Friday, November 8, 2013

And then the lights went out

Wednesday evening the 12-year-old and I were across the road at the stables. The child was riding, I was just hanging around shooting the breeze. At this point, everyone had heard the story of our presumed lurker and our spooky night checks. One of the other boarders brought my friend a wildlife camera with a motion detector to capture any late night visitors. We hooked it up, but nobody really expected to see anything interesting.

The barn was busy. Lots of people. Lots of talk. Lots of good vibes. There had been no mysterious events for at least three or four days, so my friend decided she was no longer spooked. She said she'd come over with me if I wanted, but she was ok alone. Even though I'd spent the afternoon replacing burnt out bulbs around the outside of my property and was feeling more optimistic, inside I'm thinking, 'Sure you're ok -- you have a barn full of people who will likely still be here at night check time. I, on the other hand, will return across the road to brave the dark alone and will certainly be snared, tortured and left for dead by our creepy intruder.'

Still, pride is a powerful thing. I'm tough, right? I turned her offer down.

So I dragged the 12-year-old along to keep me company for an early night check.

(The child, who, by the way, is strangely unmoved by any of the goings on.)

We startled a deer in the backyard on our way out to the back barn. An actual deer, lurking perhaps, but not sinister. Nothing untoward happened in our rounds and we were back in the house by 8:30. By 9:00, the 12-year-old headed to bed, and with all my barn chores done, I was looking forward to a couple of  uninterrupted hours of work online. Not bad, really.

It had, I should mention, been another blustery sort of day. The wind blew strong all day. Outdoor pots and lose debris got knocked over and blown around. There was no sun, and later, no moon or stars. More chilly, damp, windy fall weather. A perfect night to stay in and get some stuff done.

And then the lights went out.


All the lights that I so painstakingly found, replaced, left on, or added over the past few days, darkened in an instant.

I'm telling you, I could not make this stuff up if I tried.

I would be lying if I said my first thought wasn't that someone had cut the power. Thank you, Hollywood, for planting those seeds in my poor head. At least, back in the pioneer days, nobody had to contend with images of Norman Bates in their head when they headed out to the barn at night.

I called my friend. Our house sits on a little rise above the road. I can see 5 or 6 properties up and down the road from my front door. I could tell that the whole street was out. Her property, on the other hand, sits at the bottom of the hill and faces back into the woods. She can't see anybody else on the road. Turned out most of the crowd had long since gone home. She was there with just two other people when the lights went out. They were freaked out. (Ah, payback.) She was relieved to hear it wasn't just her place.

There wasn't much we could do for each other. My flashlight was missing. My stockpile of candles and matches was still in the other house.

I was enormously relieved that I had already done night check. Cause let me just admit right now -- if I hadn't already done the chores, I can't say for sure that those ponies would not have had a long, hungry night.

Nothing left to do, so I went to bed.

Sometime during the night, the lights came back on.

Now all is good here in the Midwest, no thanks to Hollywood.

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