At 1:00am, my wife and I wake up to some kind ruckus outside our window. There are bumping noises and some other things we couldn’t identify. We check the littles’ rooms to make sure they’re squared away.

We have some feral cats in the neighborhood. I told my wife I thought it was the cats playing with the water hose roll-up contraption. We look out all the windows that give us a view into the back yard, but don’t see any cats. The noises subside.

The absence of noise isn’t very reassuring. Whether it’s a person or an animal, just because they’re quiet doesn’t mean their gone.

J. W. Judge Expectant Writer Funny Story about Last Night

I open the gun safe and get out my pistol. I have to check the perimeter of the house. My wife asks, “Are you scared?”

I say, “I’m not very comfortable.” It was an understatement. Wish my flashlight and handgun ready, I open the front door and slip out as quietly as I can. Fortunately, the moon is bright enough that I don’t need to use the flashlight and can remain stealthy.

By the time I’m halfway around the front of the house, I realize this is almost exactly how the first few chapters of my debut novel Vulcan Rising opened (obligatory link). Fortunately for me, I didn’t discover anyone kidnapping a baby pegasus.

In fact, I don’t see anything. No cats playing and no people lurking. The only other option is that something or someone is in the basement garage, part of which is below our bedroom. I have to pluck up considerably more courage to go into the basement.

There are many more dark crooks and hidey places in the confines of the basement. Not to mention how vulnerable to anything that’s down there when you descend the stairs. But I find nothing and no one in the basement either. Both a relief and a frustration.

I lay back down in the bed, but sleep is far away. I read in the 3rd book in The Expanse for a long time. Eventually, I get sleepy again and set the book aside.

The ruckus commences again at 3:00am. I climb out of bed and turn on the outside floodlights. The noises stop.

I lay back down, wishing the night were over already. I stay awake until sometime after 3:30. I’ve only just fallen back asleep when start up again. By now I’ve determined that whatever it is, it’s definitely in the basement. I know I’m done sleeping since it’s 4:00.

The next 2 1/2 hours pass slowly as I work on book-related things for the upcoming launch of Casual Business with Fairies (another link) and wait for the rest of the house to wake up. Once everyone else is awake, I venture down to the basement again. This time, things are different.

Things are upended and scattered around. But most telling is a giant pile of cat scat sitting in one of the old car seats that we’ve never done anything with. I never see the cat, but I open the basement doors so he can skedaddle. Hoping for a better sleep session tonight.

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