We get up for work really early in the morning. I take Bodie out for his morning ablutions around 4:00 a.m. Our porch light has been out for about a year, not because we haven't tried to fix it, it's just one of those things that we have yet to be successful in the attempt. Because of this, I'm used to taking the pup out in the dark of night to get his business done, no issues. This morning, I put Bodie's leash on him, and we walked outside.
"Thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk," the sound reverberated in front of us. It sounded like a heavy man with steel toed boots walking down the steps toward us. I looked up into the black, turned tail, and ran back into the house.
Flick went the side light. Flick went the other side of the house. Now everything was illuminated except for the steps. I powered up the flashlight and focused the bright beam through the glass front in the door and peered out at the steps -- nothing. Bodie's bladder beginning to be strained, we went back outside.
"Thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk," went the noise. "Thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk," the rhythmic pounding continued. I focused the high beam at the top of the stairs -- nothing. "Thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk." It was too precise to be an animal, but the flashlight showed nothing. Bodie went ballistic, sounding his intruder bark, straining at his leash to get at something. I flashed the light some more -- no eye shine, no dark silhouettes, no indication, except for the sound of a rock being pounded on wood, that there was anyone outside beside my pup and me. With no other choice, Bodie finished his business, and we went back inside -- my heart desperately pounding, my dog desperately defending our house.
When you live in the country, not everything can be explained, but you still have to go about your day. My Charles woke up, I told him what happened, we shrugged our shoulders -- if with furtive glances out the dark front door -- and went about our morning.
As we climbed the stairs to leave for work, I glanced around, searching for any indication of what it had been that scared us so thoroughly so early in the morning. Nothing showed itself, no odd smells, nothing out of the ordinary, until I turned around on my path up the driveway. There, at the top of the stairs, too large for an animal like a raccoon to pick up, was a rock. I had cleaned and organized the driveway the day before. I knew there hadn't been anything by the stairs, but there it was -- a rock, just sitting there, mocking me with its benign existence, waiting to sound the wood railing once more.