A Trite Gothic Horror Story

In the Fall of 2010, Nancy, a friend since first grade, and her cousin Kathy were visiting Orson and me at the end of their three week Italian vacation.  I was driving them to the airport very early in the morning, so we all attempted to get to bed at a timely hour on their last night.

Kathy & Nancy on an original Roman road in the beautiful town of Saturnia, blithely unaware of their pending adventure.

I remember waking up to loud thunder a couple of times during the night, and then I woke up to what sounded like Orson playing tennis in the living room while making a clicking noise. Initially my brain transformed the clicking sound into a musical instrument that belonged to the band that I had suddenly and inexplicably started dreaming about.  But when my brain couldn’t reconcile the thumps against the walls into the dream, it woke me up.  I hoped all those noises were coming from someone else’s apartment, but I quickly realized that not only were they coming from my living room, but they were being made by a bat.

Bat shape

My first concern was for Orson, who had spent his entire 16-1/2 years (at that point) without ever using the hunting prowess that people attribute to cats.  I had always assumed that he was missing that gene.  But when I turned on the light, there he was, stalking around the living room, looking like Feline Warrior.  This was by far the most exciting thing that had ever happened to him.  When I tried to get him to come to me, he took the long way by circling the room and making a pass at the bat whenever he got close (but I must emphasize, not TOO close).   Finally I was able to grab him, toss him into the bedroom and shut the door.

All of this noise, mostly made by me swearing at both Orson and the bat, woke Nancy and Kathy in the upstairs bedroom.  Kathy is legendary for always being prepared for EVERYthing, so she immediately got out her computer, did a Google search for bats and started yelling down helpful suggestions.  First and foremost:  DO NOT TOUCH THE BAT WITH YOUR BARE HANDS…..like I would ever have done that, even if someone pointed a gun at my head…..but I could pick him up gently with an old towel or long oven gloves – neither of which I had.  However, let’s face it….even if I had both, the chances of my getting that close were the same as picking him up bare-handed:  exactly 0%.

Of course, the best thing would have been to just open the window, turn out the lights, and let him fly away.  The problem was that he had chosen to land on the floor directly in front of the window that I would have to open, and I wanted to disturb him even less than he wanted to be disturbed.

Nancy crept down the steps for a peak.  I didn’t ask her, but I’m betting she didn’t see him as I did, which was over a foot long with at least a 3 feet wingspan.  She probably thought he was only about 5” long with less than a foot wingspan, but that was big enough for her.  She crept right back upstairs again.

While I was busy fretting and wringing my hands, the bat rose up and made a very slow circle of the room.  I was surprised he could fly that slowly.  However, it gave me just enough time to dash to the window and open it so we could get the full benefit of the storm that was still raging outside.  After his flight, he settled right back in front of the window.  I asked Kathy if there was anything on her website saying how bats feel about teeming rain, thunder and lightening.  That’s the problem with those helpIhaveabatinthehouse.com websites – they NEVER seem to have information that pertains to your particular situation.  I feared his little bat brain had decided that life was just fine inside, once that furry stalker was banished behind the door.

It occurred to me that I had the makings of a Trite Gothic Horror Story. Let’s see if I had all the necessary ingredients:

  1. Live in a 13th century convent.  Check.
  2. …..in a medieval town.  Check.
  3. Wind and pounding rain are crashing against the windows.  Check.
  4. There are blindingly bright flashes of lightening.  Check.
  5. There’s deafening thunder that echoes against the surrounding hills.  Check.
  6. There’s a stalking cat.  Check.
  7. And MOST important, there’s a bat.  Check!

Is anything missing?  Ah yes – the ghost who floats down the stairs.  But wait a minute – I had that, too!  The always-prepared Kathy actually appeared in her nightgown, slippers…….and the elbow-length oven gloves she had bought as gifts for friends back home.  Of all the strange things that can happen at 4 o’clock on a stormy, bat-intensive morning, let me tell you that elbow-length oven gloves are by far the most bizarre.

With the window now open, we decided to shut all the doors, turn out the lights, go back to bed and hope Mr. Bat would have the good sense to get out while he could.  He obviously agreed.  Next morning – by which I mean two hours later – he was gone. There’s no way to know why he left.  Orson thought it was because he (Mr. Bat) realized what a superior foe he (Orson, The Lion-Hearted) was.  It could be that he just didn’t want to be involved with another Trite Gothic Horror Story.  Me?  I think it was the elbow-length oven gloves.

Orson, resting after his night of battle and victory.


2 thoughts on “A Trite Gothic Horror Story

  1. Nice Orson picture . . . but how could any picture of Orson be anything but wonderful? Glad all got out alive, which doesn’t always happen in those Gothic tales!

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