Last night we went to bed kind of late – around midnight or there abouts. When the tv went off and the lights were out, darkness fell and I got into my regular falling asleep position. It was then, in the silence of the night, that I became aware of an erie sound coming from outwith the walls of our house.
At first I was sure it was a bird, like an owl or something, but as it continued I couldn’t help but think the cry was one of distress. I lay still, piercing my ears against the background noise from the main road, trying to make out the muffled wail more clearly.
After ten minutes or so Fliss got up to better listen for the sound and discovered that it wasn’t an animal, but a woman in the house next door apparently crying, sobbing even, and in what seemed like great distress.
Once we knew what the noise was it became all the more disturbing. Why was the woman next door crying? Why was she crying at half past midnight on a Sunday at that? Not to mention that she was sobbing with the heart rending despair usually associated with bereavement.
We know the man next door only as Mike, and although we’ve exchanged pleasantries in passing, while washing the car, that kind of thing, we’ve never really gone beyond that. He keeps himself to himself, we do the same and I guess that aside from the lack of interaction he’s the perfect neighbour. But now the woman who lived with him was crying, wailing even, and for what reason?
As the crying went on for twenty minutes, half an hour, and beyond, I wondered what could be wrong. Could something terrible have happened to Mike?
Just the thought that kind of thing had my mind racing for so long that, before I realised it, the sobbing had subsided and an uneasy silence had fallen upon the darkness. It wasn’t the kind of faux–silence we get every other night, with the drone of the nocturnal traffic and the occasional distant roar of a departure from the airport. This was the kind of silence where I could feel every second ebbing away, and the knowledge that someone nearby was in the kind of distress only eased by the comfort of sleep only served to bring a troubled sleep for myself.