“9-1-1 Operator, what’s the address of the emergency?” the man asked on the other end of the line.
I gripped the phone hard as I answered in a low voice, my heart pounding in my head.
Could the intruder hear me hiding in the bathroom? Would he come after me now? Or would he go after the kids? Should I wake them up and lock us in the bathroom? Or should I crawl out and guard the stairs with my gun?
“What’s the nature of the emergency?” he continued, interrupting my frantic thoughts.
“I hear someone making noises downstairs,” I practically whispered.
“Where are you?”
“I’m upstairs and so are my kids, but they’re all in bed.”
I didn’t tell the operator that the noises had started while I was praying. After getting the kids to bed, I was ready for bed myself. Everything had been silent in my peaceful home as I enjoyed a visit with my Father in Heaven, and then… rustling!
I knew every single sound my house, dog and children could possibly make and THIS was not one of them.
I paused in my prayer, listening.
Maybe it was a neighbor kid outside. It was only 9 pm on a Friday night. Some teenagers were probably out at the park next door.
I continued my prayer, but then the rustling happened again. Only it was LOUDER and it was definitely coming from inside my house.
I finally excused myself from Heavenly Father and snuck out my bedroom door, perching to listen at the top of my stairs.
Shuffle, shuffle… Rustle, crash!…
Ok. Someone was IN my house and going through our things!!!
And my husband was out of town. And I was all alone. With my three youngest darlings.
I couldn’t call 9-1-1 fast enough.
“Are you married?” he cut into my thoughts again.
“Yes, but my husband is gone backpacking with our two oldest children.”
“Is it possible he’s returned?”
Well, sure, but he would have let me know first. And our sons would have burst through the door like a pack of rhinoceroses and cheerily left a mess of belongings a mile long.
Plus, they had never made these kinds of sounds before. Ever.
“The officer on his way wants to know what kind of car your husband drives, in case it’s in the driveway,” the operater told me.
Smart officer. “He drives a Honda Pilot.”
Then he paused and asked, “Are you armed?”
Then I paused. “No… But I could be. Should I get my gun?”
“I can’t tell you what to do, but you need to keep yourself safe.”
Suddenly, I wanted to hang up, so I could get my gun.
“Do you want me to stay on the line with you until the officer arrives or do you want me to release you?” the operator asked.
I couldn’t get my gun and guard the stairs if I was on the phone. “I’d like you to release me.”
I was headed to unlock my gun, when the operator spoke again. “I’d like you to stay on the line in case the officer has any more questions.”
“Ok.” I understood. But how could I get to my gun with only one hand available?
“Are you armed?” he asked again.
“Not yet,” I told him. Why did he keep asking? I wasn’t going to shoot the police officer!
I started pacing in the bathroom, feeling trapped. What was happening downstairs?? The noises hadn’t stopped, so the intruder was still going strong, despite my sneaking around.
The thought slammed into my mind.
Why in the name of all that was holy hadn’t I thought of that before??????
“I’m going to check our video cameras!” I said as loudly as I dared, racing for my cell phone.
“You have video cameras?”
My hands shook as I unplugged my phone and tapped the screen. Arlo took forever to load.
“I’m almost there,” I said.
The horrible red word covered every camera we had.
“It says it’s disconnected.” My heart fell. Whoever was in my house had seen and disconnected our video cameras.
What should I do now??
Taking a breath, I decided to try one more time. I closed the app and opened it again.
My finger shook as I scrolled to my living room camera. The intruder was in that room, I just knew it.
It finally connected and started playing live feed. The intruder’s noises crackled through my phone’s speaker and I searched the dark screen for movement.
But there was nothing.
I searched again, slower this time.
Then. I saw them.
Their eyes shone back at me in the night vision of our camera.
Smacking a hand to my forehead, I gasped. “I feel so stupid!”
“What is it?” the operator asked.
An enormous wave of relief gushed over me, leaving me weak. “It’s guinea pigs!’
“Are you sure?” He sounded doubtful.
“Yes!” I wanted to laugh. Really, really loud. “We’re pet sitting for our friend and it’s our first night with them. I forgot all about them!”
“Guinea pigs?” the operator repeated again. “Are you really sure?”
“Yes,” I answered with a huge, embarrassed smile on my face. “I’m sure.”
“Alright,” he said. “I’ve called off the officer.”
“Thank you so much and I’m so sorry.”
“That’s ok. You have a good night.”
I hung up and fell into a chair. Then I laughed. And laughed. And laughed.
Just me and my furry intruders.
Good night, Brownie and Velvet. You have no idea how close you were to being arrested.
I’m up to ten years between my calls to 9-1-1 now!!