Bump in the Night
Since becoming a college student, my sleeping cycle has been completely and most likely irrevocably altered. I now possess the ability to stay up until two in the morning playing Minecraft, then wake up five hours later and write a passable English paper. Or finish the Spanish homework I tend to neglect.
During the day I’m swamped with classes, practice, and meetings. These night hours belong to me.
Me—as I learned throughout my stay in 415—and the things that go bump in the night.
These things are usually the townies. Revving trucks, motorcycles, having sex outside in the yard, or generally undifferentiated and unintelligible shouting. Sometimes it’s the fight clubs of feral cats.
One night I heard someone jogging down the street. Heavy boots, clop clop clop, the kind with steel toes. Then stop, breathing heavily.
“Hello? Hey man, you gotta come get me. What? Where am I? Where am I? Where am I? Where am I? Where am I? Where am I?”
The man was stuck on repeat. Inference: meth-head. I didn’t even look up from my computer screen.
“Hey, no, listen. Shut up! Shut up, shut up, shut up shut up shut up!”
I rolled my eyes. Debated whether or not to shout No, YOU shut up at the man. Decided against it.
After a while he ran off again, out into the blue. But not everything in the dark is harmless. What happened one night in March reminded me just how much I hate Kirksville and the people in it.
Midnight. Minecraft. Puppy was barking. Townie neighbors were raising their voices and threatening each other. The usual.
Then: “I’ll git yer dog now!”
Puppy started yelping, then crying. Someone was hurting him.
I jumped up from my bed and yanked the blinds apart. The orange light from the only streetlamp on our street flooded my eyes, washing out the street and throwing the deep shadow of the townie house over their yard, making it impossible to see from that angle.
Puppy was still yelping, men and women were screaming at each other.
What do I do?
I made for my bedroom door, threw it open, and nearly crashed into one of my housemates. Her eyes were wide, her hands up near her mouth. In that moment she must have been my reflection.
“Are you hearing this?” I asked. “I couldn’t see anything.”
She nodded. She had heard the same, but from her window she was able to see Puppy limping off. Men got into a white truck and drove away.
Gone. Too late to call the police. What could they do if they showed up with no truck and no description of the abusers? Nothing.
We stood in the doorway listening. Feeling…what? Helpless? Angry? Furious?
Scared. Scared of the dark.
After that I was glad I hadn’t signed the lease for next year. I was going to get out of that horrible neighborhood for next semester, get an apartment of my own. I only had to last one more month in that house and then I was out.
But 415 wasn’t going to let me go that easily. (Yes, this story does get worse.)