2011 Year of the Weird, Part 2: The Scream in the Night.

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Summary: I was woken up from my sleep a few nights back by a scream. I got up, went to investigate. The scream got worse. Then, right as I walked outside, it went away. It took a mild bit of digging, but I finally solved the mystery...of the Scream in the Night.

BLOT: (24 Jan 2011 - 02:49:30 AM)

2011 Year of the Weird, Part 2: The Scream in the Night.

It is a testimony about how subtly and not-so-subtly certain creepy horror stories—such as the semi-horror of Lord Dunsany or the old school horror or M.R. James or the new school and dripping horror of Laird Barron—embed themselves into your sub-conscious that when I first heard the screams the other night, my mind was not sure if they were some sort of spillage from a "Occultation"* inspired dream. Then, I was sure I was hearing some sounds, and it sounded not so much panicked as fulsome, and so I thought maybe I should get up. Could be a fire, or someone calling out to get their neighbors up. I looked out the window and saw nothing, so made my way to the kitchen window (bedroom and kitchen look out opposite sides) to see if I saw anything, and I heard someone shout something like "HELP! HELP...CALL...[probably 911]! HELP!" I went back into the bedroom, got my shirt, and by the time I had opened the front door: silence. It was not like something out of a horror movie where there is screaming and shouting and I open the door and it slices through. No, it was much more like it went silent while I was on my way to do the door and then, by the time I was outside, it was still pretty silent.

A neighbor was out there, looking frustrated. Not agitated or angry or like he had stabbed someone and buried the body. Kind of like someone looks when when they have called the cops or, much as I probably looked, wondering if they should call the cops. I glanced over at him and then started to go back inside when I heard a more muffled shouting. A couple having an argument. His wall-to-wall neighbor, but not ours. Had the sound someone strangely carried so that it was a lot louder in our apartment than out?

I started back to bed, feeling a little uncomfortable with leaving it at that, and about the time my head hit the pillow I heard some more shouts and then maybe the sound of running feet and then it was all gone. Quiet. I got back up. This is about 3:30am, by the way, and looked outside and listened and heard nothing else. No slamming doors. No muffled shouts. No dripping sounds from blood splatter. In desperate need of sleep, I finally went back to bed about 4:30am and did the best I could.

Come the next day, though, I was feeling guilty again. What if this was one of those scenarios where someone needs help and everyone assumes that someone else is helping, or doesn't want to get involved? I wasn't sure if the mystery was going to be solved, except...

I finally got the dish from a neighbor that the shouts had come from a couple who had gotten into one of their many arguments. And in the middle, the female of the group had stepped outside and started screaming for someone to call 911. The two fighters went back inside. This neighbor, the one I am talking to, goes "ok", and calls 911. About the time the cops show up (not long after), the male of the scuffle decided to bolt. Fingers were pointed. And now, not a week later, the two were back outside talking and smoking cigarettes again. The two fighters, I mean.

The timeline looks like this, I think. I woke up in the initial, overly loud stage. I got up, was in the kitchen when she did the "CALL 911!" routine. They had went back inside before I got my shirt on and looked outside, but this had caused their next-door neighbor to come outside. At this stage, the argument had died down. But, the cops were called. Somewhere around here, the cops show up and the guy tries to trot out before they spot him. I'm not sure what the shouts were there, since I can't imagine him running from the cops and being right back here a few days later. I don't know.

And Sarah and I had two white noise generators going on at the time: a fan and a humidifier. Even to us it sounded shriekish and loud. I would hate to be the other neighbors, sitting there without such things as the two fought it out. On the other hand, the other neighbors probably could tell what was happening instead of getting largely muffled and broken sounds. Ah, the joys of apartment living.

* "Occultation" is a Laird Barron short story involving a couple in a hotel room, and something in the shadows that might just be a bug, but also might be so sinister that turning the light on will anger it, and cause very bad things to happen.

LABEL(S): Me in 2011


Written by Doug Bolden

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