Attack! Attack!

The faint early morning light glows through the sheer curtains as I raise the blinds.  I measure out the coffee.  Press start.  The little red light blinks on.  Delightful.  Padding out into the hallway in my soft furry socks, I open the window at the top of the stairs.   The lace curtain billows and I pause to breathe in the fresh cold air.

A piercing sound seizes my brain — I whip around, back to the wall — I crouch and raise my arms ready for an attack — !  What the — ?  The alarm!

I fly down the stairs and land on the alarm panel like a hockey player hitting the boards.  I punch in the code.  The alarm doesn’t stop.  Again.  Again.  Again.  What’s wrong?  I sprint to the landline to call the alarm company.  Where is the number?  Why is the phone number not posted on the wall?  What is the point of having a phone station with a calendar and notes  — ?  The shrieking pierces my skull.  Make it stop!

Sliding across the floor back to the alarm panel — punching in the code again.  Reset.  Memory.  What?  Memory?  No.  Code.  Code.  Code.  The alarm company will be calling any moment.  Why hasn’t the alarm company called yet?  Is the phone broken?  The cops are going to show up.  They can’t show up when I look like a dog’s breakfast!  My pyjama pants and old boxing club shirt…my hair standing up and dented, how does it do that?

Wincing in pain, my ears, my head — I’ll confess!  Make it stop!  Bring the papers, I’ll sign!  Just!  Make!  It!  Stop!  Punching all the option buttons now.  Alternating with the code.  Now the code again.  Again and again and again again again again — !

Silence.  Finally.  My ears ringing.  Hands on the wall in the perp stance.  Breathe.

Wait.  Is there an intruder?  Am I alone in the house with…?  No.  Nobody else is here.  How can I be so sure?  After all, the alarm was triggered.  No, I’m sure.  I replay the images in my mind; the information I unconsciously collected as I flew down the stairs to the alarm panel.

The painting, that landscape one, is slightly crooked…the laundry is full now and a blue shirt fell behind the hamper…some tiny rock fragments are dusted across that one window sill where the rock collection has accumulated…one little bag of garbage has been placed outside a bedroom door and forgotten…the ficus dropped two leaves overnight…reflections in the mirrors, wow, my hair…the back window shades were up and a kitchen light had been left on…the faint scent of orange blossom soap lingered by the sink…the vacuum hose was slightly tangled and not quite contained in the utility closet…a broken chair had been placed against the book shelf with some parts taped to the arm…two rings from a coffee cup stained the ledge by the stairs…a beige patchwork sweater and some snack wrappers were crumpled on the couch….

I realized that from the moment the alarm sounded, my brain had processed every bit of information about my surroundings.  No image, sound or detail went unnoticed.  Without thinking, I knew that there was no light or shadow out of place:  nobody else was in the house or prowling outside.  I hadn’t been concerned for my safety.  Just my sensory well-being.  How amazing is that?  The brain is fascinating.

The coffee maker gurgled in the distance, punctuating the newly beautiful silence.  Still brewing?  Incredible.  I would have been sure that about fifteen minutes had passed.  Instead, it wasn’t even long enough for the alarm company to call.  Wow.

The lovely coffee aroma wafted around me.  Yeah…I’ll pass.  Crazy talk!  I know, but the torpedo-launch into the day was effective enough.  All systems engaged and fully functional.  Alarm?  Check.  Fight or flight response?  Check.  Freshly-brewed coffee?  Danger, danger!  Approaching system overload.

Now about my hair….

 

 

 

19 thoughts on “Attack! Attack!

  1. Lovely & harrowing in equal measure, Danica. Other than the fact that I don’t drink coffee & I have no hair, I’ve been in that exact situation (okay, no furry socks either). It would have been fitting had the coffee been replaced by chamomile tea. Not sure if this was fiction or non-fiction, but I hope your stress level is significantly lower than it was during this ordeal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Rich!
      It gives you a new understanding of prison torture tactics, doesn’t it? Or maybe that’s just me. I hope you managed to disengage the alarm before suffering hearing loss!
      Chamomile tea in the morning…you are a peaceful soul. I highly recommend furry socks. Everyone should have them!
      This is a true story and I’ve managed to recover, thank you. I hope you’re enjoying a lovely chamomile tea-infused day free from sonic assaults :).
      Danica

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        1. I wonder what the ratio is between morning people and night owls, and how most people seem to be wired one way or the other. I like your magical twist and can see a new chapter evolving. Thanks, Rich :).

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    1. It really is tremendously powerful and accurate. Your observations about smell and memory are spot-on; that’s exactly what the brain does when faced with danger. The brain assesses and commands our reactions, and our own thinking catches up.
      Thanks so much for stopping by! It’s always nice to see you :).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love that story. The wording, the pacing, the mood and sense of the moment, the hair.
    Somehow reminds me of the time I had to go racing outside wearing nothing but a towel and one moccasin at three one morning ’cause our pot-bellied pig got his teeth caught in the fence.
    At least I didn’t have to worry about the cops showing up.
    And it scared the local coyotes off, so …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Harris! Thanks so much, I’m happy that you enjoyed it.
      I can picture the scene of you running outside to free your pot-bellied pig. What an ordeal for an animal. I’m glad the coyotes were quickly scared off. I hope it wasn’t snowing or raining on you, at least.
      The thought of the cops showing up because some maroon (Bugs Bunny) can’t turn off the alarm system was embarrassing enough…but the hair and the outfit — too much! 🙂

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  3. ianbalentine

    I’ll echo Prodigal Orphan, amazing pacing Danica. I quite enjoyed going on that roller coaster with you! I felt the panic, intensely, a sure sign of a great writer. Very nice.

    Liked by 1 person

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