Jan­ice Bell

How I was held hostage by a bat out of hell

Evening Times - - FRONT PAGE - Jan­ice Bell

HI Jan­ice, how’s things?” My friend Wilma in­quired when I bumped into her in Tesco. “Aye OK.” I po­litely re­torted. “And you?”

“Well...” Wilma drawled.

“I have an un­wanted vis­i­tor.” And I won­dered if Wilma’s rel­a­tive from down south had ap­peared unan­nounced. “Really?”

“Yep, there are some strange go­ing’s on in my loft.”

“Well it can­nae be a rel­a­tive.” I clev­erly sur­mised.

“It’s ei­ther a rat, a mouse or a squir­rel.” Wilma had now be­come an ex­pert in ro­dents. “Be­cause there are spo­radic scratch­ing and scur­ry­ing sounds at night”.

“Oh well,” I sighed.

“If any­one can get rid of your un­wanted friend, I’m sure it’s you.”

You see, back in Septem­ber, I too had an un­wanted vis­i­tor. Fri­day night and fi­nally set­tling down with a glass of wine and some crisps, I up­loaded the fourth episode of Pablo Escobar and, as it had sub­ti­tles, I couldn’t take my beady eyes off the screen for a sec­ond.

Whilst deep in con­cen­tra­tion sud­denly some­thing caught my eye. But I de­cided to ig­nore it. Next minute, faster than an Andy Mur­ray serve, it flew out from be­hind my couch and whizzed around my liv­ing room. “Argh­h­hhh!” I screamed at Pablo Escobar.

“A bat. A bat. A bat.” I par­roted. Like light­ning, I grabbed my wine and mo­bile and ran out into the hall, clos­ing the door tightly. Shak­ing like a leaf, I reck­oned I must be mis­taken, so turned on my mo­bile video and squeezed my hand through a gap in the door. Sure enough, the ev­i­dence was not good. It was in­deed a bat. And a bloody big one at that. “It’s the size of a budgie.” My voice quiv­ered as I called my brother Ian.

Ian ap­peared and headed straight into the liv­ing room armed only with a large towel.

“He’s like bloody Bear Grylls.” I thought how brave my brother was for at­tempt­ing to cap­ture the in­truder. Peer­ing through the slight gap in the door I watched in hor­ror as Ian un­suc­cess­fully flapped the towel in all di­rec­tions.

Ten min­utes later an ex­hausted Ian threw in the towel (lit­er­ally) and left the room.

Reach­ing for his jacket, my des­per­a­tion got the bet­ter of me. “Its blind and you’re wear­ing your specs,” I quiv­ered. “How could you not catch it?” “Good luck,” he bel­lowed as he re­versed out my drive­way.

Two days later Wilma ar­rived to pick me up, and on hear­ing of my dilemma, of­fered: “Do you want me to look for it?”

And look she did.

She scoured ev­ery inch of the room rat­tling ra­di­a­tors, pic­tures and un­der the couch with a wooden spoon I had pro­vided.

“Jan­ice, there is def­i­nitely, 100 per cent, no bat in here.”

Shout­ing through the gap in the door I in­structed. “Close the cur­tains and put the lamp on.”

I reck­oned the light would at­tract the im­poster, which I knew was still in there as it had no means of es­cape since my liv­ing room had been sealed like a CSI Mi­ami crime scene for two nights.

Fast for­ward eight hours and Wilma’s son Jor­dan was driv­ing us home af­ter a much needed few wines.

“Jor­dan, why don’t we go in and cap­ture Jan­ice’s bat.”

I caught Wilma wink­ing and sur­mised that they were sure the bat was long gone.

But I knew dif­fer­ent. So be­fore en­ter­ing the room, I stated with a slightly slurred but com­mand­ing voice. “Now then.” Hic. “When you two en­ter this room.” Hic hic.

“The agree­ment is that you do not get back out un­til you’ve caught the bat.” Hic hic.

“Is that clear?”

Both cov­ered their heads with my match­ing checked tea tow­els. Jor­dan donned my yel­low Marigolds and Wilma clutched the wooden spoon again as they en­tered the bat cave.

How­ever, their child­ish gig­gling soon turned to screams of ter­ror when the large bat ap­peared from nowhere and zig-zagged around their heads like a Red Ar­row.

“Ah­h­h­hhh! Help, help,” shrieked Wilma.

Jor­dan was now fran­ti­cally shoogling to door han­dle which I had a firm grip on from the other side.

“Mum, please tell her to let us out.”

“The deal is...” I kept re­peat­ing the pact we had made.

All went eerily quiet, so I peeked through the gap again un­til… “Mum, mum, argh, help, I want out!”

The bat was flap­ping about their heads again.

Wilma’s ma­ter­nal in­stinct sud­denly evap­o­rated as she thrust her son aside and be­gan fran­ti­cally shoogling the door han­dle her­self as I re­peated.

“The deal is……..” hic hic. Even­tu­ally, per­haps through ter­ror or des­per­a­tion, Wilma man­aged to throw a large bin bag over the crea­ture and scooped it up.

“I’ve got it. I’ve got it.” She sounded eu­phoric.

Re­leas­ing the door, Wilma fran­ti­cally ran out­side and threw the bin bag into the air, at which point the poor crea­ture flew off into the night skies.

Drained, shak­ing and still in shock, we sat silently on the stairs for what seemed like an eter­nity. Mon­day morn­ing.

“I saw your nightmare video on Face­book, Jan­ice.” My col­league Ni­cola sounded sym­pa­thetic

“Och, it was noth­ing Ni­cola,” I lied.

“I didn’t even bat an eye­lid.”

You do not get back out un­til you’ve caught the bat

The bat was the ‘size of a budgie’

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