The lightening started at 10pm. The power was out by 11. We gathered the three candles we were able to locate in the dark and lit them. The light they provided was minimal and left our house still dark and shadowy. Our phones were quickly running out of batterie life.
There were constant beeping sounds coming from three or four directions, unidentified sources. My guess was that one was the sump pump underneath us in the crawl space, one the internet box, a smoke alarm perhaps, and the other I didn’t know.
This was the first evening my teenagers and I had all been home together in a while. The arguing between them didn’t take long to start. It culminated with one saying she was going to bed. She headed for the stairs using the flashlight on her phone to guide her.
On hold with the power company, a cold hand squeezed my arm startling me. She was back, begging me to go upstairs with her to hear what she had heard. I didn’t want to lose my place on hold, but she was obviously afraid, so I hung up and went with her, using my phone with its diminishing batterie as a flashlight.
The closer we got to the stairs, the more discernible the sound was. On the fourth step the faint screeching got louder. On the fifth step it turned to screaming. A woman screaming, louder with each step. By the eighth step, the shrill scream permeated our sensibilities. With hearts pounding and adrenalin pumping through us, we both turned and ran back down the stairs. We made it back to the somewhat safe haven of the dark family room.
My thoughts immediately turned to getting us all in the car, and running for our lives. None of that Amityville Horror nonsense of holding our ground.
Mentally I was already putting this relic of a house on the market. I thought we could abandon everything except the dogs and the lizard. I tried to calm myself and think rationally.
Now, it’s 01:17 we still have no power, we are still alive, and still hearing the screaming. We decide to go back up, this time as a group. Two of my three teens are with me. The other is unwilling to budge, so she is left behind hiding under a blanket.
Again with hearts pounding we approach the stairs clutching each other for support. The screaming starts again when we reach the bottom of the stairs. What ever it is, it doesn’t want us up there. We get to the eighth step, the step where the shrill blood curdling screaming is bellowing through us. We ignore our fear and persevere.
We arrive at the top of the stairs. What is going on? The screaming is now behind us. We look around trying to locate the source and find our truth. The screaming sound is coming from the smoke detector. The batterie back up alert for the smoke detector is a high pitched shrill scream.
I mentally take my house off the market. We go back to the family room and sleep on the floor until the power comes back on at 3 am.