I’ve decided to share another story from my past. This is something I could never forget. It was very traumatizing as a child, but has since become quite funny. Let’s begin…
I was 7 years old, which means my sister was 8. We grew up in a small town where it wasn’t out of the ordinary to keep your doors unlocked and even be home alone for small periods of time. Well, our dad was on his way home from work, and our stepmom took our dog on a walk. My sister had just gotten out of the bath, so it was my turn.
To give you an image of the setting… It was around Halloween time, and our dad was notorious for the decorations he put out. He turned our garage into a haunted house which led into the yard that continued into a haunted forest… He built many of the decorations himself, and bought even more. He even made an electric chair that made the fake person look as though they were being electrocuted. Our house was “The House” everyone in town just had to come to on Halloween. My dad even had guestbooks for people to sign as they entered the haunted house/garage. We also had these giant tombstones in the front yard that our dad built and painted and wrote the fictitious names of deceased. (The picture below isn’t our house, and it doesn’t do justice to what our dad did on holidays. He decorated with a level of sophistication that you don’t see from your everyday decorator.)
I got a little off topic… Back to my sister and I at home… So we were alone, my sister had just taken a bath and was watching T.V. in the living room (with only a towel on), and I was in the bathtub.
As I’m in there, I hear a faint, high-pitched squealing sound. I assume it’s my sister being weird and just screaming (this wouldn’t be abnormal in our household). It just continues with one steady pitch. My sister appears in the doorway, buck naked, with terror in her eyes, and with her mouth opened as big as her face would allow she yells, “FIRE!”
As 7 and 8 year-olds, all we know about fire at that age is that you stop, drop, and roll if you are on fire, or you get out of the house as fast as you can if your house is on fire. Well, we did just that. I jump out of the bathtub, and we run. I even slipped and fell on the carpet because I was still soaked from the bath. We get outside (still naked with the exception of the one towel my sister had), and hide behind the tombstones in the front yard. We are shaking, terrified, and cold.
It couldn’t have been more perfect timing, because our dad pulled into the driveway not even 2 minutes later (or so it seemed). We run up to his car as he is still driving, and we start yelling at him from outside the car about the house being on fire. I will never forget the look on my dad’s face when he saw us. We were outside, naked, and having some sort of crazed fit. When he stops the car, we both get inside, and as calmly as we can we tell him, “The house is on fire!”
He told us to wait in the car as he bolted into the house. My sister and I were scared and crying while we waited for him.
Only a few moments pass before we see our dad coming back outside for us. His head was tucked just a little as if he was ashamed of something. He says, “I’m sorry girls. the batteries were dead.”
Our house was fine, our cat was fine, and we were all fine. Happy ending to a terrifying night, but I’ll tell you what… For at least 3-4 more years after that, every time I took a shower, I’d turn the water off abruptly from hearing a phantom squeal of the smoke detector, certain there was an actual fire. There never was, and I’ve since grown out of that part of me that had anxiety about it. It was scary at the time, and even for a while afterwards, but it’s definitely a funny story we talk about at family gatherings now.
This is one story of many from my life that may seem so absurd that it must be made up, but I assure you, the memories I share with you are 100% true… Until next time.