Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Killer Rats and Scary Scenes

Warning: screaming, cussing, ranting and hilarity below.

This happened one wintry night almost three years ago now. It scared me silly, but my husband laughed his ass off when I told him about it.

Four years ago, my father-in-law, Charlie, passed away. He was one of those odd souls who didn’t like to clean or have much to take care of, so he chose to live in a small camper. He had his TV, his DVD player, VHS player, and a radio; everything you could fit into an efficiency apartment was in that camper.

After my FIL passed on, my husband moved the camper to the house, and the girls and I turned it into my get-away office. However, Charlie was also the most mischievous old fart you can imagine, and like I said, it was his living quarters for quite some time....

One night, the snow fell hard, the wind blew hard, and by dark, a couple of inches of the white stuff coated the ground. Matthew turned the heat on in the camper, and later, I made my way out there to work on revisions for a paranormal romance I’d finished. The wind blew so fiercely that the camper swayed and vibrated.

The scene that I was working on involved a scary moment for Sable, the heroine in The Darkness of Sable, a paranormal romance. A big rat enters a public restroom and turns into this vaporous she-monster.

Something began knocking behind me where I always sit. At first it startled me and I jumped. It kept rapping, so I thought maybe the window wasn’t secured, but after checking it, I discovered that it was. Rap. Rap. Thonk. Bang. Frowning, I thought maybe it was tree limb because the camper sat under a big maple with low branches, or it might have been that the wind had torn the under penning loose.

The black rat thing in the novel’s scene transformed and attacked Sable. She escaped its claws and trapped it in a toilet stall.

A gust of wind slammed into the camper. Rap. Thonk. Bang! Startled, I glanced around and went back to revising.

In the book, the rat transforms into a vaporous yet half-solid monster, and Sable beats it with her purse until the restaurant manager walks into the bathroom. The she-thing disappears into a puff of smoke. Sable tells the manager a story about a big rat that jumped into the toilet and crawled down the hole.

Something rattled next to me—on the damn table.

I glanced over at my elbow. A long, dark tail slipped by and hid under the shelf I kept for pens and things on the tabletop.


I leapt out of the bench seat and stood in my oh-so-big 24″ x 24″ living area and screamed some more.

Now, mind you, I don’t do girly-girl screams. Nope. Not me. I’m an Appalachian gal. I let out war whoops that can clear a football stadium and put the fear of God into my kids. Even my husband will vacate the premises when I’m startled or scared. Why? Because scaring me pisses me off. (Thank you psycho ex-husband!)

“You li’l son of a bitch!” I performed a jig in my oh-so-big living area.

The “huge” rodent ran out from under the shelf on the table, up over my big pillow, over the top of the books in the corner behind my seat and across the long shelf there. The li’l snot jumped up on the stovetop and stopped. It stopped! It sat up on its hind legs and looked at me! Looked at me!

“You li’l bastard! Get! Get out o’ here! You’re not welcome!”

I swear its beady, black eyes appeared as if they were going to explode from its head. (I imagine mine did too, but that’s beside the point.) The rodent ran along the back wall, around the covered sink and the jam box playing Hotel California—how ironic is that???—down to the furnace and then jumped from it to the floor.

“Get lost, you furry son of a bitch! You’re not welcome here! Out!”

It disappeared through the crack in the bathroom door.

Exhausted, I stood there for a moment then decided to go to the garage where my husband was sitting by the pot-bellied stove. I told him my story.

“And if your dad came back as a mouse,” I ranted, “he’s now in the bathroom shitting a brick!” I finished my story, and my husband howled with laughter.

No, it wasn’t a rat that whizzed by my arm on the table, but seeing that frickin’ li’l black tail after tweaking a scene in The Darkness of Sable that involves a rat really wigged me out.

Later, when I went back to the camper, the mouse came out from under the bunk. I realized that he was a determined li’l bastard; there was something he wanted. Then it occurred to me: Snow, cold and hunger. My oldest boy had left a bag of sunflower seeds in the camper, so I sprinkled some on the floor. Mr. FIL in Mouse Form slipped out, snatched a seed and scurried under the bed where I heard him munching away.

And Charlie? Well, I truly believe his presence is in that camper. Too many odd things always happened out there in that writer’s get-away—moving coffee cups, scattered notes, opened cabinet doors... And since he delighted in reading my fiction and teasing me to pieces, I’m not surprised that he was reading over my shoulder again that night.

I didn't mind sharing the camper, and yes, I’m a soft touch...but just don’t startle me while I’m revising scary scenes.

UPDATE: If you look on the right at the Valentine ticker, my word count is now coming along nicely. The goal to finish the Valentine novella is by the end of December.

Also, for a chance to win your choice of one of my F.L. Bicknell (or Molly diamond e-books, read and comment on my guest blog at Night Owl Reviews blog. Be sure to read the directions at the top of my post. To check it out go HERE.


Tess MacKall said...

Haunted camper. Get out, get out...while you still can. LOL

trinity said...

I so love that story. So have you gone out in the camper this year? Is Charlie still there?


Faith said...

Sadly, the camper is no more. When we moved to the new house, we weren't permitted to store anything that large on the property, so the hubby gave the camper to the oldest boy who was short on money and let him scrap it.

That camper was falling apart anyway. After that winter and the way the wind roared across that big field and beat the camper, the roof began to leak and no amount of heat in there could keep it warm as I worked.

Starfox Howl said...

Oh I can hear the deputy talking to you right now, with your hands in cuffs behind your back holding on to the shotgun, smoke still coming from the barrel; "And the reason you started shooting holes in the trailer was because you were writing about a rat shifter in a story?"

Faith said...

Hey, you know my life so well! LMAO!

Cassie Exline said...

So funny and spooky. I'll commend you for not streaking from the trailer screaming out in fear.

Brindle Chase said...

hehehehehe... Everyone at work is staring at me, cause I was laughing throughout this! Great story!

Natalie Dae said...


Faith said...

Trust me, Cassie, I did consider that option!

Glad you got a good laugh, Brindle.

Hey, Nat! ROFL!

Anthology Authors said...

I remember this story. (g) Somehow, I don't think you would have been nearly so soft with that little critter if it had been a snake. (g) Of course, snakes hibernate in the winter. (g)

Anonymous said...

LOL! That was a great story, Faith!

Shiela Stewart said...

LMAO that was a hoot!! I, on the otherhand would have run for the hills. Funny though. Had it been a ghost, I would have confronted it but a rodent? No way in hell. LOL

Abigail-Madison Chase said...

That is funny...

Faith said...

Marci, I've found snakes in the basement of the old house. I mowed Jade over on the steps one day when a black snake slithered out from under the steps. I can only imagine the hole in the side of the camper if I had found one in there.

Shiela, like Marci said, I could handle the rodent, but a snake would have been a dif matter!

Glad you enjoyed the tale, Abigail.

Faith said...

Hey, Casey! Glad it made you laugh.

Scarlett Knight said...

LOL I have an actual rat experience. This sucker probably stretched a foot from nose to tail (the tails are so long!!) I came home after being out of town--I lived alone at the time. I met this rat when I went into the bathroom and saw it perched on top of the towel rack staring at me. After calling my father to come over and help, we set some traps, but I didn't see it again until the middle of the night when it appeared on top of my bedroom door... Long story short, I ended up creeping up next to it and slamming it in the door, which killed it, and then I called my poor dad to come back over in the dead of night to make sure it was, well, dead. I found more after that, but it's just too horrifying to relive.

Faith said...

Once upon a time, I lived in a house that had them coming in during the rainy springs. One climbed in bed with me. I came UNGLUED!!!!!!!!!!!

Janice said...

This would be a whole lot funnier if I didn't have my own experiences with mice and yes rats too. :(


Faith said...

Good morning, Janice.

I know what you mean, hon. My mother is phobic about mice and will freak like you've never seen when one startles her.

Scarlett Knight said...

Holy cow, if one got into bed with me I don't think I could live a normal life after that.