Something Creepy This Way Comes

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Step out of your life and into someone else's for a moment. An occasional Page Three feature.

It is not often that you are spending your lunch hour plotting how to kill the bat that is sleeping in your bedroom.

Nine short hours earlier, my life had taken a sudden detour. I had been home lounging on the couch and talking on the phone when something caught my eye. A motion. I turned, dropped the phone and screeched a shrill, pre-pubescent scream that rang through the air for a good 10 seconds.

A bat was flying across the room toward me.

I was horrified by my scream. In the face of certain danger, I had always imagined I would be the one to keep a cool head. Another scream inadvertently ripped through my body, and I bolted off the couch. In between screams, I could hear Lisa's muffled metallic voice coming from underneath the couch, where the phone had landed: "Adele? Adele?"

After buzzing my head a few times, the bat flapped down the hallway and disappeared into my bedroom. This wasn't the first bat I had come home to. So, as tempting as it was to lock the bat in the bedroom and sleep on the couch for three months until the bat had safely starved to death, I knew I had to kill him.

The first bat had been one of those strange incidental events, easily laughed off over a round of drinks with a few friends. I'd discovered him hanging from the curtain in my bedroom. I was alarmed, but he didn't seem very aggressive, and I managed to catch him with a towel and a shoe box. This bat represented a more sinister event, and I was alarmed to learn on the Internet that bats can nest in colonies of up to 300!

I fought off a vision of hundreds of bats pouring out of my heating vent. There were dark circles under my eyes, and I felt shaky from lack of sleep. I'd spent five restless nights on the couch, after first stuffing rags underneath all of the doors and nailing cardboard over my heating vents. That day when I got home from work, I opened my bedroom door a tiny crack. In the dim light, I could see him sitting on the windowsill.

With a pounding heart, I slipped into the room and carefully made my way toward the window. It unnerved me to see his head swivel around as he tracked my progress across the room. I had started to slide the window open when the bat flew at me. Ripping off a high, girlish scream, I jumped on my bed and threw the blanket over my head, tamping it down around me with my hands and feet.

If I had ever been an animal in another life, I probably was an ostrich -- killed while cowering with my head in the sand. Inside my makeshift tent, I wondered whether it was possible that the bat might be sitting on top of my head on the other side of the blanket. This thought produced another piercing scream, and I jumped up and raced out of the room.

When I peered back into the room, the bat was sitting on the floor. I knew I had him then. Thanks to my research on the Internet, I had learned that bats cannot fly directly off of the floor -- they need to swoop down first, from a ledge or tree. I grabbed a towel and strode swiftly into the room. The bat turned to face me, hissing and unfurling his wings.

It was Wild Kingdom in my bedroom.

I threw the towel over the bat and rolled him up into a ball. I could feel him fighting me through the towel and resisted an overwhelming urge to jump up and down on top of him. Instead, I ran to the window and threw the bat out. But even with the bat gone, I continued to feel uneasy. In my bed for the first time in a week, I couldn't sleep and kept the lights on just in case. I hesitated before I opened any cabinets or doors. And I developed a finely tuned dislike of all flying creatures.

Now that it's getting dark early, I am always in a rush to get home. My co-workers think I am afraid of the dark. But that's not what it is. I am afraid of the bats.

-- Adele Levine, Wheaton

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