An Alarm in the Night

Early Tuesday morning, somewhere around 4 am, the entire family was awakened out of a deep sleep to the sound of the house alarm blaring out. It took me a second or two to realize what it was, and then I was up out of bed, dashing down the stairs, and over to the alarm panel to shut off the alarm.

Then I picked up the phone and waited for the alarm company to call. As I held the phone I walked to the windows at the back of the house to look out back. That’s when I saw the back gate open. It raised a few hairs on the back of my neck. I was still bleary-eyed but my heart started pumping.

The phone rang. It was the alarm company. I gave them the information they needed and they told me that it was the “glass break” sensor in the family room–downstairs and at the back of the house–that had tripped the alarm. I told them about the open gate and the women with the pleasant southern accent with whom I was speaking told me she’d stay on the line while I checked.

I went downstairs, flipping on lights and more than a little nervous. But when I got down there, all was well. I walked to the back door, flipped on the outside light–and saw that the gate was closed. In my bleary, not-fully-awakened state, I’d imagined the gate was open–I saw what my brain thought it should see.

A mirror we’d put outside as trash had either fallen down and smashed, or had shattered from the cold. It was right next to the back door, and more than likely, it was the sound of the shattering glass that set off the alarm.

I went back upstairs, made sure the kids were okay–they were already nearly back to sleep–and crawled back into bed, still feeling tired myself, although my heart was racing.

I was just dozing off to sleep, when my writer’s imagination reared its head. Other writers will know what I mean–you think about a situation, turn it around in your mind seeking a story, play through scenarios. It’s where you get your ideas, although no one wants to believe that. So there I was on the verge of sleep, my eyes closed, my thoughts drifting, when I heard that muse in my head whisper the following:

“You didn’t imagine the gate was open. They closed the gate when they left.”

Somehow, I did manage to get back to sleep. Eventually.

One comment

  1. Glad it turned out to be a false alarm and yes, know exactly what you mean about playing out scenarios to different conclusions. No doubt you’ll use that gate scene in a story one day…


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