Last night, I logged off a little after eight o’clock and went down to the family room to watch No Reservations with Speedy. The second floor corridor was dark but I could make out the figures of our cats excitedly moving about. I didn’t think anything of it — they often play at night. Almost as soon as I entered the family room, I realized I had to go back upstairs again for something (never mind what — it’s a girl thing). On the way up, I turned on the pendant lamps on the staircase.
There were noises coming from upstairs, like something hitting the walls, and I thought it was the cats playing. Or the wind ruffling through whatever. Or the rain making strange noises against the terracotta roof tiles. I was already on the second floor corridor when I saw it — the thing flew over my head. Black. Large. The shape was unmistakable. And I froze. Literally. I don’t like bats. They look too much like rats. I was holding on to the banister and I started screaming for Speedy. It took a while for him to hear me because the door to the family room was shut and the TV was on. I think the neighbors may have heard me before he did (the second floor windows leading to the veranda were wide open). I was screaming so loudly. And the thing kept flying back and forth.
Finally, I heard the family room door open and in an irritated voice, Speedy shouted, “Ano (What)???”
“May paniki sa loob ng bahay (There’s a bat inside the house)!” I shouted back.
“Ano gusto mong gawin ko (What do you want me to do)?”
“Paalisin mo (Make it go away)!!!” And that was the point when the bat stopped flying around, I don’t know where it alighted but I ran to my study and slammed the door. I got what I was supposed to get then I realized that the darn bat was still somewhere in the corridor and I was trapped inside my study.
I opened the door, just a bit, about two inches, just enough for me to see a part of the corridor and but not wide enough to allow that thing to get inside my study. Nothing. I saw nothing. And I started screaming for Speedy again. I don’t know where he was exactly but he could hear me and he was saying, Run for it!
And then, the bat was flying again — right outside the door to my study and the cats were there trying to catch it. My small camera (the Powershot G10) was just a few meters away from me and I thought, “Damn you, bat, if you persist, I’m gonna make you an internet star.” You know, like the bird and the chicken. It kept flying. I took five shots and got nothing but walls and ceiling. Perhaps, I wasn’t fast enough in pressing the camera’s button. But. BUT. It was a rainy night, I have read far too many vampire stories and seen even more vampire movies and thoughts inside my head started going wild. You can’t see vampires’ reflection in mirrors — you can’t take photos of them too? What? I broke into a cold sweat.
Then, the damn bat stopped moving. It alighted on top of the linen closet just outside the door. I could see it. It was less than a meter away from me. And it was really huge. The cats were waiting to pounce on it. I took my chance. I set the G10 on a table, turned off the lights in my study, yanked the door open and ran. I was screaming while I ran. Speedy was waiting for me and as soon as I was inside the family room, he slammed the door close.
And I saw Speedy holding his camera. Wow, so he tried to take photos too — from a safer distance. He had an image of a dark blurry thing near the ceiling. Not really usable but, at least, I knew that the thing could be captured on camera. No vampire, I figured.
A few minutes later, we had settled down. And I remembered that my big camera, the dSLR, was on the couch in the living room because I had used it earlier to take photos of a cocktail drink that I mixed. And I thought… what if the bat came down and the cats went after it and the chase got violent — would they hit my camera? The darn camera’s too expensive for me to take a risk. Still, I didn’t want to go out there again. So, I asked Speedy to get it for me. He was exasperated but I guess he considered it would be a bigger disaster if the dSLR got destroyed. He opened the door a bit, everything was silent, and he walked quickly and silently to get the camera.
When he was safely back inside the family room, we started talking about the last five minutes. Because all of that happened inside of five minutes although it seemed like forever.
“That is a large bat,” he said.
“Yeah,” I replied. I saw it up close, didn’t I? The wingspan was much, much longer than my two hands side by side. Large. Huge. “Definitely not a fruit bat,” I said with certainty.
“It is a fruit bat,” Speedy insisted.
“No, it’s not — it’s a vampire bat.”
Speedy looked at me, I can’t describe the expression on his face. Like, he was angry at me for wreaking havoc inside his now-peaceful mind because he had already convinced himself that it was just a harmless fruit bat. And he said, “Don’t get hungry in the middle of the night because I’m not fixing you anything — I’m not going out there again.” Okay, I said.
The thing is, by that time, my head was throbbing. I gave myself a headache from my own screaming. I wanted water. I asked Speedy to please get me a glass of water. The kitchen was just outside the family room, much nearer than the living room. If he managed the get the dSLR without incident, he could get me a glass of water, right? Speedy was getting really angry and exasperated but I had this throbbing headache so he got me a pitcher of water — no glasses, I had to drink from the pitcher. Needless to say, none of us left the room until daylight. Good thing that the bathroom is en suite.
P.S. It appears that fruits bats are larger than the common vampire bat but I didn’t know that last night, did I?
P.P.S. @ 2.20 p.m. I pasted the text of the first two paragraphs of this entry in the “I Write Like” website and got this:
Hmmm… interesting. Very interesting.
Update on July 26 2010 @ 10.28 a.m.
Okay, here’s a photo that Speedy took of the thing.