Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: A Scent of Hell

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Scent of Hell

Since we moved into this house three and one-half years ago, we have called the police four times: For (1) a yet unidentified amateur sniper firing a shotgun three times into the front window of the house next door, (2) a young, furious drunkard in the same house screaming bloody murder at 2 a.m. and plunging his limbs through yet another of his own windows because he was locked out, (3) a Marilyn Manson lookalike in black attire ranting and raving for hours and attempting to sneak water from our house before holing up in a cave across the street, and, tonight's excitement, (4) FIRE. Ah, life in the country.

Tonight the thunderstorms came one day early. There is a "red flag alert" for tomorrow, which always sounds like "double secret probation" to me. They were wrong about the timing. I was working at my desk around 7 p.m. when the scent of smoke rolled in, probably from a distant fire sparked by lightning. The sun began to set, and the sky blushed a deep orange/pink. Bugs began to fill the air in some sort of freaky, desperate air dance, and I could suddenly hardly breathe, even from the place I found to sit on the porch outside. A curtain of darkness soon came in with a bizarre, hot wind, and cracks of thunder began to shake the house after blinding bolts of lightning began. I sat down in a chair on the back porch and saw a thick, jagged, blinding bolt spike horizontally across the sky in front of the mountains and veer towards the earth. Brian joined me on the back porch, and I explained what I saw. Shortly thereafter, he said, "I see flames." We stood and walked to the far end of the porch to witness orange and yellow fire shooting up around a ponderosa pine above a dark, scrubby line of junipers and sage. We called 911. I felt a little sick to my stomach, as I knew if it didn't rain, we could be in real trouble. Everything was as dry as death. In addition, a car had stopped across the street, and a stubby fire engine soon stopped behind it for reasons we never did quite determine. They had apparently also called 911, and there may have been yet another strike there. The air was soon filled with weird, white noise followed by a barrage of giant raindrops. The gutter next to me began vomiting gallons of runoff from our steep roof. The flames across the street quickly died, and the silhouette of the victimized tree went dark. Everything was soon soaked.

Erik is still crying, and there isn't a thing I can do for him. I turned on his Veggie Tales CD and tried to explain sirens and thunder, but the thick wall that is WS remains between us in situations like this. Logic does little to soothe away the type of anxiety he is manifesting, and explaining relaxation techniques to a severely delayed 2-year-old seems ridiculously premature, although I still try. I laid by his side in his little bed and talked to him, but he just sobbed.

Uh-oh. More sirens. I had better go check on him.

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Blogger All moments remembered said...

Wow I so remember being woke up by the drunk going through the window! We also called 911 for that one. Can you believe we were neighbors yet never met. Did I tell you we all call your house the Griswald house? The people before you use to do up Christmas lights like NOOOO bodys business! I remember we all sat out in the fields one night watching the man of that house put santa and his reindeer on the roof. We all took bets how soon the CRAZY wind that blows through there would blow it off. Next morning no santa or reindeer, they did look good up there. Anyway your house was then name the Griswalds and when I talk to old neighbors if I say the Griswald house they all know which one. We still have that house there and rent it out. Very glad to hear the fire went out.

Poor Erik! I used to scream at the sound of fire engines. I grew up living next door to a fire station and boy do they pick bad times to hit the sirens. I hope he was able to fall asleep with some peace. SO scary for any child but I am sure if he does not understand what you had to say it was much worse. My heart goes out to both of you. It is suppose to be HOT and more lightening tomorrow night. Wear him out all day so he falls asleep early!! Plus give him a hug from us!!
Sweet dreams tonight,

11:42 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

It is quite amusing we have never met and yet we called 911 for the same exact incident. My guess is the dude got left at the bar after his roommate got lucky. I think he had to walk home!

Yes, I am quite aware this house used to be the Griswold house. There is a nail on every square inch of this place, and we found the charred remains of 6 Christmas trees around the property when we moved in--including lights! The guy had a lot of enthusiasm, but he was nuts. There are still lights falling from God-knows-where every time the wind blows!

2:56 AM  

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