We were glad to get to the end (or what we thought was the end) of a long, tiring day yesterday. I was breathing a sigh when we’d finished up family prayer and nighttime reading. It was a little after 10, and the sweet girl was headed for bed. Her dad and I were headed for an episode of “Elementary” (we’re hooked) and then also to bed.
And then came the noises.
I didn’t hear them at first. It was my husband who came out of the kitchen with a puzzled look on his face. “I think there’s somebody in the attic,” he said.
You have to understand that we live in an apartment in a very old building. We’re housed over a warehouse which belongs to a local business (the owner of which also owns our building). The attic space above us is sometimes visited by workmen during the day, but there had never been anyone walking around up there at 10 at night.
“Are you sure?” I asked. And then I heard the sweet girl, from her room, shriek, “Mom? Dad? What was THAT?”
We hurried to her room. “What did it sound like?” we asked. She looked seriously alarmed. Thud, thud, THUD, she told us.
I was starting to wonder why everybody in the house was hearing noises but me when I heard something too. I went into the kitchen and looked up at the ceiling, where the sound seemed loudest. Creaking (was it footsteps? I couldn’t tell) and a kind of a bumping noise. And then some kind of scraping noise that sounded like metal. Like someone might be dismantling pipes. Or like Ron Weasley’s ghoul might’ve decided to move in.
We were all getting a little weirded out by then. I went next door to see if our neighbor was home and to see what she made of it, but she didn’t answer my knock. The sounds kept coming. I had misplaced our landlord’s home number, so went hunting through the book. We didn’t want to call the cops if there was something going on in the attic (“but what?” we kept asking ourselves) that he had authorized.
I found a number that looked like it might be right and tried it. It turned out to be my landlord’s somewhat elderly but very kind mother, who happened to be up watching t.v. (“Oh, I’m always up late!” she assured me cheerily, and then promised to call her sleeping son and wake him up and get him to call me pronto.) When the phone rang a couple of minutes later, I apologized for having him wakened, but then explained there were a lot of really strange noises in the attic. “I’m afraid there might be a person up there,” I said.
“Oh no, I don’t think so,” he assured me. “The trap must’ve sprung. I’m pretty sure it’s a raccoon in a cage.”
It turned out, as I discovered, somewhat to my merriment (it’s amazing how relieved you can be to find out it’s only a raccoon, when you’ve been having visions of pipe- dismantling ghouls) that they had recently figured out that a raccoon was somehow getting into the building’s attic. A friend of our landlord’s, who is at trapper, figured this out from paw prints on a blanket they left up there. He also set a cage to catch the creature, complete with the enticement of red licorice. Apparently, the first time around, the raccoon managed to abscond with the licorice and not get caught. Not last night.
“It must’ve worked and the door closed on him. He’ll be OK until morning, and then my trapper friend will get him out and set him free.” (And presumably they will seal up whatever they can so no large wild animals can roam into the attic looking for the licorice bar.)
“All right,” I said, as there came a loud THWUMP from the ceiling, followed by a shake and a thud and a kind of rattle. “Just to let you know, he’s pretty loud up there. I don’t think he’s very happy.”
He did settle down eventually, our friend Rocky (we figured we may as well name him, since we were sharing a building with him for the night). We all had a good fit of giggles over the entire thing, not a bad thing following the stresses of the day. My landlord called back to check on us a few minutes later and to apologize again.
I hoped for Rocky’s sake that there was a bit of the licorice left so he could have a midnight snack. D. had to get up early for a breakfast meeting and heard him again. Apparently Rocky decided to get up with the sun. I’m pretty sure by now he’s out in the wild again, no doubt a bit grumpy about his night’s adventure. Perhaps he’ll post about it on his blog too.