Last night around 2 AM, I woke up to the sounds of a woman screaming.
I sat up in bed, panicked and confused. The screams sounded like they had maybe come from the basement ... or possibly outside. And really, those two are very different places.
For a second, I was frozen, but then I was spurred to action when I heard a creaky floorboard and had an amorphous thought along the lines of, "What would Daryl Dixon do?" I know that's a nerdy admission, but seriously. How am I supposed to believe that I could survive zombie apocalypse if I can't even search my own perimeter?
I grabbed my cell phone to light my way as I investigated my house and potentially call 911. Actually, mostly the 911 thing. I'll be honest, I actually did the pause-with-your-hand-hovering-over-the-doorknob thing while I tried to listen for the sounds of footsteps out in the hall.
(Memo to self: Bring baseball bat in from car trunk.)
I checked to make sure the doors were locked and the windows were secure. They were.
I peeked outside to the street to make sure an assault wasn't going on in my sleepy little neighborhood. Nope.
Then I checked my room, to make sure that the murder hadn't slipped past me in the dark to hide in my closet, which is what I would if I were murderously inclined. But there were only my clothes and shoes.
I started to feel foolish and wonder if I'd dreamed everything up.
And then I remembered what the screams had sounded like -- shockingly realistic -- and wondered if I should grab Spence and lock myself in the bathroom (which, memo to future murderers, is the only room on the first floor of my house that locks).
I thought about waking Diego and Hannah to help me search, and then realized if I did, I would no longer be heroic Zombie Fighter, but the Shrill Stupid Female who mistakes a neighbor's cat for an intruder.
So I decided I must have just had a really vivid dream, given that I couldn't find evidence of any ne'er-do-welling, and got back in bed. After, of course, letting Spence out of his cage to sleep in my bed so his finely tuned canine senses could alert me to any intruders, and briefly picturing the Rubber Man from American Horror Story watching me from a shadowy corner when he refused to lie down and stared at the door all night.
(I officially watch too much TV.)
And then this morning, as I puttered around the kitchen making breakfast for myself and Spence, Hannah came up to start the coffee maker and announced, "I had a night terror last night."
I stopped pouring yogurt over my cereal. "A what?"
"You know, a night terror. A nightmare so bad you wake up screaming. I get them from time-to-time."
My jaw dropped. "I knew it! I heard screaming so I searched the house to investigate but I couldn't find anything!"
Hannah laughed, embarrassed. "Oh yeah, sorry dude. That was me. I've done it a few times before. Awkward that it was loud enough to wake you up, though."
The very best part of this story?
According to Hannah, after she sat up in bed screaming, Charlie looked over at her from his dog crate, huffed a little, and laid back down.
So in the event any of us are really being murdered, our first and last line of defense is apparently me with a bat -- because the pit bull is so over it.