I’m going to share with you the other side. The yellow house isn’t always fluff, one day it was iron.
Coming home from work one late afternoon I was thinking about what I’d make for supper. As I drove closer to my neighborhood I noticed more cars than usual. When I made the last turn to my street there were firetrucks, ambulances, police cars, and even a police land rover that looked a bit like a small army tank, blocking the entrance to my street. Police were armed and some in full SWAT gear. I knew supper would be late.
Surprisingly I found a place to park. Walking through small groups of curious bystanders, I asked a TV news crewman what was going on and he told me it was a police stand off. Then he pointed to the house kitty corner across the street from mine. I’d never met the people who lived there, upstairs a few young men and downstairs a young couple with two small kids.
My house is at the end of the street. I asked a policeman if I could take the back way to my house going up the hill. He spoke into his radio and got the ok. I quickly left that scene and sprinted to the bottom of the back hill where it was quiet. It’s only several hundred feet up that hill to the yellow house. Old trees and long grass cover the hill. I started my climb hoping every one of those armed police had received the message that a blond female (me) wearing blue would be coming up the back way. I was away from the onlookers and hoped I wasn’t a target. In those moments I understood the terror people must feel when they live where shootings are a part of life. I made it up the hill in record time.
When I reached my backyard I could see a police sniper standing next to my front door. He saw me and motioned for me to advance. At the door, he told me I should stay inside. He looked about 19. He’s somebody’s son. I asked him if he wanted a drink of water. He said no.
Inside the house I watched through the big picture window that faces the stand off house. I didn’t see any signs of life. It was surrounded by police taking aim. I peeked out the front door window to see what my own personal sniper was up to. He had settled down next to my house where a few black-eyed Susans bloom every year. He was perfectly still as he pointed a long gun at the neighbor’s house.
Since my husband was at work and can’t take calls I called our daughter, then our son, who both live far away. My son was also at work and shouldn’t take calls. I stood in front of the picture window telling him about this suspenseful real life movie. Just as we were ending the call, I heard the pop pop pop of gunfire. I didn’t know what direction it was coming from. My son told me to hit the floor and get as far away from the big picture window as I could. On my belly I scooted across the floor using my arms to pull myself. I suffered from an old shoulder problem and the use of my shoulders to pull myself had put the pain at a 10 on the pain scale. I scooted across the living room, the dining room and the kitchen floors.
The shooting stopped and I ran down into the basement to the farthest corner, actually only a few feet from my sniper but divided by the basement wall. I felt safe there. My son had to get off the phone now but said his friend would call to check on me.
Then the shooting started up once more. There were more shots than I could count. I wondered about the people in that house. What prompted this?
Then the shooting stopped. My son’s friend called to check on me. It’s over I thought…No! More bullets flew. Where were those little kids? Were they inside, scared and crying?
Then it was quiet but not for long.
Just when I thought it was over, it started again. Were there hostages? What about the kids in my neighborhood watching this from their homes?
Then it was quiet. I waited… I heard nothing for a few minutes so I gingerly went upstairs. Someone was pounding on the front door. It was my sniper who informed me I could go outside now.
It was over.
Every window in the stand off house had bullet holes. No one got hurt because no one was in that house. I never found out what caused all the ruckus and I have no idea what I made for supper that night.