by Lisa McCourt Hollar
Last night, as I was working on my collection of poetry and short stories for my book, Bugs! And Other Creepy Crawlers, a bat came flying down the stairs, swooped around the living room a few times, amidst mine and my daughter’s screams. My son, only one year old joined in the screaming as well, I think not sure what that thing flying around was, but terrified more from the reaction of those that take care of him. The bat soon swooped back up the stairs.
My husband had been napping on the couch, resting up for his one night having to work 3rds, sat up with the sudden jolt of a corpse jumping from a coffin and looked around the room trying to find the source of our terror. Certainly we were being invaded by zombies?
“A bat,” I screamed, pointing towards the stairs. My youngest daughter was in her room and I yelled at her to shut her door and stay put. Jeff was coming. She yelled she was afraid to get out of bed. “Cover your head with a blanket,” I yelled back at her as I clung to my son, whose eyes were wide with fear. The realization of just why she should cover her head with a blanket spurred Rylie into action and she flew from her bed and slammed the door shut. She told me later she sat with her back against it, just to be safe.
A few moments later my heroic husband came down the steps. Empty handed.
“I locked it in the half room,” he said, the half room being a room inside our bedroom that was too big to be a walk in, but too small to be a bedroom. I think it was originally a nursery and the room we intended to put Caleb in…if he ever stops sleeping with us. “I have to get ready for work; I’ll take care of it in the morning. Just leave the door shut.”
“Well shut our door too,” I said, deciding then and there I was not sleeping in the bedroom that night. He promised he would, even though it was already behind closed doors and couldn’t get out. Oh the perils of rational thought.
The front door had no more than shut behind my husband when the bat…or perhaps another, came swooping down the steps and around the living room. Then it flew into the kitchen. More screaming. Rylie was downstairs at this point, having called her down after the first incident so she could sleep in the living room with me. I thrust Caleb into Sarah’s arms and ordered the three of them upstairs and to lock themselves in her room. I went out the door to catch my husband.
My hero, my knight in shining armor, rolled down the window to see what I wanted. He informed me he had to go to work and then he left. HE STARTED THE CAR AND HE LEFT! I stood there, mouth agape and in complete disbelief.
You see, I may write horror but when it comes to some things I am a complete wooz. Rats, mice, opossum and bats fall into the category of, don’t want in my house and I do not want to touch them. Yes, I had occasion to find an opossum in my home once. That is a story for another time.
So I went back inside, grabbed the broom that my daughter tossed down the stairs at me and went to the kitchen to take care of business. The bat was not there and sine the basement door was closed I felt safe in assuming it hadn’t flown down there. I would have been relieved if it had since this meant it must have flown upstairs.
Heading up the stairs I spotted the offending invader hanging against the wall above my bedroom door. The one I had asked my husband to close. Peering in I saw the half bedroom was still shut off. Did this mean this was a separate bat and if so, were there more? Inching myself towards the bat I swung at it with the broom. It went batty, pardon the pun. The creature swooped up and down the hall, up and down the stairs and back and forth down the hall again. I managed to dive into Rylie’s room and shut the door. Watching through a crack I watched the thing swoop for about five minutes and then it went back to rest against the wall. By this point I had to pee…I don’t mind saying so. This creature was scaring the piss out of me! So I snuck past it into the bathroom, took care of business and then went back into the hall to take care of business.
I had read somewhere that if you swatted a bat to the ground it couldn’t get off the ground, so I decided that was going to be my plan. I slowly moved the broom over top of the bat, which was resting on the door frame. I swung down, intending to knock it to the floor. I had a blanket ready to throw on top. In complete contradiction of what he was supposed to do, this bat swooped down the steps mid fall, back up, then down. It didn’t come back up.
Slowly I went down the steps, broom at the ready. I saw it immediately, lying on the floor inside the fireplace. I don’t know if it had thought it could get outside by flying up the chimney, but it was lying on the ground and not moving. I guess it didn’t know the chimney was closed up.
We covered it with an old pretzel rod container, (you know the big plastic container they come in from Walmart) and set one of Caleb’s toy dump trucks on top…just to be sure it wasn’t able to knock the container over. Now at this point we wanted to be humane. Sarah and I tried to slide something underneath so we could let it loose outside, but the thing started moving and quite honestly I was scared it would escape. It wasn’t going to suffocate under there…I didn’t think, so it could sit inside its prison until Jeff came home in the morning.
And in fact it did survive the night. I could hear it every now and then scratching at the sides as it tried to find a way out. When Jeff came home he scooped it up with a dust pan and put it outside. It must have flown off because when I took the kids to school our uninvited guest was nowhere to be seen. I hope it learned a lesson and doesn’t come back. Hopefully we scared him enough, he warns his friends to stay away.
As for the bat that Jeff thought he locked in the half room, it wasn’t there when he went up to collect it. Was he mistaken and the bat that terrorized us after he left for work was the same one that had swooped down earlier in the evening, or did it find a way out of the room and flew off, leaving his buddy behind? We will never know. I do know however that not all creepy crawlers crawl. Some of them fly.
Copyright© 2011 Lisa McCourt Hollar. All rights reserved.