In the Dead of Night
By Janice Pollard
Photos courtesy of Janice Pollard
Winter days in the Wood River Valley are dazzling, crisp, and sunshiny, with nights that can become freezing cold, although when the moon shines brightly, its reflection off the snow keeps the darkness at bay. This was one of those rare nights, with a distinctive cold bite to the air, moonlight bathing our house and snow-covered lawn, and stillness settling upon the land as snow muffled the sounds of the night. My husband Brent was out of town, so it had fallen to me to handle the rambunctious energy and shenanigans of our two sons, aged eight and eleven. Keeping them focused on finishing their homework and the other end-of-day routines had left me so exhausted that we all went to bed around 9:30 p.m.
My dreams were contented and peaceful that night as we slept safely in our home, until around 1:00 a.m., when I was awakened suddenly by a noise I didn’t recognize. I lay frozen in my bed, praying I had been dreaming. The house was eerily soundless except for the tick-tock of my bedside clock. I scanned the darkened room and could not detect anything out of the ordinary but my senses went on full alert when I heard the sound again, and this time it seemed to be magnified tenfold. This was no dream! I jumped out of bed, peeked around the corner, and saw and heard the handle on our front door move, and then move again. My heart beat rapidly and I could barely breathe. I had no idea what to do.