An Odd Noise

Folks all over the ‘net are posting about strange encounters, weird occurrences, or spooky stories they have heard. So, after pondering for a bit, I decided to write about something that happened to me when I was a kid.

I grew up in Florida. For a time, my folks and I lived in an unincorporated area. Our house was a cinder block ranch, a common style in the mid-to-late 60s. Given the times and the location, nights were pretty quiet. Homes were scattered across several streets, often separated by one or more vacant lots. There were no businesses except for a small motel and a combination beauty parlor-convenience store located maybe a half-mile away.

It’s been over 50 years, which is a scary thought in itself. I was still in grade school, maybe 9 or 10. It was late, definitely after 11pm, possibly a little later. The house was quiet, and by quiet, I mean 1960s quiet. No electronics, alarms, or appliances inclined to go off because of a power outage or dying battery. No air conditioner–I don’t recall the time of year but there may have been a fan. Trucks and other large vehicles didn’t beep when in reverse.

So, late. Quiet. I’m lying awake–I don’t remember if I awoke after sleeping for a time or if I couldn’t sleep, period, but given my age I think it was the former. I’m listening to the quiet when I realize that I could hear something. A very faint rapid beep, like the ones in hearing tests.

I don’t remember if it was steady or beeps-pause-beeps, but it was persistent. I tried to ignore it, but it just wouldn’t stop and it was just loud enough. So I got up and went to see if I could find the source. Out of my room, down the short hall, and into the living room. The TV was off. The room was dark. But my mom was there, lying curled up on the loveseat, asleep. I went to her, and saw that she held a lit cigarette in her hand. I woke her up, she stubbed out the cigarette, and we both went to bed.

Before I fell asleep, I realized the beeping had stopped.