We all operate on the illusion, or delusion as the case may be, that we are safe within our homes. In order to live with a normal blood pressure, go out to work, get groceries, we all find a way to tell ourselves that no one will enter or try to enter our homes while we are away. Most of us also believe that when we are IN our homes that a forced entry, or home invasion, is even less likely than a break-in when we are away.
Tonight, I went to bed early with a toothache. I found myself up at the laptop computer at 2:45 am when the ibuprofen wore off. My eldest son who is still recovering from a lightning strike was also up sitting with me. He still has pain and difficulty falling asleep since his ordeal. We sat whispering quietly in an attempt not to wake up any more of the light sleepers at our house. At 3 am, we heard someone testing the front door. I looked over, and the main handle was locked but the deadbolt above was not. I raced to flip the deadbolt above. My son flipped it faster than I could. When we had done this, we looked through the peep hole. Whoever it was had gone.
Frequently, we hear our dogs in the kennel a walk from the house bark and we usually assume that a possum or a bear is moving through again. Sometimes, our large tom cat stands at our door from the inside and growls. Because of our remote location, we have a rather advanced security system. This is a very secluded place with a lot of acreage around us. It is also surrounded by forest. There are access gates on the entrances, and so no one without the electronic key can enter with a car. Whoever tested the door on a terribly cold night was on foot. Why would they walk up to a house in the middle of the night and test the door ? All of our family who are over 21 have accessible firearms, and know how to safely use them, and this is common knowledge here as we can often be heard target shooting from the even larger farms in the area. I don't want to have to shoot a home invader. I don't want blood splattered over my walls or on my oak floors. I should be able to sit in my house at 3 am with my sore molar and my son while trying to stay quiet so I don't wake my husband who is slated to go to work early the next morning. My heart raced as someone was outside the door, and for a moment, I wondered if all that adrenaline had pushed me into a-fib. It did not. But now, my son and I sit here with two firearms. His semi-automatic slide is racked, and mine is not. The cat sits staring at the front door. The dogs are barking. I am comforted by the idea that all the outbuildings are double-locked. I wonder if I am awake enough to do everything as trained. I shouldn't be afraid in my own home. I would call the sheriff, but the person is likely long gone and they won't come out in the middle of the night for anything but a "blood crime" anyway. . I'll call them in the morning, and let them know someone was prowling. In the past year someone locally who entered a house near here was shot to death. I did not know the neighbor who did it, but I often wonder how it changed their life afterward. I sit, writing and nervously eying the door. I don't think there will be any more sleep tonight.
Now, it's four am, and our son who came to us through adoption as a teen a couple of years ago is up. He claims to have been awoken by the sound of my typing. This is improbable. He pours himself a bowl of cereal and adds milk and starts his day. Perhaps I am not as quiet as I think when up in the night.
For someone to walk on foot on this brightly moonlit night, this far off a mountain trail, and this many acres back from a road, is insanity. This is what makes it so worrisome.