I’m not going to worry about it.”
The next morning when the alarm clock when off, I jumped out of bed and pressed its snooze button. The clock slid off the bureau and fell to the floor. I picked it up, reflecting on how alarm clocks seem to be nothing but nasty little monsters with electric tails connected to outlets. “Eeeeeeiiiiiieeee!” The sound seemed to mock my imaginative dismissal of alarm clocks.
Later that morning while putting freshly laundered clothing in my dresser, Tammie poked her head into the room to tell me she was going to go to town for an appointment. “Eeeeeiiiiiiieeeee!” An unworldly screech pierced our ears, bodies and souls. “What was THAT?” My daughter asked with surprise.
“You tell me, and then we’ll BOTH know!” I answered with exasperation. “I’ve been noticing the crazy sound for the last week or two. I can hear it only when I am in this bedroom. What ever is causing it doesn’t do it all the time and the time it happens the most is in the morning…usually after the sun has come up.”
Looking around, Tammie said, “That’s really creepy, Mom! It’s almost like your room is haunted!” Grimacing at the thought of dark spirits, I scoffed, “And what sort of spook would bother with such a sunny, bright, happy room?”
I went for a walk that evening before the early darkness of an October night. The smell of decaying leaves filled the air with a heady, intoxicating perfume. Brown, dried leaves crunched under foot.
One or two leathery, late-falls fluttered down onto my shoulders. There was a cool, brooding feeling to the approaching darkness, which made me shiver, button up my collar and plunge my hands into warm pockets. From a nearby, shadowed branch, an owl hooted. I thought he sounded mournful. Was he lonely, hungry, or cold? From a distance, another owl answered. I smiled, knowing they had each other.
While getting ready for bed later that evening, Tammie casually commented, “I think that strange sound is coming from your alarm clock.”
I shook my head, “Can’t be. I’ve put my ear next to it to listen.”
Before retiring for the night, I picked up the clock and examined it. To my surprise I noticed that the hand pointing to the hour was bent, and that a track was scraped across the face between the hours of six and ten.
When I replaced the clock a few days later, the sound went away. Had my old clock been responsible for the screeches? Maybe, but then again Halloween was over. Perhaps all the spooks in my house had packed up and left.