Anyone who has lived near a body of water, especially one as large as the Mississippi, knows that the summer can bring swarms of mosquitos. And if you live in an area with bluff along a river, you will end up with caves. And where you have mosquitos and caves, you get bats. Lots and lots of bats. Usually this isn’t a problem. In fact, when the mosquitos are particularly nasty, the bats are a welcomed sight. We never had bat problems at growing up at our house, so I really was indifferent to them.
That is until the spring of 2009, during which I was living back at home with my mom for a while. (Thankfully we did not live in one of the houses in town that have been found infested with hundreds of bats in the walls.)
I was all snuggled into my bed, with my cat and a good book. I was just about to turn the light off, when something grazed the fringes of my vision. I froze. I looked at Izzy, who looked like he was also trying to figure out if he had seen something. I held my breath and waited. I started reassuring myself that it must have been a large moth that had somehow gotten into the house. Yeah, a moth… only a harmless little moth. A moth that made my heart begin to beat 3 times as fast. Just a moth….
But what I saw go swooping inches from the ceiling seconds later was definitely not a moth. It began to circle my ceiling fan. I was so shocked and frightened that I couldn’t move. I just sat frozen in horror as this thing flew around and around my fan; this thing that I was sure had rabies, and lime disease, and fleas, and ticks, and mange, and everything else gross and disgusting that an animal could possibly have. I quickly started going over my options of what I should do: should I scream? run? hide? Izzy just kept watching it, as it was potentially a fun toy to play with.
I didn’t have time to come to a rational conclusion before it happened. In only a matter of moments from when I first saw it, the bat and the ceiling fan collided. This action caused the bat to be launched at Mach 5-rocket-speed… at me. I did what any sane, rational person would do in this situation: I screamed and dove under my covers.
But then I began to realize a new fear. The bat was potentially in my bed now. I carefully pulled the covers back and looked around. Izzy, too, was looking for the lost source of entertainment. It didn’t take me long to locate it tangled in my curtains on the corner of my bed… inches from me. Again, I acted as any sane, rational person would act: I ran downstairs as fast as I could and woke my mom.
I’m amazed that I could actually get the words out, and that she could actually understand me. But somehow I managed to tell her that there was a bat and my cat was up there with it and I didn’t want him to get rabies so she had to go up there and get it because I as OBVIOUSLY too freaked out to go back up there so she needed to get up immediately and take care of it before my cat got bit and died. (I believe it came out something like that, anyway.)
Somehow in my babbling I managed to talk her into going upstairs, armed with two tennis rackets and a coat with a hood. I heard a few crashes of things falling. Then I heard footsteps. Fast footsteps. She had found the bat crawling up my curtain (it still gives me shivers), had trapped it in a clear file box that I had (after dumping my files out), and was going to get it outside as fast as possible. Izzy was of course right behind her, hoping to get his new “toy” back.
I opened the door for her so she could take it outside and release it. She was opposed to this ‘catch and release’ idea because she didn’t want it finding its way back into the house. I however, could not stand to see the poor little thing die, no matter how disgusting it was. And it didn’t come back. But can you blame it? It was probably so traumatized by the ceiling fan and the screaming that it was more than happy to get far away.
That night I did not sleep in my bed; I was way too creeped out. Plus, I was not about to sleep in sheets that had not been washed after touching that thing. And for months, both Mom and I slept with a tennis racket next to us, just in case the bat decided it to come back to go another round with the ceiling fan.