This story is not for the faint of heart. But enough time has passed that I feel I can talk about it. What follows is a true story, not embellished for either humor’s sake…or horror’s sake. It is a tale of primal fear. It is a tale of crushing fear. It is a tale of waking before work to find yourself wrapped in your worst possible nightmare come to life. But it’s also a story of survival (which, uh, is kinda obvious because I’m writing this). Are you ready? Then let’s go…
On the morning of April 19, 2018 I was sitting on my couch just having finished my breakfast. I was texting with Hannah as we were discussing our plans to write the final exam for the Catholic Traditions course we both teach…when MY WORST FEAR CAME TO LIFE. Be aware, this piece has some language in it. But I wanted to honestly preserve the fear.
Even now, over a month later, I’m not sure I can even begin to describe that morning but I’m going to try. I know they say home invasions are scary, but I never imagined it would be this bad. I was sitting on my couch, eating breakfast, texting with Hannah, and reading WHEN A FUCKING MOUSE DARTED OUT FROM BEHIND MY COUCH, LOOKED AT ME WITH ITS TERRIBLE, SOULLESS, EVIL EYES AND THEN DARTED BACK BEHIND THE COUCH. Are you fucking kidding me?!? What the hell?!? THERE WAS A MOUSE IN MY HOUSE. I figured the best way to tell the story is to just give you the text message transcripts from that morning. Little asides will be tossed in for clarification and there will be some editing for narrative flow. However, the editing is minor and you will experience the full range of emotions, as they happened to me. Note, the texts contain my actual feelings on the matter. At no point was I exaggerating for humor’s sake. This was how I felt in the moment.
Hannah and I were talking about the final exam when:
Me – FUCK!!!!
Me – There’s a FUCKING MOUSE IN MY HOUSE!!!
Me – I’m FUCKING MOVING!
Hannah – Mine too.
Me – FUCK THIS!!!!!
Me – I can’t do this shit!!!
Hannah – Where is it?
Me – RIGHT IN MY FUCKING LIVING ROOM BEHIND MY FUCKING COUCH AND I HATE THIS AND I WANT IT TO DIE AND I THINK I HAVE TO MOVE AND THIS IS FUCKING BULLSHIT AND I WANT TO BURN IT AND THIS HOUSE AND ITS WHOLE FUCKING MOUSE FAMILY TO THE GROUND FOREVER.
Me – I HAVE NEVER WANTED SOMETHING DEAD WITH SUCH A PURE BURNING PASSION.
Hannah – Calm down!
Me – FUCK THIS GODFORSAKEN RODENT.
Me – I AM AT THE ONLY APPROPRIATE LEVEL OF CALM FOR THIS SITUATION!!!
Hannah – It’s a mouse
Me – I know! I can’t sleep here tonight. I’ll have to go back to my parents. I can stay there this weekend…or forever.
Hannah – Call David.
Hannah – He’ll save you.
Me – I called Dad to come kill it but until I see it’s body I can’t be here.
Hannah – Michael!
Hannah – You’re a grown man!
Me – I’m literally standing on my couch now and have been since the first text.
Hannah – Sometimes…
Hannah – Want me to come over and get it?
Hannah – I’ll let it go outside.
Me – You’re welcome to try. But I doubt we have time before work…
Me – And I hope it’s dead and broken by the end of the work day.
Hannah – True.
Me – Or, again, I won’t be here tonight. I can’t sleep with this fucking monster in the house.
Hannah – It’s one of God’s creatures.
Me – No, mice and rats aren’t.
Me – BLACK PLAGUE! THEY DECIMATED OVER A THIRD OF EUROPE’S POPULATION!!!
Hannah – I had a pet rat.
Me – Well you are welcome to come over and befriend this monstrosity.
Me – I have no idea how I’ll get to work as I can’t get off the couch.
Me – FUCK! IT IS IN MY HOUSE! I’LL NEVER FEEL SAFE HERE AGAIN.
Hannah – Oh sweet fuck.
Me – I can’t breathe. The more I think about it the less I can breathe…
Me – I’m going to have some sort of panic attack and then I’ll die here and the mouse will eat my fucking corpse and that’s what it wants.
At this point, Hannah jumps into a group message with her, Matthew, and myself:
Hannah – Matthew…go save Michael.
Matthew – Huh?
Hannah – There’s a mouse in his house.
Me – [not wanting to retype in my fear, I modified a bit and copy and pasted] THERE IS A MOUSE RIGHT IN MY FUCKING LIVING ROOM BEHIND MY FUCKING COUCH AND I HATE THIS AND I WANT IT TO DIE AND I THINK I HAVE TO MOVE AND THIS IS FUCKING BULLSHIT AND I WANT TO BURN IT AND THIS HOUSE AND ITS WHOLE FUCKING MOUSE FAMILY TO THE GROUND FOREVER.
Hannah – There it is…
[Author’s note: At this point (and others) horrifying gifs were sent…so as to spare the reader the horror of having to look at them (and spare ME the horror of having to see them again) I’ll just describe them…same with emojis.]
Matthew – *sends a horrible mouse gif with the little fucker waving at me*
Me – NOT HELPING MATTHEW!
Me – If I had a big book closer, my initial reaction was to smash its spine and watch it die. But, as I was defenseless and it ran too quickly, the rage was replaced with the more reasonable panic and now I’ve accepted I have to move.
Matthew – *sends and even worse gif with a mouse staring at me from behind a Coke with the caption “SOON”*
Me – Seriously, someone’s going to have to open my homeroom because I’m still standing on the couch in my pajamas and I don’t know when I’ll be able to come in.
Me – I wish I taught at McDowell, then I’d have a bat to protect myself. [A local high school, my alma madder, made national news by giving the teachers tiny, “symbolic” bats to help counter gun violence because…um…reasons.]
Me – I’d also take a sword or a flame-thrower.
Me – I’ve never wanted anything dead with such intensity in my whole life.
Me – THIS NEEDS TO DIE.
Hannah – I can’t stop laughing. I’m sorry, Michael.
Matthew – *sends gif with TWO MICE kissing inside wine glasses*
Matthew – You sure there’s only one?
Me – NOT HELPING! I’M A PRISONER IN MY OWN HOME NOW!
Hannah – Maybe he just wants to cuddle.
Me – It would make breaking its spine easier. But seriously, I can’t move from the couch.
Matthew – *sends gif of mouse working out in mouse trap, benching the killing clamp bar thing like weights*
Matthew – Be careful with mouse traps. They could just make the mouse stronger.
Me – THIS IS NO LAUGHING MATTER AND THIS NEEDS TO DIE.
Me – I seriously can’t get off the couch. I’ve tried for ten minutes now, it’s not happening.
At this point (and it turns out, ten minutes was a WILD underestimate…checking the time I’d been standing on the couch for over half an hour) I realized homeroom would be a problem. I wasn’t getting off the couch and I wasn’t getting to work on time. So I switched to a larger group message with several other friends. I had to share the horror that had me so trapped in my home and, more practically, find someone to open and cover my homeroom for me. I had first mod off so, with homeroom covered, I had almost two hours to figure out how I was going to get off my couch with this hell-beast stalking me in my home:
Me – So, someone’s going to have to open my homeroom, please and thank you. I don’t know when I’ll get in.
Me – [resorting to copy and pasting once again] THERE IS A MOUSE RIGHT IN MY FUCKING LIVING ROOM BEHIND MY FUCKING COUCH AND I HATE THIS AND I WANT IT TO DIE AND I THINK I HAVE TO MOVE AND THIS IS FUCKING BULLSHIT AND I WANT TO BURN IT AND THIS HOUSE AND ITS WHOLE FUCKING MOUSE FAMILY TO THE GROUND FOREVER.
Me – I AM A PRISONER IN MY OWN HOME.
Me – I’m still standing on the couch in my pajamas and have been since I saw it. Dad’s coming to kill it later [I, naturally, had called Mom and Dad to save me…thirty-five or not, there are still some things you need to tag your parents in on and pure, unbridled, abject terror is one of them.] but I don’t know if I can leave as I can’t get off the couch while it still lives.
Ashley – *laughing so hard you’re crying emoji* I bet it’s cute. If you can catch it, I’ll keep it as a class pet.
Ashley – Don’t kill the poor thing *mouse emoji*
Me – Dad’s here and we’re setting traps to kill it now. Seriously, can you ask Theresa to do my homeroom attendance?
Me – I don’t know when I’ll get in.
Me – Also, fuck making it a pet. I WANT IT DEAD.
Me – I HAVE NEVER WANTED ANYTHING DEAD WITH SUCH A BURNING INTENSITY.
Ashley – Ya I will 🙂
Me – Thanks!
Me – Also, if I don’t survive this, I love you all.
Okay, so Dad shows up and I manage to get off the couch and let him in. I was still near-frozen with panic but I was no longer alone. We could do this! He and I set eight or ten traps around the living room and kitchen. There was peanut butter in my hair from the work. I was okay with it. I was just happy to have backup. Returning to the group message:
Me – Okay, traps are set everywhere. So I’m off the couch for the first time since I saw this fucking bastard. I’m gonna try and get dressed and come in.
Me – I know it wants me to die of a panic attack so it can feast on my corpse as all mice do. BUT I WILL NOT GO DOWN WITHOUT A FIGHT YOU FUCKING GODFORSAKEN MONSTER OF DARKNESS.
Me – KNOW THIS MOUSE, WE ARE SWORN ENEMIES AND I WILL SEE YOU DEAD OR DO THE ONLY SANE AND REASONABLE THING AND SELL MY HOUSE AND MOVE BACK IN WITH MY PARENTS.
Me – It will be this mouse or me. There can be only one.
Sarah – *sends the same stupid mouse waving gif Matthew did*
Me – NOT HELPING SARAH.
Sarah – *sends the same stupid mouse working out gif Matthew did*
Sarah – Maybe you’ll come home to find him like this! *two laughing so hard you’re crying emojis*
Hannah – Haha
Me – I thought it had me, hence my morning of paralyzed panic on the couch with fear. It was at an advantage, coming in without my knowledge with all its fur and fangs and claws and cold, cold, soulless, evil little eyes. BUT NOW I TOO AM ARMED.
Theresa – I will cover your homeroom.
Me – Thank you! I appreciate it. I hope to survive long enough to get to work. But I know it wants me dead too…
Theresa – There is a production on stage today…perhaps your drama could be put to good use.
Theresa – Now I guess the drama is rubbing off.
Sarah – *sends gif of that dude with the white beard people use for everything saying “YOU GOT THIS” and pointing at me*
Me – IF ANYTHING I AM BEING TOO CALM.
Me – THERE IS A MONSTER NOT OF GOD’S CREATION IN MY VERY HOME.
Theresa – Would you like to borrow my cat?
Me – They make me sneeze but if I don’t come home to a broken body in a trap then maybe, thanks.
Me – Also, you can let my homeroom kids know I love them and I hope to see them again.
Well, I got dressed and got into work. I saw Theresa just as I came in and she couldn’t help chuckling. She said, “I told your homeroom I have this vision of you on your kitchen table, clutching a lightsaber in one hand and Mjölnir in the other.” I told her if it was the real Mjölnir then it would have helped but my plastic toy one wasn’t hefty or deadly enough for the job I faced. Matthew, always being helpful, had gotten the science department’s dead-mouse-floating-in-a-jar specimen to greet me with. However, it didn’t have the effect he wanted. Having stared the living monster in the face this morning, the dead one was no longer frightening. When I saw Hannah she told me, “I was laughing so hard I was crying. I couldn’t put my makeup on! I tried but my mascara kept running since I couldn’t stop laughing at your texts. So I finally just gave up and came in with no makeup.” I came in with no makeup too, but it wasn’t after giving up. It was after surviving the fight of my life. A horrid living nightmare rose to life in my living room and tried to take me to the grave in the grip of unrelenting fear. But I didn’t let it stop me (well, after Dad showed up I didn’t). I did make it to work that day. I forgot my wallet and I still had peanut butter in my hair…but I was alive (for now).
Thankfully, the little monster was dead by the time I got home. Dad, being the hero that he is, swung by in the afternoon to check the trapline (dear God…I was living in circumstances where I needed a trap line) and sent me a picture of it’s broken body. I was euphoric in my relief. It was a lone intruder. How it got past me in the first place continues to haunt me. I may’ve won the physical battle, but it continues to plague me beyond the grave with vile psychological warfare.